Author/Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott has written several books of fiction and nonfiction. Her latest work is Last Dance at The Savoy: Life, Love and Caring for Someone with Supranuclear Palsy, a memoir chronicling her and her husband’s journey with this little-known neurological disease for which there is no known cure or treatment. A portion of sales benefit CurePSP, for which Scott is a volunteer spokesperson. She starred in the cult favorite “Dark Shadows” and has recently appeared in a recurring role on “The Goldbergs.” She grew up on a farm in Robbinsdale, Minnesota and currently resides in New York City and Los Angeles. Read more about Kathryn at her website and on her Facebook page.
Since I’m an actress-turned-writer, I’m choosing to single out the signed books on my bedside table written by good friends, who also moonlight as writers while being far better known for their day jobs.
The first of these is my dear friend, Sir Thomas Allen, the renowned Welsh baritone, who wrote Foreign Parts: A Singer’s Journal in 1993. I treasure my signed copy of this slim volume in which the fine singer, actor and artist offers insights into his roles in various opera productions and does so in beautifully written prose.
I’ve known Julian Fellowes (now Lord Fellowes, the renowned creator of “Downton Abbey”) since we met some forty years ago working as actors in West End London theatres. I adore Julian and love his writing, including Snobs, his first novel—a signed copy of which I would not loan out to even my closest friend! Needless to say, I can’t wait to read his new novel, Belgravia.
I acted with Dirk Bogarde in Providence, directed by Alain Resnais in 1975 and simply fell in love with this darling man over dinner á deux in a romantic Parisian restaurant. I always looked forward to seeing Dirk over the years and relished each new book he wrote. Two memoirs, A Postillion Struck by Lightning and A Short Walk from Harrods, are among my favorite books written by this brilliant actor and very fine writer.
Brian Kellow, an editor at Opera News (where my piece on Birgit Nilsson, The Star and the Stalker, was published), is one of my closest friends and a magnificent biographer. My favorites among his many best-selling biographies: The Bennetts: An Acting Family; Can I Go Now?: The Life of Sue Mengers; and Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark.
Jonathan Kirsch is not only my attorney (yes, I keep a copy of his Kirsch’s Handbook of Publishing Law handy!), but also a superb writer who has authored a shelf-full of books primarily on religion and the Bible. Two of his most provocatively titled books are in the stack by my bed: The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden tales of the Bible and The Woman Who Laughed at God: The Untold History of the Jewish People. I once watched Jonathan debate the late Christopher Hitchens (author of God Is Not Great) and, for my money, he trounced him!
Artie Shaw, the legendary clarinetist, was a wonderful friend and irascible, erudite man who devoted years of his life to writing. My favorite: I Love You, I Hate You, Drop Dead!
Which leads me, finally, to Tom Nolan’s Three Chords for Beauty’s Sake, a fantastic biography of Artie Shaw. I read this book to my husband, Geoff Miller, during the last months of his life. Geoff, the founding editor of Los Angeles magazine, was a great friend of Artie’s and counted Tom Nolan as one of the best writers he ever hired. What, you didn’t know that Tom had also been a child actor? Indeed!
Tom’s book meant a lot to us and, if anything, inspired me to turn my journal of caregiving for my husband into a memoir: Last Dance at the Savoy: Life, Love and Caring for Someone with Supranuclear Palsy.