The original “Hot Lips” O’Houlihan is coming to town.
Sally Kellerman, who played the high-drama nurse in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H, is here Wednesday and Thursday promoting her memoir Read My Lips: Stories of a Hollywood Life. The book was inspired by a conversation with her husband who said, “If you don’t write it, I’m writing it.”
The book focuses on her life’s “adventures,” from interactions with such stars as Neil Diamond and Marlon Brando to a look at the changing Hollywood landscape. Kellerman said she is troubled with today’s industry, with everything from high-definition televisions to paparazzi.
“There’s just something in society today — I don’t understand it — there is this tendency of how you can bring down the actors, what they look like without makeup. It’s such a different point of view,” she said.
Kellerman never reprised her role as Hot Lips on the long-running M*A*S*H television series; she declined the part, which eventually went to Loretta Swit. But, she still has no regrets, for the most part. Up until the Super Bowl in 2010, the M*A*S*H season 11 finale was the most watched television show for 27 years.
“When the opportunity came along, I didn’t want to do a series. I was only sorry in the 11th season,” said Kellerman, who has appeared in a multitude of TV spots throughout her career, including 90210, Law & Order: L.A. and Touched by an Angel. She even has a cabaret act down pat, despite a 40-year gap between her first and second album.
“I didn’t know anything about building careers,” Kellerman said of her debut album, Roll with the Feelin’, which released in 1969. Her most recent album, Sally, debuted in 2009.
“Somehow, I still have a career,” she said, adding her short term plans include a one-woman show. Before anything, however, she has to deal with the South Florida heat for three events in two days.
“I was planning on wearing a bathing suit to all these things,” she joked. “Not!”
Kellerman will be at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Ft. Lauderdale Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to sign books at a 50-seat luncheon. Later at 6 p.m., the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival will present her with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Cinema Paradiso-Fort Lauderdale.
And on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Kellerman will host a fundraiser at Lola’s on Harrison in Hollywood.
Tickets to all the events, which include a book signing session, can be purchased online at www.FLIFF.com or by phone at 954-760-9898 ext. 111.