The Hollywood Museum Unveils Very First Mother’s Day Exhibit with Celebrity Photos and Finger Sandwiches

(L-R) Michael Lerned, Erin Murphy, Donelle Dadigan, Ilene Graff, and Ruta Lee; Photo By Bill Dow, Courtesy of The Hollywood Museum

It was a divinely feminine, and festive night on Highland and Hollywood the Wednesday before Mother’s Day as the old Max Factor Building welcomed mothers, sons and daughters, many of whom were also mothers and fathers, in celebration of The Hollywood Museum’s very first Mother’s Day Tea!

Originally set to take place in the spring of 2020 the museum’s latest lobby exhibit, two years in the making, featured photos of famous moms, kids, and a combination of both, in the form of TV moms and kids, and/or TV moms who were also kids/daughters and vice versa.

Contributors to said cavalcade of nostalgic-to-nurturing snapshots include: Adrienne Barbeau, Alison Arngrim, Angela Cartwright, Beyonce, Blyth Danner, Bob Bergen, Brad Pitt, Brittney Spears, Carl Reiner, Carrie Fisher, Cassandra Peterson, Charlize Theron, Chita Rivera, Ciara, Cloris Leachman, Conner Dean, Connie Stevens, Darby Hinton, Dakota Johnson, Dawn Wells, Debbie Reynolds, Dee Wallace, Diana Lansleen, Donna Karan, Donna Mills, Drew Barrymore, Francis Fisher, Francesca Eastwood, Gabriel Stone, Gates McFadden, Gene Lockhart, Geoffrey Mark, George Chakiris, Geri Jewell, Gilbert Gottfried, Gloria Allred, Gloria Steinem, Goldie Hawn, Gwen Stefanie, Halle Berry, Ilene Graff, Jack Jones, Jade Barrymore, Jax Malcolm, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Lopez, Jerry Mathers, Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Joan Van Ark, Joanna Kerns, Joely Fisher, Jon Provost, Julie Newmar, Judy Norton, Judy Tenuta, June Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Kim Kardashian, Karen Grassle, Kate Linder, Kathy Garver, Kellie Martin, Lee Purcell, Leeza Gibbons, Lily Tomlin, Linda Purl, Lucie Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Madonna, Marilu Henner, Marion Ross, Michael Feinstein, Michael Learned, Melanie Griffith, Nikka Lanzarone, Norma MacMillan, Olympia Dukakis, Reese Witherspoon, Rich Little, Rose Marie, Roslyn Kind, Ruta Lee, Sally Jesse Raphael, Sandra Bullock, Selena Gomez, Stefanie Powers, Tina Fay, Tippi Hedren, Tom Cruise, Valerie Harper, Vincent De Paul and many more…

The introduction to the celebrity speech portion of the evening followed by the exhibit unveiling, read like a feminist retrospective with Hollywood Museum President and founder Donelle Dadigan at the helm rattling off only the most colorful examples of Hollywood Mom-ccomplishments as a supplement (or in some cases detriment) to their mad mothering skills. And if “feminist retrospective” sounds a bit too erudite and stuffy, in keeping with all things comedic and sitcomish, perhaps a Cliff Claven inspired list of “little known facts” catered in a most pro-female cadence unto a phantasmic Carla (who not-so-curiously, did not make the list of TV moms—good, bad or otherwise) would be a more apt comparison. (And really, who better than the Clavenator to imaginarily mansplain the entire thing all in the mirrored fantastical eye of his perpetually henpecking mother?)

“Even in the 50s, Lucille Ball…showed that a woman didn’t have to give up her dreams and identity in order to become a mother,” proclaimed Dadigan. “Then [during the mid to late 50s, and into the early 60s, [there was] Barbara Billingsley’s June Cleaver from the TV Sitcom Leave it to Beaver with her popular pearls that…I don’t know, I think she even vacuumed in her heels…And she, if you notice, she had perfected the perfect recipe for pot roast!”

