Leigh French

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Leigh French

Born

7/14/1945, Ashland, Kentucky

Birth Name

Gender

Female
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes

Biography

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American actress Leigh French, whose pinnacle of popularity came and went with the psychedelic 60s, gained notoriety in "Share a Little Tea with Goldie," a sketch regularly featured during the 1967-68 season of CBS' The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. As a somewhat spaced-out hippie named Goldie O'Keefe, French…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In the late 70s, Leigh made a major career move when she became the owner of a Los Angeles production company specializing in voice-overs and dubbing. For the sake of her behind-the-scenes involvement, she limits her acting performances to television guest appearances.

    • Immediately after her season-long (1967-68) run as hippie Goldie O'Keefe on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Leigh was typecast as a San Franciscan hippie named Cobalt Blue in one episode ("Tag, You're It," 72-3) of the NBC action series, I Spy.

    • While considered an acceptable form of entertainment during the 60s, many of Leigh's segments on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour are since regarded as politically incorrect, resulting in them having to have been carefully edited when the E! cable channel reran the Smothers Brothers variety series in 1992. French also appeared on the E! network to reminisce about her performances on the program and to provided commentary about the deleted controversies.

    • During the 1988 CBS Smothers Brothers reunion special featuring old series (The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) regulars, one of Leigh's punch lines as the mellow hippie, Goldie O'Keefe, was censored when she made a reference to marijuana.

    • Leigh participated in a scam whereby all the young writers on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour came up with an easy money-making scheme involving Chuck Barris' premiere game show for singles, The Dating Game. When the weekly televised blind date contest began running low on celebrities willing to play the game requiring them to be one of three hidden date selections to possibly be chosen by a non-celebrity contestant, The Dating Game producers approached the Smothers Brothers writers with requests for participants. Knowing that they would be paid a thousand dollars per appearance, the writers secretly agreed with one another to not come across as being a fun date or attractive, so the program would keep having them back, which in some instances, they did.

    • After playing hippie Goldie O'Keefe during the 1967-68 season of CBS' The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, a year later, Leigh reunited with fellow coworker from the variety show, writer and future successful actor and director Rob Reiner, to portray hippies Michele and Moondog on the CBS sitcom, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

    • Leigh made her initial television appearance in 1967 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (Starring Glenn Campbell), a variety replacement show that filled The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour summer time slot, a program on which French was to become a regular cast member of during its second season.

    • After only the first season of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, as an experiment, Tom Smothers hired all new, less experienced writers to replace the veteran comedy/variety show writers on staff, with the idea that he wanted to "create" writers-- ones who reflected the vocal youth culture he saw around him, not just bits and sketches. Leigh, a then performer in The Committee, a countercultural improv troupe, was the third and last member to be hired from the group, following fellow members Carl Gottleib (future screenplay writer for the 1976 film, Jaws and, later, Screen Writers Guild upper officer) and aspiring actor/director Rob Reiner. French's contributuion was that of mostly specialty material based on a character (Goldie O'Keefe) which she had created and honed while a performer with The Committee.

    • The character (Goldie O'Keefe) played by Leigh on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was very much like the person she was at the time: a radical Berkeley hippie.

    • Approximately ten years after her 1967-68 run as hippie Goldie O'Keefe on the CBS series, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Leigh abruptly cut off the braids that she had established as her trademark.

    • Leigh's popular ditsy hippie character, Goldie O'Keefe, who appealed to the 1960s stoner culture, as well as those unaware of the sexual and drug related double-entendres that made up a large portion of her recurring commentary ("Share a Little Tea with Goldie") featured on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967-1968), was reintroduced as a yuppie twenty years after the program's abrupt cancellation when CBS welcomed the Smothers Brothers back for a return engagement in February of 1988 for an anniversary special. Picking up where she left off, French's sketch was appropriately titled, "Share a Little More Tea with Goldie," in which she promised her fans future discussion on such topics as "Sexual Dyslexia" and "What to Do When You're Hipper Than Your Kids."

    • On the February 9, 1968 episode of the NBC comedy series, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, as Dick Martin speaks, Dan Rowan's "You can't say that here!" continuously interrupts him. Martin retorts, "We could if we were on The Smothers Brothers show." When the running gag began to take hold, Rowan and Martin made an uncredited cameo crossover appearance on CBS' The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (February 25, 1968). After a commercial-parody in which Leigh declares, "I love my can," Dan turns to Dick and says, "We couldn't even say that on Laugh-In." It was the first time in which the set-up for a joke took place on one network and the punch line was delivered on another.

    • The CBS censors of the late 1960s, who routinely cut controversial remarks and segments from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, were apparently unaware of the drug related double meaning behind the title of Leigh's regularly featured comedy sketch, "Share a Little Tea with Goldie." "Tea" was a countercultural word substitute tor marijuana. French, as laid-back hippie type, Goldie O'Keefe, often opened her comedy routine by greeting the audience with "Hi(gh)– and glad of it!"

  • Quotes

    • Leigh: (in reference to 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour') The censorship issue became obsessive because it became like somebody who just had to win. And, it didn't become anymore about the material or the humor or the issues; it became about minding.

    • Leigh: (about her drug-related, double meaning-laced, regularly featured segment on 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour') When I did the, uh, Goldie piece, "Share a Little Tea with Goldie," I always did it sort of all in one and I would just share household hints and information with the audience at home. The stuff I did was kind of designed with double-entendre in mind so that if I was cleaning my house and we where going to get rid of "roaches," well, that made perfect sense to some mother sitting there and, ya know, and then, some kid going,"Oh, God! She said 'roaches' on television!"

    • Leigh: (regarding the CBS network's censors and delivering a drug related, double-entendre-filled monologue during her first appearance on 'The Smothers Comedy Hour') The whole piece made it on the air! Nobody, at that point, had a clue as to what I was talking about!

    • Leigh: (regarding her initial appearance on 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour' when Tom Smothers pulled her from an unsuspecting audience for an interview) We ad-libbed the whole piece. It was completely in the moment and it was completely, ya know... It was as pure as it can get, I think, when two performers are connecting.

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