Screen, stage and television actress Brenda Vaccaro (b. 1939), a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner, as well as a Tony Award and Academy Award nominee, was an instrumental and leading figure who shaped her generation of leading ladies when it came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and which includes Katharine Ross, Deborah Raffin, Dyan Cannon, Sally Kellerman, Karen Black, Goldie Hawn, Leigh Taylor-Young, Cybill Shepherd, Jennifer O’Neill, Sandy Dennis and Valerie Perrine. After appearing in episodes of several TV series during the 1960s, her career was launched by John Schlesinger’s screen classic “Midnight Cowboy” (1969). Since then, she became one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses and, looking back at her screen debut in an episode of the long-running TV series “Search for Tomorrow” in 1964—to this day more than five decades ago—Ms. Vaccaro is still going strong: her performances don’t age, they stay fresh, impressive and unforgettable, and they indicate what a talented actress she is in each and every role she played over the years.
I met her in 2009 in Malibu, California, when she was – regrettably – slightly less in demand, although she had just finished “You Don’t Know Jack” (2010), playing Al Pacino’s sister in yet another rewarding role. Now, however, with several projects currently in pre and post-production, she’s back where she belongs. Right up there, in the spotlights. Great to hear Ms. Vaccaro talking about her passion for her craft, and her devotion and dedication to play her roles as only she can play them.
What does it take to be a good actor or a good actress?
Twenty years of work. I learned that as a youngster in New York where I started in the theater where the famous Sanford Meisner said, ‘All of you must realize on this first day, today, that it’s going to take you twenty years to be a great actor.’ And it’s true. As time has gone by, I have discovered that it is the one truth that I really think has come true. As you go along in life, people tell you certain things about this is what will happen or you can expect that. The one thing that rings true to me for the longest period of time, is that that is really the truth: it takes so much time to become in the age of mastery where you really know what you’re doing and your instrument is finally tuned, you are in control of it, no one can rattle it, you can go on stage and master what you are doing. And hopefully you get better as each year goes by. All of us actors pray that each year we’re getting a little bit better. That’s what Jack Lemmon once said, there’s a humility that goes with the business, there’s always things to learn, there are always things to master. But there does come a time where, after twenty years, you go By God, I know it, I know what I’m doing, and I feel comfortable about what I’m doing. But there’s always room to learn. Larry Hagman told me a great story once. He was doing “Nip/Tuck” and he was sitting there like this, with his elbows resting on the table. He was going to open the scene like that. This young director noticed him sitting there while they were lighting and everything, with his elbows on the table, hands cradled around each cheek, drooping slightly, and he said, ‘You know Larry, you can certainly try to do something else with your hands, your face or your elbows.’ Larry later said to me, ‘I didn’t move, I just sat there and looked at him. And finally after a few minutes, I said, No!’ (Laughs). Listen young man, I am 74 years old, I was in this business even before you were born. That was a very good example about the age of mastery, not that you’re not open to some brilliant idea like if Ridley Scott asked you to do something – when they were shooting “Gladiator” , Russell Crowe once asked Ridley Scott, ‘Why don’t we just say’—then he said something in Latin—and Ridley said, ‘Well, what does that mean?’ So he said it in English, and Ridley said, ‘Well, just say that!’ (Laughs). That kind of simplicity, honesty, reality, your heart, your soul, your spirit – everything is in the right place, you’re in a clean, clear space, you can do your work, your ego is in the back row, you’re not insecure anymore. It’s like Matisse: he could draw a woman’s back in one line: that’s how masterful he was. So it takes twenty years to be a fine actor—if you want to be a fine actor.
Jack Warden once told me that the stage was his training ground. Do you think young actors today have that same background, since a lot of them start working for television right away?
That is possible, but if you ask me if the stage is the place to learn, I think it is. As an actor, you are on your own for the first time as an actor. You own the stage, you own your part, you own the time in which you play your part. The curtain goes up, it’s yours. There’s no better gift than an audience to tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. There is the most gracious give and take with an audience, it teaches you about comedy rhythm and if you move or talk too fast, the audience can’t hear you. You learn to give the proper emotion and amount of information to your audience. The theater teaches you that: working in a play with other actors, and taking the play from the moment it begins till the moment it ends, it’s a great experience for an actor. You have another bag of tricks, but the stage is blessing on an actor’s soul.
