Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist

Michelle Pfeiffer Interview -


The little sister is short, shapely and sporty with a cheeky grin that matches her California beach look of skimpy top, bare, tight tummy and jeans. Her superstar sibling has graduated -- in public -- from a similar and often more risque surf-bunny style to Armani suits and other essential accoutrements of Hollywood power dressing. And playing.

Michelle Pfeiffer, 37, three-time Oscar nominee, wife and mother of two children who maintains she is ‘totally happy' casts a long and absolutely fabulous shadow.

Dedee( Dedee) Pfeiffer,30, single but involved with ‘a normal guy who works in a doctor's office' spent two years in college before joining her sister in the notoriously fickle acting trade. She's worked in theatre and film and television. At present she is one of the stars of ‘Cybill' -- something of an AbFab in which she plays the daughter -- and it is the most popular comedy show in America .

Britain is bidding for it at present and it looks destined for the ‘Frasier' slot on Channel 4. In a couple of months we'll see Michelle Pfeiffer in what is considered another Oscar winning performance in the moving classroom drama ‘Dangerous Minds'

The two sisters have just completed a movie together starring with Robert Redford in ‘Up CLose and Personal'.

So far, they may not comprise a dynasty like the Redgraves or the Barrymores but they have arrived as The Fabulous Pfeiffer Girls.

Of course, Dedee used to want to kill her sister. Or at least spit at her. And vice versa. There were rows over everything especially clothes. The family lived, cheque by cheque, on their dedicated Dakota-born father Richard's earnings. ‘It was fortunate that thrift fashions became popular around that time. We always made our own clothes. Michelle even made her own jeans.

‘I don't remember loving my sister when we were growing up.I remember things like when Michelle broke my record album. And the time she got into my make-up! When Mom was away one time we got into a fight and she ripped my hair out. It wasn't until we got older that we bonded.'

The family lived in the aptly named Midway CIty , California , where the nearest excitement was the real life ‘Baywatch' territory of Huntington Beach . The Pfeiffer Girls took to the environment like, well, ducks to water.

Michelle's latest film ‘Dangerous Minds' is the story of former U.S. Marine LouAnne (LouAnne) Johnson who left her officer's commission to become a school teacher. The film is based on Johnson's life which she detailed in her book ‘My Posse Don't Do Homework' a title which more accurately described her encounters with pupils always anticipating failure rather than success.

The film ‘class' was a mix of actors and gang members hired from the streets of Los Angeles . On screen they all have ‘attitude'.

Big sister was reputed to have had that too in her early days. More relaxed than she has seemed in years Michelle (‘I'm too tired to be anything but calm')

agreed. But what sort of pupil was she really at Fountain Valley High School ? ‘An absent one! I was at the beach. The suntanned one.'

So there was no inspirational teacher like LouAnne Johnson in her education? ‘Not really. Nobody that had the kind of investment and energy that LouAnne had with her students.

‘I had one acting teacher who gave me some encouragement in my junior year in high school -- but she doesn't even remember me! And I think that did play a big part in my becoming an actress.

‘But I didn't have anybody as exception as LouAnne. That's my one regret about the movie. I think that although the teacher is really good it only captures a small percentage of who this woman is. I mean she will resort to anything to get these kids to learn -- bribery, trickery.

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