Monday, January 26, 2015

What happened to Kathleen Turner?

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For anyone who loved Romancing the Stone and especially Kathleen Turner in her role as romance author Joan Wilder (The Joan Wilder?), you were likely as shocked as I was when I saw her recently on Californication. Now, make no mistake, she does a fantastic acting job as Sue Collini, the super-high sex-drive, no-nonsense and perverse agent, though Kathleen has always done a good job with no-nonsense roles, but she looks so...well let's just say it, she looks like a post-op professional wrestler who was always a woman on the inside. She was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous and sexy and totally do-able. Does everyone remember Body Heat? Damn. I get warm just thinking about it. Now, she looks like a man with a wig.

Now I have to say here, I mean no disrespect. I really like and admire Kathleen Turner and her long, impressive and varied acting career. "I don't mean to be bad, I'm just drawn that way," is one of my favorite lines to quote from a movie, ever. Kathleen's breathy-voice delivering that line as Jessica Rabbit in Roger Rabbit was superb. The voice has mostly stayed, but what happened to face? To her body?

Well, after some digging online, I realized Kathleen Turner, who is obviously a very physical person, and did a lot of her own stunts in films like Romancing the Stone, suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis and found that in addition to her medication for the arthritis (which was most likely steroids), the alcohol helped to numb the pain. Too many steroids and too much alcohol translates into too much testosterone, and puffiness, and a very feminine, athletic, trim woman puffs up. If you want more details, I found an excerpt online of Kathleen Turner's book Send Yourself Roses. Kathleen Turner reveals her descent into alcoholism.

Now as shocking as the change in her appearance is, I vociferously applaud Kathleen Turner for not surgically altering her appearance. Brava, Kathleen! She's also not hiding out in the French Riviera. She's acting on television, stage and film still, even though I suspect sometimes she doesn't recognize herself as the person she once was...

So I guess the moral here, the thing we can all learn from Kathleen Turner, is to be yourself and then be yourself some more. Even if that means you look drastically different than in your hey-day. Hey-days can't last forever, or else they wouldn't be hey-days. So get out there, do your thing, and give the proverbial finger to anyone (myself included if Ms. Turner is so inclined) to any nay-sayers. Plastic surgery just makes people look like teflon-skinned immobilized aliens. If they don't look like that immediately post-op, they definitely look that way within 10 years.

Plus, lucky for all of us, we can still memorialize Kathleen in her old movies. Her trade-mark sass, by the way, hasn't morphed a bit, except for the predictable sass-maturation that is inevitable in an intelligent, talented, and iconic actress such as Kathleen Turner.

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Original post: May 15, 2010

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