“Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” in the Valley of the Dolls?
Can an “incident” over a doll house in a Beverly Hills boutique lead to the arrest of a top TV star on charges of possession of cocaine?
Yes…but it’s a very “complicated” story, “Mary Hartman” fans. In fact, it’s almost as complicated as one of the many subplots in the nationally syndicated soap opera-satire starring Louise Lasser as that always put-upon “average American housewife.”
It began this way…it was a lovely afternoon in Beverly Hills and Louise, the 37-year-old ex-wife of comic Woody Allen, wasn’t worrying about her “waxy yellow build-up” but about the party she was giving later that night for her wardrobe lady. Louise dropped into the Rainbow, a non-profit boutique on Camden Drive whose profits help finance a cancer fund at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
After scouting the fashionable boutique a few minutes, the actress spotted an antique doll house and a half-dozen toy mice she thought would make the “perfect birthday present” for her wardrobe lady. The bill came to about $100 and Louise offered to pay it with her American Express card, but since the shop does not accept that card, the manager of the store asked Louise—unrecognizable behind a bulky knit cap—if she had other means of paying. Louise explained that she had over $100 in her purse but she needed that money to pay for the cake and the rest of the trimmings for the Saturday night birthday party.
Louise also happened to mention that (1) she had just had root canal work done on her teeth so she didn’t feel too well, and (2) “I’m going to sit here all day if you don’t let me take it!” Since the manager of the boutique didn’t recognize Louise and didn’t feel in the mood to take anything, she warned the actress she would be forced to call the Beverly Hills Police Department if Louise didn’t leave the store.
When Louise didn’t budge a foot, the manager did indeed summon the police who arrived shortly thereafter and discovered Louise had two outstanding traffic warrants issued against her—one for an illegal left turn in 1974 and a more recent ticket for jay-walking. After next taking the actress’ purse then uncovered what officers first observed to be a powdery, white substance. After chemical analysis, Beverly Hills Police Capt. Jack Eggers told reporters that the substance discovered in Louise’s purse was cocaine and she was then charged with one felony count of cocaine possession (Deputy District Attorney Marvin E. Kaye filed the complaint in Beverly Hills).
When Louise was arraigned on the charge, Judge Leonard Wolf directed the county Probation Department to investigate the possibility of referring Louise to a diversionary program of treatment since Louise had no previous drug convictions. The charge is usually punishable in court by serving two to ten years in prison.
Fortunately for Louise, this is one chapter of her real life that can come to a relatively quick and painless end. Insiders in the industry, however, wondered aloud if the arrest really was symptomatic of other problems bothering the actress. When Louise gave a press conference in New York recently, she admitted the grinding routine of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” was getting her down.
“I can’t rest, I’m so exhausted,” she admitted. Louise also admitted that she was having some problems in over-identifying with the rather bewildered character she plays daily on the tube. “I’m having a problem with it!” Louise declared succinctly.
After this recent incident in Beverly Hills, Louise Lasser has another “problem” to face. For her sake—not to mention Mary’s—we hope the talented actress works everything (everything) out!