The talented and versatile stage, film, and TV actress Suzanne Pleshette died of lung cancer over the weekend in Los Angeles.
I had the privilege of working with Suzanne on the set of the made for television drama
Flesh and Blood starring Ms. Pleshette, John Cassavetes and Tom Berenger. Not only was the beautiful, razor thin Suzanne a remarkably disciplined actor with incredible posture, (poster girl for the Alexander Technique) but she chainsmoked and cussed like a longshorman docked at a Shanghai jack shack.
When we had meal breaks (the food was great), I would sit with Tom Beringer. He was a nice guy -- a little quiet, and both of us being from Chicago, we had a few things to talk about. But Suzanne would opt out of the meals, preferring to sit ringside and smoke. When she was down to end of her cigarette, she would keep staring at the ring, reach down for the pack of cigarettes, stub the cigarette out, flick her lighter and deeply inhale the next one. Continuously.
I never saw anybody chainsmoke like that, or at least, not in person. Nor have I ever seen another actress concentrate so intensely in my life.