☀ You can borrow and read Are You Anybody? free below. ☀
Are You Anybody? Conversations with Wives of Celebrities was written by Alan Funt’s wife; he was the guy who did Candid Camera, if you remember that show. Between the time Marilyn Funt started putting together this book and the time it was published, she’d become Alan’s ex-wife. She closes the book with an interview with herself:
This book was a therapeutic process for me. The more women I met, the more I learned that my unhappiness was not typical of this group. What I thought was endemic to the circumstances of being a celebrity wife was much more a personal problem between my husband and myself. Also, I discovered that the percentage of happy marriages in this group was higher than most, and that the women in this category generally feel quite good about themselves.
I hardly think that there is no connection between the fact that I began this book as a “celebrity wife” and ended it as a divorced woman.
Interviews with celebrity wives
This book is a collection of interviews with wives of celebrities, focused on the challenges of being in a marriage with someone who’s much more celebrated than you are, but covering a lot of interesting territory. It was published in 1979, so you may not know some of the celebrities, let alone their wives, but each interview is a fascinating read. One fun advantage of the book being old is that you can google the celebrities to see how the marriage fared over time.
The surprising thing is how smart many of the wives are. Yes, they’re pretty much all lookers, but they also tend to be perceptive people who have a lot of self-awareness. To say there is a wide range of personalities is an understatement. You can imagine that Muhammad Ali and Charlton Heston, Jerry Lewis and William Shatner, might have different taste in women. Getting clued into the way the mind of Billy Graham’s wife Ruth works is a vast distance from peeking into the head of Lynn Landon, wife of Michael Landon (Pa in Little House on the Prairie):
Marilyn Funt: Did you go to college?
Lynn Landon: Yes, but only for one year.
M: Why did you go?
L: To meet boys.
M: Why did you stop?
L: I met a boy and got married.
M. …Did you talk [with your mother] about your feelings, your aspirations?
L: I didn’t have any. I was just trying to be very popular, and I was.
M: You look like you should be or were a model. Is that true?
L: I was. That was what saved my life after the divorce. I didn’t have an education. I had just turned nineteen when I was married for the first time. I thought marriage would be having friends over in my own apartment and staying up late. I did not do chores at home. I wasn’t into anything, only myself.
Listening to Kari Clark, wife of Dick Clark (American Bandstand) enthuse about their marriage is a dose of bizarre yet refreshing honesty.
Marilyn Funt: What about sexuality, affection — what types are you?
Kari Clark: There, too, it is somewhat strange. Our love comes from friendship, our sex is sex. Plain old sex. Our sex doesn’t involve love and that’s how we like it.
M: You will have to help me understand that.
K: We are affectionate. For example, when we are driving in the car, we always have our hands touching. We are touchers, that’s out of bed. As far as sex goes, it is not coupled with deep feelings or heavy love, it’s more like a porno movie — sex without love. We are both very sexual and that’s always been very important. Obviously, when you are having an affair, that’s most significant or you wouldn’t bother having an affair. It was the key to our relationship, and eight years later, it still is very intense. But as far as I am concerned, that’s not love. It is not the kind of romantic loving that often goes with sex. Our affection is separate, our work, our sex, are all separate. I don’t know how to explain it — everything is extreme. Our work is all work, our love all love, our sex, all sex.
So, we rate this book as an entertaining read, worth your while if you’re interested in a look at human nature in the arena of the pantheon of godlike celebrities.
Since this book is only available to borrow by the hour, it can’t be downloaded, but you can easily read it on the Internet Archive website, using the built-in BookReader ereader.
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