Friday, June 21, 2013

Nearly Famous Friday - Born Nearly Famous

I was born nearly famous. 

I myself wouldn't realize until much later in my life just what all was insinuated or attached to my name, at least to ... let us say ... gentlemen of a certain age. 

I don't believe my parents had a clue that this name carried any connotations either nor any of the other gazillion and one parents who named their baby girls the same dang name in 1963, just one year after a young actress by the same name gained instant fame in the somewhat scandalous movie, Lolita.

Wikipedia says this: Based on the Vladimir Nabokov novel of the same name, Kubrick's Lolita, though a toned-down version of the book was nonetheless one of the most controversial films of its day. 

Just 14 years old when she was cast in the role of Dolores "Lolita" Haze, the sexually charged adolescent and the object of an older man's obsessions in the film, this woman whose name I share, became quite the sensation. It is probably good that I never knew any of this. I just thought my name was boring. Somewhere in my twenties, however, I did notice a thing or two about my name. When speaking to slightly older men, I began to notice a theme emerge when I would introduce myself and share my name. I would begin to see sly smiles appear and odd smirks as they would ask me if I knew who the other Sue Lyon was or anything about the film she starred in called "Lolita?" Nope - I didn't then. I do now. 

Despite the fact that it was a rather odd moniker to be carried by an innocent and naive young lady (yes I did call myself that), I figured out just what it meant and soldiered on (he he he). I read the book, I got the joke and the winks and nudges and that was that. 

Funny thing is when I'd practically forgotten all about it, it reared it's head again. I was in my mid-twenties, living in Hollywood (Burbank actually) and about to sign a lease. Entering the rental office, I was caught unawares when the lovely young receptionist asked my name. It went something like this: 

"Sue Lyon," I said.

"Wow. Really?" she said. 
"Yes.", I said. "It is a popular name."
"It is just that my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend is Sue Lyon, the actress." 

Nearly a brush with fame - or something. While the actress (or boyfriend's ex-girlfriend if you choose) caused quite a stir in her prime, landing major roles including in "The Night of the Iguana" and "The Flim Flam Man" opposite Frank Sinatra, she was relegated to mostly secondary roles by the 1970's. She worked off and on in film and television until 1980. She was mostly ending her career before I'd even really begun my own. 

And so it goes. That is one of my first memories of being nearly famous -- close to it but not it myself. I've said for years that I need to get a large movie poster (the one with the heart-shaped red sunglasses), frame it and hang it prominently in my living room. Not everyone can have their name displayed as a star on a movie poster! 

Of course I could get this one instead: 

We are all famous in our own right. Be well.

Ciao for now, 
Mama Zuzi

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