Alarmingly beautiful Ohioan Diane McBain (b. May 18, 1941), whose early life had been filled with financial hardship, quickly became identified as a star-in-the-making while under contract to Warner Brothers in the late '50s. Cast as a flighty heiress on the whimsical and briefly but intensely popular TV series Surfside 6 (1960—1962), she got a taste of what it might be like if all those breathless predictions swirling around her (“Another Marilyn Monroe!”) actually came true—special treatment, glamorous work with cute boys, the opportunity to launch a proper film career.
Her biggest break came when she landed the title role in the steamy Claudelle Inglish (1961), in which she plays a good girl who refuses to marry a well-off man [Claude Akins (May 25, 1926—January 27, 1994)] for security because she's in love with a handsome young beau [Chad Everett (June 11, 1937—July 24, 2012)]...and who then purposefully sabotages her own future.
Michael Musto says:
“Rebelling against all sorts of societal strictures and demands, 'Claudelle' acts up and becomes the town slut, raising eyebrows with every calculated skirt lift. In the wonderfully trashy role, McBain is fiery, seething, bitter and gloriously fun—a fave of my longtime movie club.”
Yes, it's as good as it sounds.
But in spite of her natural effervescence on screen and a penchant for getting herself into gossip columns without even trying, McBain didn't attain lasting household-name status. Instead, hers is the story of a starry-eyed kid whose past experience with struggling to make ends meet prepared her for a long stretch as a hard-working actress with many memorable encounters but with no guarantee from where her next job might come.
Now 73 (and as lovely as ever), McBain has released Famous Enough: A Hollywood Memoir (BearManor, $29.95), a compulsively readable autobiography in which she does all the things any good memoirist should: She relies on and credits a great co-author (Michael Michaud, whose Sal Mineo: A Biography is one of the best bios I've ever read); she views everything that ever happened to her through a clear-eyed, analytical lens; she imparts wisdom where she can and doesn't pretend to where she can not; and she calls 'em like she sees 'em when it comes to describing the people who've crossed her and/or crossed her path.
I was pleased to interview this resilient, relatable woman—she's so much more than her work. (But even if she were only her work, I mean...Claudelle Inglish!)
Boy Culture: What motivated you to write a book at this point in your life?
Diane McBain: People have suggested I write my memoirs for a very long time. For years, I couldn't think of why I would write my story because my career wasn't the kind of career I wanted, and why belabor the point? Finally, I settled on the theme—actually, I was inspired by the idea—that my life had more to do with a spiritual journey than a material one, so that became my concentration. That was all I needed to get started.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is withdrawing its support of ENDA, the long-suffering Employment Non-Discrimination Act (meant to protect gay people from summarily being fired for who they are) in light of the Hobby Lobby decision.
Executive Director Rea Carey states:
“If a private company can take its own religious beliefs and say you can’t have access to certain health-care, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to an interpretation that a private company could have religious beliefs that LGBT people are not equal or somehow go against their beliefs and therefore fire them. We disagree with that trend. The implications of Hobby Lobby are becoming clear...We do not take this decision lightly. We've been pushing for this bill for 20 years.”
This is one result of too many religious conservatives on the Supreme Court. Let's start firing people for being Christian and see how quickly they understand the effects of unjust discrimination.