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Jacqueline Susann based her novel Valley of the Dolls on her experiences trying to break into show business as well as the lives of real actors whom her husband, producer and publicist Irving Mansfield, came in contact with.
“I’ve grown up with show business. I’ve seen people come starry-eyed, and I’ve seen them hope to climb Mt. Everest… and I’ve seen many of them go into the valley of the dolls,” she said. “In my books, the people… who are glamourous have to suffer… [so readers can]… go home feeling better about their own crappy lives.”
Below cast members remember their experiences making the camp classic!
1. Barbara Parkins on Sharon Tate.
“She in this movie was beyond the movie. Her makeup was of today. Her look was of today. [She had] the most exquisite face. She and I became friends through the film. She was sweet. She was like a little kitten. She was a dream.”
2. Patty Duke on director Mark Robson.
“I was certain he disliked me to the 9th degree. He later said he pushed me that hard to get that performance out of me which made me even angrier.”
3. Barbara Parkins on her scenes.
“When I heard I had two nude scenes I was terribly excited. I couldn’t wait! I would like all people to be attracted to me like Marilyn Monroe. Everyone loved her.”
4. Patty Duke on her role.
“I begged for this part. But I’ll tell ya, they asked me to read for it. Sure, I identify with Neely. I identify with her loneliness. That’s why she’s so self-destructive. But she doesn’t know how to reach people. The other people tested played her like a hard-nosed [character], but I played her loneliness. I understood that.”
5. Sharon Tate on her role.
“Out of all the characters in the book [Jennifer] was the one that I liked the most, the one that I had sympathy for.”
6. Barbara Parkins on the film.
“It was so overdone. The clothes, the hairstyle. It was funny!”
7. Patty Duke on the film.
“I finally started to like it because people on the street would tell me how much they liked it and I figured I shouldn’t insult them anymore. It is a big kick for me now to see how it is enjoyed and to participate in a positive way about it and see that there was certainly a whole lot of good.”
8. Barbara Parkins on Susan Hayward.
“She was professional. She was a movie star. She was an actress of the glamor era. She was smart, charming, wonderful to work with. Everybody said that.”