Bess Myerson. Born 1924. The Bronx. Died 2014. In California.
Studied music. Tried modeling. In 1945, in a borrowed bathing swimsuit, grew to become Miss New York. Then the primary Jewish Miss America.
Subsequent, tv. Politics. New Yorker Bess grew to become a commissioner. She tried for senator. She campaigned with Ed Koch. She had a few husbands. One helped create a daughter named Barra Grant. She had a few lovers. One introduced her a headlined regulation case that almost introduced her to jail.
Full disclosure. Bess was my good friend. 4 months she was on trial for being combined up with this married man who was a serious mix-up. Every day, after courtroom, she’d come over for dinner. Folks would ask, “Can you tell us where Bess is?” I’d say “No.” That was the reality. I couldn’t. Bess was my good friend.
Now daughter Barra’s written the one-woman play “Miss America’s Ugly Daughter.” Subtitle: “Bess Myerson & Me.” She performs this “heartbreaking comedy,” which opens every week after New 12 months’s on the 145-seat Marjorie Deane Theater, 64th and Broadway.
Barra: “Every note I wrote had her in it. When you’re young, you’re fat, buck teeth, depressed, 5-foot-9 at age 12 and your mother says: ‘Stand like that, you’ll look like a pigeon.’ Difficult. My salvation became books. Reading. In a restaurant, she’d smack me and say, ‘Why aren’t you happy?’ That stuff stays with you. It was, ‘Why me, Lord?’”
Did Barra have remedy?
“Yes, but back then I’d rather have had another cookie … Look, my narcissist mother had no sense of humor. Nor did her mom. Bess didn’t even like her own mother, who said, ‘I don’t know how she won a beauty contest.’”
There was a time Bess was caught shoplifting.
“Because she felt she deserved it. She got free food because she’d done one person at the grocery a favor. She hated to pay the maid. She’d say, ‘The girl lives free. She eats here free.’ She’d take tops off lipsticks to see the colors she wanted to take.”
OK, so now the present.
“I’m an actress and a writer so I know how to do this. It took a year to write and received great reviews on the coast.”
What about when Bess was on trial along with her lover Andy Capasso? I knew him. I went to their Hamptons home. I had dinner with them.
“I know that. What I don’t know and can’t imagine is her being in love with a Mafia man. Or trying to influence the judge. That trial nearly killed her.”
Barra’s come out of all of it with a daughter she adores, a late husband she adored and the humorousness she’s placing on a stage.
B’manner homes full!
No room on the inn. No theaters accessible. For “Almost Famous,” primarily based on a movie that gained an Academy Award — there isn’t a accessible home. “The Wrong Man,” a couple of dude incarcerated for homicide, is at the moment taking part in on the MCC — however hasn’t discovered a Broadway house. They’re all full. Doing higher than our skyscrapers. But when you’ll a theater, see “The Great Society” on the Vivian Beaumont. It’s the saga of LBJ. The present and Brian Cox are marvelous.
Criticism. Sufficient already with car reveals. It’s Leno schlepping in a automobile for TV. Seinfeld schlepping in a automobile for TV. Corden schlepping in a automobile for TV. What’s the following video venue — laundromats?
Senior: “I bought a hearing aid. Cost $2,000, but it’s state of the art.”
Buddy: “What kind is it?” Man: “A quarter to 12.”
Instructed solely in New York (on Park Avenue), youngsters, solely in New York.