Oscar History

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Jan 14 2017

Pfandom: More than a pretty face? Too soon to tell.

a 1979 publicity photo

Michelle Pfeiffer Retrospective. Episode 2
by Nathaniel R

All Pfans, if not fans, know and relish Michelle Pfeiffer's very first line onscreen. Say it with me now...


Fantasy Island S2E10 "The Island of Lost Women"
First aired November 25th, 1978

The line was spoken, emphatically, even giddily, while Pfeiffer gave the goofy罗伯特·莫尔斯(no really) a thorough twice over with her eyes while her hands investigated, too. She barely even looked at Niobe, so intoxicating was the sight of the only man in the vicinity. When Niobe tells her the man has magical powers, her eyes flash with unhinged if virginal comic eroticism."REALLY?!?"...

Let's just say that it was not an auspicious acting debut but subtlety was verboten on television back then. Hit TV shows were skin deep so the young Pfeiffer's head-turning prettiness, which hadn't yet aged into full Devastating Movie Star Beauty, was a natural fit for the kind of roles she nabbed almost immediately once shegot out of beauty pageantsand won an agent.

“雅典娜”幻想Isl米歇尔菲佛and (1978). This image has only been slightly altered to magnify her preternatural luminosity evident even before the talent grew

UnlikeDollhouseandWestworld和任何其他当代的节目或贸易事务性幻想完成的电影,Fantasy Islandnever got hung up on the specifics or even the humanity of its staff. Were they humans, feigning lust for their paycheck, or robots or something more supernatural / immortal? These questions were way to heady for Seventies television and unless adults were having intimate pre-internet obsessive conversations that children weren't privvy to about empty-headed hit TV shows,nobodywas asking them off screen either.

菲佛,视觉,甚至当她在背景模糊"The Solitary Man"
Aired October 9th, 1979

From "Athena" to "Tricia," a far less exotic name for her next character in a project that was far more grounded. The Oscar winning blockbusterKramer vs Kramer(1979) was about to hit movie theaters but the topic of divorce and lost adults starting over was everywhere in the late 1970s including on television. This made for TV film retroactively dubbed a "blue collarKramer vs Kramer" starred Earl Holliman (a minor star of 1950s cinema) and former Oscar nominee Carrie Snodgress (Diary of a Mad Housewife). Michelle Pfeiffer is ninth-billed and, based on the tiny glimpse of her in the commercial, perhaps she plays a temptation or a one night stand or merely an unattainable beauty at a single's bar.

I've been unable to locate a copy, but the movie seem to make much of a splash receiving no Emmy nominations. Nevertheless the commercial for it is a time capsule flashback to TV promotions of the era, and with Michelle Pfeiffer side-to-side torso dancing out of focus in the background, it's hard to miss the visual foreshadowing of her first scene in疤面煞星(1983)... she didn't learn many new moves on the dance floor before the Brian de Palma game-changer!

CHiPs S3E11 "The Watch Commander"

Since a big screen comedy adaptation of the 70s buddy cop seriesCHiPsopens this March (Michael Peña will play "Ponch" and Dax Shephard is "Baker") it's a perfect time to also note that Pfeiffer made a brief appearance in that series. She played "Jobina" (what a name, right?) a young girl taking a sky-diving class. This is not part of the plot but a sidebar scene for Baker. Pfeiffer has just one scene and if this had aired before theFantasy Islandbit, it would be just as fun to lampoon as that very first role.

("You did it!") Pfeiffer enters, squealing, in red... with fans congratulating her.

Consider that she enters the scene descending from the heavens (to bless we mere mortals?)! When she lands -- our first shot of the actual Pfeiffer since there's no way they made a SAG member parachute into the scene -- she's immediately congratulated for existing "YOU DID IT" with lots of jumping and squealing for joy.

Cut to the skydivers gathered around a picnic table. Pfeiffer gazes off into the middle distance, bored, waiting for her only line. When she gets her cue, note that her leg bounces excitedly under the picnic table. Here she goes... a working actor!

Pfeiffer gazing off into the middle distance, waiting for her first line.

I swear you're like a different creature up there! You're just soaring like a feather.

The young actress wasn't yet soaring but give her a few years. The offers were piling up. Three more TV gigs and her first two feature films were all arriving within a single year.

Previously: Introducing... "Miss Orange County"
Next Saturday


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参考s (3)


Reader Comments (33)

Well ya gotta start somewhere and unless you're one of the lucky ones like Shirley Jones who was practically fresh off the bus from Altoona, PA when she was discovered by Rodgers & Hammerstein and cast in the lead of Oklahoma these kind of bits we're most performers lot.


January 14, 2017 |Unregistered Commenterjoel6

OOH YAS that purple photo.


January 14, 2017 |Registered Commenter克里斯·费尔

Never mind Athena she is a God.

January 14, 2017 |Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK


January 14, 2017 |Unregistered CommenterMagicub

at least she wasn't girl #2 or receptionist


i wonder what peggy skomal is up to these days...

January 14, 2017 |Unregistered Commenterpar

at least she wasn't girl #2 or receptionist


i wonder what peggy skomal is up to these days...

January 14, 2017 |Unregistered Commenterpar

Speaking of pretty faces, what do you guys think of Nicole encouraging Americans to support the future president?

January 15, 2017 |Unregistered CommenterTruth

^^^Asked & answered in several previous comment sections...

January 15, 2017 |Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

lol @ nicole

michelle is smarter, possesses a cooler, intelligent kind of blonde beauty.

even when she is in trash that she did earlier in her career

January 15, 2017 |Unregistered Commentermcv

That dancing in the lavender dress? What a Goddess. (And, yes, my mind too went to Scarface, lol)

January 15, 2017 |Unregistered CommenterCinesnatch

It is a great honor to be killed by Lindsay Wagner. Definitely a career boost.

January 15, 2017 |Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy & magicub -- spoilers, much!?! ;)

January 15, 2017 |Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R


January 15, 2017 |Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy -- only gaylings of a very very specific age range know Pfeiffer's tv work. ;) -- It's even a smidgeon before my time! (I fell for Pfeiffer in LADYHAWKE)

January 15, 2017 |Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

LOL! I do have the VHS for Callie & Son! I can't even remember the story except that it's highly melodramatic and I can't take my eyes off my favourite blonde of that time - Jameson Parker, that's his name I think or was it parker Stevenson? Anyway, Pfeiffer was forgettable in that role...well so was everyone else including Bionic woman herself.

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