May 13, 2014 Interview with GLORIA LORING. A consummate singer and entertainer, Gloria Loring is the recording artist of the #1 hit song "Friends and Lovers," co-composer of television theme songs for Diff'rent Strokes(1978) and The Facts of Life (1979), an audience favorite from daytime TV's Days of Our Lives (1965), spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the author of seven books, a keynote speaker, one of the few artists to sing two nominated songs at the Academy Awards, and is the mother of world-wide singing sensation Robin Thicke. Radio interview available at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/outtakes/2014/05/13/gloria-loring--heavenly
OT: Tell us a little bit about HEAVENLY and who you play in it.
GL: This is kind of a short film from about 12 to 14 minutes. It's about this woman, Johnnie that I play...who has a daughter and a little 8-year-old granddaughter. She has had a tough life, but she has figured out how to survive. She has had some drinking and drug problems -- which is good for me to play because I need to have a lot of compassion for her and feel that she's justified to have those things. So I need to open my heart to people who have those kinds of problems. I certainly have my own little addictions, whether they be to shopping or an extra cookie or whatever it is! So I understand trying to fulfill one's desires or trying to anesthetize pain. Johnnie has this daughter who is trying to be upwardly mobile in society with her church; and the daughter has this bible study class that meets at her house. Johnnie shows up (with her big hoop earrings!) early because she gives her daughter botox injections. Even though she's not a doctor or a registered nurse, she has figured out a way to make some extra money by getting Boxtox from Mexico. She knows that her daughter has her bible study class; and she wants to get some new clients. So she shows up. Of course, there's a lot of fuss with the daughter about that. Johnnie does wind up giving some introductory offers of Botox to a couple of women there. It's about the relationship between the mother and the daughter; and what's actually going on behind the scenes. The fascinating thing -- and I don't want to give the surprise away because it really is a zinger at the end of the movie -- is that the basis of this story was drawn from the headlines with a woman who was involved in doing something that got her arrested. Johnnie seems to be the problem, the one who is doing everything wrong in this movie. But in truth, she's not as guilty as one might think. That's what's really fascinating. I love that has -- like in any really good movie -- something that really gets our attention and leaves us talking and wondering and thinking and contemplating what's going on here. It's going to be great fun. I'm going to sort of disguise myself. I went out and got a fabulous red and blonde wig to wear. Johnny's much more flamboyant than I am in my personal life, although I certainly have been on stage; so I know how to be flamboyant. We have wonderful actors in it. It's going to go out to the film festivals; and we'll see if it goes somewhere from there.
OT: The directors, John Stanley and Timothy Turner, were talking about using the film to bring back retro styles of cinematography. For example, deep focus shots like in CITIZEN KANE. Was that an appeal for you in doing this project?
GL: Yes! The video that I did for the appeal on Indie-Go-Go is shot in black and white. We don't normally see many films in black and white anymore. It really brings the eye down to form and structure. Tim graduated from architectural school; and John is a photographer. So their eyes are attuned to structure and form. I think they're really fascinated with that. They have a fabulous camera that they got in order to shoot this in the highest quality black and white. I think it's going to look really beautiful. I think it's going to be very attention getting. The subject matter, the relationship between the mother and daughter -- and of course, the granddaughter figuring into that. I had known John [Stanley]. Ten years ago or so, his wife was my assistant up here in Lake Arrowhead. They've stayed up here in the community; and they have two little daughters. He didn't even call me. He sent me a package and said, I'd really love you to read this script. We're going to make it into a film; and I had you in mind when I wrote the role. I read the script; and I thought I want to do this. Most all of us are donating our services. I don't think anybody's hardly getting paid. We're doing it because we love the script. We're doing it out of love. And so we welcome people to go out on Indie Go Go and help support us. There are all different levels. Even with just a $25 donation to the film, you get to download the film; and you get signed posters as you go up the scale of how you can participate. It's very exciting.
OT: I think it's wonderful these days when people want to put together passion projects and get them up that they have these sites like Indie-Go-Go where people can help make these projects happen.
GL: You get to feel like you played a small part in getting something accomplished. You feel like you're one of the co-producers in a sense. We've had some response already. We're working on some larger donors. So we're going to see how it all goes. We're supposed to start shooting in a little over a month. They have a lot to do in fundraising during that time. I'm just letting people know that it's there. Hopefully, folks will step in and step up and help us get this done.
OT: Could you tell us a little bit about your book, COINCIDENCE IS GOD'S WAY OF REMAINING ANONYMOUS?
