"THIS INTERVIEW IS DEDICATED TO JEREMY BRETT FANS."
For the past 20+ years, I have worked as a freelance writer in addition to whatever "day job" happened to make competing claims on my time and attention. I spent much of that time writing about live theater in the greater metropolitan Chicago region and, occasionally, beyond that. To Joann, my wife, taking time off from her work was something that was justified, perhaps, by three events: death in the family, jury duty, or major illness. Only once, as I recall, did she make an exception, and that was the day we commonly refer to as "Joann's 'Hooky' Day"--the day I was to interview English actor, Jeremy Brett, regarding his then-young Sherlock Holmes television series on PBS.
I did interview Jeremy Brett that day, and was delighted that I was the sole interviewer during the 30+ minute duration of that interview (with Joann "riding shotgun," of course).
The interview took place at the WTTW studios, 23 N. Michigan (IIliniois Center Building, 18th Floor), Chicago, Illinois. Later, I wrote a condensed version of the interview and sold it to The Times of Northwest Indiana. That article, titled, "Solving the mystery of Sherlock," appeared in The Times on Friday, November 22, 1991.
Life went on, while many more interviews and reviews joined the Jeremy Brett/Sherlock Holmes article in my portfolio. In time, I forgot about the fact that the Times article had represented but a few minutes of the more-than-thirty that we spent being charmed by our ideal Sherlock that day. Then recently, something reawoke the memory of that interview and I discovered that there are a lot of web sites devoted to Jeremy Brett, and, especially, to his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Reading some of the material on those sites, I wanted very much to share the interview with other Brett devotees, and Sherlock fans.
Like most things we undertake, there are always the unexpected glitches to be overcome. I first had to find the full text of that interview, conducted 15 years earlier. I found that old file but the 11-page document was filled with partial words, because translation into later word processors over the years had dropped end characters and small words from the document.
Surprisingly, examination of the text proved that the assertions about people being able to read jumbled and fragmented text are essentially correct, but it was a labor-intensive, word-by-word process and, frustratingly, some phrases were not comprehensible. Then, I thought, "Wait a minute--what if I still have the original recording of that interview?" Another intensive search revealed that I had kept it--in my library of "Ancient--Frequently Useless-Recordings."
The full text of that interview is contained below. Please note that it is laid out as follows :
The letter "J" in front of text indicates that it is Jeremy Brett's response ; the letter "K " indicates a question or comment by "Kevin" (that's me). Three other people appear, briefly, in the interview :"Diane Srebro" represented Jeremy Brett's host, Public Television Station WTTW, and her full name is used in front of her comments. "R": Rob Brown, a Times photographer, whom I had arranged to have photograph Jeremy, to support the article that I planned to write for The Times."Joann": My wife was the third person.
Please note, too, that in one or two places I could not clarify what Jeremy said, despite seemingly endless (in one instance) replaying of the segment. In such cases, I've indicated parenthetically that it wasn't possible to clarify that part.
If you'd like to know what that experience was like, fifteen years ago, I can only say now that I believe that both Joann and I were probably "high" for a couple of weeks afterward--and, of course, every time we view an episode of Sherlock Holmes, we again mourn his passing so prematurely, while delighting in the memory of our brief contact with Jeremy Brett.
The November 6, 1991, Jeremy Brett interview begins here, when the tape recorder was first activated :



K: That's something you wouldn't object to . . .
J: No I certainly would not. He's (Sherlock Holmes) a great hero of mine, and he's kept my family in sandwiches for about the last nine years.
K: Which is not bad, either.
J: Not bad.
K: We were glad that we were able to arrange an interview with you . . .
J: Well it's a very exciting time, because I haven't been in Chicago for a while, but I love it so much. I've acted here twice before, [to Joann] once before you were born, I'm sure.
Joann: No.
J: I was playing Troilus, in "Troilus and Cressida."
K: Which theatre group were you with?
J: It was the Old Vic, and it was at the Shubert. Rosemary Harris was my Cressida, and Coral Browne, Vincent Price's late wife, was Helen of Troy, and John Neville was Thersites, and we played here in 1957--and I remembered it vividly because it was summer and I was honored by being given a yachting thing, at the Chicago Yacht Club for the time I was here--and I was [whooshing sound] in the day time and I loved it! And, then, I came back as recently as 1980, and this great critic of yours, this lady . . .
K: Hedi Weiss?
