Quote of the day

Teri Garr is a loose cannon -- in the best possible way.

Published July 25, 2008 2:00PM (EDT)

Actors give notoriously bad interviews. They stick to the script about their love life (So happy! Not telling!). They offer canned answers about their costars (Loved working with him! Every day was a gift!). They gush about a film even when they know in their hearts it's a steaming coil of shit because, let's face it, that's their job. They sell a product, and often, that product is themselves.

Not so Teri Garr. Some combination of age, wisdom, health problems (she has long struggled with multiple sclerosis and two years ago suffered a brain aneurysm) and general kick-ass attitude has made her magnificently uncensored. Like, she is wacky, folks. And in an interview with the Onion A.V. Club, the star of such beloved '80s classics as "Mr. Mom," "Tootsie" and "Young Frankenstein" recently uncorked for that all-too-rare of beasts: a compelling celebrity interview. She calls late director Sydney Pollack sexist ("He just wanted the beautiful, blond, cute, shiksa girls to be nice and shut the fuck up!"). She dogs even her own films and holds forth on Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and others. The whole interview is a marvel, but one exchange about the kind of roles she played is getting special coronation as our quote of the day:

AVC: 'Mr. Mom' is yet another role where your character is described as 'long-suffering.' Why do you think you've always been called upon to play that type?

TG: Oh God. Because I'm a long-suffering doormat in my own life, I guess. That's why I was always cast as that. And because they only write those parts for women. If there's ever a woman who's smart, funny, or witty, people are afraid of that, so they don't write that. They only write parts for women where they let everything be steamrolled over them, where they let people wipe their feet all over them. Those are the kind of parts I play, and the kind of parts that there are for me in this world. In this life."

Rebecca Traister's recent article on Dana Scully of "The X-Files" suggests this isn't always the case, but certainly smart, strong roles are as rare as these kinds of honest interviews. And frankly, I am not going to argue with Teri Garr.

By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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