Kathleen Turner Autobiography 'Send Yourself Roses': Dissing William Hurt & Nicolas Cage + Burt Reynolds

Kathleen Turner: 1 of 2 1980s Hollywood actresses with major film hitsKathleen Turner. Back in the male-centered 1980s, Bette Midler and Kathleen Turner were the only two Hollywood actresses with more than one or two major domestic box office hits. Turner had a quartet of significant commercial performers: Romancing the Stone (1984), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), and The War of the Roses (1989) – not including the blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), in which, as Jessica Rabbit, she's heard but not seen. Her already controversial autobiography Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles is coming out in the near future.

Kathleen Turner autobiography 'Send Yourself Roses': 'Body Heat' & 'Peggy Sue Got Married' actress discusses William Hurt & Nicolas Cage + Burt Reynolds

Excerpts from the upcoming Kathleen Turner autobiography Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles (co-written with Gloria Feldt), to come out in February 2008 via Hachette Book Group's Springboard Press division, have surfaced on several online venues.

Among the topics the Body Heat and Peggy Sue Got Married actress discusses in her book are co-stars William Hurt, Nicolas Cage, and Burt Reynolds. See below.

William Hurt

Kathleen Turner on future Best Actor Academy Award winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985), her co-star in Lawrence Kasdan's atmospheric 1981 neo-noir Body Heat:

“In those days, he was pretty wild. He drank a great deal and took a lot of recreational drugs – he loved those magic mushrooms. He loved women, too; I don't know how many he went through during filming. Bill always wanted to stay in character … [William Hurt] thought I wasn't taking my acting seriously enough.”

In Body Heat, Kathleen Turner plays a femme fatale along the lines of Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and Jane Greer in Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past. Like Fred MacMurray and Robert Mitchum before him, William Hurt is both the object of the antiheroine's desire and the means for the achievement of her goals.

Nicolas Cage

Kathleen Turner on future Best Actor Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) while working with him in his uncle Francis Ford Coppola's 1986 box office hit Peggy Sue Got Married:

“Everything Francis wanted him to do, he went against to show that he wasn't under his uncle's wing. Which was ridiculous. Oh, that stupid voice of his and the fake teeth! Honestly, I cringe to think about it. He caused so many problems. He was arrested twice for drunk driving and, I think, once for stealing a dog. He'd come across a Chihuahua he liked and stuck it in his jacket.”

For the record: Nicolas Cage has denied both the drunk driving arrests and the dog theft. (See update further below.)

A sort of female-centered Back to the Future, Peggy Sue Got Married earned Kathleen Turner her – to date – one and only Best Actress Oscar nomination, in addition to that year's Best Actress National Board of Review award. Nicolas Cage (“Oh, that stupid voice…”) was badly miscast as her love interest.

Switching Channels Kathleen Turner Burt Reynolds: Bomb almost ended actress' stardomSwitching Channels with Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds. With one exception (the largely forgotten 1984 release A Breed Apart), from 1984–1986 Kathleen Turner was seen in either commercial hits or prestige projects or both: Romancing the StoneThe Jewel of the NilePrizzi's HonorPeggy Sue Got Married, and even the box office dud Crimes of Passion, which helped to earn her the Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Actress award. The 1987 fantasy Julia and Julia ended that lucky streak, while the 1988 bomb Switching Channels all but ended Turner's commercial/prestige standing – (temporarily) revived by The Accidental Tourist and The War of the Roses.

Burt Reynolds

And here's Kathleen Turner on working with veteran – and at the time, fast-waning – Burt Reynolds (DeliveranceSmokey and the Bandit) in Ted Kotcheff's 1988 critical and box office disaster Switching Channels, an updated film version of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's 1928 Broadway hit comedy The Front Page:

“[Switching Channels was] my unhappiest experience as an actress … For whatever reason, the first thing Burt said to me was: 'I've never taken second billing to a woman.' Oh, every day there were nasty little digs. For instance, because of my pregnancy, the production team had given me a golf cart so I didn't have to walk around too much – and Burt even made fun of that. He was just nasty.

“He later accused me of trying to get him sacked … and publicly declared that the sound of my name made him want to vomit.”

In Switching Channels, Kathleen Turner plays a cable news station journalist about to call it quits so she can marry wealthy industrialist Christopher Reeve. Burt Reynolds plays her boss and ex-husband who'll stop at nothing to keep her on the job.[1]

Kathleen Turner movies

In addition to Body HeatPeggy Sue Got Married, and Switching Channels, Kathleen Turner movies include:

  • Carl Reiner's sci-fi comedy The Man with Two Brains (1983), with Steve Martin as the titular character and Turner as his scheming, fake-headache-prone femme fatale wife.
  • Robert Zemeckis' female-centered adventure comedy/sleeper blockbuster Romancing the Stone (1984) and its less warmly received – but equally successful – sequel, Lewis Teague's The Jewel of the Nile (1985), both co-starring Michael Douglas.
  • Ken Russell's controversial (but actually quite tame), Belle de Jour-ish sex drama Crimes of Passion (1984), with Turner as a fashion designer by day/sex worker by night at odds with Anthony Perkins as a Christian pastor by day/poppers-sniffing patron of sex workers by night, and John Laughlin as a hunky would-be Ordinary Joe.

Cinematic universes apart, Romancing the Stone and Crimes of Passion earned Turner the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Actress award. The former title also earned her a Golden Globe in the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical category.