”Then,” Dadigan continued, moving on to the slightly darker and unconventional, “There’s Carolyn Jones’, Morticia Addams… She bucked societal norms, not following the stereotypical housewife formula of that era. Morticia was decidedly sexy and had a sizzling relationship with her husband where she swooned as he kissed her all the way up her arm. And she let her kids mainstays without smothering them.”

“…And when Florence Henderson played Carol Brady in the early 70s sitcom The Brady Bunch, the show was covering new territory. It was about blended families… While Brady was a stay-at-home mom, she was no June Cleaver. She portrayed a liberated woman and was a freelance writer, singer and sculptor. I personally don’t remember this I was too young. Do any of you remember that those were some of her aspirations? See, [some of you are just like, shaking your heads.]”

Yeah. None of us did. The sculpting in particular. Unless Cliff Claven’s exaggerations bled through to a parallel existence, the author of this article thinks she just might need to reacquaint oneself with the entire series!

“There was the 70s drama series The Waltons and Olivia Walton was played by Michael Learned, [was] a no-nonsense Baptist mother of 7, and a loving wife of John Walton in the historical drama TV series chronicling the Walton family in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains during the depression.”

A teetotaler, and ardent church goer, Walton avidly protected her children from the evils of alcohol, and encouraged her husband to attend church probably more than he would have wanted, but in the end if it got him baptized, she was a little more lax in monitoring his continued Holy presence. Michael Learned, a speaker at that night’s festivities, waxed prominently agreeable in the front row as Dadigan  continued recounting all her character’s accomplishments.

“Olivia [tried] to keep a sense of freedom by singing…in the church choir,” Dadigan continued, “[spread] her wings for a short birthday airplane ride… She [took] up art classes, and painting, [became] a substitute school teacher, [worked] as a seamstress but [turned] down a lucrative promotion to stay with her family, and even [got] a perm which was…a make-over disaster. –Where is Max Factor when you need him?–Olivia [helped] build a daycare center for her working wartime mothers at Pickens Metal Products…volunteered for the Red Cross to be closer to [her] oldest son John Boy who was recovering from war injuries in a hospital, [and] even attended Boatright University to earn a degree in American studies [to] become a full time school teacher and all of this in the 1930s! Michael you certainly were busy during those nine seasons!”

“I sure was–Hallelujah!” echoed Learned!

From the religious, to the irreverent, we got to the more uh, flippant, and if not exactly profane, moms who were a little rough around the edges:

“Roseanne Connor that was part of the 90s trend of ushering in the new image of ‘bad’ moms. These women weren’t actually bad. They refused the ‘you can do it all’ myth. This allowed them to let go of the guilt and the pressure of being a perfect mom. Roseanne went to work, threw beans and franks on the stove, instead of a pot roast, and did the best she could day to day all the while making sure she had the absolute last word! Even though she was a celebrated TV mom and homemaker there was more to her identity than that. Roseanne was witty, and often sarcastic, and was still compassionate to her kids even after they got into trouble. She graduated university, used to play high school basketball, and was often the bridge between her husband and her kids bringing the family together, especially at the breakfast and dinner table.”

Most evocative, groundbreaking episodes of Roseanne, according to the LA Beat, include the one where Darlene was only interested in lying around and watching TV, a first glance/nod to teenage depression, along with the Becky, “I-farted-in-class-in-front-of-a-cute-boy-and-now-I want-to-die,” episode, resulting in one of the very first rendings of the televised fart/sound barrier, fomenting a teenage depression of another kind—Also, a thing, most ostensibly, hardly ever imagined, let alone dealt by June Cleaver (lest her pearls feel the necessity to clutch their own pearls due to said embarrassment).  And God forbid us from ever envisaging virtual momster, Morticia Addams discussing, let alone, initiating such a grievous offense! …Let’s keep it real now, pending all manufactured 50s TV romps.

