Joanna Gleason isn't as famous as her dad, but that's OK with her

Movies

May 09, 1991|By Lou Cedrone

Joanna Gleason is asked all the time, and the answer is no, she is not Jackie Gleason's daughter.

''Gleason was my married name,'' she said. ''I'm not his daughter. I'm Monty Hall's daughter.''

Monty Hall, the man who did ''Let's Make a Deal'' all those years?

''The same,'' said his daughter, ''and I am immensely proud of him.''

So what's he doing now?

''He does a lot of personal appearances,'' she said. ''He does a lot of fund raising for charity, at no salary. He spends a lot of time on the road.''

As for herself, Gleason does stage, television and movies. She did ''Into the Woods'' on Broadway. Her newest film, ''FX 2,'' opens here tomorrow.

''We had a wonderful time making the film,'' she said. ''It was fun to do a different kind of character. Usually, you're the mother or wife of one of the characters, and that wasn't the case here. I also jumped at the chance to work with Brian Dennehy.''

Gleason has always wanted to act, always wanted to do movies, stage and television. ''I've known from an early age,'' she said. ''It's all I ever focused on. It was all I ever wanted to do. I never lost sight of it.''

She is not what you would call a star, but she knows that, and she prefers it that way. ''It's better when it happens to you gradually, rather than in a clump,'' she said. ''It allows you to have a life as well, and it is easier to sustain, easier to handle.''

Mechanic subscribers (and others) will see Gleason in person when ''Nick and Nora'' opens the 1991-1992 season in the fall. Gleason will be Nora to Barry Bostwick's Nick.

Nick and Nora Charles are the Dashiell Hammett characters in the ''Thin Man'' stories. The musical stage version was supposed to have been seen this season, but the money fell through, and the production was postponed.

''I've been with it for two years,'' said Gleason. ''It's been a roller coaster ride. It's also been an education. I saw where the money was supposed to come from, and I was there when it didn't. It was devastating, but in a way, it's given us valuable time. The work has evolved much more than it would have if we had rushed in. This way, we are not taking as great a risk.

''It's always been a question of time and climate. We were vying with 'The Will Rogers Follies' and 'The Secret Garden,'" she said. "There are only so many big musicals that are going to make it.''

Gleason has a 12-year son. She and he make their home in New York. ''He's been talking about wanting to be a film director,'' she said. ''I don't know.''

Paul Winfield will play Sir John Falstaff in ''The Merry Wives of Windsor'' when the Shakespearean comedy is presented June 4 to 16 at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington as "Shakespeare Free For All."

That means admission is free, but tickets must be obtained before the performance at the Carter Barron box office.

Pat Carroll, who did Falstaff in the Folger Theater production, was to have done the role at the Carter Barron but had to withdrew because of knee surgery.

Julie Andrews and Jeremy Irons will be co-hosts of the American Theater Wing's 1991 Tony Awards show at New York's Minskoff Theater on Sunday, June 2. CBS (Channel 11) will carry the ceremonies from 9 to 11 p.m.

Tom Kiefaber, owner-operator of the Senator Theatre, is telling his patrons he will indeed show the restored ''Spartacus'' when a 70mm print is available. The 1960 film is now being shown at the Westview in 35mm. Kiefaber also announced that he will include ''2001: A Space Odyssey'' in his continuing festival of classics.

The trivia department: Charlton Heston's mother in ''Ben-Hur'' was played by Martha Scott, who also played Heston's mother in ''The Ten Commandments,'' the current attraction at the Senator. ''Ben-Hur'' preceded ''The Ten Commandments'' at the Senator.

Herb Alpert, Clint Walker and Touch Conners (who was to become Mike Connors of television's ''Mannix'') played extras in the 1956 film. It isn't easy to find them.

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