WGAR - 99.5
August 1, 2002
Many THANKS! to my transcriber.
Please do not repost without permission.
JIM MANTEL: WGAR 99.5, where it is 7:10. Jim Mantel and the morning crew and we are joined in the studio by a special guest this morning. Star of stage, screen, big screen and the little screen, soon to be star of stage here in Cleveland, and if her husband has anything to do with it, the First Lady of the State of Ohio, Kate Mulgrew. How are you this morning?
KATE MULGREW: I'm very, very well, how are you?
JIM MANTEL: I'm doing great.
KATE MULGREW: I'm delighted to be here.
JIM MANTEL: And wonderful to see you.
KATE MULGREW: Look at that great orb in the sky. It's called the sun!
JIM MANTEL: It's in our eyes every morning.
KATE MULGREW: It is directly in your eyes, isn't it?!
JIM MANTEL: You are going to be opening up at the Cleveland Play House.
KATE MULGREW: I am.
JIM MANTEL: …In a show that is going to run for how long?
KATE MULGREW: I open on the 23rd and play through the 3rd of September. Open on the 23rd of August.
JIM MANTEL: "Tea at Five".
KATE MULGREW: It's a life of Katharine Hepburn.
JIM MANTEL: And you've done so… do you remember all the roles you've done, between stage and TVs and movies and…?
KATE MULGREW: No.
JIM MANTEL: Any idea how many different roles you've portrayed…
KATE MULGREW: I think I've done around… I think I've done about forty plays. I know that I've done about six or seven series, probably eight or nine films.
JIM MANTEL: Geez…
KATE MULGREW: And I'm only 28!
JIM MANTEL: Amazing how you do that! And in the midst of all that your husband's… helping your husband trying to become governor.
KATE MULGREW: Helping him indeed, but he doesn't need much help. He will be the next Governor of Ohio.
JIM MANTEL: Spoken right here. Mark it down. We have it on tape. These Captain's orders?
KATE MULGREW: Uh huh. At warp on that one – nine point nine!
JIM MANTEL: And of course, Star Trek: Voyager too. The Star Trek phenomenon continues to roll.
KATE MULGREW: Lest we forget. Yes indeed. An intense seven and a half years of my life.
JIM MANTEL: The best paying seven and a half years?
KATE MULGREW: Yes, but let's not talk about that kind of recompense. Life is more than that, isn't it? I learned a lesson early on…
JIM MANTEL: Sure, once your checkbook is full, you can say things like that!
KATE MULGREW: You… you! No. Never do it just for the money. That's the first rule.
JIM MANTEL: That's true. If you're not having fun…
KATE MULGREW: You can't… you certainly can't survive if you can't do it excellently so…
JIM MANTEL: How did you get started in the acting business?
KATE MULGREW: How did I get started… that's a …
JIM MANTEL: Because there are people who aspire to…
KATE MULGREW: This could be a painfully long story. I will truncate it and tell you that I think that from the time I was about 12 years old I had this longing. I grew up in Dubuque, Iowa in the middle of beautiful, however daunting cornfields. And I, very young, understood that I would not be seeking a creative life in Dubuque Iowa. So I had a mother who championed this. My mother is a painter and an artist in her own right - and a father who worked sort of against it. And the effect on me was to prove to my father that I could indeed do it on my own. And to prove to my mother that I could do it well. So I took off at about sixteen, seventeen. Went to New York, went to London first. Then New York.
JIM MANTEL: Had you done high school drama, stuff like that?
KATE MULGREW: Yah, but you know the story about me is I have no diplomas.
JIM MANTEL: Really?
KATE MULGREW: (laughing) I have no diplomas, I cannot find any diploma. Did I in fact ever graduate from high school or college? I have a degree for a doctor of letters somewhere, which I'm very proud of.
JIM MANTEL: As evidenced by the fact that you're not sure where it is!
KATE MULGREW: But I skipped a couple of years of high school. I didn't go the whole distance because I was very anxious to get to work. And I understood, strangely enough – perhaps this was my father's influence - that my youth would not last forever. And that
I'd better get to it. So I'm glad I went to New York at seventeen. As you can see – time catches up.
