Interview with Author of Anna Lee’s Book, Part III
Anna called John Ingle "Edward the Second"! -ABC
Hello dears. (I’m attempting to sound like Lila Q, how is it working?) As promised, I’m revealing the third and final installment of my interview with Barbara Roisman Cooper, the author of Anna Lee: Memoir of a Career on General Hospital and in Film. If you’ve missed the first two, check them out at Interview about Anna Lee’s Memoir Part I and
Interview about Anna Lee’s Memoir Part II.
These final questions invite Barbara, the author, to interpret Anna Lee’s life for us. She was thrilled for the opportunity to share her thoughts and I am thrilled to share them with you. Enjoy!
SOAPS.COM: As I was reading I folded down the pages of anecdotes that I wanted to discuss with you. However, now that I’m finished, about 3/4 of the book’s pages are dog-eared! I’m simply going to recommend that all GH fans read it themselves. Anyone who loves to read about early American Hollywood would love it, too – her life provides such a treasure trove of trivia! As you uncovered her early life, did anything in particular shock you to learn? Her time in the USO or her world travels as a young girl perhaps? If not these, what was it that blew you away about Anna’s life?
BRC: Who would have thought that Joan Winnifrith, daughter of an Anglican clergyman, would become an actress? And that her father and mother approved of her choice of professions. In those days – the late 20s and early 30s, being on the stage was still mildly controversial, especially for a woman. But that she was encouraged by her mother after her father’s death was a great surprise. Two of the anecdotes that were right out of a film were the ones about her meeting with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and the dinner with Howard Hughes. (See the book for details.) Her courage of her convictions and her strength of character – although not surprising as I learned about her – was her adamant plan to do something for the war effort. Anna’s time with the USO was probably the most exciting in her life.
SOAPS.COM: There is a wealth of information about Anna in the book, thank you for that! But since she’s gone and I have your ear for a moment, I want to pick your brain about Anna Lee, the woman you spent so much time with. Play a game with me, will you? Please fill in the blanks:
Every time I saw Anna, she was “…smiling and looking every inch the regal Lila Quartermaine.”
Anna Lee’s home made me feel “…as if I were in England in a country cottage.”
When Anna would talk about the early years of her life, she would “…laugh at her antics and tear up when she talked about the death of her beloved father.”
To my knowledge, Anna’s favorite thing in life was “…her career.”
The one thing that fans would be surprised to know (about Anna) is that “…she could swear like a sailor.”
The thing that I found most beautiful about Anna was “…her strength of character, her courage, and her lack of placing blame on anyone for the things that happened to her.”
SOAPS.COM: One sentence near the end of the book jumped out at me. "I have always believed in an afterlife, which would be the ultimate adventure." Since you spent so much time with her, what do you think Anna is doing now, in her afterlife?
BRC: Anna believed not only in fairies but also an afterlife. I can see her now, no longer in the wheelchair, running over the clouds with one of her Great Danes following close behind. She takes part in some theatricals and has an admiring group of gentleman friends.
I hope that you all have enjoyed this little visit with our dearly departed Anna Lee. I'd like to thank Barbara Roisman Cooper for her enthusiastic response to this interview and for the time she spent in answering all of my questions! Also, I'd like to thank her for my copy of the book; it is surely one of my treasures.
Julie Clark Robinson
GH Editor, Soaps.com