Rounding out the ribald momeries, Dadigan could not help but acknowledge one of the last, best, bad girl moms (aka ambient fart acknowledgers):

“Peggy Bundy loved to be glamorous with overly big hair, skin tight pants…and a cigarette dangling while she sat on the couch. She hated to do housework… She smirked at everyone and everything. She certainly was not a traditional mother. She refused to take on any emotional labor, swatted away stereotypical gender roles…[as she] smoked on the couch [and] watched talk shows, instead of taking care of the house and the kids, and was in charge of her own sexual identity. And I believe that is the one element that people gravitated to about Peg Bundy, that was it, and it hid a lot of her other faults.”

But one of the most interesting recollections came regarding a mom in the middle combatting social justice, and employment issues, along with, well… championing Steve Urkel:

“Jo Marie Payton…played Harriette Baines Winslow, the mother of 3 in the 1990s sitcom Family Matters. The awesome thing about Harriet was, she had a rich back story and that was pretty much kept behind the scenes. She graduated from the police Academy, and ended up working as an elevator operator at The Chicago Chronicle when she left the police force after being pregnant. At that time, you could not be pregnant and be a police officer. Not feeling her salary matched her position, she fought for a raise but was fired for asking so. Instead, she got a job as Director of Security for the Chronicle. I guess that’s what you call an upgrade. She was a compassionate, infinite woman with a strong moral compass. She often was the only one on the show to defend the nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel who had a crush on Jo Marie Payton’s daughter.”

One TV mother who was mentioned, but chiefly regarding the basics pertaining to her TV character, was Marion Ross aka “Mrs. C.” More discussion was ostensibly set to be initiated, but was thwarted due to LA Traffic and the guest speaker’s ‘good dad’ sensibilities:

“Anson Williams was going to be here this evening,” confessed Dadigan. “But Anson has been delayed because of terrible traffic and I think he actually turned around halfway and went back home. He was on the road for over an hour and a half and said, ‘That’s it!’ And I think he had his fiancé, he had his daughter, so I think the car was full of family members…”

Ilene Graff, best known as Marsha Owens from the hit ABC Sitcom Mr. Belvedere, and one of the primary guest speakers, presented a touching example of how her motherly vibes helped raise some kids whom you might never have imagined being kids: “People come up to me all the time, as I’m sure they do to my Hollywood Co-Moms and say ‘You raised me,’ bringing comfort and humor to kids who felt safe watching a family who solved problems without violence or intimidation or fear. I’ve gotten so many hugs from scary lookin’ dudes who turn back into goofy kids when they see me for [having been] a part of the half hour in their day.”

Also a a Grammy nominated recording artist and star of Broadway musicals such as Promises Promises, I Love my Wife, and Grease portraying the coveted role of Sandy, Graff delineated her TV mom-hood vs her real-world motherhood by way of disclosing her eternal relationships with both her TV Children, as juxtaposed to her real world daughter all followed by a beautiful, thought provoking poem:

“That’s my girl, Right there,” Graff proudly declared pointing to a smiling photo of both she and her daughter Nikka Graff Lazerone, a Broadway songstress in her own right, most recently having starred in Chicago and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

“It’s also been a joy to see my TV Kids grow up to be wonderful, smart, kind, funny [people] who still take my phone calls and always say, ‘yes’ when I need something from them. And I always felt a responsibility towards them, to be my best around them, to let them know that they were important, and well cared for, and that we had their best interest at heart. And as part of my continuing commitment to those kids, and all of them, I’m part of a vital program of The Actors Fund called Looking Ahead which takes care of the youngest professionals.”

As for Graff’s poem regarding Hollywood Moms vs. Real-World moms, it ran the gamut of everything from the elegant pearl wielding moms, to the fart acknowledging moms, most lyrically and euphoniously:

“Hollywood Moms, don’t have to change poopy diapers.

They don’t get drenched with teething baby drool, or get hit in the eye with infant projectile vomit. Not Hollywood Moms.

