Empty Nest is now on Laff TV! To celebrat
ENO: Do you have any episodes that stand out as favorites?
Dinah: Gosh, I have the worst memory! I would have to go back and look at them. All the episodes where Kris and I were fighting were my favorites, for sure. And that aforementioned episode with David. There was also an episode with a very young, cute actor named Brian Bloom, who my character was tutoring and who, in the script, comes on to her. I'm not sure if it was my favorite episode, but I do remember having a very flirtatious and fun week filming, and I know that Carol had an extremely good time.
ENO: Your mother, Oscar award-winner Lee Grant, appeared in an episode, which I think was the first time you'd worked together on screen. How was that experience?
Dinah: Well, unfortunately, it was not a great experience, and it wasn't one of our better episodes. My mom didn't feel a connection to the character as it was written and, because of that, she didn't have fun. And because she wasn't happy, I wasn't happy. I think we both had such a big expectation of what it could be like when she did the show, and we were both disappointed in the product.
ENO: You eventually moved behind the camera and directed several episodes. What was that transition like from actor to director?
Dinah: I was so grateful to be allowed to direct. It came somewhere around the fourth season and, just as Jay Sandrich had predicted, I was getting really bored and frustrated. I was always bossy and in everyone else's business anyway, and Paul and Tony gave me an opportunity to channel my restless energy. I loved directing Empty Nest.
ENO: You also wrote an episode the last season, in which Carol sort of became the therapist for her own psychiatrist - such an interesting twist for neurotic Carol. How did that idea come about?
Dinah: Well, my best friend was an actress named Valerie Landsburg (Fame), and she and I were dying to do an episode together, so we pitched an idea and were hired for the script. Unfortunately, the writers didn't like our version and completely rewrote the episode. Looking back on it, they were probably right.
ENO: My other interviews have revealed great stories and anecdotes that I never would've known to ask. Do you have any favorite behind-the-scenes stories to share?
Dinah: Well, none of mine are as good as the one Park told about Danny Thomas. I do remember an episode where Jane Lynch had a small part playing a Lamaze coach. It was one of her first jobs. She was so original and funny. We had some amazing guest stars, both on their way up and in their heyday. We had Steve and Eydie. I mean, how cool is that? We had Angie Dickinson.
Park's story about Bea Arthur and the gum chewing is true, by the way. I had my own experience with that. I did a crossover episode on The Golden Girls, and I was chewing gum on their set. Someone warned me that Bea would see me and go nuts. I kept chewing just to see if it was true. She yelled at me to spit the gum out, and I obliged. Then, months later, she came over to the Empty Nest set. I think she was doing one of those quick guest appearance things. Again she told me to spit out the gum, and I smiled very friendly and told her "no," she was on my set now, and I kept chewing away. She stormed off. Couldn't handle it at all. Bea was an amazing actress and quite an enigmatic human. Other than the gum thing, she was great to hang out with.
ENO: When we last saw Carol, she got married and finally left the nest. Given the current industry trend of rebooting sitcoms from Empty Nest's era (i.e. Fuller House), where do you think Carol would be today if we revisited her?
Dinah: Ha! I've never thought about it. Well, let's see, Carol would probably be suffocating her daughter and son-in-law in some well-meaning way, and self-publishing her self-help books.
ENO: After the show ended, you acted and directed steadily but have recently moved away from the spotlight. What are you up to these days?
Dinah: Well, when my twins turned 3 and my oldest turned 9, my wonderful husband and I decided it was time to get out of Dodge, a.k.a. Los Angeles. We moved to an island near Seattle with a very progressive and creative community. So now I am raising my kids, riding my horse, writing a novel, teaching acting, cooking vegetable soup from my garden...wait...who am I?
1 | 2
Empty Nest Online is not an official website and does not intend to infringe on any copyrights. Website is not optimized for viewing on a mobile device.