Friday, August 15, 2014


Many years ago, when I first moved to Los Angeles, I had the good fortune of working for one of the biggest talent agencies in the world (at that time it was relatively small.)  I was in awe of all the celebrities I met as a result of my working there: Sean Connery, Michael Douglas, Danny DiVito. There were some celebrities I met, however, who were beyond memorable. Robin Williams was one.

My good friend and co-worker, Jane and I volunteered each Christmas to organize a party for the Foundation of the Junior Blind, a pet project of one of the agents. Weeks before Christmas we would call, beg, and cajole various celebrities into attending the party and performing to an audience of blind and partially blind children. Over the years we welcomed Don Knotts, Tony Danza, and Penny Marshall to name a few.

One year we decided to invite Robin Williams to the party. He was at the height of his popularity, starring in the hit show, Mork and Mindy.  We made several attempts to contact him on the phone (these were the days before texting, faxing, and the Internet) but could not get past his manager.

Finally, in desperation I sent Robin a telegram. (Yes, people still sent them)  I don't recall the wording of the poem but I think it ended by stating "the kids would be so grateful, "na-noo, na-noo" (words he often uttered on his show.) 

The night of the event arrived and we still hadn't heard from him so we assumed the party would go on with the celebrities who did show up.  Suddenly the door opened. A rather upset man with a scowl on his face (Robin's manager I was soon to learn) looked up and said, unpleasantly, "Who's Vivian?"  I stepped forward and a cheerful Robin Williams came over to shake my hand and Jane's and to thank us for inviting him.

Robin walked on stage to a thunder of applause.  He looked directly at the kids and said, "It's a pleasure to be here as you can see....oh no can't see!" We held our breaths waiting for the response to this quip.  The kids went wild, laughing and clapping at what he had just said.

They, and we, could feel the genuine affection he had for these children.

As he did for so many people, Robin Williams brought  joy into my life and into the lives of my family. Thank God we have him on film. He was a brilliantly funny, sweet, and generous man -- a treasure who will be greatly missed.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Lately, I have gotten into so many discussions, with people having varying opinions, about the recent conflict surrounding Gaza. What surprised me was how little knowledge many people have about the history of the area.

Since I try my best to avoid politics in my blogs (one rarely convinces a person holding an opposing view) I thought that rather than share my views, I would simply re-print some information from Wikipedia and from the Associated Press.

People are left to form their own opinions:

The Gaza Strip (/ˈɡɑːzəˈstrɪp/;[1] Arabic: قطاع غزةQiāʿ Ġazzah [qɪˈtˤɑːʕ ˈɣazza]), or simply Gaza, is an
exclave region of Palestine on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km (32 mi) border. Gaza makes up part of the Palestinian territories which includes the West Bank and in 2012, the United Nations General Assembly "accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations".[2]
In 1994, Israel granted the right of self-governance to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority. Prior to this, Gaza had been subject to military occupation, most recently by Israel (1967–94) and by Egypt (1948–67), and earlier by Great Britain (1918–48) and Turkey when Gaza had been part of the Ottoman Empire. Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been de-facto governed by Hamas, a Palestinian group claiming to be the representatives of the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people. Gaza forms a part of the Palestinian territory defined in the Oslo Agreements and UNSC Resolution 1860.[3]

The Gaza Strip acquired its current northern and eastern boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war, confirmed by the Israel–Egypt Armistice Agreement on 24 February 1949.[8] Article V of the Agreement declared that the demarcation line was not to be an international border. At first the Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government, established by the Arab League in September 1948. All-Palestine in the Gaza Strip was managed under the military authority of Egypt, functioning as puppet state, until it officially merged into the United Arab Republic and dissolved in 1959. From the time of the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government until 1967, the Gaza Strip was directly administered by an Egyptian military governor. Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, the Palestinian Authority became the administrative body that governed Palestinian population centers while Israel maintained control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings with the exception of the land border with Egypt. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip under their unilateral disengagement plan. In July 2007, following the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and the Hamas takeover in 2007, Hamas had functioned as the de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip, forming an alternative Hamas Government in Gaza.

In 2014, following reconciliation talks, Hamas and Fatah formed a Palestinian unity government within the State of Palestine. Rami Hamdallah became the coalition's Prime Minister and has planned for elections in Gaza and the West Bank.[9] In July 2014, a set of lethal incidents between Hamas and Israel led to the Israeli military launching Operation Protective Edge.

Today’s News: (8/8/14)
Israel resumed strikes on targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire from the area shortly after the expiration of a cease-fire between Israel and the terror group Hamas, Israeli military officials said Friday.
The renewed violence threw the Cairo talks on a broader deal into doubt. Hamas officials said they are ready to continue talks, but Israel's government spokesman said Israel will not negotiate under fire.
Hamas wants Israel to open Gaza's borders, following a seven-year closure also enforced by Egypt, but Israel says it will only do so if the Islamic militants disarm or are prevented from re-arming. Hamas has insisted it will never give up its arms.
The rockets appeared to have been an attempt by Hamas to exert pressure on Israel without triggering a major escalation. Smaller Gaza groups claimed responsibility, while there was no word from Hamas rocket squads.
However, Israel said it will not negotiate under such terms.
"When Hamas broke the cease-fire, when Hamas launched rockets and mortar shells at Israel, they broke the premise of the talks," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev, adding that "there will not be negotiations under fire."
Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, and have since enforced it to varying degrees.
The closure led to widespread hardship in the Mediterranean seaside territory, home to 1.8 million people. Movement in and out of Gaza is limited, the economy has ground to a standstill and unemployment is over 50 percent.
Israel argues that it needs to keep Gaza's borders under a blockade as long as Hamas tries to smuggle weapons into Gaza or manufactures them there.
The militant group has said it is willing to hand over some power in Gaza to enable its long-time rival, Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to lead reconstruction efforts, but that it would not give up its arsenal and control over thousands of armed men.
The Gaza war grew out of the killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed the killings on Hamas and launched a massive arrest campaign, rounding up hundreds of the group's members in the West Bank, as Hamas and other militants unleashed rocket fire from Gaza.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


