Closer Weekly - - Heart To Heart -

You seemed less en­am­ored of Sissy Spacek on-screen in Car­rie!

We didn’t have any off-cam­era in­ter­ac­tion un­til it was over. My daugh­ter, who was 5, vis­ited the set on the last day, and Sissy was en­chanted. I’d like to think I in­spired her to have her chil­dren. Then we got to work to­gether again on [1995’s] The Grass Harp. In­stead of play­ing her mother, I was her sis­ter…and I was the nice one and she was the mean one. That was great fun!

Not many peo­ple make their film de­but with a fu­ture pres­i­dent, but you did with Ron­ald Rea­gan in Louisa. How was he?

A lovely man. I wish I hadn’t writ­ten quite so much about our en­counter in [my 2011 mem­oir] Learn­ing to Live Out Loud.

Do you mean you re­gret writ­ing about los­ing your vir­gin­ity to him at age 18?

I could have told the story with­out such ex­plicit de­tail. I was in­vited to the White House for a party when he was leav­ing of­fice and I de­clined be­cause it didn’t feel right.

Was he a good kisser, at least?

Oh, yes!

How about Tony Cur­tis?

He was a good kisser, too. I met him when I was 16 in act­ing class. We were pals, but when I was signed at the same stu­dio he was at, he seemed a lit­tle shocked and not very wel­com­ing. We were in four movies and never talked to each other ex­cept for the di­a­logue, and he used to write about how aw­ful I was. It was crazi­ness.

But in the end, did it all work out?

Well, if you mean he died and I’m still alive, then yes! [Laughs]

Were you happy with the way your ca­reer in Hol­ly­wood pro­gressed?

Yes, yes. I’m also happy that I’ve had a lot of down time, be­cause that’s pre­cious to me. I don’t know how ac­tors sur­vive work­ing one film after the other. I did when I was very young, but I was do­ing junk, so maybe that’s why it was so de­press­ing!

What was it like to write your mem­oir?

My house­keeper thought I was go­ing crazy, be­cause I was at the com­puter laugh­ing all the time! Like be­ing made up as a Ja­panese man when I was do­ing Twin Peaks, and be­ing for­bid­den to tell any­body what I was do­ing, even my fam­ily.

It’s amaz­ing how much you ac­com­plished after a tough child­hood. Hard to re­visit?

I re­cently heard from a suc­cess­ful ar­chi­tect who’d been at the same home I’d been in — it was just a stor­age place for kids who were sick. [But] I wasn’t sick. My sis­ter had asthma and hay fever, and I was sent with her to keep her com­pany. I was 6 and I stayed there un­til I was 9. Peo­ple there weren’t al­lowed to touch us or love us, and I didn’t see my

par­ents for all of that time ex­cept once or twice. It re­ally cre­ated who I am. But it was right after the De­pres­sion, and it would have been very hard for them to pay for this home with my sis­ter’s ill­ness and keep a young kid, too. Most of the time my fa­ther didn’t have a job — most men didn’t.

How did you over­come it all?

I think by work­ing hard, want­ing to cre­ate

STAR POWERHas be­ing a star since 1950 ful­filled Piper? “Not much,” she ad­mits, but “when I meet fans that are sin­cere, I like that I have touched peo­ple.”

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