How do you work when you appear on the set? Do you need a lot of direction?
I am always open to good, creative direction and imaginative suggestions. But when an actor is really gifted and he’s really good, I think you have to watch what he’s going to contribute before you presume he’s got to do it your way. When Mike Nichols hired George C. Scott and Maureen Stapleton for Neil Simon’s play “Plaza Suite” [1968-1970], he said that once he had cast them, he just sat in the audience and he watched and wondered. That’s the greatest thing a director can say: actors can bring so much that you never even thought about. It’s their time to be contributive, to be imaginative, to be creative, to find things and then bring them to you. As a director, you have to say then, ‘I like that very much, I never saw the scene that way, that is brilliant. Play it that way.’ You see what I mean? They bring so much; actors can’t close the doors to listening to directors and directors can’t close the doors to taking in what the actors provide. Then it’s a great collaborative without ego effort. Everybody is directed towards the performance and making the play work.
Looking back, after you did “Midnight Cowboy”, what would you consider some of the most interesting and challenging parts in the early years of your career?
Well, Stanley Kramer gave me Ethel Rosenberg in “Judgment: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg” —oh my God—can you imagine? Or “Honor Thy Father” … I loved my work, I loved what I was offered, all the scripts that came my way.
Is it still as much of challenge right now, after all these years?
Well, I did “Nip/Tuck” with Catherine Deneuve—God bless her—I had the best time ever, and it certainly was a challenge, even though it wasn’t a huge or demanding part. It was still a challenge, to be with her on the set, to know profoundly what I had to do in the scene and do it well. To go in front of a camera, to go in front of an audience, it’s always a challenge and a responsibility because of your sense of making something excellent as profound as it was when you were eighteen and on the stage for the first time.
Your Golden Globe, Emmy and Academy Award nomination, if you would get them now, would they be more valuable to you, career wise?
No, I don’t think so, but if I would have received the Academy Award [nominated for “Once Is Not Enough” as Best Supporting Actress, 1975] instead of Lee Grant [Academy Award winner that year for “Shampoo”], that would have been very valuable to me at that time—except she is my best friend. She came up to me that night and said, ‘Well honey, I’m older.’ [Laughs.] But it would have been great to get the Academy Award, of course. Even though, my dear Julie Christie has said, ‘I don’t want the Award, the work is all that really matters.’ And she’s right, so I can’t argue with her, even though I think an award is like applause and you learn to bow which we do a lot of times as a form of appreciation. So you can’t be all crazy up here about what it means, how it feels, why isn’t it me, all that stuff doesn’t have to do anything with me: it’s the work that’s done and how you feel after the work. Her work was exemplary in “Away From Her” : she was brilliant, she was really brilliant. And she deserved to be appreciated, she deserved an Academy Award [she was nominated], she deserved everything that everybody wanted to give her. She got almost every award for that film [including Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild Award, New York Film Critics Award and National Society of Film Critics Award], but no Academy Award and we were surprised, but that was all right because Marion Cotillard [for portraying Edith Piaf in Olivier Dahan’s “La môme”] deserved it too. It wasn’t the end of the world. But Julie really didn’t get it until the end of the entire experience, she said to me: ‘I think that I’ve got it all now. You just have to go with the whole thing, don’t you.’ The cloths, the shoes, the makeup, the whole thing, and then you bow. And that’s really what it is, isn’t it, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But she’s such a purist, she doesn’t want to talk about it: just do the work, that’s it and then move on. And sometimes that’s more comfortable for an actor who is busy doing a lot of work and who really cares about the precision and the excellence of his work. The last thing on your mind is: what am I gonna get for this? When I did “The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club” , [director] Susan Seidelman said to me, to procure my attention and my yes to do the movie, ‘I really want you to get an award for this, you know. This is Award-making part.’ I knew it wasn’t, but I didn’t say that (laughs). The point is, you don’t think about that, all you want is the work to be exemplary, you want it to be right on the target. Otherwise, it would be just another corny, lousy performance, and what would an audience get out of that? If you see somebody doing a breathtaking performance, like Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot”  or Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” —it was all without ego, you could see it, even when he [Rourke] was baking and was doing that awful job. He was just playing the part the best he could and boy, did he do that part!