Diane Srebro: Cassidy.
K: Claudia.
J: Claudia--gave me a rave review for my "Dracula," and so we had a thrilling stay here that time. That, again, was at the Shubert. That was winter, and I stepped out of the Ambassador and went down to see my beloved Lake Michigan [My father, Joseph Murphy, emigrated from England to the United States as an adult--I always got a kick out of his pronunciation of "Michigan," which sounded like "Mitch-igan"--Jeremy pronounced it that way, also--kpm]--I mean, yours, too, but also mine, and the chill caught me, and I was dressed as badly as I am now.
K: Oh my.
J: I ran for my life! My nose was cold! My ears were cold! I hadn't realized just how cold it could be!
K: It can be murderous.
J: Yes.
K: We had a group come through here a couple of years ago that was duplicating La Salle's trek through the region, and they got to this part of the area and the winter was so uncharacteristically cold that it almost put an end to La Salle.
J: Really?
K: Yeah. Had it been like that when he'd gone through, perhaps he would not have made it. So they were almost devastated by it, and they were much more familiar with the region.
J: I think that's what makes Chicago so unbelievably special, is that lake. It's like what the sea does to Rio. I think that conjunction of water and industry and city is very, very, exciting.
K: Oh, yeah--Nicholas Pennell was doing a program at the Court Theatre last year, "Brief Lives," and I had interviewed him, and he was talking about Chicago, compared to some of the other world class cities.
J: He's a very nice lad.
K: His interest in it was the neighborhoods, the existence of neighborhoods still.
J: He moved. He was so good in "Forsyte Saga," and then he moved to Canada. And when I went to Canada in '76, I went with a little actress called Maggie Smith, and she was my Millamant when I played Mirabell in "The Way of the World." And on the other side of the company, there was Nick, and he was doing some absolutely beautiful work and had really become almost Canadian! The last time I saw him was when he came to England with Miss Smith, and they were doing "Virginia Wolff," and he was playing opposite her in that--in London.
K: We love him.
J: Nice man. Do give him my best when you speak to him. He's a nice man, Kevin. I hope I get a chance to talk to him again. Joann, he's been at Stratford for many a year now.
K: Uh-huh.
J: Yes. Bought a house. That's rooting, isn't it?
K :We made a special trip up there just to see him in a--oh gosh, what's the guy's name--like the hair-dresser--Sassoon--[World War I English poet, Siegfried Sassoon] play about Sassoon. We drove up just to see it, and drove back the next morning.
J: [To just-arriving Times photographer, Rob Brown.] Come in, come in! Hi, good morning!
R :How are you?
J: Very well, thank you.
K: The Times?
R: Rob Brown.
K: Rob! It's been a while!
R: No mustache.
K:Yes, that's the difference.
J: Dropped ten years. Took the 'tache off [Laughing.]
K: We'll get started, and do whatever you wish to do.
J: [To Rob Brown] I'll tell you what--get in as close as you can, and crawl across the table, but take me while I'm chatting. I always think they're better don't you?
R: Yeah.
K: Rob does some excellent work, too. He did that front piece section . . .
J: I'll show you, just to intimidate you, my favorite one so far. [Displays a photograph.] I think that one's quite fun.
K: [Laughs.]
R: That is good! It's really good.
J: Just to give you a standard.
K: Rob did Nick Pennell and Nick Rudall together when they were preparing for "Brief Lives" for a cover on one of The Times sections, and it was one of the best--for me--I looked at it and thought, "That's the way I think of these guys." He had captured them perfectly.
R: That's good to know. Thank you. One thing, Kevin, would you be comfortable sitting right here?K Sure.
R: That would give me . . .
J: A chance to get in?
K: Let me move these [My cassette recorders]. [To Jeremy.] I don't write well at all, and I can't read what I write.
J: I prefer these, but also I prefer them because I'm inclined, when someone's writing, to slow down for them, and then I lose my train of thought. I like these.
K: Good--I'm glad. One of the things that I wanted to deal with rather quickly was the fact that I don't trust press kits. For instance, the press kit that was given out prior to your arrival said that James Mason played Holmes. I know he played Watson.
J: Exactly.
K :In Murder by Decree.
J: That was with Chris Plummer.