JIM MANTEL: At seventeen…
KATE MULGREW: Denial, denial denial.
JIM MANTEL: Oh I believe…
KATE MULGREW: Gentlemen, it's not that early!
JIM MANTEL: I'm trying to figure out when that was! Four or five years ago?
KATE MULGREW: Oh you doll! You're all in my will.
JIM MANTEL: A seventeen year old on the streets of New York. That had to be a frightening…
KATE MULGREW: Not one bit!
JIM MANTEL: Really?
KATE MULGREW: You remember when you're seventeen. You're fearless. And you're completely fearless when you have a dream.
JIM MANTEL: … she was a farm girl!
KATE MULGREW: Waiting tables. Tending bar. I had the time of my life. And allegedly going to NYU. But I was really studying with Stella Adler. I don't really remember any academic training at all.
JIM MANTEL: So you lied to Mom and Dad about…
KATE MULGREW: I lied to my father.
JIM MANTEL: But you didn't lie to your Mom.
KATE MULGREW: I'm not very happy, but I did lie. Yes. No.
JIM MANTEL: There you go kids, write that one down! 'Captain Janeway said it's okay to lie, Dad. Worked for her!'
KATE MULGREW: Oh you mustn't say that. But it did work for me. And I think what I see less and less, and I don't know if this is just the roll of the dice, I suspect it is. It's very rare to fall in love with something when you're that young, and to love it equally when you're forty-seven years old.
JIM MANTEL: That's very true. Most people change careers how many times? Four, five, six?
KATE MULGREW: And I'm always listening – you know fascinated – to people who say, I like my job all right but I'm certainly not fierce about it. And I always think – how can you be complete in your life if you don't have something to which you you're devoted.
JIM MANTEL: Kate Mulgrew in the studio with us at 99.5, WGAR. It's quarter after seven. More with her in just a little bit…
JIM MANTEL: WGAR at 7:18, Jim Mantel and the morning crew. Kate Mulgrew in the studio with us. "Tea at Five", the Katharine Hepburn story opens at the Cleveland Play House, and it opens August 20th. How far along are you in the rehearsal, memorizing of lines …
KATE MULGREW: This is the kind of thing that haunts the civilian, right? Between you and me.
JIM MANTEL: Sure.
KATE MULGREW: First thing you said to me when I sat down.
JIM MANTEL: Exactly.
KATE MULGREW: How do you memorize…
JIM MANTEL: Because I don't have to memorize anything to do what I do. And the thought of having to memorize, even something as long as you know, say, the National Anthem…
KATE MULGREW: May I ask of you…
JIM MANTEL: Gives me the willies.
KATE MULGREW: Let me ask you directly why? Because this is so often what… addressed with me. Why?
JIM MANTEL: Probably because I don't have to do it and therefore, you know, just like getting up and speaking in front of crowds of people.
KATE MULGREW: I was just going to say…
JIM MANTEL: You know, it scares the average… it doesn't bother me at all.
KATE MULGREW: It goes hand in hand with that.
JIM MANTEL: Brain surgery I wouldn't be any good at 'cause I've never done it. The guy who does it five days a week is really good at it.
KATE MULGREW: So the fear of public speaking is enhanced by the thought that one would get up in front of a thousand people and actually forget what one is supposed to be saying, right?
JIM MANTEL: But getting up and talking extemporaneously, doesn't bother me at all.
KATE MULGREW: Right. But if you had to memorize it…
JIM MANTEL: Oh…
KATE MULGREW: But you see this is my craft.
John: Jim had one line to do in a guest appearance in the "Will Rogers Follies" and it bothered him for a week.
JIM MANTEL: But I still remember it to this day and it was five years ago.
KATE MULGREW: What was it? Let's hear it.
JIM MANTEL: Let's go flyin' Will.
KATE MULGREW: And you got it baby! That's a good one!
John: Flyin' you want to Will? You? Me? Us?
JIM MANTEL: I was so afraid I was going to do it…
John: 'Member what happened last time we had a big movie star here?
KATE MULGREW: What happened? And who was it?
John: Sitting in that very chair, we have Dennis Quaid.
