Tom Bosley talks with Nashville Stages Magazine

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By Kaine Riggin and John Lasiter
Nashville Stages Magazine 

NSM – A lot of our subscribers are actors as well, while touring what is your day like?

Tom Bosley  –  Well, for me it might be a little bit different because of the eating hours. I don’t eat a big dinner before a show. So I would have a late lunch about 2 or 3 o’clock and then I get to the theatre about seven about an hour before the show and then after the show I look for some place to eat. But in these towns that we live in except for St. Paul most of the restaurants seem to be closed particularly in the area where the theatre is. I don’t have a car, I don’t like to drive in cities I don’t know too well.

NSM – They roll up the sidewalks in the South at about 9 o’clock you know.

Tom Bosley – I know they do.

NSM – How do you think that theatre has changed since your days at Canterbury Playhouse.

Tom Bosley – My gosh, how did you know about the Canterbury Players?

NSM -I t’s amazing the internet these days.

Tom Bosley – Well that’s true, but that’s the first theatre group I ever joined. That was back in 1948 or 47 somewhere in there. To answer your question, the theatre has changed tremendously and in about three different ways. One being the cost of a production. The use of technical equipment that has never been used before, that started in about the last 10 or 20 years. What I’m doing now is just a simple good ole fashioned play which I haven’t had a chance to do in a long time and I enjoy every moment of it because that’s where I started. I’m now a member of the Medicare organization for seniors and there’s not a hell of a lot of work in California for seniors in film these days or television in my age group.

NSM – It’s funny that you say that, because in Nashville they are raising money and just got a million dollar gift to build the nation’s first Senior Center for the Arts.

Tom Bosley – Oh how wonderful.

NSM – How do you think that music, dance and theatre benefit someone over 60?

Tom Bosley – I think it benefits them in many ways. It gets them to restore energy, and it gets them to look and realize that there is life after 60. And the appreciation of music, art, theatre and just a live audience is just a wonderful experience.

NSM – And what about you, how do think you have changed as an actor?

Tom Bosley – Well, I started out as a kid and you get into stock companies that find out that your voice is low so you play the older parts. I didn’t get to play me until I was about 30. And now I’m back playing those older parts again.

NSM – So your first role at Canterbury Players was an older role?

Tom Bosley – No I think my first role was a very small role in Philadelphia Story.

NSM – Speaking specifically about the show, how do you think your Norman differs from Fonda’s Norman?

Tom Bosley-Well, I think it differs a great deal from Fonda’s Norman. First of all the conflict in the movie and in the play between the father and the daughter was kind of enhanced in the movie because there was personal conflicts between Henry and his daughter. I knew them both. I worked with Henry twice. I looked at that picture in a different vein as if someone else had played it because to me it was like a boxing match with Catherine Hepburn as the referee. That’s exactly what this play is, though it is just filled with tremendous laughter and humor, the deep aspect of the play is reconciling relationships in your family that may not have worked for a long time.

NSM – So no boxing match with you and Amy that you can play on?

Tom Bosley- My daughter Amy?

NSM- Yes.

Tom Bosley-Your reading off the computer again aren’t you. My daughter is the executive vice president of film production for Sony. So she’s done pretty well.

NSM- So no boxing matches between the two of you that you can pull inspiration from?

Tom Bosley – Never. She’s been a great kid and she lost her mother when she was eleven years old. That was a battle she had to overcome. I had to take a portion of my life and become a mother and a father to her so it’s a tough road. To lose a mother is tougher than losing a father because a mother can always take care of her kids. But she’s happy and I’m happy and I married again after I lost my first wife. I ‘ve had a wonderful 26 year relationship and my daughter is raising two wonderful kids and I have grandchildren, step grandchildren, and my relationship with my wife so it’s good to be old.

NSM – What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Nashville?

Tom Bosley – Well the first thing that comes to my mind is that I’ve never been there.

NSM – Anything that you relate the city with?

Tom Bosley – Well of course the Grand Ole Opry and there’s a lot of history in Nashville as a matter of fact my wife who has not been with me is joining me in Nashville and my brother and sister-in- law are coming from Chicago and they’ve got a whole tour planned.

NSM – Ok this is a little bit more of a personal question, If you could be anywhere in the world with anyone, where would it be and who would it be? I don’t want to get you in trouble.

Tom Bosley- Your not going to get me in trouble because I would be with my wife. That’s the person I would be with. The place? That’s really difficult to talk about today, I guess I would stick around in my own country. I’ve been to Europe, and I’ve been to  Australia and I think that I’ve covered those places in a time that was sacred and healthier. We’re a different world today than the one I traveled in. My daughter does a lot of traveling back and forth to London and in this stage of the game I get scared once in a while. But I can’t think of the place, I don’t know if it would be in the dessert somewhere like Palm Springs or Santa Barbara. Somewhere small, not Los Angeles not New York but some small quiet area close to the beach where all I have to do is lay around and watch TV and read books.

NSM – So do you live in LA

Tom Bosley -Yes

NSM – Last Question. We heard that you were so believable as the mayor on stage that you actually got 200 write-in votes for Mayor of New York in 1960 and that you entered college with law as your career goal. Have you ever considered politics?

Tom Bosley – Uh, No I never did. I mean I think about it but I never participated. I went to fundraising things for certain candidates out in California but never committed myself to working for them or things of that nature.

NSM-I’m surprised people didn’t approach you about it.

Tom Bosley-Well I was approached a couple of times in the younger portion of my life but I think there has to be a strong, strong motive to be involved in politics as a profession and that kind of motivation isn’t in me. I’m a lazy guy, I like to sit around and do nothing.