K: Yeah, right, Plummer was Holmes. Sometimes they [Referring to the afore-mentioned press kit] almost hit the target but don't, and one of the things that they said about you and I found I couldn't accept it--they quote an unidentified critic as saying that you had captured Holmes' coldness perfectly, and as we watch--Joann and I--we don't see the coldness. We see barely suppressed, deep emotion that is controlled by tight intellect. But, as we see it, there is a depth of emotion there that just is barely constrained . . .
J: But, you must understand that I have upset the applecart completely! Really, seriously, because--I mean, over the last nine years I've upset the applecart--because my studios, God bless them, they're wonderful--Granada Studios--have allowed me--with me begging, of course--to do Doyle-- to do his stories. Also, to follow the Paget drawings which accompany the stories, for the look of him. And many Sherlockians whom I've met--there is a breed of mature people called "Sherlockian"--have their image, which is nothing to do with Doyle. Sherlockians believe that Watson wrote the stories, and that Doyle was the literary agent, but we know otherwise. But that's what they believe. So, I can be in a room in London, in Oslo, or Japan--we're now showing to 84 countries, and into the room will come Sherlockians--all dressed wrongly! He only wore the deerstalker in the country. He never smoked a calabash. That was brought in by William Gillette at the turn of the century. I think I know why. Because it's the one pipe that you can keep alight, and if you're acting on stage, you don't want your pipe to be going out all the time. He [Sherlock Holmes] smoked a long thin cherrywood in his disputatious moods, and the little clay pipe in his meditative moods. It's there at the beginning of "The Copper Beeches." So, when I started to do Doyle, I upset quite a few of the people who were the aficionados, because they were wearing the cliche. So, I get all sorts of different impressions, which I find fascinating! As far as playing it is concerned, of course I'm completely miscast, which is probably just as well, because it's much more challenging to play a part that you're not really suited for. I had to hide a lot of me, because I'm a heroic actor. You know, I was Olivier's young leading man at his National Theatre for four years. I played parts like King Arthur, Henry V, Macbeth. Those are very heroic. So, suddenly to be put into this constriction was different. And I'm afraid I peek through, and I try not to, and for me to play the cold, calculating person who is totally self-sufficient--which is exactly what Doyle wants--is difficult for me, because I love company.
K: Hmmm.
J: I really enjoy--[Reference to Rob and the camera] look at this lad, this great eye looking at me----I really enjoy company! And, so, I need a Watson [Laughing heartily] I mean, I need Watson-as a man-me--especially as it's played by David Burke and Edward Hardwicke. And that's the reason why, of course, the whole thing was set up, which is to put literature straight.
K: Um-hmm.
J: For Doyle, in regard to Watson.
K :Yeah, thank God.
J: That he wasn't the fool.
K: Nigel Bruce.
J: I'll not mention any names.
K :I liked Nigel Bruce as an actor, but I think they constrained him quite a bit, too. He was capable of doing more . . .
J: Oh, yes.
K: ...than what they had him do.
J: But because he was Nigel, and I guess--it's interesting. I don't know. You see, Basil Rathbone is my Holmes, and always will be, because he's the one I saw.
K: Uh-hmm, we grew up with him.
J: That's right. But when one starts to take literature seriously and, for Doyle's sake, I'm thrilled, because his daughter is still alive. Dame Jean Conan Doyle is still very much alive and living in London. And, so, for the first time in a hundred years--unbelievably-- Doyle's stories are being done. And I can't think why they've never been done before.
K: I don't know, but I think we find it's much more credible to us--I don't believe in the "human machine," first of all. We [Joann and I] come out of the behavioral sciences. That's our background. I don't believe in the human machine. I think you can play that game, you can try, but people are not calculators with voices and, so, what you're showing, I think, is much more believable, in that I suspect that's where Holmes was.
J: But, I'll tell you what I had to do, because I've had a long talk with a very great, famous actor in England, called Robert Stephens--with an e--and he had just given a brilliant Falstaff at Stratford-upon-Avon, and we were talking last June about it. And he played Sherlock Holmes in the Billy Wilder film, "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes," with Colin Blakely playing Watson, and he said, "You must remember, Holmes is hollow. And it's all brilliant trim, so you have to fill it, give him an inner life." And, of course, that's what an actor does. I'm what I call a "becomer." I'm one of those actors. You know, I squeeze myself out and draw in the moisture of the person I'm playing and--um--quite safe--[unclear phrase] on the sponge and that's the way you squeeze the moisture out of the sponge, just to hold the moisture of the character. But, with Holmes, one has to invent an inner life, because Doyle's given him this veneer. I call him a statue--like marble. And, truthfully, of course, he's better read. That's the truth. Doyle's stories are better read, and to be foolish enough to try and lift him and visualize him, then you come up against all sorts of problems. But, what I think is strange is that no one has ever trusted Doyle before my studios, Granada Studios--and we're doing the stories, and that's why they're selling to 84 countries...