Hollywood Moms don’t have to walk all the way from LA to New York because their baby is in the grip of a crying spell that could only be eased while being walked endlessly up and down the airplane aisles.

Hollywood moms don’t have to drill the times tables, do book reports, build a volcano model to scale, complete with flowing lava, and spitting smoke competing with other class parents, one of whom owns a special effects company.

Hollywood moms, they don’t have to dig through stinky back packs to discover the molding crusts of peanut butter and jelly sandwich, stuck to a field trip permission slip for a trip that was happening THAT DAY for which Mom had been volunteered to chaperone. Hollywood moms don’t have to do that.

Hollywood moms don’t have to wear the same sweats four days in a row with her dirty hair in a ponytail because there’s not time for a shower because Hollywood moms seem to have live-in hairdressers and make-up artists. I don’t get it!

Hollywood moms don’t have to pay for, schedule, or drive to soccer, horseback riding, gymnastics, piano, chorus, tennis, swimming, ice skating, and endless dance classes…

Hollywood moms never have to say–unless it’s in the script–‘You are not going out of the house dressed like that!’ They don’t have to do that!

But Hollywood moms also don’t get the delicious hugs, the sloppy kisses, the cuddly naps on the couch, the Christmas mornings, or get to sit in the audience watching ‘that kid’ on the night of her Broadway debut made possible by those endless dance classes, or enjoy the overwhelming [bliss] of watching her marry the man of her dreams.

I LOVED being a Hollywood mom! I LOVED all my Hollywood Kids, and I loved having an impact on the lives of our audiences!  And I’m so [darn] lucky that I got to live the two different mom experiences. I wouldn’t trade any of it!”

Erin Murphy, best known as Tabitha Stevens on the 60s Hitcom Bewitched, was the only actress to speak who had never been cast as a mom:

“I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m here for Mother’s Day because, never in my 56 years in the business, have I played a mother, not once!  Not even in a commercial, because casting directors don’t think I look like a mom, and I have to say that I’m a bit of an overachiever! I have more kids (6 boys to be exact) than everyone else who will be speaking tonight, and maybe everyone else in this room… So I would like to say that Mother’s Day is for Mothers, but Labor Day is my personal holiday!”

Looking more as though she were in her thirties than late fifties, Murphy enthusiastically entertained a question that had been following her, her entire life:

“People always ask me to compare my real mom Stephanie Murphy, and my TV Mom Elizabeth Montgomery, and they’re as different as two human beings can be. Both wonderful, but both very different women. My TV mom Elizabeth Montgomery would get bags from Louis Vuitton. And my mom Stephanie would get bags from Gemco…?–plastic bags.”

“Gemco was before Costco. You had to be a member. It cost 25 cents, and you could get a Gold Card and then you could buy your polyester clothing for less than what it cost at other places. So that was where my mom liked to shop. She was  big coupon lover. So…they were both wonderful.”

“Elizabeth was very involved in politics and social causes… My mom–not so much. Elizabeth loved horse racing and gambling, and a little bit of alcohol here and there, my mom, not so much… I would say that my volunteer work [was inspired by Elizabeth]. So I’m very involved in community service, and I love animals. We both loved animals…”

“…So tonight, I tried to think, ‘What could I wear that would kind of honor both of them?’ And fortunately for me, Gemco is no longer with us because [polyester] gives me hives. But I was able to get a designer outfit from the Cancer Society Thrift  Store. So I’m dressed head to toe in vintage for under 40 dollars, including my shoes! So I’m honoring both of them. I love all TV moms and I’m happy to be here tonight so Happy Mother’s Day every Body!”

Regarding some little known facts pertaining to Erin Murphy (about which Cliff Claven only wishes he had been apprised, particularly pertaining Murphy’s special popsicles), Murphy grew up to appear on Rupaul’s Drag University, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Champion Wrestling Series, Animal Planet’s most popular series Groomer Has It; her giant Leonberger dog Zuma as a primo guest! She would then go on to work as a casting director, make up artist, fashion stylist, acting teacher, motivational speaker, and stunt double for Virginia Madsen.

