My name is Chris Wilson, and I have been a Mary Kay Place fan since my introduction
to her work on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." I was 10 years old then. Who didn’t love
the senseless, tactless, but always affable Loretta? I became a lifelong fan probably because
she actually wrote back to me when I sent her a fan letter. She has been a real inspiration
to me because she has shown that she’s not just a talented actress, but a great
writer, songwriter, singer and television director. She continues to get better
with time in her movie and television roles.
I originally put this page up in late 1998 and I've
been able to connect with many people who admire and respect her work. Ultimately, that was always a goal, so for that, I'm extremely grateful.
Several people have provided me with photos, articles, and even recollections from a couple of people who've had the opportunity to work directly with Ms. Place. I am eternally grateful to Ms. Claudia Lamb, the talented actress (and former radio personality) who played the always entertaining "Heather Hartman" on the now-classic television program, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." Also, I can't thank Paul Marshall enough for his generosity and insight into the recording career that Mary Kay pursued in the late 1970's.
He has his own website at www.paulmarshall.net
Please visit him there.
While I treasure the opportunity to communicate with these more well known folks, I’ve equally enjoyed “meeting” (inasmuch as one meets using the Internet) several fans. Special thanks go out to Sascha for the photos from “My So-Called Life” and Citizen Ruth. Jen has been wonderful to send me some vintage articles and photos from the heyday of “Mary Hartman” and Mary Kay’s recording career. All of the folks at the Mary Hartman Yahoo Groups e-mail list have provided wonderful memories of the show that introduced me to this incredible talent. Plus, these people are so giving and generous when it comes to trading DVD’s (which are unfairly rare!) of the program. I have to thank my partner Charles (more on him later) for his “Saturday Night Live” affection, because without him, I wouldn't have known about NBC’s rebroadcast of Ms. Place’s 1977 stint as host of that program. I have to thank Jim for his generous offer to let me use his own negatives of photos taken at a “Mary Hartman” related event.
So now that I've gotten the requisite thank you’s out of the way, I’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions. First, I don't personally know Ms. Place. I did have the opportunity to meet her in June, 2000, at the Los Angeles Museum of Television and Radio’s “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman-Reunion, Reunion.” While we spoke briefly, she and I did not have the chance to go into great detail about much of anything. Regardless, she was gracious and incredibly warm.
Quite often, people ask about her personal life, but from what I can tell, she would like that to remain personal. Interviews focus on her work, while her personal life remains private. I respect that completely.
than the museum meeting, the only other contact that I’ve ever had with her was
when I wrote her a fan letter when I was 10 years old, and she was polite
enough to respond with a signed photo.
So, moving beyond this site, here’s a bit of bio for me.
I was born in Clayton, GA, in 1965, where Deliverance was filmed. I grew up in suburban Atlanta and I got my journalism degree from Georgia State University in 1987, but I’ve rarely put it to use. After a brief stint at a news radio station, I gave up on the journalism path. I worked for years as a retail mangager for major music and book stores, with an attempt at getting a job as a National Park Service ranger (got my training, got injured, moved on). These days I work in a study abroad organization’s office.
I met my partner Charles thanks to his interest in the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players era “Saturday Night Live.” When NBC re-aired Mary Kay Place’s “SNL” show in 1999, Charles looked her up on the Web and found my page. He E-mailed me to let me know before it ran. I thanked him and that was the end of it, I had figured.
Instead, we began E-mailing regularly and realized that we were in the same television market (South Florida at the time). Since both of us could write complete sentences (not always a concern when people E-mail), we really found respect for what we each had to say. That respect has grown to much more than that and we became partners in 2002. In 2005 we relocated to Maine.
an old picture of us when we first got together and weighed less.
Our first cat adoption was Clayton, a Flame Point Siamese (Flamer!), who was given up for adoption when his former family brought a baby into the household. We can’t figure out how anyone could ever give him up, baby or no baby. He’s the real personality in this house. He loves Lebanese dance music, Marilyn Monroe, and “Bug-A-Boo” by Destiny's Child.
Secondly, we adopted Diana, a Seal Point Siamese, found in an abandoned building. She was a real mess when we got her. She didn’t trust anyone and scratched and hissed at humans. After a month of careful attention, she finally started showing signs of trust, and now she is a regular member of the family. Diana loves Teena Marie, Prince’s “Housequake,” and The O’Jays.
We adopted Clayton, Evelyn (a sweetly dense black kitty), and Diana through the Miami Cat Network, who are nationally represented on the Web through Petfinder.
Our fourth cat is a Blue Abyssinian whom we adopted through the National Abyssinian Cat Rescue. Lisa, as we renamed her, was companion to a caring family, but they could not justify their long trips while she remained in the care of others. The unfortunate thing about female Abyssinians is that they are often kept or reclaimed by unscrupulous breeders who cage them and keep them impregnated until their bodies just give out. Thankfully, her former owners cared enough for her to not let this happen to her. Lisa is a bitch, but we love her anyway.
Our final two cats were our “unplanned pregnancies.” Janet, a noisy Tortoiseshell, and Karen, another black cat were street orphans in Miami. They adopted us as much as we adopted them. They used to like each other, but now they’d just as soon claw each other’s eyes out.
cats and dogs (from left to right are Clayton, Diana, Evelyn, Janet, Karen,
Evelyn, Gary, and Justine is at the bottom):
I’ve been able to travel to all 50 states with my friends Rich and Sonya. Yes, we’ve even been to Hawaii. I said 50, not 48 or 49. I probably sound caustic, but that’s always the question that we get when I tell people that. Well, it’s not exactly right that we saw all 50 together, but we did see a lot in pairs or in threesomes, and we all visited our 50th (Alaska) together after over ten years of working toward that goal.
Sonya and Rich with me in Anchorage, AK
Charles right before we went out on Biscayne National Park, Miami, FL
Me in Yosemite National Park, CA, summer, 2012
Charles and I love National Parks and visited nine of them in the Southwest on one memorable trip. My favorite so far is Glacier in Montana (lots of wild animals like mountain goats and grizzly bears), but almost getting capsized by a salt-water crocodile while canoeing at Biscayne National Park was memorable. The thing was huge and scared us pretty badly.
Glacier National Park, MT
My favorite painter is Juan Gris, whose work could easily be confused with Braque or Picasso. My favorite book is Alice in Wonderland but I’m also quite fond of Barrel Fever by David Sedaris. David turned me on to the Reinhart trilogy (Crazy in Berlin, Reinhart in Love, and Vital Parts) by Thomas Berger. They’re sometimes out of print, but libraries and used book stores have them.
To continue the idiocy that is this portion of the Website, my favorite car is the 1971-73 Buick Riviera (I wouldn’t own one since they are gas guzzlers), and my favorite color is decidedly green. I wear a lot of orange clothing though, so people always thing that I am an orange fanatic. My favorite foods are bananas or bing cherries.
are some images of things I love:
1. Her 1976 album Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers
2. Her performances as Loretta Haggers on the 1970’s cult classic “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”
3. Her performance Gail Stoney and the 1996 film Citizen Ruth
4. Her performance as Elaine and the 1996 film Manny & Lo
5. Her performances as Adaleen Grant on the 2006-2011 HBO series “Big Love”
6. Her performance as Meg Jones and the 1983 film The Big Chill
7. Her performance as Dot Black (really the whole cast) in the 1997 film The Rainmaker
I like to hear from Mary Kay Place fans and those who may have an interest in her career. Please feel free to E-Mail me at:
Thanks for your support of the Mary Kay Place Place.
Gorham, ME, 11/12