K: Um-hm.
J: ...because they're doing Doyle!
K: It's not surprising. I think we destroyed the Tarzan series and made it rather ridiculous, whereas the story, itself, was a rather interesting story.
J: It's a wonderful story isn't it?
K: Yeah, but it has never come across on the screen. Frankenstein, the same thing...
J: That's right.
K: ...has never come across----What effect has Sherlock had on your career?
J: Made it! I think the place for romantic heroes was getting smaller and smaller. I mean, I can't see myself, really, in "The Terminator."
K: [Laughs in agreement.]
Joann: That's good!
J: Maybe I could just sort of creep in and move a little close to Al Pacino in "Goodfellows," but I'd have to wear a lot of makeup. Umm, no, I think that romantic heroes are sort of in low demand. The world needed heroes--in spite of what Tina Turner says.
K: Um-hm, um-hm.
J: And, um, well, what I didn't realize was "You-know-who: S.H." is a great hero to the children. That, I've learned over the last nine years, largely from the play I did. I commissioned a play called, "The Secret of you-know-who," for his 100th birthday.
K: This is the one you're hoping to bring to the States yet.
J: I don't think I've got time now, because I'm going to complete the canon. That will take until 1995. Then, I think I'll just pass the torch on to Daniel Day Lewis, I think. Let him get on with it, because I'll be over the hill by then. Umm, it's the fact that I used to say to the house manager that there are so many empty seats. He'd say, "Mr. Brett, just look again. The lights are on, now. Look again." And, of course [motioning to show eyes just barely peeking over the back of the seats]--children! Little faces! Absolutely unbelievable! They adored him, and I think I know why. I think it's to do--this has all happened over the last year--this particular idea has only recently come to me--through a little boy, called Michael McClure II, age 8, of St. Louis, about four weeks ago. And he gave me a picture of Holmes killing a dragon. And I said, "Michael...," and he said, "Oh, he kills my dragons. I don't have nightmares anymore!
K: Oh, my!
J: Wow! Good news! Then, there are the children who recognize that Doyle has endowed his hero with all the antennae and sensibilities of a child--that's what his deduction and intuition is all about! Children lose it at the age of 8, I think, when they're told not to look out of the window, get on with their books, and it closes in. Whereas Doyle endowed "you-know-who" with all that. That's why the kids absolutely love him. He's also a great upholder of the law. So, when Mom and Dad are fighting, they say "I'll get S.H.," and they've got a little strength there. So, he is a hero to the children. Three-year-old Solomon is there in Dallas--a little aficionado--has all my films, and knows every word! I couldn't believe it! Solomon!
K: My mother's first foray into literature was through Sherlock Holmes. Despite parental censorship, she was able to get into it.
Joann: Through the priest.
K: It had a profound impact on her.
J: [Whispered, incredulously.] Really!
K :So, it goes back a long way, too.
J: I think Doyle has been taking care of children--of all ages--for a long time.
K: Do you have the opportunity, now, having become so involved in the Holmes series, to do much of other kinds of theatre work?
J: Yes, they're wonderful, and act like my angels, as I call them--the "money"--that's a theatrical term. "St. Peter"--Peter A. Steen--who is the head of Mobil, has been simply marvelous to me. I took a year off this year, and I did six films last year, which, I think you are seeing now in November--five, and the one next year for the Pledge--and I thought I'd better stop. I'd better see if I have got any hobbies left. Can I play the piano? Can I still ride a horse? Can I do my archery? The answer is, "Yes." And I discovered that by March [laughing], so it wasn't quite a year, but I rang up Peter and said, "If I said I was prepared to complete the canon, what would you say?" and he said, "You would have our blessing. It's our most successful series," he said, "but one thing"--and this is what's amazing--he said, "You must have breaks so you can go and do other things." [Overcome with emotion.] Stunning! So I will be going off--the last play that I did was, of course, "The Secret (of you-know-who)." The one before that was in '85, when I did "Aren't We All?" on Broadway with two brilliant little juveniles called Rex Harrison and Claudette Colbert, and little Lynn-y Redgrave. Claudette said a thing which I love her so much for. She said "I've given Rex top billing, but it's me they come to see!" [Laughs heartily.] And she's right! She's right. Go down to the stage door, and they've got photographs of her as Cleopatra still showing--with Clark Gable.