According to Donelle Dadigan, “Erin’s friend, and costar in Life Interrupted (a web-based sitcom wherein both actresses play a newlywed lesbian couple) childhood actress Alison Arngrim/Nasty Nelly from Little House on the Prairie once said about the two of them, ‘This is a very difficult industry and we avoided all the pitfalls, with no arrests, and no convictions.’”

“And now we get into the good stuff,” proclaimed Dadigan, as a coda to the exposition that was, as Dadigan termed, Murphy’s This is Your Life portion of the evening, “since 2014, Erin has been cofounder of Slim Chillers. This is a company that makes low calorie, frozen vodka martini pops!”

Michael Learned, not only had some good and sound advice in Hollywood child rearing, but also regaled us with a spicy, Wild-West- inspired, yarn from her days of not-so-boring bachelorette-hood, but not without a little help from Dadigan herself:

“Michael Learned celebrates the 50th Anniversary of The Waltons this year… Michael almost did not go the audition for the role of Olivia Walton because she didn’t think she was right to play a mother of six. Surprise, surprise! Since then, she has played a mother in numerous productions including the mother of one of our speakers tonight: Erin Murphy in Life Interrupted… Michael [also] just completed a film in which she had a leading role, this time as a grandmother, in a new Ryan Murphy Netflix series with the working title of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story… Michael [also] has the unique distinction  of being the first woman to ever kiss U.S. Marshall Matt Dillon, played by James Arness in the 50s hit series Gunsmoke! What was that like?”

Learned: There was only one and it was great! He called me up and asked me out on a date!

Dadigan: You must’ve been some good kisser!

Learned: Good Kiss!

Despite not getting to hear about the date, or the reason why the date never occurred, the LA Beat could only listen raptly to the ongoing words of Ms. Learned living aptly up to her sur-namesake, as she described her highly astute showbiz mothering techniques:

“My kids paid a price for me being away for long hours. And…luckily with the show that I was doing, those kids were like my kids too. We became one extended family. So my kids would come on the set and they knew all the kids on The Waltons, and they would come over to the house. So it became a big extended family which made it easier for my children, whose mother was gone. So, I would have to come up with tricks like ‘Okay when you’re pissed off at me, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my jewelry box. I’ll read it when I get home, and we’ll talk about it at breakfast.’ Little things like that to just placate them for the times I wasn’t there for them. And they would do that. And sometimes I would come home and find a little note all scrunched up saying ‘I hate you Mom…you weren’t there for me!’ Or ‘I love you so much Mom! You’re the best Mom!’ And I kept a lot of them… So you pay a price. You pay a price when you work in this business ’cause the hours are so long. [It’s not like the theatre when you go in for a few hours a night and come home…after a few drinks.] My kids understood it. They’re wonderful young men. They somehow survived everything. And I’m eternally grateful to this town, to my Waltons family, and to my own children. They really are the greatest guys in the whole world, [along with] my husband who brought me here. Greatest guy!”

Rounding out the night of lauded speakers: Ms. Ruta Lee–and someone whom Dadigan described as “having saved up her money [as a teenager] and made trips to this very building to purchase Max Factor lipstick!”

According to Dadigan, the most prolific star of films such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Funny Face has “guest starred on many of our favorite and popular TV shows, and if I read those all, I think we would be here ’til midnight so we will not.” After listing some of the leading men with whom Lee had appeared, but only some…because well…time constraints, including Burt Reynolds, James Garner, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, and Robin Williams, Lee could only respond podium-ward in her most signature husky cadence, “Eat your heart out!!!” To which Dadigan could only respond in kind, “Oh, I AM!!!”

