by Patricia Grandjean
Oct 15, 2010
10:39 AMBox Office
Q & A/Web Exclusive: Susan Saint James Ebersol
(page 3 of 4)
Someone has put the pilot episode from "It Takes a Thief" on YouTube.
Yes, I love those. And you know, YouTube has a lot of scenes from that series. I've been able to capture a ton of them; it's so much fun. Most of my stuff was done at Universal Studios, and the guy that runs Universal was my agent, Ron Meyer. So he's been able to find some stuff for me in their vaults, which is pretty fun. One show we did was so funny, because they said, "Okay, it's Eastern European." And they'd have fake countries, like Litzphair. We'd go, "What's the country again?" and it would be some fake name. And then, every actor had a different accent. You'd be going, "Huh?" It was hilarious.
Bob Wagner was so adorable. I mean, I worked with Rock Hudson, George Hamilton and Robert Wagner. These were just icons of my childhood. They had such elegance and style, and were always on time, always knew their lines, would never come to work drunk. Think of it.
Were you a good professional?
Oh, God, yes. I went to a Catholic boarding school. That's why Jane [Curtin] and I worked so well together; she went to Catholic girls' school. We would go in on taping day—we did a dress rehearsal from 4 to 5:30 p.m., then we'd have notes, then we'd shoot from 6 to 8. At the same time, "The Cosby Show" would go to 2 a.m. with reshoots. First of all, we had Bill persky, who was the most spectacular TV director of his day. He did "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Your Show of Shows." He'd say, "That's it; we're going home" and we'd be home by 9 p.m. One time we had a dog and were working till 9:45; after that, Jane turned around and said, "No more dogs. They hold us up; we don't need it."
Do you watch much TV today?
I do watch some. I used to watch a lot of television; with my kids I would use it to knit. I watch sports with Dick; I'm a huge sports fan. Even when Dick's not here I'll watch a whole day of football. Right now, I like "The Closer." I think she's spectacular. I love the show "Memphis Beat," I absolutely love the music and Jason Lee, who's adorable. I'm also an "NCIS" watcher; that's my age group, I guess. And I watch "Burn Notice," I'm addicted to that. I'm very USA Network; that's kind of my scene.
My kids watch a much younger bunch of stuff. They range from 23 to 33 years old now. They're extremely pop-culture oriented. One son's in music and film, the other two are in television and film. They live out in LA and are up on it all. They know who's making the shows, who's directing them—I'm not up on that stuff any more.
You also have a daughter, right?
I do. I have a beautiful daughter, Sunshine, and a granddaughter. They live in Forest Hills, and her husband works with my husband at NBC. Sunshine is divine—she's taken some time off from working to raise her daughter and have another child. She started late, and it's a little trickier to get pregnant when you're older. She and her husband ar terrific—I'm glad they live on the East Coast because it's my only grandchild so far. The boys are so much slower. They're a pain. They all have terrific girlfriends and they're just dragging their feet. I feel like saying to the girlfriends, "Move on—these guys aren't ever going to do anything; they're too lazy."
My granddaughter and I are really devoted to each other, we're great buddies. She calls me "Gigi." She's two. She's not quite a telephone talker yet.
You mentioned what a sports fanatic you are. I had heard you did some commentary for Wrestlemania.
I did. I'm waiting to get into the Hall of Fame: I did Wrestlemania III, or II, now they're on like XXX!
So what do you think of Linda McMahon's run for the Senate?
You know, good on Linda. I'm a Democrat. I love her, adore her. She's one of our very good friends, and both Vince and Linda are upstanding, tremendous people. My kids grew up with them. She's just too Republican, what can I say? This is tricky. I'm not one of those people who's divisive, but I am just a lifetime Democrat, a Yellow Dog Democrat. It's a fine line, because I'm probably fiscally sort of conservative. But I really think she and I differ on what we should spend the money on. But I'm just a citizen, a voter. I hesitate to criticize too much because I'm not willing to go out there and do it. So good for her: She's devoted to this race, and you can't meet her and not love her. She's just terrific and smart.
My mother, who is 95, is worse than I am. She's more liberal than my kids, who were all part of the Obama movement. My mom knew all about Obama before I even knew who he was. My parents were way liberal; I'm so proud of the fact that they fell on the right side of everything in our history. They knew all about McCarthy from Day One, about Nixon from Day One because they lived in California even before World War II. My dad worked in defense; he was a toolmaker. We were raised in LA till I was 12. They were on the right side of gay marriage, on the right side of all the things I think were slam-dunk deals. Vietnam? I was so against the war but not against the soldiers—my brother was a Marine. I wanted to bring those boys out of there. And not from the start, but as it became so obvious it was wrong. And it was hard sometimes to be on the right side.