K: One of the P.R releases that I read quite some time ago--probably an article, actually, somewhere, indicated that not only have you been in My Fair Lady, as Freddie, but also that singing was something that you are very much involved in.
J: Well, it's very sad, really, because I really wanted to be a singer more than anything else. I mean, I really wanted to be an opera singer. And I had the most--I know because I've heard it on record--the most marvelous soprano voice. So, when I was 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, I was singing things like "Ye Are Now Sorrowful," from the Brahms "Requiem." I was in every major cathedral in England. And "with histrionic tendencies. “
K: [Chuckles.]
J: ...I was accused of. I would act out these wonderful arias. And, then, the voice broke, and I went to Rome to make a film of "War and Peace," and I was there nine months, and I met a Professor [unclear name], a wonderful singing teacher, and she said, "You have a wonderful tenor voice. Now, are you going to take this seriously--which means, really, you should stop acting. You really have got to dedicate your life to this." And I made some noises in her room which nearly excited me as much as my soprano voice, but the trouble was that my soprano voice was completely and utterly natural. It was like Elizabeth Schwarzkopf. My tenor voice was work. And I sustained it for a while and, of course, the cream on top of the coffee was "My Fair Lady." But what is so sad about our profession is the fact that if you sing, you are not taken seriously as an actor. And I know Michael Crawford is not going to have that problem, because he came to singing late. But I'm talking of the beginning, and I had this real dilemma, and the last thing I sang was Danilo, in "The Merry Widow." And, then, I stopped, because I realized I was being thought of as a singing actor, and that's a different genre, apart. So, I stopped. It was a sadness--but, now, not really. I'd rather listen, oddly enough. Singing is extremely exacting, and I'm bowled over by, especially, the tenors, because it's not a natural placing of the voice. And your little cords work very, very, hard, indeed. You can't be in a draft. You very seldom---you can't speak for three days before you sing. It is a complete dedication. And when I see Pavarotti, or I see Placido, when I see Jose Carreras, it is a miracle of sound. And I don't miss that. I'd rather listen.
K: And perform. It mentioned that you wanted to start your own theatre in London.
J: No, not now. I tell you, it's all changed. I've done that. I did that in Canada. I went to Canada and I did a production of "The Tempest," in 1982. I produced it, directed it, and played Prospero. I hobbled away afterwards. I was exhausted. I also did it with Robin Phillips, the great Robin Phillips, who is still in Canada. We did a year of--company theatre, it was called--in Greenwich. Again, I tottered away. And I think my services would be most appreciated by possibly the new young Olivier, Kenneth Brannagh, and I may, at a given moment, go and offer my services and say "Can I sweep the stage?" or "Is there anything I can do for you?" I think I should join a company, not create one, and make my contribution that way as a--whatever--a talking head, whatever. "Pick my brains. Do you want to know anything about Lawrence Olivier, my mentor? Is there anything that he said that might help you?" One thing, of course, Olivier said, "Every actor should have a full orchestra at his beck and call, vocally, and the body of a god." And he had both and he was 57 at the time. So people could sort of bounce off me. I think to actually go, "Here I am, this is the new company," is misleading. I've got to go and do something with the National [Word unclear]. They keep asking me, too. And I will, but it's just a question of when.
K: I hope sometime you get an opportunity to do something with the Court, which is our local--I think--is our local classy theatre.
J: Well, you've got a springboard in this town of immense talent. I mean, Broadway is practically furnished by Chicago.
K: The region that--I do theater reviews primarily, not TV--and I cover community theater, and I'm amazed at the talent that we have. These are so-called amateurs, and they are anything but.
J: This is your "competence center" of the United States of America, theatrically.
K: Oh, yeah, I wouldn't argue with that.
J: I think this is where it happens. It's amazing. If you go through the cast lists of plays on Broadway, they're nearly all from one of your theaters here.
K: Um-hm. Yeah, we do furnish quite a few these days.
J: That's right.
K: Was the series success a surprise initially to you? And to Granada? Were you surprised by it?
