The Academy just had a reunion of the cast from “The Last Picture Show,” and it reminded me that I haven’t mentioned her yet. And shame on me.
Polly Platt was a multi-hyphenate before that was common. She wore many hats exceedingly well. She started out as a costume designer, but she had talent to spare. She wrote screenplays, “Pretty Baby,” was a production designer, “Last Picture Show,” “Paper Moon,” was an art director, “Terms of Endearment,” and a producer “Broadcast News.” Doing all that at such a high level is rare. Rarer still, is the fact she was doing all this in the late 60′s – 80′s when women in these jobs were scarce.
Polly convinced Bogdonavich that the novel, The Last Picture Show would make a great film. Even suggesting to shoot it like a European observing America.
She suggested casting Cybil Shepard (which made Shepard a star and Polly divorced.) She suggested moving the plot for “Paper Moon,” to the Kansas dust bowl and casting Tatum O’Neal (for which Tatum won an Oscar at age 10, youngest ever.)
As an executive VP at Gracie Films, she showed producer James L. Brooks Matt Groening’s comic strip Life in Hell and brought him in to develop something for the Tracey Ullman show. That became “The Simpsons,” which is in its 23rd (!!!) season. It’s not just her exquisite taste, but she really had a sixth sense for what would work.
A pioneer, a gutsy visionary, and a nurturing mentor. A woman after my own heart. When I grow up, I wanna be Polly Platt.