Jean Simmons

January 24, 2010

Jean Simmons_in_Young_Bess_trailerI woke up in a damned hard bed this morning, one surrounded by yellow plaster walls and dirty green-checked carpeting, the hotel room AC still rattling a vague metallic staccato that had kept me awake for most of the night. Rolling out from under the covers, I wandered off to the toilet, flipping on the TV set along the way.

As I stood leaning with one hand against the far wall and watching last night’s beer and Long Island Iced Tea arc into the bowl, I heard Charles Osgood from CBS Sunday Morning (it’s my favorite show, on Sunday mornings at least), grimly announce to his viewing audience that Gene Simmons had succumbed to lung cancer last night.

What! Gene Simmons? No more KISS? No more cross-dressing, blood-spewing, tongue-wagging, pyrotechnic-filled concerts, frantic teenage girls crying lustily at the stage how they want this idiots’s baby? And no more “Asshole” CDs?

Fine by me.

Crawling back to bed, I stepped on a Hershey’s Kiss which the maid had apparently left for me in the middle of the floor. Ouch. As I lay in bed nursing my damaged heel, Charles Osgood played  some black and white film footage and I learned it was Jean with a J Simmons who died, not Gene with a G (oops, my bad).

What a sad story! I travelled back in time to childhood Saturday afternoons in front of the TV set, watching her put the moves on Kirk Douglas in Spartacus, then later playing rigid Fee Cleary in The Thorn Birds (read the book, it’s great) and Orry Main’s mother in North and South (Orry was played by Patrick Swayze, another actor who recently went to the great movie set in the sky). And my more recent favorite, her portrayal of bitchy, confused Rear Admiral Norah Satie in The Drumhead, Star Trek: The Next Generation (bet you didn’t know it was her).

Goodnight, Jean with a J Simmons. Good job.

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