I'm so glad that I'm finally able to tell you all that my long work of pain and love, my memoir, covering my fifty plus years in the business and more is now available for purchase at Amazon Books in paperback and on Kindle as well .
Writing anything is a merciless process and when you're writing about some of the most painful periods of your life, you can multiply that by a thousand! I sincerely hope that everyone who has a chance to read it will get their money's worth in spades. I also have a special offer of an autographed copy of the book and two autographed photos of your selection for $60.00. Just send a Money order or cashiers check to Sharon Farrell "Hollywood Princess" P.O. Box 273, Topanga, CA 90290, and with a self-addressed envelope for the book and return postage to get it back to you. Also you are welcome to enjoy a excerpt from my book, below...
As well as, "Sharon speaks about her book to Webseries Host and Actor, John Solari" on youtube.
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“KISS HER GOODBYE, HELLO CUBA”
Working without a net…
I was down, depressed and broke, but not yet broken. I called my mom, collect, that morning to make one last plead for help and advice. When she answered the phone, I could hardly understand her. I thought I heard her say that she was in the hospital. Her voice was muffled and strained, she sounded like she was in great pain. Her muttering and crying terrified me even before I’d heard the full extent of her fearful news. “Mom, I can’t understand you, can you say that again?”
“Oh Sharon, honey, I had a miscarriage. I’ve just gotten home from the hospital, dad isn’t here. He just left. He’s having some...oh things are going on…I can’t even talk. I feel so dizzy and I hurt so badly, honey. I just lost a baby. I was eight months along. It was a little boy!” She sobbed into the phone.
“Oh mom,” I cried, “Oh no.” I didn’t even know she was pregnant. “I am so, so sorry. I just called to tell you I love you, and that I was feeling a little lonely. Please, go back to bed. Go to sleep. Things will be better when you get a little rest. I am so sorry, mom!”
“Yes, I have to lie down, I’m feeling so weak. I love you, Sharon. I’m sorry I can’t help you right now. I’m just...I love you, honey. Bye -- bye, I have to hang up
now. I love you!”
I had a box of prunes that were almost gone, just enough to get me through the day. My awful, “No Money Diet,” kept my waistline trim, but caused me to suffer constantly from constipation. The only thing that gave me energy, and would also allow me to go to the bathroom, were those prunes. I tried “The Starving Actors’ Special,”10 cents for a hot cup of water, adding the free catsup and cracker that the little diners offer and a watery tomato soup was created. But it didn’t work for me. I had to have that box of prunes, and I was down to my last four. I was finding out like so many would-be actors, before and since, that the “Big Apple” can bite back.
I had been going up for this movie called “Kiss Her Goodbye” and I had an appointment later that day to meet with the director and producers. I had been working on the script with a friend, a producer, who worked for CBS and was in turn helping his friend cast this one last role, the mentally retarded younger sister of the main character played by Steven Hill, who is best known for playing the original DA character on the long running TV series “Law and Order.”
Steven was a big Broadway star and a very well thought of actor, whereas, I was still “Little Miss Nobody” from “No Wheresville” with a phony resume and almost no experience. In the script their parents had been killed in an auto accident, and he was the only one left to take care of his younger sister. Could I hold my own in such rare company? I had to believe I could after all. Even Mr. Steven Hill as well as the rest of the fine cast had to start somewhere just as I was trying to do.
I had to walk from West 76th Street to somewhere over on the Lower East Side. I had no money for a subway or bus. I couldn’t get my roommate Rita to lend me bus fare, or even give me one of her subway tokens. They weren’t even real. Everyone in those days had slugs they would use instead of paying the ever-changing fares. These fake tokens were made out of lead or some other cheap metal the size and weight of a token. Besides the subway, they also worked in the apartments’ washing machines and dryers. No actor could live without them.
Rita was pushing me towards Edgar and his son. I begged her to lend me bus fare, but she refused. She got all huffy and told me I was stupid and hard headed. She said if I wanted to go to that interview, I could just walk there. I already owed her $10 and she made it plain that she wasn’t going to lend me anymore. She went on to say that I should just come to my senses and realize that life didn’t owe me a thing, and then she casually added that she had heard it was already cast.
Rita knew all about the film. The agency she was working for had sent over a few models. She had told me I wasn’t right for it, and I should forget it. I had stopped talking to Rita about my meetings with the casting director a couple of weeks earlier.
I kept my mouth shut, got dressed, went out the door, and just started walking. I remember hearing my stomach growl as I walked pass 72nd Street, down to 7th Avenue, where I would have caught the subway, if I had had one of those darn tokens.
I was tired and dizzy when I got to the office where I was to meet the two producers and the director, Albert Lipton, for my last interview. There was another girl sitting there waiting to be seen. I had to get this role of Emily Wilson. I just had to. The other actress smiled at me, and I knew she probably was a sweet girl, but I also feared her. I couldn’t even make eye contact with her. She was the enemy. It was me or her. I knew it and so did she.
I just started praying. I must have said the Lord’s Prayer maybe fifty times. Finally, she went in and I sat and prayed some more, feeling guilty about hating that poor girl who probably was just as desperate as I was. I also asked God to forgive me for my evil thoughts.
She came out after a really long time. She was smiling, laughing and chatting with the three men following behind her. She gave me a big grin and said, “Good luck,” as she exited. Maybe she wasn’t so desperate after all. I started hating her again but this time, I didn’t feel quite as guilty. I was developing that “Killer’s Instinct” that everyone said you had to have to succeed in this rough, tough profession I had chosen. Well, I was doing it, though, I still wasn’t fully conscious of moving ever further away from the “Good Girl” as I tried to make my way.
Part of me died inside as I was ushered into the room. The first scene they asked me to read concerned how the character couldn’t find her little pet bird, which sat on her shoulder in several of the scenes in the film. I was calling him and I couldn’t find him and I had to go to pieces over this little missing bird, while my older brother was trying to comfort me and settle me down.
As I started to speak, tears started streaming down my face...for the loss of the bird...the loss of my fictitious parents, my unborn sibling and my role to the girl who had just read before me. And all my horrible thoughts about the kind of person I was becoming now seemed to be coming true. I really wished I could have died at that moment, and it all went into that scene. The pain I felt, both physically and spiritually, had reduced me to a state near to emotional collapse, and it all worked just right for that scene.
They all just sat there watching me recover after the scene was finished. The director stood up, came over to me and said, “Let’s try it again. This time, I want more innocence, no anger. Beg your brother to make things right, but also empathize with his helplessness, because you know he can’t fix anything either.”
I did the scene four different times, four different ways, but always with lots of tears. Even as I smiled up at my brother, the tears flowed.
Wow, I got my first movie!
Because we were going to be shooting in Havana, Cuba, my dad had to come in from Sioux City to sign papers and contracts permitting me to travel and work on the movie. I was still legally under age.
It was then I had to confess to the director, producer and casting director that I had made up the story about my parents being killed in an automobile accident to get the part. Thank God everyone forgave me and had a good laugh, except my poor mom and dad. When they later read in some obscure movie magazine what I had said to get the part, they were very disappointed and hurt, to say the least.
When I got off the plane that warm, sensuous Caribbean breeze hit me and I seemed transformed. The soothingly soft air, with the faint scent of jasmine seemed to be proof that I had been liberated from that small town teenage girl, and was well on my way to becoming the sophisticated woman of the world I so desperately wanted to be, but always on my own terms. I had arrived at last, “Havana!”