‘The Mommie Dearest Diaries’
The beautiful and eloquent Rutanya Alda, who portrayed Joan Crawford’s loyal assistant, maid, housekeeper and slave Carol Ann in “Mommie Dearest,” was present at the recent Cocktails and Classics event, with book in hand.
Having kept a diary of the day-to-day events on the set of “Mommie Dearest,” she was able to come up with “The Mommie Dearest Diaries,” an expose of Faye Dunaway and the goings-on of her overwhelming play to capture the very soul of Crawford.
Rutanya was sweet enough to give me a copy of the book, since I hadn’t yet read it. I haven’t been able to put it down since.
So is your new book about the making of “Mommie Dearest” out to the public yet?
Yes, it is. It’s available on Amazon.com and also BarnesandNoble.com.
The exact name?
“The Mommie Dearest Diaries.” It’s the only true account of what happened, because I kept an actual day-to-day journal. So this is the actual day-to-day journal. It’s not looking back 35 years like Faye is going to do. It’s actually what happened during the whole four months of shooting.
Is it true that Faye Dunaway asked you to help her with her own book on the subject?
Yes, she asked me to help her with her book, and of course I said no, because she’s working with a ghostwriter—several ghostwriters. I did say to her, “Look, if you want an outline of what happened, just buy my book. You’ll get an outline.” You can fill in your own memories of it.
That was such a good answer. What was your favorite part of the movie?
My favorite part of the movie was working with Irene Sheridan, the costume designer, and talking with the makeup person and the hair person, who had worked with the actual Joan Crawford and loved her. Also, being on a movie that kind of made me feel like I was back in the ‘40s doing a movie. Being in a movie now for four months is unheard of for a co-star, because the stars do that, but the co-star is usually there for four or five days. I was there for the whole shoot. I felt like I was back in the ‘40s.
What else have we seen you in?
I’ve been in about 90 films and television shows, but I’m a character actress, so people usually say, “Oh, that was you, that was you,” but I was also one of the stars in Amityville II. I played the mother—that’s “Amityville II, the Possession.” I also starred in a movie called “The Deer Hunter,” which won an Academy Award. I played Angela, the bride. I’m in the first and the last scene of the movie, because the middle is a war sequence. That was another movie I liked working on. I’ve done other movies—“Vigilante,” which was very big in the ‘80s, the “Law and Order” series and “CSI” were some major television shows.
What’s next for you?
I just finished doing another horror movie called “Late Phases, Night of the Lone Wolf.” It’s a werewolf story. Then I’m going to be working on my one-woman show. I’m about halfway through. That’s my passion now. I want to do it before I get too old.