Moving along to men of non-romantic but equal stature, Dadigan then imparted another almost-Clavenesque fun fact:  “Ruta has the distinction of being the first female game show host, as she cohosted, along with Alex Trebek, on High Rollers. How many of you remember High Rollers?”

Not the LA Beat unfortunately.

“Alex [also] wrote the forward to her recently bestselling memoir Consider your Ass Kissed!” Then, citing Lee’s current and virtual game show work, Dadigan added, “She’s currently appearing in the virtual version of The Hollywood Museum Squares… along with 46 celebrity supporters of The Hollywood Museum: a fundraiser for the [Hollywood] Museum… You can check it out on Stellar”

Lee is also a founder of The Thalians, a Hollywood organization dedicated to raising funds to aid with mental health education and assistance. Established in 1955, in conjunction with her BFF Debbie Reynolds, the organization takes its name from Thalia, Greek muse of Comedy and idyllic poetry.

After such a climactic introduction, Lee did not disappoint, imparting the remarkable tale of her upbringing, some of it funny, but much of it dramatic, sheerly illustrating the strength of all inhabiting her maternal lineage and circle of female friends:

“I’m up here with darling mother Mary over here with that loooong Lithuanian name and wonderful Phyllis Diller,” said Lee, pointing Heavenward at her photographic display contribution.

“Phyllis was one of my best friends, and she really gave me the business one night on stage when I was talking about the fact that all through my career, I have worn lots of padded bras. And she said, from the audience… ‘Ruta, you’ve worn so much rubber in your life that you have erased what little tits you have!!!’ That was my Phyllis Diller impression.”

“My mom that I honor today [along with] with all of the moms in our lives, was the furthest thing from a showbiz mother imaginable. She grew up in a teeny tiny town in Lithuania where she literally carried her shoes to church. Couldn’t get them all scuffed and dirty ’cause they had to be passed down to the next daughter, and the next daughter. They were dirt poor. When she and my dad were smart enough to say, ‘Let’s go to America where we all know the streets are paved with gold,’ the quotas were closed for Lithuanians in America then. They were lucky enough to get into Canada where I was raised. And my mother never knew what theatre was, but she did go to the movies. And of course, she knew who Shirley Temple was. Well as far as she was concerned, I was Lithuania’s answer to Shirley Temple! And by hook or crook, with lots of dance lessons, and music lessons, and whatever, thank God for my kindergarten teacher who said to my mother, ‘Mary give Ruta lessons. She’s different from the rest of the children in my classes.’ My mother talked my father into paying for lessons and doing all the things, and my father used to say, ‘Aaah she’s too lazy to practice. She don’t like doing nothing. She’s not gonna be goddamn good for nothing…’ [My mother] ignored all that and talked him into getting down here to Southern California. And somehow, don’t ask me how, just with God’s help, came my career in films. But when I stop and think about it, further in the lovely auditorium here, there’s a wonderful picture of my mother and myself and my beloved grandmother, and I really think that she had more to do with my folks coming to the United States or Canada.”

“Here is this tiny little woman: [My grandmother] and her husband, [who were probably in their] late eighties, got deported to Siberia. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s because they were trying to re-distribute the populace of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and sending people up to Siberia, and replacing them with Russians? I don’t know. My grandfather’s legs were frozen on the cattle car that they were being deported on when they stopped at a way stop. And they took off his boots. The flesh came off with it. Gangrene had set in. He died. My grandmother didn’t even know it. She had to continue on. She lived in Siberia, and somehow survived. Thank God…someone, one day when she wanted to commit suicide, [saw her] and said, ‘Don’t jump. I’ll give you food.’ He gave her his last piece of bread. Somehow, she survived…”

“She found other members of the family [and] got back to Lithuania. But my mother would never let me forget my grandparents… She insisted that we send them packages every single month, or every single six months, whatever they were allowed to receive… And she never let me forget… And this little lady, when she got back to Lithuania, was living with an aunt of mine who had taken her in. And we got a letter… and it took six weeks for letters to come from the Soviet Union… We got a letter saying that she was saying her goodbyes and thanking us for all of the packages that helped sustain them. My mother would take ten-dollar bills, hundred-dollar bills, five-dollar bills, and roll them up very, very tight…and sew them into the seams of clothes we were sending them. And hopefully they found them… But she was thanking my mother for everything that she had done. And it was her ‘Goodbye’ to all of us… [We] had tried for all these years to get her out, and now she was dying…maybe was dead for all we knew.”