With your background and experience, have you ever thought of directing?
When I did “The Mirror Has Two Faces”  with Barbra Streisand, she once asked me, ‘Are you ever going to direct?’ I said, ‘Oh well, I don’t know.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’re bossy enough!’ (Laughs). I have thought about it, somehow I never really approached trying to doing it, I don’t know why. Maybe I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. Lenses, visuals… I just never got there. For the longest time, until recently, when I was teaching, I was really an actor. Maureen Stapleton used to say that to me. I was just an acting fool, give me a play and I’ll do it. Geraldine Page once told me, ‘Brenda, you walk in the streets of New York and someone will give you a play.’ That’s how she got ‘Agnes of God.’ Actors always believe that it’s going to come because they want it so much, their spirit is so implanted like a tree in Israel, it’s there forever. And it’s true, sometimes it does come to you that way. But Geraldine never was a director, Kim Stanley or Maureen Stapleton never directed. Maybe there’s also a kind of humility in not wanting to be boss. I do my thing, that’s who I am, I’m a very organic actress, my feet are firmly planted on the ground, I know what the tools are.
You also work a lot with young actors. Since you don’t have the intention of directing right now, what advice would you give?
Here’s what I would say: I would study like crazy. When I was young, I would constantly listen and be in classes. All the stories I am telling you, are things I have heard people saying. You know, be in class, watch other people at work, read about it, read plays, do plays, research, do scenes with another actor, be a seeker of knowledge—there’s power in knowledge—the more you know, the finer you will be tuning your instrument. I remember when I was in the Neighborhood Playhouse, when school was over, we’d all go to somebody’s house at night and we’d stay up all night and do improvisations because we were in the midst of learning the technique of Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. We would go back and we would say, ‘All right, he is going to try to kill you but you’re not gonna let him, because you have the papers that the spy gave you…’ And then they’d go outside the apartment door, they’d come back in and do the scene. We were young and we were constantly working on it. It makes you brave to study, because once you have all that under your belt, nobody can tell you what to do: you got knowledge. And be in the theater, it embraces you like no other media. Television uses you and throws you out, movies get tired of you when you get a wrinkle. That’s what I would say to young people. Find a great teacher who loves you, who is gracious, who wouldn’t hurt you. If anybody ever says a negative word, get out—you have a tuning fork inside of you and if anybody says bong, it’s going to harm your instrument. That’s not healthy, you have to very careful with that instrument. When Frank Lloyd Wright was young, he said something wise about arrogance and humility: ‘I had the choice to be one or the other, and I chose arrogance, but with great humility.’ [Laughs.]
After all those years in the business, do you still have to prove yourself?
No, not really, not like in the old days. If you say my name, people will know who I am and what I do. Maybe they’re uninspired about the range that I have. In this age range, it’s like a bunch of Italian widows sitting in chairs in a room. If someone says, ‘There’s a job here,’ then four thousand widows get up and run towards that job. So that’s what my life is now. Would I love to work? Yes! If it comes, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, I’m marching on.
It reminds me of what Jane Greer said to me, the first time I met her in 1999. She was 74 at the time, and she told me: ‘I’d love to get back to work, but it’s very difficult nowadays for actresses of my generation to get good parts. The only ones who get to play them, are Lauren Bacall and Gena Rowlands, and they’re both so good at it that they get them right away.’
I understand that, that happens to me too: if Susan Sarandon or Kathy Bates are available, I don’t get the part. Everything is relative. There’s a time and a place, and a time and a space for everything. If it comes my way, I will take it, like when I did “Nip/Tuck.” Ryan Murphy heard my name in a casting session, and he said, ‘Give her an offer.’ So I came on the set, on the second day, I see this man coming down the hallway, ‘Brenda Vaccaro, I am Ryan Murphy, the producer. I am so happy you’re doing this show! Do you remember that scene in “Once Is Not Enough” with you the white shirt, you’re sitting on the steps’ and I looked at him and asked him, ‘How old are you?’ [Laughs.] He said, ‘You were always such a brilliant actress, I just love you! I’m so glad you’re here on our show!’ And I thought, ‘Well, this is worth the wait.’ How great it was to give me that welcome, to let me know that. When those things happen, they’re joyous, and it’s great. If it doesn’t happen, you go on your way. I can’t sit around and wait. We’re cast less as we get older, this is true, or it goes to other people. But when the part comes to you, you know that no one can do it but you.
April 9, 2009
WHERE IT’S AT (1969) DIR – SCR Garson Kanin PROD Frank Ross CAM Burnett Guffey MUS Benny Golson CAST David Janssen, Rosemary Forsyth, Robert Dreivas, Brenda Vaccaro (Molly), Don Rickles, Edy Williams, Anthony Holland
MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) DIR John Schlesinger PROD Jerome Hellman SCR Waldo Salt (novel ‘Midnight Cowboy’  by James Leo Herlihy) CAM Adam Holender MUS John Barry CAST Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro (Shirley), Barnard Hughes, Ruth White, Jennifer Salt, Bob Balaban, Viva, Paul Morrissey, Sandy Duncan, M. Emmet Walsh
I LOVE MY WIFE (1970) DIR Mel Stuart PROD Stan Margulies SCR Robert Kaufman CAM Villis Lapenieks MUS Lalo Schifrin CAST Elliott Gould, Brenda Vaccaro (Jody Burrows), Angel Tompkins, Dabney Coleman, Joan Tompkins, Helen Westcott, Robert Kaufman
SUMMERTREE (1971) DIR Anthony Newley PROD Kirk Douglas SCR Edward Hume, Stephen Yafa (play ‘Summertree’  by Ron Cowen) CAM Richard C. Glouner MUS David Shire CAST Michael Douglas, Jack Warden, Brenda Vaccaro (Vanetta), Barbara Bel Geddes, Kirk Calloway, Bill Vint, Rob Reiner, William Smith, Teri Garr
GOING HOME (1971) DIR – PROD Herbert B. Leonard SCR Lawrence B. Marcus CAM Fred Jackman MUS Bill Walker CAST Robert Mitchum, Brenda Vaccaro (Jenny Benson), Jan-Michael Vincent, Jason Bernard, Sally Kirkland, Joseph Attles, Lou Gilbert, Josh Mostel, Audrey Landers
ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH (1975) DIR Guy Green PROD Howard W. Koch SCR Julius J. Epstein (novel ‘Once Is Not Enough’  by Jacqueline Susann) CAM John A. Alonzo MUS Henry Mancini CAST Kirk Douglas, Alexis Smith, David Janssen, George Hamilton, Melina Mercouri, Brenda Vaccaro (Linda Riggs), Deborah Raffin, Lillian Randolph
DEATH WEEKEND, a.k.a. HOUSE BY THE LAKE (1976) DIR – SCR William Fruet PROD Ivan Reitman CAM Robert Saad CAST Brenda Vaccaro (Diane), Don Stroud, Chuck Shamata, Richard Ayres, Kyle Edwards, Don Granberry, Michael Kirby
AIRPORT ‘77 (1977) DIR Jerry Jameson PROD William Frye SCR Michael Scheff, David Spector (story by Charles Kuenstle, H.A.L. Craig; novel ‘Airport’  by Arthur Hailey) CAM Philip Lathrop MUS John Cacavas CAST Jack Lemmon, Lee Grant, Brenda Vaccaro (Eve Clayton), George Kennedy, James Stewart, Joseph Cotton, Olivia de Havilland, Darren McGavin, Christopher Lee, Robert Foxworth, Robert Hooks, Monte Markham, Kathleen Quinlan, Gil Gerard, Pamela Bellwood, James Booth, M. Emmet Walsh, Chris Lemmon
CAPRICORN ONE (1979) DIR – SCR Peter Hyams PROD Paul N. Lazarus III CAM Bill Butler MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro (Kay Brubaker), Sam Waterston, O.J. Simpson, Hal Holbrook, Karen Black, Telly Savalas, David Huddleston, David Doyle, Lee Bryant
FAST CHARLIE… THE MOONBEAM RIDER (1979) DIR Steve Carver PROD Roger Corman, Saul Krugman SCR Michael Gleasion (story by Ed Spielman, Howard Friedlander) CAM William Birch MUS Stu Phillips CAST David Carradine, Brenda Vaccaro (Grace Wolf), L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Terry Kiser, Jesse Vint, Noble Willingham, Ralph James
THE FIRST DEADLY SIN (1980) DIR Brian G. Hutton PROD George Pappas, Mark Shanker SCR Mann Rubin (novel ‘The First Deadly Sin’  by Lawrence Sanders) CAM Jack Priestley MUS Gordon Jenkins CAST Frank Sinatra, Faye Dunaway, David Dukes, George Coe, Brenda Vaccaro (Monica Gilbert), Martin Gabel, Anthony Zerbe, James Whitmore, Joe Spinnell, Bruce Willis
ZORRO: THE GAY BLADE (1981) DIR Peter Medak PROD George Hamilton SCR Hal Dresner (story by Hal Dresner, Bob Randall, Greg Alt, Don Moriarty; characters created by Johnston M. McCulley) CAM John A. Alonzo MUS Ian Fraser CAST George Hamilton, Lauren Hutton, Brenda Vaccaro (Florinda), Ron Leibman, Donovan Scott, James Booth, Clive Revill
SUPERGIRL (1984) DIR Jeannot Szwarc PROD Timothy Burrill SCR David Odell (character of Supergirl created by Otto Binder, Al Plastino) CAM Alan Hume MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST Faye Dunaway, Helen Slater, Peter O’Toole, Peter Cook, Brenda Vaccaro (Bianca), Mia Farrow, Hart Bochner, Simon Ward, Marc McClure
WATER (1985) DIR Dick Clement PROD Ian La Frenias SCR Dick Clement, Ian La Frenias, Bill Persky (story by Bill Persky) CAM Douglas Slocombe MUS Mike Moran CAST Michael Caine, Valerie Perrine, Brenda Vaccaro (Dolores), Leonard Rossiter, Billy Connolly, Dennis Dugan, Fulton McKay, Dick Shawn, Fred Gwynne, Alfred Molina, Ruby Wax; (as themselves) Eric Clapton, Ray Cooper, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
HEART OF MIDNIGHT (1988) DIR – SCR Matthew Chapman PROD Andrew Gaty CAM Ray Rivas MUS Yanni CAST Jennifer Jason Leigh, Peter Coyote, Gale Mayron, Sam Schacht, Denise Dumont, Frank Stallone, Brenda Vaccaro (Betty), Steve Buscemi
COOKIE (1989) DIR Susan Seidelman PROD Laurence Mark SCR Nora Ephron, Alice Arlen CAM Oliver Stapleton MUS Thomas Newman CAST Peter Falk, Dianne Wiest, Emily Lloyd, Michael V. Gazzo, Brenda Vaccaro (Bunny), Adrian Pasdar, Lionel Stander, Jerry Lewis, Bob Gunton, Ricki Lake
TEN LITTLE INDIANS (1989) DIR Alan Birkinshaw PROD Harry Alan Towers SCR Gerry O’Hara, Jackson Hunsicker (novel ‘And Then There Were None’  by Agatha Christie) CAM Arthur Lavis MUS George S. Clinton CAST Donald Pleasence, Frank Stallone, Sarah Maur Thorp, Brenda Vaccaro (Marion Marshall), Herbert Lom, Warren Berlinger, Paul L. Smith, Moira Lister
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1989) DIR Alan Birkinshaw PROD Harry Alan Towers, Avi Lerner SCR Michael J. Murray (story ‘The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy’  by Edgar Allan Poe) CAM Yossi Wein MUS Coby Recht CAST Frank Stallone, Brenda Vaccaro (Elaina Hart), Herbert Lom, Michelle McBride, Christine Lunde, Christobel d’Ortez, Simon Poland, Foriah Davidson
LETHAL GAMES (1991) DIR John Bowen [John T. Bone] PROD Ron Lavery SCR Danny King [Daniel Benton] CAM Tom Ingalls MUS Del Casher CAST Frank Stallone, Brenda Vaccaro (Stella Hudson), Ron Althoff, James Emery, Anne Ricketts, Karen Russell, Christopher Whalley, Dana Bentley
LOVE AFFAIR (1994) DIR Glenn Gordon Caron PROD Warren Beatty SCR Warren Beatty, Robert Towne (screenplay of LOVE AFFAIR  by Delmer Daves, Donald Ogden Stewart; story by Leo McCarey, Mildred Cram) CAM Conrad L. Hall MUS Enio Morricone CAST Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Katharine Hepburn, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Capshaw, Paul Mazursky, Brenda Vaccaro (Nora Stillman), Harold Ramis, Ray Charles
THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES (1996) DIR Barbra Streisand PROD Barbra Streisand, Arnon Milchan SCR Richard LaGravenese (also story; screenplay of LE MIRROIR A DEUX FACES  by André Cayatte, Gérard Oury) CAM Dante Spinotti, Andrzej Bartowiak MUS Marvin Hamlish CAST Barbra Streisnad, Jeff Bridges, Lauren Bacall, George Segal, Mimi Rogers, Pierce Brosnan, Brenda Vaccaro (Doris), Austin Pendleton, Elle Macpherson
SONNY (192002) DIR Nicolas Cage PROD Nicolas Cage, Paul Brooks, Norman Golightly SCR John Carlen CAM Barry Markowitz MUS Clint Mansell CAST James Franco, Brenda Blethyn, Mena Suvari, Harry Dean Stanton, Scott Caan, Seymour Cassel, Brenda Vaccaro (Meg), Josie Davis, Marc Coppola, Nicolas Cage
THE BOYNTON BEACH BEREAVEMENT CLUB (2005) DIR Susan Seidelman PROD Susan Seidelman, Florence Seidelman SCR Susan Seidelman, Shelly Gitlow (story by Florence Seidelman, David Cremer) CAM Eric Moynier MUS Marcelo Zarvos CAST Dyan Cannon, Brenda Vaccaro (Marilyn), Sally Kellerman, Joseph Bologna, Len Cariou, Michael Nouri, Renee Taylor, Mal Z. Lawrence
JUST LET GO (2015) DIR Christopher S. Clark, Patrick Henry Parker PROD Jana Erickson, Arthur Van Wagenen, Patrick Henry Parker SCR Vance Mellen (book by Chris Stuart Williams) CAM Patrick Henry Parker CAST Henry Ian Cusick, Brenda Vaccaro (Nadine Williams), Sam Sorbo, Jacob Buster, Darin Southam, Paris Warner
LIGHT WOUNDS (2015) DIR Max Leonida PROD Lynn Givens SCR Max leonida, Dimi Dardagina, Jonathan Looper CAM Massimiliano Trevis CAST Tommy Flanagan, Brenda Vaccaro (Marlene), Terry Serpico, Amy Lyndon, Jessica Sonneborn, Carl Palmer, Dimi Dardagina