J: [Pause.] Stunned! [He chuckles.] I mean, the thing was that none of us wanted to do it--least of all me. I thought, well, first of all, detection is not really my cup of tea. Um--I prefer history and pictures like our glorious Jane Seymour. No. And my son David said "Dad"--we went to this dinner when I was asked--and he said, "You don't really want to do it, do you?" And I said, "No, I don't. I think it's an old chestnut. It's been done." Anyway, it was taken away, because it was cancelled. So, I was thrilled, and I shoved off to Canada and did "The Tempest," and while I was doing Browning, in "The Barretts of Wimpole Street," with beloved Jane Lapotaire, as my Elizabeth Barrett--wonderful actress--I think you may have seen her play Edith Piaf on Broadway.
K: I missed the production.
J: She was a wonderful marvelous actress. And they came back to me. And in the time, my host in Barbados, Senator Dean--after I had done "The Tempest"--I was thinking of committing it to film, and I was looking for a location--and he had the canon. It had been given to him by his nephew. So, I read the stories, one a night. And, so, when they came back, I found all sorts of things that had not been done, so I thought, "Yes, I'd like to have a go." It was only six films--with an option for a further seven. Well, we finished the first six. They were sold at the Cannes Film Festival to 35 countries, straight off. So, we did the next seven. That took us to the end of '84. And, suddenly, people began to want to be in them. Guest stars wanted--queued up--to come in--lighting cameramen wanted to light it. The studio suddenly began to move toward it. Umm--I didn't have to fight quite so hard for Doyle, because every time I went to rehearsal, I'd put down the canon and say, "I love your adaptation. Bless you. Lovely, very nice, but don't you think that this is better?" Well, that went on. They used to dread my doing this!
K: [Chuckles.]
J: So, the first week of rehearsal was Doyle, getting back to Doyle. Then, the second week was practicing, and then, five weeks filming. Slowly, slowly, slowly, it began to dawn on all of us that Doyle was being heard. You see, in London, in1982, when I came back and tried to buy The Strand Magazine, I couldn't find one. I couldn't find Doyle's complete works. I did, eventually find one in Foyles, in London, and it was an American edition, which had been sent over and not been collected, and that's how I got one. Now, Doyle is everywhere. Everywhere! So, that's pleasing to Dame Jean, particularly, because she's the last of her line . . .
K: That's sad.
J: . . . and longs for Daddy to be in his proper place.
K :We have the American version. It's quite old now, but I'm glad we were able to get it
J: It's in a red cover.
K: It's--yeah, I think so.
J: It is. That's the one I've got.
K: It's quite thick
J: That's right.
K :An excellent book. We enjoyed it very much. "Charles Augustus Milverton"--is that the sixth one that is going to be...?
J: No. That's the one I just completed. That is an incredible story! When you read something that says, "Lady Diane empties six shots into Milverton's chest, and rams the heel of her shoe into his mouth and screws it to the ground..." that's fine, but when you do it, it's not pretty. [Laughs.] And I had a wonderful leading lady in this last film. Dame Gwen Ffrangcon Davies. She's 101, which is intriguing, because Doyle, of course, would have seen her, because he died in 1930, and she was, of course, born in 1890, and we were filming, and she said, "That lady is improperly dressed." And I said, "What do you mean, Dame Gwen?" And she said, "Well, I know, because I was there. She would have on a hessian petticoat--very starched petticoat--and she would lift her dress as she walked across the gravel." Can't knock that, can't question that. She was there. So, that was thrilling. Lovely, lovely, lovely, lady.
K: When will we have the opportunity to see that?
J: That will be Christmas for us in England, and I think Christmas for you, next year.
K: Uh-huh.
J: I'm going back to do a pick-up shot on Monday and I think the composer moves in--the brilliant Patrick Gowers--the following day, and I think, December 17, there's a press showing in London and then, I think, it's coming out on January 2nd.
K :What kind of schedule are you on now, on this tour of the United States? Are you on a whirlwind tour, or do you get a chance to breathe?
