Misty Rowe: From Hollywood to Savannah

Actress Misty Rowe – who played Marilyn in the splashy 1976 biopic, Goodbye, Norma Jean, and its 1989 sequel, Goodnight, Sweet Marilyn  – is still treading the boards today, with a longstanding role in Always … Patsy Cline, as Christopher Berinato reports for Do Savannah.

“Imagine if you got to meet your music idol and in one magical evening, become lifelong friends with them. That is exactly what happened to Louise Seger, a divorced housewife with two children, when she befriended the legendary Patsy Cline at a concert in Houston in 1961.

‘I tell this story on stage and, as I tell it, the night they met comes alive,’ says Misty Rowe, who plays Seger. ‘It’s funny, it’s poignant, and it has some of the best singing you’ve ever heard.’

Rowe has been performing in Always … Patsy Cline for about 20 years, but she might be best known for the 19 years she spent on television’s Hee Haw as a Hee Haw Honey.

Rowe’s blonde-bombshell looks, cheerful persona and smart comic timing led to regular roles on many other television shows. She was Wendy the carhop on Happy Days, including the episode that marked Ron Howard’s directorial debut. Rowe also played Maid Marian on When Things Were Rotten, a Robin Hood spoof where she worked alongside comic greats like Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar and Dudley Moore. She made appearances on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Air Wolf (her personal favorite TV role).

Rowe even has the distinction of being the first actress to play Marilyn Monroe on film in Goodbye, Norma Jean. ‘Not a great film, but I was the first,’ jokes Rowe.

Rowe now lives on Callawassie Island, S.C., and is friends with the folks at Savannah Theatre. Rowe has worked with 11 different Patsys, so when she was asked to put on Always … Patsy Cline at the Savannah Theatre, she had a deep bench to choose from.”

Marilyn: Often Imitated, Never Equalled

Maureen Dowd writes in the New York Times about why movies about great stars like Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor etc are so often disappointing:

‘The many actresses who have resurrected Marilyn Monroe can’t hold a candle in the wind to Hollywood’s most luminescent, evanescent siren.

Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino played two sides of her in the 1996 HBO film “Norma Jean and Marilyn,” which amounted to double trouble. Catherine Hicks tried in the 1980 ABC movie “Marilyn: The Untold Story,” which should have remained untold.

Still we must suffer through a new raft of impertinent impersonators. Michelle Williams stars in “My Week With Marilyn,” about her friction with Laurence Olivier during the making of “The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1957. Then comes Naomi Watts in “Blonde,” based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel.’

Maureen Dowd also reviewed Fragments last year.