Date of Birth: September 23rd 1947
American actress, singer, director and screen writer.
Lear then cast her in the role of would-be country and western star Loretta Haggers on the satirical soap opera Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976 – 1977). She won an Emmy Award for her work as Loretta, and was later nominated for a Grammy Award for her spin-off musical album Tonite! At the Capri Lounge Loretta Haggers. Place wrote two of the songs on Tonite!: “Vitamin L” and “Baby Boy,” both of which she sang on the program as Loretta. Both showed that she knew how to capitalize on the character’s personality and comic effects.
“Vitamin L” is “love, you see, and without it, well, it’s hell.” (pronounced “hayull”). “Baby Boy”, which actually charted on country radio, told the story of Loretta and Charlie Haggers (played by Graham Jarvis). The couple was forever trying to conceive (the joke being that she was half his age and the sex was non-stop). “Baby Boy” was mythical in that she announced “I just found out today that our baby’s on the way.”
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was one of the biggest cult television programs of all time. The show centered around the sex-crazed Haggers couple and the almost sexless Mary (Louise Lasser) and Tom Hartman (Greg Mullavey). Mary was Loretta’s best friend and Tom was Charlie’s best friend. Tom and Charlie worked together at the plant in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio. Loretta never really did make the big time, but she did have marginal success. In one episode, Loretta makes an appearance on The Dinah Shore Show. She was talking about all of the people who had helped her along her way. During a break, she was told that some of those people were Jews. After that, she referred to Jews as “them that what killed our Lord”. The host quickly signaled to cut to commercial. (Shore was Jewish in real life).
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ended when Louise Lasser left the show in 1977, but the remaining cast stayed on for one more year to tape Forever Fernwood. The series ended with Loretta and Charlie finally getting the child that they had always wanted. While working on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Place also wrote scripts for several TV situation comedies, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis and M*A*S*H, usually in collaboration with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (who would later create Designing Women).