                My family and I have compiled some of my late husband’s best known songs and with the help of a friend, Caleb Lambert, we are making them available on iTunes as a Fathers’ Day Tribute to him. For those of you who did not know Rick, he was an extremely gifted singer and composer who earned at least two dozen Emmy Award nominations and who won five of them.
                To learn more about Rick, I suggest you look in this past November’s blog archive for an article I posted about him.
                Rick composed a wealth of music, songs and instrumentals, over the span of a lifetime. All of the songs chosen for this album are unique and have Rick's "sound". (Let's Be Lovers Again, which I wrote with Rick, was nominated for an Emmy Award in the nineties and Michael Feinstein opened his 2004 European Tour with They Don't Write 'Em Like That, a song about the "tin pan alley" days.)
                We are hoping to get the word out through social media: Facebook, Twitter, and blogs such as this. A percentage of any monies that might be accrued from the sale of this album/tracks will be donated to the Tug McGraw Foundation, the focus of which is "to provide support and resources for people affected by brain tumors and brain related trauma."
                We're appealing to everyone who knew Rick personally and to those who only knew him through his music to spread the word -- post it, share it, tweet it -- so that our goal of making it go viral can be realized. Rick would have loved this! If it does well, we would love to add some of his more obscure singles, some of his earlier work, and some of the music he composed for The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company.
                Thank you all in advance for helping spread the word and supporting our efforts!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Date and Time my Lifetime Movie will be airing.

I am trying to get the word out in all forms of social media that the movie I wrote for Lifetime Television will be debuting shortly. For those of you who have not already heard, it is set to air on June 21, 2014. I believe it will be on a few times subsequently over the following day or two. Though the station is available to most people, if you don't get Lifetime, you might be able to access the movie online.

My original title, Empty Cradle was apparently too similar to a title used before so the network re-titled it. It is now called, Stolen From the Womb.

As you might recall from a previous blog I posted, my daughter and I flew to Vancouver to watch the movie being shot. It was a wonderful experience and we actually had small cameos in the film (look for us in the la- maze scene:)

For more information and a sneak preview go to: 

So set your DVRs and hope that we get good ratings!

Thank you,


Monday, May 26, 2014


It’s been quite a while since I blogged. Other writing commitments and life in general have taken up much of my time. I feel, though, compelled to write about my recent experience at the Magic Castle.
                What is the Magic Castle?  It is a private club in the heart of Hollywood that caters to those young and old who are intrigued by the art of magic. The members of this exclusive club are magicians and entry to the Castle is only allowed to members and their guests (although there are some ways of getting around this restriction if one is determined.)
                The building itself is quite unique. It was a mansion designed in the early 1900’s by  real estate developer, Rollin Lane and it remained in the Lane family until the mid-fifties. Eventually it was leased to  magic enthusiast, Milt Larson and his son Bill in 1961. Their intent was to create an atmosphere whereby magicians could perfect their craft.  They succeeded in doing so and the Magic Castle opened for business in 1963.
Over the years many additions have been made to the original structure, allowing for the inclusion of several theaters, bars, a library and other meeting spaces but the integrity of the Castle has remained constant. For example, there is a strict (and I mean strict) dress code that seems somewhat of an anathema in the 21st. C.  Dress is formal. Men must wear jackets at all times (they may remove them to eat) and "properly knotted" ties must be worn. Needless to say, jeans and tennis shoes are forbidden. When one is at the Castle, the formality of dress is actually a plus and adds to the atmosphere, especially in this day and age when people rarely have the opportunity to dress up unless they’re on a cruise ship or walking the red carpet.
Nightly, five different magic performances are showcased in three different theaters, with additional performances added in the Peller as well as Hat and Hare Pub and W.C. Fields Bar on weekends Informal performance areas near the five bars give magician members the space to perform impromptu magic for guests and other patrons. In the music room, a piano is played by invisible "Irma," the Castle's "resident ghost," who takes musical requests. (My friends and I tried stumping Irma a few times, but “she” always came through with whatever obscure tune we requested.)
On the evening I attended I was part of a group invited to partake in a “séance held to communicate with magician Harry Houdini”. (For those interested, I posted a blog about the life of Houdini a while back.Check out the archives.) I was invited, along with my date, by my daughter and son-in-law who won this privilege by having placed first in a costume party last  Halloween.)
A mentalist held court, the table shook in darkness, and ultimately the séance turned out to be an enjoyable and unique experience, even for those present who were extreme cynics. (My date took great pains, when we left, to explain the illusions with the utmost of logic. It made no difference to me; in the moment, I was taken in by these illusions and I didn’t mind a bit.)
Can you think of movies with memorable séance scenes in them?  Offhand, The Changeling, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, Ghost, and The Uninvited come to mind. I know there are many more, particular in movies made in the “golden age”, the thirties and forties, when the topic of spiritualism was just beginning to be explored.
If you know a magician I strongly suggest you get yourself invited to the Magic Castle. It will be an evening you won’t forget soon.

Enjoy your week and thank you for reading,