J: Yes. I've had this holiday. This is all a gift from Mobil's "St. Peter." They said--I've just finished the movie--it's a two-hour special--"Would you like to see the world?" And I said, "Yes." They said, "Well, if you'll trust us, we'll get it all set up." And I said, "You must remember, I just finished filming and really need a 'hol'--(holiday)." And they said, "Fine." So, I flew to New York. I think it was about September 28th. And I had a week there. I had days off, so I could go to the galleries, or I could go to hear some opera. I even could tiptoe into a theatre. Then, I had a week in Los Angeles, in the Beverly Hills Hotel, where I could swim between interviews. So, I mean, I would, for example, swim three lengths, come out and meet someone. So, I got fit. And I had three days off there. Then, I went to Atlanta--no I didn't--I went to Dallas, which I fell in love with--absolutely fell in love with Dallas! I was in the city-within-the-city, called Loews Anatole Hotel. It was built for Reagan, in 1984. And I was in the tower, which is immensely high and very metaphysical--that's the only way I can put it--and, then, I went to Missouri-[Jeremy sings a snippet of "Across the Wide Missouri"] and I flew in, and I heard from this wonderful old man what I must do when I come back, and that is, take the "Mississippi Delta Queen" from St. Louis down to New Orleans. It's a very slow--[Makes a noise like a paddle-wheel boat] "bum-bum-bum bum"--boat, and it takes seven days, so I have to come back and do that. Then, of course, I went to Atlanta, which was on fire with excitement with the Olympics--and the Braves, while I was there. And, so, I wore my tomahawk, in spite of Jane Fonda . . .
K: [Laughs.]
J: And, then, I nipped up to Detroit and I put one foot in Canada, and beamed a smile on C.B.C. right across to Newfoundland and right off to Vancouver. So, that was nice. And one of my greatest fans is J.P., aged 6, of Resolute Bay, Alaska.
K: Oh, gosh!
J: And he wrote me this letter saying, "Please do more Sherlock Holmes. Makes my Daddy happy." So, I was able to say that I was going to . . . and I was able to wave to him.
K: Excellent.
J: Then, I went from there to Philadelphia, which is wonderful, because I love Philadelphia. Been there before. Washington, of course. Been there before. Love Washington! Seat of power--all those helicopters, going "whung-whung," all going off for their weekend holidays.
K :[Laughs.]
J: That was thrilling. Then it was Boston. A little snobbish for me, Boston, but all right. But WGBH is very important to me, because that's my wife's station. My late wife created "Mystery Theatre," "Classic Theatre," "Piccadilly Circus," and sustained "Masterpiece Theatre" for the last 17 years of her life.
K: Was she the original producer of . . .?
J: Yes.
K :Oh, God!
J: Joan Wilson.
K: Yes.
J: And she died. Really, this is in memoriam to her, this whole trip, really--and her children. [Pauses.] Yes, it has been a while to see that point of view. I've been able to talk about her, and make sure that she is remembered.
K: You mentioned your son, David, among the children . . .
J: David is . . . from my first marriage.
K: Are any of the children theatrically inclined?
J: No, none of them. David is now a painter, and a good one, an artist.
K: In the arts.
J: In the arts. Caleb is a lawyer. And a good one. And an extremely interesting person. He's just travelled the world, slowly, over three years, and he's really a very remarkable man. And my Rebecca--and she is--"the dimpled one," I call her. She has one dimple caused by a tooth brush when she was young. And she is remarkable! She has three glorious children, who I was with last week. The newest is called Christine. She's this big [holds hands about a foot apart]--with a mane of hair--born with a mane of hair! Incredible! They're lovely. So all that's been marvelous. This has been like a holiday.
K :How long will you be in Chicago?
J: I have to fly home, sadly, on Thursday night, because I've got to get myself turned around, to film by Monday. I was hoping I might be able to pinch one more day, but I must get back, because I can sleep it off--the jet-lag--and make quite sure I'm not too hollow-eyed.
Diane Srebro: Kevin, I hate to interrupt, but I've got somebody else.
K: Time? O.K., let's wrap it up. Are there things that we haven't discussed that we should have, before we wrap it up here? Anything that we didn't get from you that we should, in terms of questions asked?
J: Yes, there's just one, and that is Edward Hardwicke sends much love, but he's doing a play.
K: That ties in with our conclusion: On behalf of Joann and me, and all of us who appreciate the series, we wanted to thank you both, because your characterizations--and the meshing of those characters--for us, are of a level of perfection that we delight in--we truly delight in. So, please, convey that to him.
J: Right.
K: Okay.
[Kevin shook Jeremy's hand, and Jeremy blew a parting kiss at Joann.]
Kevin P. Murphy. April 17, 2006
LIEN VERSION FRANCAISE Interview de Kevin P. Murphy du 6 Novembre 1991 RETOUR

 
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