Robert Altman-produced ‘The Late Show’ celebrated at 41st Anniversary screening

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Well folks, I was thrilled to have been involved with coordinating the 41st Anniversary of “The Late Show” (1977) on Saturday, March 24 at Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills as presented by Laemmle Anniversary Classics series, hosted by Stephen Farber.

This gem of a film, written and directed by Robert Benton, was produced by the late Robert Altman and starred Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy, Eugene Roche, Howard Duff, John Considine and Joanna Cassidy. It’s always been one of my favorite films since Tomlin gave me a copy of the DVD many years ago, sharing the fact that The Late Show is one of her films she’s “most proud of.”

Actor Bill Macy and wife Samantha Harper attend the 41st Anniversary of “The Late Show” at Ahrya Fine Arts. Photos by Billy Bennight.

Benton’s homage to the detective genre, the film has a loyal following, many of whom attended this special one night only screening. There were also young people in the audience seeing it for the first time.

Lily and I have discussed presenting it for a while now, and it all came together as Lily (who plays Margo Sperling) was scheduled for the Q&A after the film. I was lucky to book Joanna Cassidy (Laura Birdwell) and Bill Macy (Charlie Hatter) as surprise guests to participate. Even Eugene Roche’s granddaughter Allyson Roche came to watch her late grandfather on the big screen.

The lively Q&A after the film featured Tomlin, Macy and Cassidy sharing stories about their experiences making The Late Show. Lily agreed it was a “magical script” and she told a few “out of school tales” and colorful stories. She remembered that her hair was very dark at the time, just like it was in Nashville (in which she was nominated for an Academy Award). Tomlin continued, “I was worried about the lighting and drove the crew crazy because Art’s hair was so white. I brought a mirror so they would fix the lighting.” Cassidy chimed in, “You did…you got great lighting.” I was called on to read a congratulatory note from Denyse Specktor, who had worked with Altman and visited the set. She couldn’t be there in person but remembered, “The night I spent on-set, they were filming at Lion’s Gate on Westwood Blvd.” to which Lily shared, “We used to watch dailies there.”

Bill Macy was the Rock Star of the night, and brought down the house several times, especially when he introduced his lovely wife of 43 years, Samantha Harper Macy. At 95-years-young, Macy was a riot with his inspirational philosophies. “It’s at gatherings like this that you realize these moments are precious,” he shared.

It was a special night indeed, and as marvelous as all the performances were on screen, Lily shone brightest in her spot-on wonderful work as Margo in The Late Show.

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For more “magical and funny” moments, check out Voice for the Animals Foundation’s upcoming unforgettable night of comedy with Wait, Wait Don’t Kill Me 2, starring Lily Tomlin, Whitney Cummings, Craig Ferguson, June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Friday, April 27. The evening is hosted by Paul Scheer and features animal news, views and more! Visit VFTAFoundation.org.

Live your dreams…

Kat

Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.

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