KATE MULGREW: Whom I adore.
John: And I planted the bug in Jim's head two days beforehand that wouldn't it be funny if we only asked Dennis Quaid questions about Randy Quaid's career.
KATE MULGREW: Funny…
John: So immediately out of my mouth is: "Here is Jim Morris who is the actual rookie and also joining us is the star of the movie, Randy Quaid…"
KATE MULGREW: Funny until he pulled out his gun
JIM MANTEL: Uh… it's Dennis.
KATE MULGREW: Oh, guys. That's terrible! It probably happens to them all the time.
JIM MANTEL: He said his mom used to do it all the time too, so.
KATE MULGREW: I'll bet. But to answer your question, no. This is the least daunting aspect of my life – memorization – because that's got to go, and it's never been a major problem for me. Is it in fact getting slightly more difficult as I age? Probably. But it's nothing I'd dwell on, because if I did, I probably wouldn't walk out there. And don't forget that I've done this play already for almost three months. I started in Hartford. Anyway it was received very warmly. So this is essentially I think a Broadway tryout, and the Cleveland Play House was generous enough to ask me to come in, and I'll go to Boston after this and then, with any luck, to New York.
JIM MANTEL: Now it's the life of Katharine Hepburn over what period of time? From…
KATE MULGREW: From…
JIM MANTEL: From teen years to present day?
KATE MULGREW: No. In Act I I'm thirty-one. Just after she was labeled box office poison, in Hollywood.
John: How are they going to make you look that old?
KATE MULGREW: Oh. Boy! Am I ever falling in love here! And it isn't even seven thirty in the morning! Huh! Put those earphones off…let's go! Thirty-one. In the living room of her parent's house in Fenwick, Connecticut. Seaside. And then in Act II I'm seventy-six, right after she was in a terrible car accident. And she almost severed her right foot in that accident. So the scope is… how many years is that? You can figure it out for yourself.
JIM MANTEL: Forty-five.
KATE MULGREW: In reality Kate Mulgrew happens to fall right in the middle. More towards Act I…a little. Little. Little! Why are you smiling like that?
JIM MANTEL: Because I thought that was a foregone conclusion!
KATE MULGREW: (Laughs)
JIM MANTEL: We need to take a quick look at WGAR's acu-traffic. We have Kate Mulgrew in the studio with us. Linda, how are we doing out there?
Linda: We're doing well, but remember I have to ask her a question since I’m a huge Katharine Hepburn fan. (Traffic report!)
Linda: All right. Here's the question. Hartford, Connecticut is of course part of Hepburn country. Did anyone from the family or associated with her come to see the play? Has she gotten any kind of a feedback from the lady herself?
KATE MULGREW: Oh yah. Are you there?
KATE MULGREW: Yah. That was a double edged-sword. I think you can probably appreciate that. We did not go through the Hepburn estate.
KATE MULGREW: And so it came as no surprise. Katharine Houghton, her niece, who has been not only a devotee of Hepburn's, but of the estate, I think…
KATE MULGREW: And very possessive and territorial about keeping all of her matters very private, came. Her former brother- in- law came and I think a couple of other members of the family. And Miss Houghton wrote a letter to the Hartford Courant, in which she expressed, in no uncertain terms, that she had problems with the text, praise for my performance…
KATE MULGREW: And that one could never possibly reveal a life like this as accurately as she would hope. And of course that's what …
JIM MANTEL: In such a short period of time.
KATE MULGREW: That's right. But in fact it's very clear. If you're going to do a piece like this you cannot do a vanity piece.
KATE MULGREW: I'm not interested in standing up and doing (in Hepburn's voice) "African Queen" all over again. You know the…
JIM MANTEL: Wow!
KATE MULGREW: The point is, come and learn something. Much is revealed about Hepburn in this. Much.
Linda: I can't wait to see it, I'm a huge fan of yours and of hers.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you so much.
Linda: So I will definitely make the time…
KATE MULGREW: Great. Oh do come.
Linda: Yes. Well thank you. Thank you for indulging me.
KATE MULGREW: I thank you.
