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Mixing with the Stars

September 10, 2010 - Karin Elton

I attended the senior college kick-off Thursday at SMSU. I heard a speaker, Carole Wendt, tell stories from her time as a writer for TV shows in New York. She spoke from 3 to 4 p.m. By 5:10 p.m. I had finished the story for the next day’s paper.

Anyway, this “farm girl from Litchfield” got to mix with Burt Reynolds, Johnny Carson, Victor Borge, Candace Bergen, Sydney Poiter, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and more. Wow.

She interviewed them and prepped them to appear on the Jack Paar Show, David Frost Show and The Today Show. The interviews are set up in advance, she said, to ensure a good show.

Sometimes she would have lunch with them at Sardi’s or drinks at Trader’s Vic’s—quintessential New York places and all on the company dime. She said she had drinks with Truman Capote and after his third Mai Tai, he told her the intimate secrets of his friends — which she did not reveal to the audience. She said he later lost those friends — rich men’s wives — because he wrote a book about them called “Unanswered Prayers.”

She also hobnobbed quite a bit with Barbara Walters who worked her way up the news food chain from secretary (where men don’t have to start out) to anchorwoman.

She said a lot of celebrities are unsure of themselves—never sure of their next gig, afraid of losing their looks and never sure that their work is good enough. She liked the celebrities best when they acted like a regular person.

Wendt is retired now and has moved back to Litchfield. She sure has lived.


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