Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What a Hack !!

Shelley Hack became famous for her 70s Revlon CHARLIE perfume commercials in which she sauntered through glamorous hotel lobbies and into limos to a catchy jingle - which made Charlie the #1 scent in the world with $1 billion in sales for 1977. It sold 70s glamour and freedom in a bottle.

Here's a clip of her with The Velvet Fog crooning the jingle.

Hack grew up in Greenwich Connecticut - daughter of a Wall Street financial analyst father and ex-stewardess/model mother. The eldest of 6 children, Hack graduated from Smith College with a degree in history.

People Mag offered this tidbit:
She moved into a third-floor walk-up in Greenwich Village, signed full-time with the Eileen Ford model agency and took acting lessons at the Herbert Berghof Studio. "My father encouraged me to invest my money," Shelley remembers. "As far as he was concerned, I was in business—the business of selling my face." She sank her earnings into a 244-acre farm in New York's Catskills. "It's dairy country, not chic," she says. "It's a nice contrast to put on my barn clothes and go out and slosh.

This high profile, high paying modeling gig led to one lackluster season replacing Kate Jackson on the withering Charlie's Angels (her debut episode featured the Angels going on the Love Boat cruise ship to solve a crime. Bring a Book. Snoozefest.)

Producers thought she was a perfect choice to play the sophisticated "classy" angel from Boston named Miss Tiffany Welles.

"Maybe the show will make me a star overnight, maybe it won't."

Hack may have hated the weak writing -or- the network brass critiques because by season's end she was emoting with all the dull or defiantly aloof delivery of a bored 8th and final season Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched. Her contract option was not picked up by ABC and she left the Angels for good.

In 1982, Hack was perfectly cast as the fabulously bright and refined network TV assistant Cathy Long in The King of Comedy. She is pitch perfect in her lobby scenes with Rupert Pupkin. As the script details, she is the epitome of "strained politeness".

     Are you speaking for Jerry?

                 CATHY LONG
     Let's put it this way, Mr. Pupkin.
     Mr. Langford has complete faith in
     our judgment.

     I'm sorry to have to say this, Miss
     Long, and I certainly don't want you
     to take it personally, but I have to
     tell you that I don't ... I don't
     have faith in your judgment.

                 CATHY LONG
     Well, I'm sorry you feel that way,
     Mr. Pupkin. But I'm afraid there's
     nothing that can be done about that.

     No ... No ... I'm afraid I'll have
     to disagree with you again.

                 CATHY LONG
           (with strained politeness)
     That's your privilege, Mr. Pupkin.
     Now, if you'll excuse me, please, I
     have some things to do. I'm sorry
     the news isn't better.

CATHY LONG turns to go.

     Miss Long?

CATHY LONG turns back.

     When are you expecting Jerry in?

                 CATHY LONG
     He won't be in until very late this

     That's fine. Thank you.

Starting in 2000 and for the next decade, Hack became founder and president of Shelley Hack Media Consultancy (SHMC), a company primarily involved in media consultancy for pre- and post-conflict countries. Her company worked on projects to transition Bosnian State television to a public broadcaster, as well as producing Bosnian TV political debates and providing media training for Bosnian politicians.

In the last few years, Hack has been popping into the Autograph Convention circuit and gladly signing autographs and posing with fans - for  a small fee.

Shelley Hack is married to TV director Harry Winer and they have a 21-year-old daughter.
You want to see a photo of their PRIDE and JOY ?   (thanks Rupert)


Donna Lethal said...

I wondered what happened to her and always thought she was underrated. She was the perfect foil to Langford at the desk.

Pantheon Zeus said...

I didn't mention that Shelley Hack was good in the filmed production of the comedy play VANITIES (for HBO/Showtime?) in 1980. She co-starred with Meredith Baxter and Annette O'Toole in the 3-act play about the girlhood ties that bind three Texas friends.
I watched it all again on YOUTUBE.