JIM MANTEL: Over the years, any role that you particularly look at and go 'God, I wish I hadn't done that one'.
KATE MULGREW: Had not done it?
JIM MANTEL: Yeah.
KATE MULGREW: Not any real regrets. No. No, I don't think I have one.
JIM MANTEL: Not one movie out there that makes you go "Oh God, don't show that one!"
KATE MULGREW: I think I did something by Danielle Steele called "The Rich, The Famous, The Ugly the Stupid…" and why in God's name am I doing this idiot thing, but um…
JIM MANTEL: And you of course would have been the rich…
KATE MULGREW: … the famous, the beautiful, the smart…
JIM MANTEL: Of course.
KATE MULGREW: Of course! I had two lines! That's all I can really – I can think of. I've been very, very lucky Jim, in my career. A little probably due to the strength of my personality, and the fact that I never had to play those games in Hollywood with men in a position to give me work. So I've played strong female roles all my life.
JIM MANTEL: 7:25 with Kate Mulgrew at 99.5, WGAR. How did you come to meet and fall in love with Mr. Hagan?
KATE MULGREW: How did I come to meet and fall in love with Mr. Hagan. I'm asking myself that question every day!
JIM MANTEL: 'Cause there's a lot of people who know Tim are going "How!?"
KATE MULGREW: How! Yes, darling, are you out there? Are you in traffic? How? How? We met in Ireland. My mother fixed us up. She was my husband's friend long before I ever met him. And my mother's best friend is Jean Kennedy Smith, who was then the ambassador to Ireland. Tim was over there escorting the Ambassador to something and she suggested that I meet him for a drink. I was in Ireland with my two young kids on a holiday, and I did and it was absolutely instant. How can I explain this to you?
JIM MANTEL: So after all these years, Mom's still trying to hook you up?
KATE MULGREW: Oh, my dear mother. "Oh no," she said, "you'll never go for him, Kate, no, no, not like that, you'll just be great friends." It was the thunderbolt!
JIM MANTEL: Really?
KATE MULGREW: Yeah, it really was. It was instant.
JIM MANTEL: He's a very charismatic guy.
KATE MULGREW: He certainly is. Yes. In every conceivable way, by the way, huh!
JIM MANTEL: My goodness! Captain!
KATE MULGREW: Red alert!
John: Are we going to have to send you to your stateroom?
JIM MANTEL: John's been very quiet through this whole thing and John is a film and theater…
KATE MULGREW: Buff…
JIM MANTEL: Very much so.
KATE MULGREW: Well then why have you been so quiet?
JIM MANTEL: Cause he only wants one thing from you.
KATE MULGREW: What is that?
KATE MULGREW: What do you want?
JIM MANTEL: Seven of Nine's phone number!
John: I do not!
KATE MULGREW: Don't make me take this hot cup of coffee, which I'm enjoying and pour it all …
John: I think she's a talented actress.
KATE MULGREW: You do?
John: I do.
KATE MULGREW: What strikes you as the most talented aspect of her.
KATE MULGREW: Uh huh. You can stand up now, dear.
John: No. I think she's relatively talented, she's not devoid of talent.
KATE MULGREW: Look what he's doing with the cable, everybody. He's suddenly absolutely been reduced …
John: What did you do this to me for (to JIM MANTEL)?
KATE MULGREW: Your testosterone… your little earphones are buzzing off your head!
John: She's… she's the captain. She can send me to my quarters for…
JIM MANTEL: I've never seen John twist in the wind like this before.
John: … for three parsecs or something like that!
KATE MULGREW: You have never seen, let's be frank here, on the air.
JIM MANTEL: What's that?
KATE MULGREW: A body quite as remarkable as that body.
John: She's a phenomenally beautiful woman.
KATE MULGREW: Who's going to contest that? Not I, said the Captain! She sure is.
JIM MANTEL: The show, "Tea at Five" opens August 20th at the Cleveland Play House. To get tickets you can call the Cleveland Play House and good luck, and we hope you end up on Broadway.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you so much.
JIM MANTEL: Or Columbus. Whichever.
KATE MULGREW: How about both? This is possible! Thank you!
Listen to this interview at WGAR's website.