30-LOVE (2015) DIR Robert Cannon PROD Robert Cannon, Ira Heffler, Lisa Rau Cannon, Sarah Baker Grillo SCR Robert Cannon, Ira Heffler CAM Dan Fischer CAST Robert Cannon, Brenda Vaccaro (Hellen), Justin Lee, Mark Gagliardi, Robert Craighead, Del Hunter-White, Marilyn McIntyre, Edmund Lupinski
TRAVIS LOGAN, D.A. (1971) DIR Paul Wendkos PROD Arthur Fellows, Adrian Samish TELEPLAY Arthur Fellows, Andy Lewis, Adrian Samish CAM Robert L. Morrison MUS Patrick Williams CAST Vic Morrow, Brenda Vaccaro (Lucille Sand), Hal Holbrook, James T. Callahan, George Grizzard, Brooke Bundy
WHAT’S A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU…? (1971) DIR Jerry Paris PROD Norman Lloyd TELEPLAY Howard Fast (novel ‘Shirley’  by E.V. Cunningham [Howard Fast]) CAM Harry L. Wolf MUS Robert Prince CAST Brenda Vaccaro (Shirley Campbell), Jack Warden, Roddy McDowell, Jo Anne Worley, Edmond O’Brien, Vincent Price
HONOR THY FATHER (1973) DIR Paul Wendkos PROD Harold D. Cohen TELEPLAY Lewis John Carlino (book ‘Honor Thy Father’  by Gay Talese) CAM Howard Schwartz, Arthur Ornitz [Arthur J. Ornitz] MUS George Duning CAST Joseph Bologna, Brenda Vaccaro (Rosalie Bonnano), Raf Vallone, Richard S. Castellano, Joe De Santis, Gilbert green, Marc Lawrence, Sam Coppola, Vic Tayback
SUNSHINE (1973) DIR Joseph Sargent PROD George Eckstein TELEPLAY Carol Sobieski (suggested by the journal of Jacquelyn M. Henton) CAM Bill Butler MUS Hal Mooney CAST Cristina Raines, Cliff De Young, Meg Foster, Brenda Vaccaro (Carol Gillman), Bill Mumy, Alan Fudge, Corey Fischer, Lindsay Green Bush, Sydney Green Bush
JUDGMENT: THE TRIAL OF JULIUS AND ETHEL ROSENBERG (1974) DIR Stanley Kramer, Lee Bernhardi PROD Stanley Kramer TELEPLAY Harry Kleiner CAST Harold Gould, Allen Garfield, Brenda Vaccaro, Danny Goldman, David Spielberg, Stanley Kramer
THE BIG RIP-OFF (1975) DIR Dean Hargrove PROD – TELEPLAY Dean Hargrove, Roland Kibbee CAM Bill Butler MUS Richard DeBenedictis CAST Tony Curtis, Brenda Vaccaro (Brenda Brooks), Roscoe Lee Browne, Larry Hagman, John Dehner, Morgan Woodward, Priscilla Pointer, Linda Gray, Linda Evans
GUYANA TRAGEDY: THE STORY OF JIM JONES (1980) DIR William A. Graham PROD Ernest Tidyman, Sam Manners TELEPLAY Ernest Tidyman (book ‘Guyana Massacre: The Eyewitness Account’  by Charles A. Krause) CAM Gil Hubbs MUS Elmer Bernstein CAST Powers Boothe, Ned Beatty, Irene Cara, Veronica Cartwright, Brad Dourif, Diane Ladd, Randy Quaid, Diana Scarwid, Brenda Vaccaro (Jane Briggs), Colleen Dewhurst, Clifton James, James Earl Jones, Ed Lauter
THE PRIDE OF JESSE HALLAM (1981) DIR Gary Nelson PROD Sam Manners TELEPLAY Suzanne Clauser CAM Gayne Rescher CAST Johnny Cash, Brenda Vaccaro (Marion Galucci), Ben Marley, Eli Wallach, Guy Bond, Chrystal Smith, Earl Poole Ball
THE STAR MAKER (1981) DIR Lou Antonio PROD William Bast, David Debin, Peter Locke TELEPLAY William Bast CAM Charles Correll MUS Jim Haskell CAST Rock Hudson, Suzanne Pleshette, Melanie Griffith, Brenda Vaccaro (Dolores Baker), Jeffrey Tambor, Jack Scalia, Fred Dryer, Ed McMahon
