Dino: There's a much greater percentage of those in the industry that would prefer to keep mental disorders quiet and as we've seen with Mary Kay, it can be incredibly tragic. I have no doubt that the career she had helped ... because I've talked to people with anxiety disorders who said that the acting helped them deal with the fears and get out of who they were. Without the success, the fans, and her talent, she wouldn't have lasted as long as she did. But the double-edged sword is, because she was a growing celebrity, it made it harder for her to go out and seek help. It was very much a sword of Damocles.
However, I want to emphasize that I am in no way inferring that she was a casualty of the industry. She was not. To say that would be to say that it was Hollywood excess or that she couldn't handle the pressure ... no, it was the illness. She had command of this business. If she was not ill, she would still have command of this business. Anybody, who has been in the business as long as she had, knows you can not accomplish what she did over the long period of time that she did it and not have control. It wasn't like she was an overnight success, or that drugs and alcohol were involved, these were not factors.
That's very important to say because a lot of people never wanted to hear that. I've done a number of interviews with publications who wanted the story, but decided not to run with it because it wasn't sensational enough. They were expecting a story of somebody who burned out, crashed and burned, another John Belushi, another Jay Maloney, and this was not the case. I'm talking major publications, more than one. One flat-out told me, "If we decide to do a mental health issue, we'll run it then." But that's the way the town is.
(An off-topic discussion of journalistic integrity, or lack thereof, ensues.)
Dino: Anyway, getting back to the subject ... questions? Please, let's talk about Mary Kay the person.
Nora: Okay. How did you and Mary Kay meet?
Dino: Nothing exciting, just a gathering of mutual friends, that's it. I was coming out of a relationship that didn't end too well. I asked Mary Kay out, she told me she didn't want to be the "rebound girl" and turned me down. I kept asking her for six months until she said yes, and the rest is history.
Nora: When and where did you get married?
Dino: At Saint Monica's Church in Santa Monica, April 7, 1990. It was a grand, beautiful, wonderful ceremony. She looked like a queen. She was magnificent in her dress.
Doreen: And neither one of you wanted to wear your glasses, as I recall from seeing that beautiful wedding photo at the Memorial Celebration and Concert.
Dino: Yeah, we did not want to wear our glasses. But we had a great time.
Nora: What aspects of her personality attracted you to her?
Dino: On our first date, we got to talking about TV themes, and she knew the lyrics to the animated show Gigantor.
Doreen: That was one of my favorites as a kid.
Dino: I knew it was love. We had so much in common in our tastes in television and films. Film has always been my passion ... and here was a gal who loved it all just like me. She wasn't just into "chick films." I mean, she still loved movies like Room With a View, Meet Me in St. Louis, and Sound of Music, but this was also a gal who loved The Exorcist, Die Hard, and Sam Rami's Quick and the Dead - she loved that film. She thought The Matrix was brilliant. She loved Monty Python films, all the Alien and Terminator pictures, Starship Troopers, Spielberg films (she loved Jaws), Star Wars, Hitchcock films, The Godfather films, and the entire Dirty Harry series. I remember when the last of the Dirty Harry films came out, we went on a Clint Eastwood binge and watched all of the Dirty Harry films, and The Gauntlet, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, High Plains Drifter, and one that would become one of her favorite films of all time, The Outlaw Josey Wales. I told her that I was inspired to be a filmmaker by the silent films of Buster Keaton, and we started going to screenings of silent films and she loved it. I remember her having a wonderful conversation with Eleanor Keaton, Buster's widow.
We were so matched to each other. She was just terrific. Those were the things that endeared me. Once you get past the physical stuff in any relationship, it's the things you have in common, the things that make you friends that really make a relationship last. We were the best of friends. It was great how many things we loved doing together. Going to the zoo, Halloween, the Fourth of July ... every Fourth of July we would watch 1776 The Musical, which we went to New York to see on Broadway with Brent Spiner. That was a particular delight of Mary Kay's because she was also a big Star Trek fan. When she learned that I was a Star Trek fan too, she told me that when the show was about to get canceled the first time by NBC, there was that huge letter-writing campaign and Mary Kay was one of the people who wrote in to keep the show going.
Nora: Back when we were all Trekkies, before the younger fans tried to change it to Trekker.
Dino: Yeah ... we were into all that. Mary Kay was even invited as a guest to the filming of the final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which was Mary Kay's favorite of the Trek series.
We also loved to collect things ... movies, props, film memorabilia. If she had the money and time she would have collected costumes.
We loved music ... jazz, classical, opera ... one of the last things we attended was a performance of the opera, Cosi Fan Tutti, the Mozart comedy. We would go to The Music Center all the time to see live performances of Carmina Burana (composed by Carl Orff). We loved film music, by far our largest music collection was film scores. Composers like Miklos Rozsa (Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid), John Williams, Danny Elfman, Franz Waxman (Sunset Boulevard), Jerry Goldsmith, etc.
It was like this discovery when I met her, I would peel back one layer and find another that was so ... we were so matched for each other. That word "soulmate" comes to mind, I think that really applied.
Mary Kay was really something. In all the gentleness and sweetness and light and pixie dust and the little princess side of her, she also had that warrior side ... she was into Tai Chi and weightlifting. She was also a big fan of Las Vegas. She could play Blackjack like an assassin. She learned the game late in life, but was extremely good at it. So good, in fact, that we had, and I still have, a full traveling set; mats, shoes, decks, chips, everything so that anywhere we went we could have a full Blackjack game. She loved Vegas because, in many ways, it was like an adult Disneyland. Very artificial, fantasy-world, very much about escape from current reality. She loved staying at the Mirage, because of the animals.
Nora: Siegfried and Roy has always been the best show on the strip.
Dino: She loved their show. We always had to get seats right down front. What other things can I tell you about her ... oh, she loved to design clothes. She designed a number of the gowns that she wore to premieres.
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