GL: It's a memoir, but it's a memoir with a message. That phrase -- coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous -- is a quote from Albert Einstein. Someone said that to me when I was telling them of how some coincidences came into my life to help me raise millions of dollars for diabetes research after my son Brennan was diagnosed with diabetes. I told the story of these coincidences; and this fellow that I was talking to said, Oh, but you know coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. And I said, whoa, wait a minute, I've got to write that down! Coincidence is what? God's way of what? Remaining anonymous! It seemed like such a big idea. It sounded really smart, but I couldn't quite get my mind around it -- what that meant and how that worked and all of that. As the next several years went along, I noticed these coincidences that were happening. These coincidings. Just as I secretly decided to separate from my husband Alan Thicke back then -- Robin Thicke's dad, a woman started sending me letters of comfort that I had met once. She had said, I just started getting messages for you. I pray, and I'm getting messages for you. The letters she sent to me were so enormously personal as if someone knew my greatest fears and doubts. So that was another one of those great coincidences. That's probably one of the biggest reasons I wrote the book is because of this particular story. I needed to know more about this; and so I researched quantum physics because Albert Einstein was a physicist. He had this great vision of the universe. I also investigated spiritual traditions and observations from the great spiritual masters about what that presence and power and love many of us call God -- what it is, how it works, where it comes from, where it resides, et cetera, et cetera. I found this wonderful junctioning of these two things. This idea of a great spiritual beingness and quantum physics. So I wrote the book with my personal stories with some of that information in it. So people could get a bigger vision for themselves. It's true that very often exactly what we need to know and exactly what we need to grow to the next level are just waiting to come into our lives. Many times, it is whispering at us or tapping us on the shoulder or stepping into our lives in the form of someone who offers us either an opportunity or an obstacle to overcome. If we have our eyes to see and ears to hear, if we have a bigger vision like Albert Einstein's vision, that these coincidings -- these meaningful events in our lives -- may be trying to tell us something. If we have that, then life starts to become an adventure. Somebody or something happens...and we go, hmmmm...what is this asking of me? What is this drawing me toward? What is this asking me to turn away from? As opposed to possibly feeling like, oh, crud, another terrible thing happens or just my luck. That sort of defeatist attitude. There's lots of stuff that's real tough that's going to step into our lives, but if we have a bigger vision, we can then use those difficult circumstances. That's what I'm able to do now because of all of this investigation and research. This was a long process. It took me over ten years to write this book. So it's been really exciting. I've been getting responses from people saying that this has really changed the way that they live their lives and look at their lives; and they go back to it again and again. There's a lot of wisdom in it from different traditions and different great minds and hearts. It's been exciting to hear how it's been received and used by people.
OT: So you're also writing a column for SOAP OPERA DIGEST.
GL: Yes, I write a column called "How to Drop the Drama". When we get a really big vision for our lives and we know that things may come in that will challenge us for a reason and we can find that reason for ourselves, then our tendency to create drama for ourselves around difficulties subsides. I've been teaching this and giving workshops for quite a while. So with talking with Stephanie Sloan at Soap Opera Digest, my publicist said, you've got to share this stuff in a column. So for the last year or so. I may get myself back to my office desk and sit down and write another book -- because I have more than enough information and wisdom to go into it. That may be one of my next projects. But talk about coincidence! I was here at the house; and I was working on some singing. My manager and I were talking; and I said, you know, I really want to do some more acting. Do you know within three days the script for the film arrived? And also, I was cast in a play. Within three days of just thinking about, hmmm, you know, I really want to get my feet back into acting. I want to find those moments in that way again. I do them with music; and I do them with speaking engagements. It's about being in the moment and communicating. I had a wonderful time in the play. We were in Palm Springs. It was written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron. The play was called LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE. It's about five women on stage who talk about these articles of clothing that they wore at pivotal times of their life; and how they remember those events in their life through the clothing; and the clothing reminds them of feelings and people. It's very funny and very touching. We had a very successful run. I look forward to doing more now. I do have some new agents; and they've been getting me out for a few things. There's a huge amount of competition, but there's a place for everybody. I love doing the live theater. I've always been a live performer. Live first; and then television. There's something about hearing the audience respond to you in that moment that is just so satisfying. You're connecting to people. One night, you do the line; and the laugh is kind of hmmm; and the next night, you go, I know what I've got to do. I know what I have to feel when I deliver the line; and you deliver the line. And the laugh's big. And you go OK, I've found it. And it's just so much fun! It's just a ball!
OT: Do you still keep in touch with any of your past co-stars with DAYS OF OUR LIVES?
GL: Every once in a while, I run into somebody. Our lives have taken us in so many different places. The people I've had the most connection with through the years after leaving the show would certainly be Bill and Susan Hayes. I've seen them a couple of times. And Thaao Penghlis. Thaao's such a wonderful character. I just love him. He was so much fun to work with. He was so energetic. We just had a really good time. Joe Mascolo has a home up here in Lake Arrowhead; so every once in a while, I run into him at the grocery store.
OT: Do you look back and have a favorite DAYS OF OUR LIVES storyline that you're really proud of?
GL: I was really happy that we got to do a storyline about diabetes. My son had been diagnosed; and they decided to have Liz's daughter, Noelle, get diabetes. That was very satisfying because I had had a lot of letters from people whose children had diabetes. One woman lost her little daughter to undiagnosed diabetes. She said, you have to let people know that this can kill. It was really heartwrenching and very powerful to be able to bring the information and share that with people; and maybe make them a little more aware in case one of their children was diagnosed, et cetera. I think that storyline was very deeply satisfying, to be able to do something that perhaps was more than just entertainment, that was really educational for people.
OT: Not only do people remember you as "Liz" from DAYS, but now you're "Robin Thicke's Mom"! Could you tell us anything about what Robin is up to right now?
GL: I tell people I used to be Gloria Loring. And now I'm #RobinThickesMom! He is in the midst of all the upheaval of his personal life. He has written in just a couple of weeks a brand new album. More than one album. He probably has two by now. They are rushing that album to completion. It will probably be out around the end of June. He's working very hard. I know he had a photo shoot for the album cover. They are doing a video. There's just all kinds of stuff going on. In the middle of that, we're all taking care of his little son, Julian. Everybody's managing really well, bringing the best of themselves forward. That's who my sons are. They both try their very best to be a good dad and a good husband and a good friend to the people they love.
Indie Go Go campaign for HEAVENLY https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/heavenly-an-independent-short-film
Gloria Loring FB page: https://www.facebook.com/gloria.loring.9?fref=ts
Gloria Loring on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GloriaLoring
Gloria Loring FB page: https://www.facebook.com/gloria.loring.9?fref=ts
Gloria Loring on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GloriaLoring