Mary Steenburgen is one of those actors that you can’t help but like. She showed why that is on Tuesday’s (Oct. 29) “Live with Kelly and Michael.” The actress talked about her marriage to Ted Danson, getting her first big acting role with Jack Nicholson and her upcoming part in “Last Vegas.”
Because he was a recent guest on the show, it made sense for Kelly and Michael to start off Steenburgen’s interview with questions about that relationship. The couple has been together for 18 years now — an unusually stable marriage by Hollywood standards — and seems as happy as ever. “People are going to hate us!” Steenburgen explained with a laugh when asked about how things are going. She did, however, add that it was more than just dumb luck that makes the relationship work. “You struggle,” she said. “You learn a few lessons, and eventually you find your perfect person.”
Where did Steenburgen come from to find her place in the acting industry? The story turns out to be the kind of thing that actors dream about — Jack Nicholson brought her in.
Steenburgen had been working at a New York restaurant when she found out that they were casting a female role in Nicholson’s movie, “Goin’ South.” Although she didn’t even have a script to read for the role, Steenburgen just waited outside the office and was handed her lines by Nicholson himself. The audition went so well that she ended the session eating pizza with Nicholson.
How did she find out that she had gotten the part? When she needed some money during auditions, Nicholson assured her that it wasn’t an issue. “Don’t worry about it kid,” he apparently told Steenburgen. “You’re on the payroll.”
As for her upcoming film, “Last Vegas,” Steenburgen had nothing but praise for her rather legendary co-stars. And she had nothing but dislike and fear for the Las Vegas thrill ride her character enjoys in the movie. “I don’t even know if you can call it a ride,” she said. “It’s like a torture experience.”