Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lost Girl by Kathy Coleman

Kathy Coleman with Steven Thompson. Lost Girl: The Truth and Nothing But the Truth So Help Me Kathleen. 2015.

Coleman notes “the whole premise of the book should be that we’re no different.”

Coleman grew up without a father and was the youngest of several siblings. She lived in a small community an hour and a half away from Hollywood. She was not liked by her classmates who ridiculed her being a child actor. Coleman told Dinah Shore on “The Dinah Shore Show” that her classmates “beat the heck out of me.” That was edited out of the interview.

Abuse continued in her life. Coleman’s first marriage first marriage was to a husband who shot up their house, causing  $18,000 damage,. She hid and fled, fear for her life. Her husband was son the son of U.S. Rp. Alphonso Bell. Her husband grew up rich and without an appreciation for things. Her in-laws remained supportive of her and her children even when her ex-husband was non-supportive,

Whitman had an acting agent at age six. She was born Kathleen Buck (and never saw her father growing up and later learned she had a different father from her siblings. She used her mother’s maiden name, Coleman, while acing She first worked as Goldilocks in a Shakley’s Pizza commercial. More commercial work followed, including a part in the play “Gypsy”.

One commercial would quality as work during an unemployment compensation period. Coleman, along with numerous other celebrities, lived off of unemployment compensation.

Coleman was selected as one of the 16 members of the changing membership of the Mike Curb Congregation Congregation singing group.

Coleman was cast in the Saturday morning TV series “Land of the Lost”. The only child actor was Phil Paley. Paley and Coleman had worked together prior in a Cheez-Its commercials Paley was the youngest second degree black belt at the time, studying under Chuck Norris. Later, Coleman and Paley lived together briefly.

The writers of “Last of the Lost” developed intelligent science for adult viewers with visuals for children. Several top notch directors such as Bob Lally, Gordon Wiles, and Dennis Steinmetz directed episodes. Denis Steinnetz, a noted make-up articles worked on the series. Two sound stages were used. A chroma blue key, a.k.a. “green screen:, was used. Coleman were blue corduroys in early episodes that were changed o burgundy as the blue pants color faded in the chroma key blue.

Dinosaur close-ups involved hand puppets. Coleman noted “they could have been done better.”

Wesley Eure, an actor on the series, was originally billed as “Wesley”. He and Coleman would comptee for ad libs and last close-up shots.

When Coleman had to cry in a scene, Wesley Eure held her was she released tears. After her performance that included crying, the crew gave her a sanding ovation.

“Land of the Lost” declined in viewership when Spencer Milligan, who player her father on the show, He was replaced by Ron Harper, who was cast as her uncle. Spencer had acted as a father, which appealed to young viewers. Uncle Jack wanted to display sex appeal, Scenes between Coleman and Harper were visibly tense.

Coleman appeared singing on national TV during the Macy’s Day Parade. Minutes before she saw her mother having an epileptic seizure. She had to appear on TV not knowing if her mother was still alive. Her mother did survive.

Coleman’s agent turned down being on “One Day at a Time”. This was even though fellow cast member Wesley Eure was doing two TV shows at the time. Her agent didn’t want her to do that.

Spencer Milligan was upset that there were no payments for cast members for merchandising with their images. Milligan did not get along with producer Marty Kroft. Milligan left the show.

Ron Harper was added to the show. He made inappropriate advances to women on the set, including 14 year old Coleman on the set which was captured on tape. Coleman’s mother threatened to report the incident. She was offered the option of having the incident reported and shutting down the show, or accepting an apology from Harper. Her mother needed the income and agreed to the apology. Harper gave a weak apology. The tape was destroyed.

“Land of the Lost” was the top rated children’s show. It lost ratings as fans became confused and upset that Milligan was no longer on the show. The show lasted three seasons.

Coleman got a job in “Adam 12” through connections during a dinner discussion. Coleman writes “that’s how this business works. When you know someone and they can help you, then they do and that’s the beauty of it.”

Coleman filmed her last set of commercials for Burger King at age 17 before marrying, divorcing an abusive husband, and returning at age 29.

After divorcing a second abusive husband, who were sometimes homeless, Coleman was homeless alone for two months. She learned homeless people tend to be among the nicest people.

Coleman developed an alcohol addiction. It became serious enough that she was hospitalized for a month. She found recovery.

Coleman auditioned for the second “Land of the Lost” TV series. The director stated she gave the best reading but shoe was not cast.

Colmean filmed a scene with the “Land of the Lost” movie. Her cameo was deleted from the final movie when it was decided to use a different humorous ending.

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