A LONG WAY HOME (1981) DIR Robert Markowitz PROD Dennis Nemec, Linda Otto TELEPLAY Dennis Nemec CAM Donald H. Birnkrant MUS William Goldstein CAST Timothy Hutton, Brenda Vaccaro (Lillian Jacobs), Rosanna Arquette, Paul Regina, John Lehne, George Dzundza, Bobbie Bartlett
DECEPTIONS (1985) DIR Melville Shavelson, Robert Chenault PROD William Hill TELEPLAY Melville Shavelson (book ‘Deceptions’  by Judith Michael) CAM Jack Atcheler, Ernest Day MUS Nigel Hess CAST Stefanie Powers, Barry Bostwick, Brenda Vaccaro (Helen Adams), Gina Lollobrigida, Sam Wanamaker, Fabio Testi, Pete Postlethwaite
THE JETSONS MEET THE FLINTSTONES (1987, animated) DIR Don Lusk, Ray Patterson PROD Bob Hathcock, Berny Wolf [Bernard Wolf] TELEPLAY Don Nelson, Arthur Alsberg MUS Sven Libaek CAST John ‘Bowzer’ Bauman, Mel Blanc, Henry Corden, Julie McWirther, Don Messick, George O’Hanlon, Penny Singleton, John Stephenson, Brenda Vaccaro (Didi), Jean Vander Pyl, Janet Waldo
STOLEN: ONE HUSBAND (1990) DIR Catlin Adams PROD Carroll Newman TELEPLAY Anna Sandor, William Gough CAM Chuy Elizondo MUS James Di Pasquale CAST Valerie Harper, Elliott Gould, Brenda Vaccaro (Lisa Jarret), Brenda Bakke, Bruce Davison, Julie Warner,
RED SHOE DIARIES (1992) DIR Zalman King PROD David Saunders, Rafael Eisenman TELEPLAY Zalman King, Patricia Louisianna Knop CAST David Duchovny, Brigitte Bako, Kai Wulff, Bridgit Ryan, Evie Sullivan, Brenda Vaccaro (Martha), Anna Karin, Christina Caron, Leana Hall
FOLLOWING HER HEART (1994) DIR Lee Grant PROD Sally Young TELEPLAY Merry M. Helm CAST Ann-Margret, George Segal, Brenda Vaccaro (Cecile), William Morgan Sheppard, Kirk Baltz, Scott Marlowe
WHEN HUSBANDS CHEAT (1998) DIR Richard A. Colla PROD TELEPLAY Alan Hines CAM Laszlo George MUS Craig Safan CAST Patricia Kalember, Tom Irwin, Brenda Vaccaro (Sally), Gina Clayton, Robin Brûlé, Bobby Johnston, Vince Corazza
JUST A WALK IN THE PARK (2002) DIR Steven Schachter PROD Mark S. Kaufman, Danièle Rohrbach, Peter Sadowski, Ted Babcock TELEPLAY Steven Schachter, William H. Macy, Mark S. Kaufman (story by Mark S. Kaufman) CAM Eric Cayla MUS Patrick Williams CAST Brenda Vaccaro (Selma Williams), George Eads, Jane Krakowski, Richard Robitaille, Deborah Odell, Conrad Pla
JUST DESSERTS (2004) DIR Kevin Connor PROD Lincoln Lageson, Randy Rope TELEPLAY Joseph Tropiano CAM Maximo Munzi MUS Roger Bellon CAST Lauren Holly, Costas Mandylor, Dorie Barton, Andrew Lauer, Brenda Vaccaro (Lina), David Proval, Maria Bertrand, Bruce Thomas
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK (2010) DIR Barry Levinson PROD Scott Ferguson TELEPLAY Adam Mazer CAM Eigil Bryld MUS Marcelo Zarvos CAST Al Pacino, Brenda Vaccaro (Margus Janus), Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Deirdre O’Connell, Todd Susman, Adam Lubarsky, Jennifer Mudge
JOHNNY BRAVO GOES TO HOLLYWOOD (2011, animated) DIR Van Partible PROD Andrew Ooi, CJ See TELEPLAY Van Partible, Shayne Armstrong, S. P. Krause [Shane Krause] MUS Lou Fagenson CAST Jeff Bennett, Sinul Malhotra, Ajay Mehta, Brenda Vaccaro (Bunny Bravo), Sheetal Sheth, Amir Talai