“By the time the letter came, I went out with friends that night and…the more wine they poured, the more logical it became that I should do something dramatic! And what was that dramatic move? I picked up the phone and called Khrushchev…[The operator] said, “How do you spell Khrushchev?” Who the frap knows how to spell Khrushchev?!?”

“I finally got through to his interpreter who was that very handsome young man that travelled with him when he was banging his shoe on the [lectern], and he made the rude remarks that Khrushchev was making palatable… [And he] said ‘Ms. Lee, we know all about you here in the Soviet Union. We run your movies. What can I do for you?’ I said ‘I want to come to the Soviet Union. I want to come to Lithuania,’ which was one of the satellite countries that you could not go to unless you were a very high communist party official… ‘I want to bring my mother and father.’ [Though] the State Department had told me ‘Don’t take your parents because they could be detained…as primary citizens of The Soviet…’”

“He said, ‘Call the Russian Embassy in 30 minutes…’ And…let’s put it this way, within 48 hours, my mother and I were on a PanAm flight to Moscow, then doubling back to Lithuania. And it was quite a reunion with my grandmother who smiled her toothless smile in the hospital… And to cut a very long story short, six months later, I went back alone to bring my grandmother back to the United States. It was all my mother’s doing. And…on the way home…[my grandmother] said, ‘Don’t take anything. I don’t have any money!’ And I said, ‘It’s all right Grandma. Whatever you want…’ [So] she said, ‘I’ll have Cognac!’”

“She had heard about Cognac…but never had it…so they brought her a…glass… I finally got her here…to the United States… We didn’t have Jetways then. And when we landed, she walked down the stairs, this little 95 year old lady…dropped to her knees…and kissed the ground, and said, ‘Hello America. Thank God!’ I’m sorry, it brings me to tears every time I think about how precious this country is to those who come from somewhere else, and how we take for granted our blessings and our freedoms… And maybe it takes Grandmothers to teach us that. That’s what it’s all about. But I thank her for having my mother. I thank my mother for having me. And I thank you for being such an important part of this wonderful community! Thank you for sharing the evening with me!”

Jerry Mathers and his Mother Marilyn; Photo by Jennifer K. Hugus for The Los Angeles Beat

All in all, a fun, poignant night of female righteousness, and finger sandwiches all in one! But one of The LA Beat’s favorite moments would have to be witnessing Leave it to Beaver’s Jerry Mathers posing for real time photos on 3-D, real world display with his own 93-year-old mother Marilyn – Marilyn Mathers. Sounding, and looking, for that matter, like a Hollywood Movie star in her own right, she sported a necklace of orbital jewels, prominent enough to perceivably represent at least three of Jerry’s TV mom’s pearl necklaces, prompting us all to feel like June Cleaver might also just have been there in spirit!

For more information regarding the Hollywood Museum, please visit:




Jennifer K. Hugus

About Jennifer K. Hugus

Jennifer K. Hugus was born at a very young age. At an even earlier age, she just knew she would one day write for the LA Beat! Having grown up in Massachusetts, France, and Denmark, she is a noted fan of Asian Cuisine. She studied ballet at the Royal Danish Ballet Theatre and acting at U.S.C. in their prestigious BFA drama program. She also makes her own jewelry out of paints and canvas when she isn’t working on writing absurdist plays and comparatively mainstream screenplays. Jennifer would like to be a KID when she grows up!
This entry was posted in Miscellanious. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply