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St. Petersburg Times (17/Feb/1989) - Actress makes transition to adult roles



Actress makes transition to adult roles

NEW YORK - During the filming of the classic thriller, The Birds, Veronica Cartwright would take Alfred Hitchcock his tea.

"Every afternoon at 4:30," said the English-born actress, then a 12-year-old child star. "He loved the fact that I was from Bristol, because he used to tell me all the best wine cellars to go to, like it was really going to help me at 12. I wish I could remember some of them now."

Cartwright got her start in William Wyler's 1962 film The Children's Hour.

Most recently her roles have included The Witches of Eastwick, The Right Stuff and Alien and the critically acclaimed HBO series Tanner '88.

She can be seen tonight in the CBS movie Desperate for Love, at 9 p.m., locally on WTVT-Channel 13, playing the mother of a teen-ager who is accused of murder.

"That was funny when they sent us the T-shirts," she said during lunch at a midtown Manhattan restaurant. "It says Desperate For Love. Can you imagine me wearing that down the street here?"

The movie was shot in Georgia and is based on a real-life case from Mississippi.

Cartwright seems surprised when it is suggested that she works a lot.

"I'm glad it seems that way," she said. "Sometimes when I'm off for a month, I start to panic and go, `Where's my next job?' Yeah, I've been really lucky, and the parts that I've gotten have been really different and not really in the same realm, which makes it exciting."

Jack Nicholson, who had directed her in Goin' South, had suggested her for the role as the small-town prude in The Witches of Eastwick, a part that had been written with an older actress in mind. Her performance was praised, but she said it set her career back briefly, because casting agents thought she was older than she is, her late 30s.

"I wanted to get out on Bull Durham. I was too old. Susan (Sarandon) gets it, and she's three years older than I am!" she said.

Cartwright's sister, Angela, was a regular on TV in Make Room for Daddy and Lost in Space.

Angela lives in Tolucca Lake, Calif., and devotes her time to running a gift shop and raising two children, Jessica, 7, and Jesse, 3, Veronica said.

When she played Ethel Kennedy in Robert Kennedy and His Times, a CBS miniseries, Cartwright quickly had to enlist her niece, Rebecca, to play a bit part as one of the Kennedys' children.

"They had put in a call to general casting to send down two sets of twins.

They sent an Oriental set and an Hispanic set," she recalled. "They're going, `No, these are supposed to be Kennedy's children!"'

Rebecca, then 3, performed so admirably that director Marvin Chomsky leaped up and shouted, "Give her her (Screen Actors Guild) card! Give her her card!" she recalled proudly.

Cartwright pulls out another photograph of "my bear," her husband, Richard Compton, on the set of a Miami Vice episode he was directing.

They moved to New York last August after he announced one day that he was sick of the West Coast.

"I wasn't going to divorce him just because he wanted to move to New York," she said. The city does seem to have won her over since they moved here.