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Movies, Television and Broadway

The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom

Paramount 1968

The Bliss Of Mrs. Blossom is one of those movies that you cannot remember filming...much less seeing. Although, it was a good film - I think! - it might have been a success at the box office if only the distributing studio, Paramount, had gotten behind it.

The Village Voice called it, "The sleeper of the year" and other reviews were very favorable to my co-star, Richard Attenborough and me. Variety called it, "A silly, and sophisticated material comedy, always amusing and often hilarious in impact." One critic lamented that, "The financial failure of Mrs. Blossom could have been averted if they had changed the title to: 'Adultery In The Attic.'"

My fondest memories from Mrs. Blossom was meeting and working with Richard Attenborough, now Sir Attenborough, a man of true gentility and style. His talents extended far beyond acting, and when we worked together in 1966, his mind and heart were already occupied with a picture he would ultimately direct, "Gandhi." Richard was a lesson in passion. He was passionately obsessed with putting the life of Gandhi on the screen and talked continually about the concept. He made me question if I could feel that much of a committed passion for a project. He wanted me to play Margaret Bourke-White, a coveted role in the film. He was turned down for twenty years by every studio in town, and when he finally got the money to realize his vision, I was too old to play the part. Candice Bergen did it and the film "Gandhi" went on to win every award. It became a classic.

Richard is an Englishman whom I admire greatly, for his perseverance and a person who admits to guilt and responsibility for so much of his country's past. He is ennobling and not afraid of seeming sentimental in his unabashed liberal point of view. He seems to want to wipe the slate clean and put the past right.

A far bigger disappointment to me than the failure of "The Bliss Of Mrs. Blossom" was the lamentable outcome of the 1968 election. For the first time, I began to take an active part in America's political process, acting as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Perhaps it was Richard's passion for wiping the slate clean that led me into a tragic, numbing experience, watching student anti-war demonstrators being clubbed into bloody submission by the Chicago police. This was my beginning, my baptism of fire into American politics, which turned into a long winding road that I still traverse even today.

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