Nora: Did Mary Kay design the dress she wore to the South Park premiere?
Dino: No, that one she didn't, I would love to claim that she did, but no. It was just a week and a half ago that I finally got that back. I had it treated for long-term preservation and boxed, and I personally put in all her jewelry and accouterments that she wore during the premiere, I wanted to keep that. So I have perfectly preserved the dresses from what I believe to be the two happiest days of her life: our wedding and that premiere. That dress, the gold with chocolate-brown trim (which looks gold and green in photos, such as the one at the top of these pages) she referred to as her "To-die-for Geena Davis dress." She was a great admirer of Geena Davis, and I'm not sure if it was because she was in The Fly, or if it was because she was in A League of Their Own, two films Mary Kay really enjoyed.
One of my favorite dresses Mary Kay designed was for the Hunchback of Notre Dame premiere, which was this amazing thing that I still have, this incredible black sequined gown, topped off with a raised collar like the queen from Snow White, a very ornate, beautiful fairy-tale thing that she designed and had custom made. I still have some of her drawings of other dresses that she never had made.
(A dog, walking his master, visits our table and turns the topic to pets.)
Dino: Mary Kay loved her cats. Loved pure-bred Bengals. She was always a dog person, all her life, until she met me and I had cats. Mary Kay and I pretty much both loved anything fuzzy. I always wanted dogs, but I was living in apartments and couldn't keep them. She didn't particularly care for cats, thought they were something you got when you couldn't have a dog, but she grew to love the cats and eventually found her true love with the Bengal. She adored that cat. She went to Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World and got the ball cap with the Mickey Mouse silhouette in leopard spots, because the Bengals look like miniature leopards. She would get leopard spotted clothes ...
All (in unison): ... so they could match!
Dino: Yes ... that was her favorite animal. Let's see, what else ... again, she loved Halloween, because she loved costumes. She would design costumes and do all the makeup to transform herself into the Bride of Frankenstein, Lucy (Lucille Ball), and more. We spoofed Star Trek and dressed as Starfleet Officers 'Mr. and Mrs. Bug.'
One of our favorite things to do was spend Halloween night in the Hamburger Hamlet on Hollywood Boulevard at a window booth and watch all the people go by. In fact, the last Halloween before she died, we did that after a special screening at the El Capitan theater of The Nightmare Before Christmas. That was one of our favorite films. Mary Kay was also a huge, huge, huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan ... never missed an episode.
Mary Kay was an avid Dodgers fan. She did not know or care anything about sports at all until the 1988 National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and the Mets. Mary Kay came down with the flu and was stuck on the couch, and had no choice but to watch the games with me. So I had to explain, during the NLCS, the game to her, because she had no clue what was going on. The Dodgers beat the Mets, went on to the World Series against the Oakland A's, and beat the A's to become World Champions in '88, and she was a fan ever since. We had matching official team jackets that had "Andrade" on the back and the number 88 on the front to commemorate when we started watching together. We started going to games, at least all the home stands. We had a wonderful time. She got to meet Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda and Eric Karros, he signed a baseball and a poster for her and she was thrilled, she always cheered for him.
So this year, the baseball season opened and I didn't know if I could watch the games, because they were so much apart of what we did together. While running errands I figured, why not, and put on the radio. The Dodgers were playing the Montreal Expos, and of course, Blame Canada is going through my head. The Dodgers loaded the bases, and as I pulled into the parking lot of Circuit City to look for some of the Playstation games Mary Kay had done voice work for, Eric Karros came to bat. I said, "Hit it out for Mary Kay," and he did, he hit a grand slam home run and I just sat in the car and cried. I wanted to write him and let him know about that, but I never did. I still have the ball and poster he signed. I just thought it was so amazing that that should happen when I tune into a game for the first time since her passing.
Mary Kay also loved "bad movies," especially anything by Ed Wood (Bride of the Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda). That's also why she was a big Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan. And she loved to read - Frank Herbert's Dune series, The Godfather, The Exorcist. Anything by Anne Rice, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Amy Tan, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Maltin, Douglas Adams. She loved True Crime novels, mystery, science fiction, horror, comedy, biographies, anything about Disney and believe it or not, comic books ... if the art was really cool. Oh, and she loved Jerry Lewis - she could watch The Bellboy a hundred times. She got us front row seats to see Jerry in Damn Yankees ... twice.
And I should also point out that Mary Kay had quite the knack for comedy writing, especially song parodies in the Weird Al Yankovic vein. That's why all her demos are so damn funny. I know when she worked on Running with Scissors with Weird Al that she was worried that she would gush too much and it would be mistaken as ass-kissing. She had all his albums, and all his videos on laser disc. In truth she had toyed a number of times with making her own comedy album. I think in another life she would have been a female Weird Al.
Nora: Are there any parts of Mary Kay's final notes that you would want to divulge, if only to give someone else suffering from depression a touchstone?
Dino: Yes. The thing that was so striking in the note was that she said, "You know that I live in constant fear, and I don't know what else to do." The fact that the illness was so pervasive that, that was what she thought, that was how she felt. I thought that all I saw were typical actor's anxieties. I had no idea, no one had any idea, that her anxieties and fears were that bad. There it was, clearly, in the note, that was really how she felt. None of us knew that she lived in a constant state of fear. It clobbered me, I couldn't believe it ... that was the depth of the suffering my Mary Kay was going through.
That was when I realized how incredibly courageous she was, that somebody could be living in such a constant state of fear, yet because of this drive to entertain people, to do this thing that she loved so much, that she forced herself out there to do it. I can't imagine that. We know that agoraphobia runs in her family. We believe that there were signs and symptoms of it, oncoming, toward the end. I began to realize that she was probably the single most courageous person I've ever known. I couldn't believe when I read that, that's what my little Mary Kay was going through and none of us knew it.
Doreen: She was that good at hiding it.
Dino: I know, just look at the Nightcap interview or the interview on the Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders DVD. Both were taped mere days before her death, and yet in neither can you tell that this is anything but a happy and confident person who truly loves her job, as indeed she did. It's no wonder we didn't see it coming, she was a consummate actress to the very end. I think her suffering reached its peak when it was becoming too hard, too draining, to hide it anymore, and she thought that we were all seeing it.
It was making it hard for her to perform, which set fears into motion that she was losing her ability to perform, which meant she would be losing her career, which means she was losing her confidence. In advanced Generalized Anxiety Disorder, loss of confidence can be a death sentence. That was the one thing in that note that struck me the most. The difference between reality and the "reality" that was going on in her head was just startling.
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