Louise Lasser

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour interview, Louise Lasser talks about her early years, and her early interest in performing, which led her to study acting with Sanford Meisner. She describes working with Woody Allen, to whom she was married, on several projects including a pilot called The Laugh Makers and several feature films. She discusses early guest appearances on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, as well as appearing in the Ingmar Bergman scripted made-for-television movie The Lie. She speaks of how she came to be cast as the title character in her most famous role on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and details her time on that show working with producer Norman Lear and director Joan Darling. Lasser recalls various aspects of the show, including the cast, memorable storylines, and how she had trouble distinguishing her own persona from the show’s character when the show ended. She talks about a stint hosting Saturday Night Live, as well as guest appearances on Taxi and Girls. She concludes by recalling career achievements and regrets, and tells us how she’d like to be remembered. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on May 16, 2017 in New York, NY.

"'Mary Hartman’s' big breakdown scene affected me as I played it. It started to go darker and darker, so by the end, you could see I was really affected, and she goes to the institution. It was done beautifully by everyone because it was done with such restraint. I got the best compliment in my life from Norman Lear on that. That really means something."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Louise Lasser on "Mary Hartman's" breakdown on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on working with Norman Lear on the episode
Louise Lasser on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and on writing Just Me and You
Louise Lasser on being typecast (or not) after Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on her relationship with the character
Louise Lasser on hosting Saturday Night Live, and on Norman Lear's reaction to the show
Louise Lasser on how Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman came about for her
Louise Lasser on playing "Phyllis Reiger," ex-wife of "Alex Reiger" on Taxi
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her early memories of television; on her education, and on studying acting with Sanford Meisner
On her early theater career in New York, and on her affinity for Judy Garland; on her earliest television appearances, and on working with her husband at the time, Woody Allen; on getting her first agent, and on replacing Barbra Streisand in "I Can Get it For Your Wholesale" on Broadway
On appearing on The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and on writing Just Me and You; on appearing in the Ingmar Bergman-scripted made-for-television movie The Lie
On how Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman came about for her; on shooting the second pilot for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman being free from dealing with Standards and Practices, and on the show being of its time
On her character, "Mary Hartman"; on "Mary Hartman's" mannerisms on, and on her look on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, including the costumes; on "Mary's" breakdown on the show, and on the input actors had into their characters

Chapter 2

On working with producer Norman Lear, and director Joan Darling on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's production schedule; on working with the cast of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; on what director Joan Darling brought to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
On "Mary Hartman's" breakdown on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on working with Norman Lear on the episode; on the dollhouse scene on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, which was based on a real-life incident; on the second season of the show
On Gore Vidal guest-starring on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on her favorite episodes of the show; on working with the cast of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; on the end of the show, and on her relationship with the character

Chapter 3

On the real-life incident that inspired the dollhouse episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; on hosting Saturday Night Live, and on Norman Lear's reaction to the show; on playing "Phyllis Reiger," ex-wife of "Alex Reiger" on Taxi
On guest-starring on Girls; on advice to an aspiring actor; on her proudest career achievements, regrets, and how she'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bob Newhart Show, The (1972-78)

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Louise Lasser on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Louise Lasser on how Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman came about for her
Louise Lasser on shooting the second pilot for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman being free from dealing with Standards and Practices, and on the show being of its time
Louise Lasser on her character, "Mary Hartman," on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on "Mary Hartman's" mannerisms, and on her look on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, including the costumes
Louise Lasser on "Mary Hartman's" breakdown on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and the actors having input into the scripts
Louise Lasser on working with producer Norman Lear, and director Joan Darling on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's production schedule
Louise Lasser on working with the cast of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on what director Joan Darling brought to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on "Mary Hartman's" breakdown on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on working with Norman Lear on the episode
Louise Lasser on the dollhouse scene on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on the second season of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and on the show's critique of television
Louise Lasser on Gore Vidal guest-starring on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on her favorite episodes of the show
Louise Lasser on not using cue cards on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on working with the cast, including Mary Kay Place, Graham Jarvis and Debralee Scott
Louise Lasser on the end of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the legacy of the show
Louise Lasser on being typecast (or not) after Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on her relationship with the character
Louise Lasser on the real-life incident that inspired the dollhouse episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Louise Lasser on appearing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Saturday Night Live

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Louise Lasser on hosting Saturday Night Live, and on Norman Lear's reaction to the show

Taxi

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Louise Lasser on playing "Phyllis Reiger," ex-wife of "Alex Reiger" on Taxi
Topics

'The Idiot Box'

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Louise Lasser on the second season of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's critique of television

Advice

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Louise Lasser on advice to an aspiring actor

Characters & Catchphrases

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Louise Lasser on her character, "Mary Hartman," on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Criticism of TV

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Louise Lasser on the second season of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's critique of television

Pop Culture

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Louise Lasser on her character, "Mary Hartman," on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Television Industry

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Louise Lasser on the second season of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's critique of television
Louise Lasser on advice to an aspiring actor
Professions

Actress

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Louise Lasser on being typecast after Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on her relationship with the character
Louise Lasser on advice to an aspiring actor

Performers

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Louise Lasser on being typecast (or not) after Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on her relationship with the character
Louise Lasser on advice to an aspiring actor
Genres

Comedy Series

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Louise Lasser on starring as "Mary Hartman" on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Louise Lasser on playing the title character on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on the real-life incident that inspired the dollhouse episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on appearing on Taxi and Girls

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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Louise Lasser on playing the title character on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Louise Lasser on the real-life incident that inspired the dollhouse episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Late Night

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Louise Lasser on hosting Saturday Night Live, and on Norman Lear's reaction to the show

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Louise Lasser on writing Just Me and You
Louise Lasser on appearing in the Ingmar Bergman-scripted made-for-television movie The Lie
People

Woody Allen

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Louise Lasser on her earliest television appearances, including one pilot with Woody Allen called The Laugh Makers
Louise Lasser on working with Woody Allen when she was married to him

Ingmar Bergman

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Louise Lasser on appearing in the Ingmar Bergman-scripted made-for-television movie The Lie

Joan Darling

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Louise Lasser on working with producer Norman Lear, and director Joan Darling on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's production schedule

Judy Garland

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Louise Lasser on her early theater career in New York, and on her affinity for Judy Garland

Norman Lear

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Louise Lasser on working with producer Norman Lear, and director Joan Darling on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on the show's production schedule
Louise Lasser on "Mary Hartman's" breakdown on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and on working with Norman Lear on the episode
Louise Lasser on hosting Saturday Night Live, and on Norman Lear's reaction to the show

Sanford Meisner

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Louise Lasser on studying acting with Sanford Meisner, and on what she learned from his class

Mary Tyler Moore

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Louise Lasser on appearing on The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Bob Newhart

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Louise Lasser on appearing on The Bob Newhart Show

Mary Kay Place

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Louise Lasser on working with the cast of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, including Mary Kay Place, Graham Jarvis and Debralee Scott

Barbra Streisand

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Louise Lasser on getting her first agent, and on replacing Barbra Streisand in "I Can Get it For Your Wholesale" on Broadway

Gore Vidal

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Louise Lasser on Gore Vidal guest-starring on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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