They say that the best comics sometimes make the best dramatic actors. Some of Chaplin's best moments on screen were poignant, not slapstick. The same can be said for Red Skelton, Jimmy Durante, Jackie Gleason and in this film, the wonderful Martha Raye. Playing the role of once-great big band singer/movie star Georgia O'Hanlon, Raye breaks your heart as she gets ripped off and verbally abused by the likes of Bobby Sherman as a bratty pop star and Robert Vaughn as an evil manager. A 23-year-old Kim Cattrall (looking light years away from sexy Samantha from "Sex and the City") plays a new Tinseltown gossip columnist who is trying to help O'Hanlon expose the crooks. The producers apparently decided to drag whoever was working on the lot to pop up in cameo roles--Jim and Hennie Backus, Betty White, Rip Taylor, Jack Carter, Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows--as well as an all-star cast in bit parts, including Dick Sargent, Lyle Waggoner, and Richard Deacon. Joe Penny plays Cattrall's love interest and legendary 1930s movie star Sylvia Sidney is wonderful as a washed up Hedda Hopper-type gossip columnist from the early days of Hollywood. Raye even gets to sing, "Angel Eyes," and clips from "Never Say Die," a movie she made with Bob Hope in 1939 are playing on a TV in O'Hanlon's dressing room. Martha Raye should have received an Emmy nomination for her performance in the most-challenging role she was ever given.
The Gossip Columnist (1980 TV Movie)
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