Today is the birthday of the lovely Marian Seldes (b. 1928). And yes she did kiss me once, when I was development director at Theater for the New City, during one of our gala benefits. Think nothing of it; she was eighty years old at the time, and simply thanking me for something in the way that show business people do. But it made me very happy, which is of course why she did it. Because that is what show business people do!
You know how sometimes you put two and two together? (Well, I certainly HOPE that happens for you occasionally). I subsequently realized that I was very familiar with the work of her father, without realizing he was her father. Her father was the critic Gilbert Seldes, who wrote the very influential book about pop culture The Seven Lively Arts. The old man was stodgy in some ways but I assure you my books would never have existed if not for his; he opened a lot of doors for people to look at certain forms of pop culture seriously and critically.
At any rate, Marian need not live in his shadow. I am most fascinated how, in this day and age, she has managed to remain most distinguished in the theatre. Yes, she has done plenty of stage and tv work like most working actors nowadays, but her stage credits are truly amazing. She was in the original productions of The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (1964), Tiny Alice (1964), A Delicate Balance (1966), Equus (1974), Deathtrap (1978, all 1,809 performances), Painting Churches (1983), Three Tall Women (1993), and a zillion other things.
So we celebrate her here today!