Bebe Neuwirth

3.8.2005

By Jeffrey Epstein

Do you have fond memories of Cheers?

You know, I have to say I was a very different kind person in my old life, so I was very unhappy. Certainly there were moments of fun and laughter and loving in there, but it was not the best period of my life so far.

And now?

Now I'm much happier.

And the flip side of that in doing that show, I imagined that opened better doors for you in terms of the theater.

Oh, I have to say, that was a large reason why I took it, because when that came along I was doing Sweet Charity and we were about to go to Broadway with it'

With Debbie Allen?

Yes, that's right. And I did my first episode when I was waiting in between the California and the New York runs of that show. And I just did one scene on the show, just to do something while I was waiting to go back to New York. I won a Tony Award with Sweet Charity on Broadway and I was very happy and doing what I loved. This was everything that I always wanted to do. Then Cheers asked me to come back. It was a very hard decision, and I resented it. But part of the reason I took it was because at this point in Broadway, this was 1986, when they just started bringing in people who were better known for television and film'but really television'to do the leading parts on Broadway. And all of a sudden, here I was working my way up through the ranks of the chorus and they gave me a Tony Award for supporting role in the show. Normally I would probably be considered for a lead, but I probably wouldn't unless I had television credit. And I thought, Well, it's not that I want to be a star, it's just that I want to be able to do more stuff on Broadway, so if I have to go to television to do that, then fine. If they need me to be seen by everybody in the country, fine, I'll go to Cheers and I'll be seen by everyone.

What's your feeling of gays in Hollywood right now?

Well, I'll tell you one thing. I really think it's a shame that in Hollywood you can't be out. In New York, the actors can be out and they can play whatever they want. Harvey Fierstein is playing Tevye for God's sakes. But in Hollywood, there are so many gay actors' For actresses it's OK for some reason' because straight guys like to see it. But straight Hollywood can't stand the thought of men together, so these guys'it's just too awful, I think. It's like, well, what's changed since Rock Hudson really?

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