Cybill Shepherd is delighted with her new sexy role and doesn’t care it’s as a gay, writes Erin McWhirter
NEVER one to shy away from the truth, Hollywood veteran Cybill Shepherd happily admits to flirting with the idea of plastic surgery and taking a lesbian lover.
Shepherd, who has famously romanced an assortment of highprofile men — including movie director Peter Bogdanovich, Moonlighting co-star Bruce Willis and the King himself, Elvis Presley — and shared all the intimate details of those encounters, has also admitted to a crush on voluptuous movie star Salma Hayek.
Shepherd believes most people are bisexual and though she is yet to actively pursue a gay relationship, she certainly hasn’t ruled it out.
‘‘To me, sexy is sexy,’’ Shepherd said last year. ‘‘At various times I wanted to be open to the possibility of having a woman as a lover. I’m not actively pursuing it, but it’s not over yet.’’
It’s perhaps fitting she has returned to the small screen in The L Word, where she plays a divorced woman who comes out late in life.
Shepherd says there is a shortage of sexy roles for women in their 50s, but The L Word had given her the chance to do some racy love scenes.
In fact, she’s found her recent gay love scenes in the popular lesbian drama series a bit of a turn-on.
‘‘I’ve been waiting and turning down reality shows (for the past 10 years),’’ Shepherd says.
‘‘Thanks to The L Word I have been rediscovered.
‘‘There has been no other show like it and I get to have a love scene. At my age you don’t have love scenes. Women my age aren’t meant to be active. It’s the first love scene I’ve played in a long time.’’
At 58, Shepherd says she’s so far managed to avoid the lure of Botox and the surgeon’s scalpel but says it’s only a matter of time before she gives in and gets her eyes done.
‘‘I haven’t done it yet, but I’ll do what I need to do (to keep looking good),’’ she says of plastic surgery.
‘‘I feel guilty because I haven’t done it and my reasons for not doing it are questionable because why wouldn’t I?
‘‘In this world there are young women coming through (Hollywood), but perhaps I have waited too long for Botox.
‘‘I know I definitely need to have my eyes done, but then I go and talk to the doctor and I’m like, ‘Can’t I put this off a year?’ They just keep telling me if I go ahead I’ll have less to do later on.’’
Though it’s not uncommon for actors to deny they’ve had a nip and The L Word, MA 15+ Movie Extra (Foxtel), Sunday, 9.30pm Lesbian drama Duration: 1 hour tuck, if Shepherd’s 2004 UK breakfast show appearance is anything to go by, she appears to be telling the truth about her medically unaltered face.
The former model stunned producers and viewers when she walked on the set of the show, shrouded in a red cape, without any make-up on or even having brushed her hair.
‘‘Sorry about the cape — I didn’t have time to do my hair,’’ Shepherd told the show’s host.
‘‘If you’d like a laugh, I’ll take it off in a little bit but it’s a little bit scary.’’
The Golden Globe-winning actor says she’s always had a healthy sense of humour about herself and the trappings of fame.
‘‘I’ve always enjoyed a good laugh, mostly at myself, and never more so than now when I look in the mirror,’’ she says.
‘‘Ancient artefact that I am, my pictures are still on the make-up counter at the drugstore, so I know the response to my lamentations may be: ‘Shut up, Cybill Shepherd’.
‘‘But I still have to confront the bathroom mirror. No retouching, no flattering lights.
‘‘As an ageing beauty in America, I have an interesting perspective. I’m ready for my Shelley Winters parts now and I have less vanity than you can imagine.
‘‘A sense of humour and laughter gets me through the tough times.’’
Tough times came early in Shepherd’s acting career when she made headlines for her affair with Bogdanovich, the much older and married director of her first movie, The Last Picture Show.
Shepherd has admitted affairs with Last Picture Show co-star Jeff Bridges, screenwriter Larry McMurtry and location manager Frank Marshall.
But she has always been remarkably candid about her love affairs.
She claims to have taught Presley a few bedroom lessons; describes Willis as both the best and worst kisser she has locked lips with; and claims rejecting advances from both Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro led to them ignoring her for decades.
She has also hinted that a love scene with Don Johnson in the telemovie The Long Hot Summer may be a little more realistic than one would think.
Her acting work has also been the source of controversy, with Shepherd receiving more than her fair share of negative reviews over the years.
‘‘I got reviews that said I couldn’t act, I wasn’t funny, and I’ve had wonderful reviews,’’ Shepherd says of her critics.
‘‘Well, I read every single one. A lot of actors say, ‘Don’t bother reading them’ but I can’t help it. I know I need to watch my performances more, I’m out of practice doing that.’’