When I was 13 I was, like many kids growing up in L.A., offered a bit part in a movie. But this wasn’t any movie; this was Desire Under the Elms, starring Sophia Loren, Burl Ives and Anthony Perkins. Written as play by Eugene O’Neill, its story was so risqué that my mother wouldn’t let me see the film for years. (Young and beautiful Sophia Loren is married to old man Burl Ives but has a child by his slightly creepy son, Tony Perkins, while they’re all living together on an isolated farm.)
What excited me was getting out of school for two weeks, earning $28 a day and doing something my older sister never got to do. Beyond that, it was boring just sitting around on the set, being tutored in a cramped trailer, as required by state law, costumed in a gingham dress and bonnet with fake pigtails pinned to my head.