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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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She Can Turn the World On With Her Smile


“Will book publishing finally get the comic portrayal it deserves? Production of a CBS pilot is moving ahead for agent Betsy Lerner’s sister Gail Lerner’s sit-com “Open Books.” Lerner, who has been co-executive producer on Ugly Betty, said last fall that ‘publishing is a lot like sitcoms. Although both are supposedly dying, that only makes people more passionate about creating the next great novel or show.’ Tony winner Laura Benanti has been cast as the lead, a book editor at a small New York publishing house, and Aisha Tyler has just joined the cast as her best friend. Scott Foley will have a standing guest star role as “a charismatic free-spirited writer who once had a fling” with Benanti’s character.
–Deadline Hollywood

They neglected to mention that the “mother” is played by Patti Lupone, and my “mother” has already graciously volunteered to help Patti prepare for the role of a lifetime. (Evita, Gypsy, Mrs. Lovett, whatevs.) It’s all incredibly exciting; my sister shoots her first pilot next week. Then it’s up to the network gods to choose which anointed few will actually ever see the light of night. The odds make getting a book in print look like child’s play. One saving grace about this industry is that if you write a book, and a publisher gives you a contract, the book will be published unless something completely unexpected happens like that old crack habit. Movies and tv are even bigger, baggier monsters and they are far more likely to get short-circuited than green lit.

We are all pulling for Gail. My Dad always wanted to be a comedy writer. He used to take her to the Museum of Film and Television where they would watch old Jack Benny routines. He took me to see Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby, which pretty much explains everything.

Anyone else have stardust in their eyes besides me?

31 Responses

  1. So exciting. Congratulations. No, I’m just trying to have sushi with rock stars.

    • I chauffeured Patti when she was in Evita and she invited me in for sushi and saki. She was real nice, even then, like a normal person. She had just won the Tony award. But I loved her Maria Callas the best. It’ll be cool to see her play Betsy’s mom.

  2. Go Gail! Go Lerner sisters!

    I have a good feeling about this.

  3. First of all, Aisha Tyler. I die.

    I just finished writing my pilot – writing out the season bible and then sending off a very important email. Breathing, though. 🙂

  4. Will the show’s writers seek you out for plot material?

  5. Sounds fantastic, can’t wait to watch!
    Oh, and sitcoms aren’t dying by any means! 30 Rock, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, HIMYM – I’d say that they are at a high point of quality that hasn’t been seen in decades!

    Congrats to your sister!

  6. Congratulations! I hope this works out!

  7. This is SO great! I love sitcoms. They’re perfect for my short attention span. The cast is amazing. Can’t wait! I’ve watched the reruns of Raymond and King of Queens so many times, I know the lines by heart. Now I’ll have to learn new ones.

  8. So all that creative juice runs in the family. My I borrow a cup? Congrats to your sister.

  9. Betsy…this is fantastic! So happy for you! I did this Hollywood thing for a lotta years so I know what a long shot it is to get as far as pilot stage. Wishing you and your sister broken legs.

  10. So now we know the answer to one of life’s mysteries: Who will play Betsy on TV? I totally approve of Laura Bananti; I just hope she looks as good in a pair of Doc Martens.

    This is way beyond exciting. This is AMAZING — I’m even more thrilled for you and your sister than if it had happened to me and that’s just wierd. I’m NEVER happy for other people. I will watch it the same way I read your blog — first thing in the morning and then every five minutes after that and then impatiently waiting for the next installment. I will memorize lines and liken all my friends to characters on the show and get my hair cut just like the heroine’s. This is going to be GREAT.

    The only show biz dream I have is getting Judge Judy’s job. And getting the in-jokes on Open Books.

  11. Amazing! Congratulations to the Lerner family!

  12. Don’t Look Now, and Rosemary’s Baby, you are speaking to my heart. Since you bring to mind Ruth Gordon, Harold and Maude is my comedy pick of the week. Dysfunctional relationships, depression, suicide, old age, death, and copulation, it’s got it all.

    • My heart, too. Now I’m humming the Cat Stevens soundtrack from Harold and Maude.

    • hope you don’t mind another chauffeuring story, but I drove Ruth Gordon once and when I didn’t turn into Central Park because the drive was closed, she screamed at the top of her lungs in my ear. Her husband, Garson Kanin said, “Honey, you almost gave me a heart attack!” She almost gave me one too, but it was a thrill to drive her, sort of.

  13. Wow, total immortality. Best of luck! On the shallow side of things – Laura Bernanti is gorgeous!

  14. As for stardust – I peaked in the highschool musical. Unless you count dancing on tables after a few shots.

  15. This is incredibly cool!

    And if they’re looking for walk-ins to portray any combination of brilliant/neurotic/idealistic/cynical/obsessive/vindictive/self-loathing/self-destructive/self-important writer characters? Well, you know where to find us.

  16. This is great! Your sister must be thrilled.

  17. Yay Lerner sisters!

  18. I agree with your mother Kyler. A lovely photo and bio about your fare on one page and your experience driving them, opposite. Does your mother have a title? How about, The Driven.

    • Most people agree with my mother. The tentative title is from Betsy’s post: STARFUCKER. But I might get sued, like my chapter on Diana Ross, for instance. (nasty experience)

      • Happily for you (and your project) Diana Ross is a public figure, so it’s virtually impossible for her to sue you . . . unless she can show you had a reckless disregard for the truth in what you wrote about her and actually wanted to hurt her. Otherwise, you’re off scot free. Go for it!

  19. Now it’s definitely on my Christmas gift list.

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