May 7, 2013
Entertainer and Tulsa native Mary Kay Place honored at Capitol for gifts to proposed pop museum
By Barbara Hoberock
OKLAHOMA CITY - The state Legislature honored actress, screenwriter, singer, songwriter, and Tulsa native Mary Kay Place on Monday for her work and donations to the proposed Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture.
Place donated costumes, set memorabilia, and personal items to the 75,000-square-foot museum, which is proposed to be built in Tulsa’s Brady District.
Supporters are seeking a $42.5 million bond proposal from lawmakers. If authorized for fiscal year 2014, the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture is expected to open in 2017.
Place was born in Tulsa and graduated from Hale High School and the University of Tulsa before she moved to California.
She played Loretta Haggers, an aspiring country music star, on television’s “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” for which she won an Emmy in 1977.
She also appeared in episodes of “M*A*S*H,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “The West Wing,” and in the films Bound for Glory, The Big Chill, Captain Ron, Being John Malkovich, and Sweet Home Alabama.
Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, said Monday: “Almost eight years ago, we asked Oklahoma artists for artifacts to put into the History Center. We knew we needed to tell the story of creativity as well as popular culture, and not just the story of art, but the story behind the art - where they grew up, the mentors, the parents, the friends, the schools.
“Mary Kay Place was one of the first to respond.”
Place said it was her first trip to the state Capitol.
“I felt like I was in ‘West Wing’ in Oklahoma,” she joked.
Growing up, Oklahomans Patti Page and Mickey Mantle were inspirations to her, Place said.
“I think it is inspiring to know that people from your neck of the woods can create things that have value to an entire country and local audience,” she said.
Because Place grew up in Oklahoma, the state is where her stories deserve to be preserved, Blackburn said.
Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, said during a reception Monday in the Senate lounge, “People from our state are part of the fabric of pop culture of an entire society.”