Susan Sullivan

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    • Susan Sullivan: (on the fame that comes with a TV hit) I don't think I ever wanted fame. When I'd go on talk shows, it was so terrifying being with Johnny Carson. You knew you were supposed to be quick-witted, so I'd do this self-deprecating - I'd put myself down before they'd start in on me. That's also about shame, about not feeling entitled to have what you have. It's very complicated, and I think a lot of actors feel this way. It's the ambivalence. It's 'I'm out there and I want to be successful.' It's 'I don't feel worthy and I don't want to be hurt.'

    • Susan Sullivan: (on why she became an actress) As a little girl, 5 years old, I was in a Brownie show. It was one of those seminal moments for me. I came from a very chaotic, dysfunctional, alcoholic-father background that a lot of artists come out of, and to construct order I'd do little plays, because there was form and shape to my acting in them. So I wiggled, I winked at the mothers, and recently I remembered a moment I hadn't thought of in 30 years. I mean, I'm a narcissist, as all actors are to varying degrees on the pendulum, and when I did that little Brownie show, I remember this little girl pointing, saying, 'There she is, there's the showoff.' Sometimes these things come up on you and you don't know how they fit together. Here I am doing Buffalo Gal and this memory has come up. As I learn this role, I think I understand the reason for it.

    • Susan Sullivan: (On actor's insecurities) This is a very important aspect of what it means to be an actor - maybe younger actors aren't as burdened with this as I've been. I live and share my life with a wonderful man, a psychologist and author, Connell Cowan. He took a continuing-education course on narcissism, desire, and shame. Now, I'd just done this TV pilot in which I played an old kind of diva actress who really thinks she's grand. She sings - and I don't sing - in the pilot. I did it, and yes, it was fun, but I was so embarrassed by it. I said to Connell that I felt depressed after I did this big number and everybody applauded, regardless of whatever they thought of it. I said, 'I don't know what this is; maybe I don't really want to be an actor anymore.' He said, 'You feel shame.' And, you know, he was right: I was feeling shame because I didn't quite feel entitled to be a showoff, which is part of what you are as an actor.

    • Susan Sullivan: (on her early career) I started out doing theater and a soap in New York and that's... sort of what I got stuck in. I was blessed enough to have long runs, and it's sort of hard sometimes then to get out.

    • Susan Sullivan: (on Mitch Ryan) Mitch and I have known each other for such a long time, and we're both so pleased to be given this opportunity at this point in our lives to play characters that we've never really had a chance to play before. It's a great gift. Plus we're wise enough to appreciate it.

    • Susan Sullivan: If you're cast right you can actually just let yourself go because all your gestures will be right, all your intonations will be right because you just somewhere understand who this person is.

    • Susan Sullivan: (when she co-starred with Jane Wyman on "Falcon Crest," long before her death in 2007) When I was on that show, I said, 'I'm watching Jane. I'm a diva in training!' because she was both things: She did want to be with the crew and she knew everybody's name, but she was the queen of that show.

    • Susan Sullivan: (When asked about her tears on the episode of Falcon Crest her husband died) It was P.M.S.

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