LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Heather Thomas, once America’s most popular pin-up girl, has her sights set on a return to acting, hoping that the stalkers who scared her out of the public spotlight 20 years ago have lost interest.
Thomas, 52, played Jody in the TV series “The Fall Guy” for six years in the 1980s.
But she said numerous incidents with stalkers prompted her to quit acting, look after her family and focus on writing, first screenplays and now a novel, “Trophies,” about Hollywood wives and fundraising, which is out in paperback this month.
She spoke to Reuters about writing and acting:
Q: How did you get into writing?
A: “I went to UCLA film school, that is my background, and I wrote a lot there -- plays, screenplays, TV scripts. So when I had about 45 restraining orders out and I was on everything from a toilet seat cover to an ashtray -- and I was in love, and had two little girls -- I decided to give it up and write for a while.”
Q: Did you miss acting?
A: “Yes, I yearn for acting, I crave acting but I wanted to try this for a while. I started writing scripts and I have sold everything I have pitched or written, but whether they will ever be made is still up in the air. That is how it goes in Hollywood. There are lots of scripts that take a long time to get made.”
Q: Why did you decide to write a novel?
A: “I wanted to write something without anyone sticking their fingers in it for awhile.”
Q: Where did the idea for “Trophies” come from?
A: “I married a man who is very, very influential in the entertainment industry (attorney Skip Brittenham), and all of a sudden I was propelled to the other side. When you are a celebrity you just show up at events, but when you are a wife they approach you with lists. They think you have lists of people that can help their charity. Part of it is that you have the money and part of it is that you have the time.”
Q: Are trophy wives as portrayed?
A: “Not at all. I researched this and found these wives are responsible for directing about 80 percent of the foundation monies in America. It is the wives who have the time and can draw things to their husband’s attention. Trophy wives are seen as charms on a man’s arm, but I have come in contact with a lot of billionaires and their wives are busy and often have PhDs and are brilliant businesswomen. I’ve yet to meet a bimbo trophy wife.”
Q: Do you have any acting projects in the pipeline?
A: “Several, but I don’t like to jinx it by talking about them. I’d love to get back into acting.”
Q: Was it really so bad in the 1980s that you had to quit?
A: “Yes, I was getting so stalked. I had one guy climb over the fence with a knife one time. I had these two little girls and they desperately needed raising so that was that. But I think now I have gotten so old that people won’t bother me much.”
Q: At one stage you had a problem with cocaine..
A: “Oh, that was nothing. It was only for about a year. Everyone had that year.”
Q: You describe yourself as a feminist. How do you reconcile that with your pin-up days?
A: “It’s just not an issue. When I was young I did what people told me to do but when I was older I didn’t compromise myself. I wanted power and freedom. This gave me a house and the notoriety to get into the door. There is nothing horrible in letting people see your body. I don’t think I betrayed myself. I don’t think being a feminist means you should be ashamed of your body.”
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte