Holland Taylor: Something Big On The Line
Tennessee had a ritual he had devised for faking the fog--creating the atmosphere from which a woman might appear and begin talking. In his hotel room at the Royal Orleans, he had placed a rented typewriter on a room-service table, and had moved it within inches of the television set. Liberally using the remote control, Tenn would switch from channel to channel, waiting for a voice or a face or a situation that was fog-worthy. Tenn allowed me to watch him do this for an hour or so, and while our time together did not produce any acceptable images or sounds, he would turn to me and relate successes he had enjoyed on previous hunts.
One of the women he had found was Holland Taylor. Here are his comments from that time we had together in 1982, in New Orleans.
There is a beautiful woman, seemingly crafted of bisque, who has come to my attention. Her name is wonderful but wholly unlike her mien, her visage. Holland Taylor. She has a gravity about her, even when she is funny. She understands that extremity is always a necessary ingredient in acting. Something big is always on the line, even if it is only the sanity of the actress who must badger over a tattoo with a gold credit card. [This may be a reference to an episode of "Bosom Buddies."] I think I may have first sat up and sat forward and pulled the television set closer to me when I saw her on a Cheever thing. [This is a reference to a 1979 PBS production of John Cheever's "The Sorrows of Gin."] I was supposed to be watching other people. This always happens. One actress asks me to look out for her on a program, and I am lured away by another. Well, some women have the fog and some do not. Holland Taylor has the fog. I can write for her. I can throw the old designs of Alma or the Princess on her and get a new drape, a new cut. She's someone who can make me dream again, and face the pale judgment. Look out for her. I'm going to be writing for her, scavenging the fog for her. There is a future for Holland Taylor, and she leads me to believe that that there can be a future for me.
There was--and there is-- a future for Holland Taylor: Ms. Taylor is currently appearing in her own play Ann, about the Governor of Texas, Ann Richards, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.
The official website for the play is http://www.theannrichardsplay.com/