'Prizzi's Honor' non-honoree

Another Kathleen Turner career highlight was veteran John Huston's Academy Award-nominated crime comedy Prizzi's Honor, also featuring by then two-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson (Best Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1975; Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment, 1983), William Hickey, Robert Loggia, and the filmmaker's daughter, Anjelica Huston.

Curiously, Turner was the one key Prizzi's Honor performer who failed to be shortlisted for the 1985 Academy Awards. Nicholson and Hickey were nominated in the lead and supporting categories, respectively; Anjelica Huston took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar statuette; and even Robert Loggia was in contention – for his supporting performance in Richard Marquand's mystery drama Jagged Edge.

On the positive side, Turner did win her second Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical Golden Globe for playing mob hitman Nicholson's partner in crime and double-crossing object of desire.

Jessica Rabbit & 'The War of the Roses'

A few more Kathleen Turner movie titles from the late 1980s:

  • Lawrence Kasdan's Best Picture Oscar nominee The Accidental Tourist (1988), in which, as an unsympathetic, seemingly self-absorbed wife, she has a subordinate role to that of methodical husband William Hurt, who finds emotional freedom with quirky dog trainer Geena Davis (that year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner).
  • Robert Zemeckis' blockbuster mix of live action and animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), with Turner heard but not seen as the femme fatale-ish Jessica Rabbit.
  • Danny DeVito's darkly entertaining divorce comedy The War of the Roses (1989), a solid box office hit that reunited her with Michael Douglas.
Peggy Sue Got Married Kathleen Turner Nicolas Cage: Actress' final consecutive personal hitPeggy Sue Got Married with Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage. Like John Huston's – admittedly, more enthusiastically received – Prizzi's Honor (1985), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) was both a mid-level box office performer and a personal hit for Kathleen Turner. Directed by the venerated Francis Ford Coppola, the comedy-drama/romantic fantasy earned its star her – to date – one and only Best Actress Academy Award nomination. She lost to sentimental favorite Marlee Matlin in Randa Haines' Children of a Lesser God, co-starring Turner's Body Heat (and later The Accidental Touristleading man, William Hurt.

End of film stardom + Tony Award nominations

Following one critical hit (The Accidental Tourist), one box office hit (The War of the Roses), and two critical and box office duds (Switching Channels and Peter Del Monte's 1987 fantasy Julia and Julia), Kathleen Turner needed a couple of big movies to put her on steadier professional ground.

Instead, a trio of early 1990s commercial and critical bombs all but ended her film stardom: Jeff Kanew's V.I. Warshawski (1991), Michael Lessac's House of Cards (1993), and Herbert Ross' Undercover Blues (1993).

Most of her big-screen efforts since then have been commercial – and at times critical – flops. Notable titles include John Waters' Serial Mom (1994), opposite Sam Waterston and Ricki Lake, and Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides (1999), opposite Kirsten Dunst and James Woods. Additionally, her voice can be heard in Gil Kenan's Oscar-nominated animated feature Monster House (2006) – a major box office disappointment in relation to its cost.

Turner has been luckier on the stage, having received two Tony Award nominations for her star turns in revivals of Tennesse Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1990) and Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2005), both times in roles originally brought to movie life by Elizabeth Taylor.

On the big screen, Kathleen Turner will next be seen in David Frankel's upcoming Marley & Me (2008), supporting Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson.

Nicolas Cage vs. Kathleen Turner

April 4 update: Nicolas Cage sued the following for “defamation, libel and slander”: Send Yourself Roses author Kathleen Turner, U.K. publisher Headline, and Associated Newspapers, which printed a section of the book in the right-wing London tabloid Daily Mail.

In response, Turner has issued an apology. In addition, she and the publishers involved have reportedly agreed to cover Cage's legal costs and to make a “substantial” donation to a charitable organization.

On the bright side, Send Yourself Roses did become a New York Times bestseller when it came out in February – despite the reservations of at least some reviewers. Case in point, Kirkus Reviews' dismissal of the book: “The title sums it up quite neatly: a self-indulgent, rambling and intermittently diverting ego parade.”

 

'The Front Page' movies

[1] Previous movie versions of The Front Page, set in a newspaper office (cast listed in editor, journalist, fiancé[e] order):

Besides, George StevensGunga Din (1939) – storyline by Hecht and MacArthur – stars Cary Grant (the year before His Girl Friday) and partner Victor McLaglen doing their utmost to keep husband-to-be Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in the British army. Joan Fontaine plays Fairbanks Jr.'s sidelined fiancée.

In the initial Broadway run, the leads in The Front Page were Osgood Perkins, Lee Tracy, and Frances Fuller.

 

Kathleen Turner and Burt Reynolds Switching Channels image: TriStar Pictures.

Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage Peggy Sue Got Married image: TriStar Pictures.

“Kathleen Turner Autobiography Send Yourself Roses: Dissing William Hurt & Nicolas Cage + Burt Reynolds” last updated in October 2018.

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2 Comments to Kathleen Turner Autobiography 'Send Yourself Roses': Dissing William Hurt & Nicolas Cage + Burt Reynolds

  1. samantha maniotis

    Dear Kathleen I loved your acting. Your so taleted when it comes to acting. Your the most wondeful women in the world and respect that. senseraly samantha

  2. Robert Brown

    I loved her book send yourself roses. she is my favorite actress of all time. i am a 26 yr old male and have loved her since i was 4 years old.!!! great great great woman!!!!!