Golden Globe Winner; Best Newcomer in a Motion Picture

Midnight Express

On the set of Midnight Express with: Alan Parker, David Puttnam, Alan Marshall, Milena Canonero, Billy Hayes, Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Norbert Weisser, John Hurt and Randy Quaid.

1978 Golden Globe - Best Acting Debut - Female

Dario Argento's "Inferno"

On the set of Inferno & Opening Night with Keith Emerson

I was clueless that I was working with some of Europe's most beloved Icons when I took this film on. Alida Valli, for one. My god, when I look back and think, “If I had only known”. The missed opportunity still gnaws at me. I could have gotten to know VALLI. We didn’t work on any scenes together. Lame excuse but, hey! She’s become one of my all-time favorite beauties from the Film Noir era -- stunning in The Third Man. And Sacha Pitoëff.....he's a treasure in his own right!

Left-Right: Keith Emerson & Dario, Giancarlo di Leonardis & Irene, Ms. Miracle taking a breather, Dario & Irene on Set.


Film Noir, Spanish Style

I was attracted to this Film Noir for its exploration of mental illness through the dissection of the classes; social vs working. Alas, this theme didn’t translate well in the final cut....

But I found the cast and crew to be some of the warmest folk I’d ever worked with and loved being in Spain. This was Barcelona at best. Having only recently been liberated from the oppressions of the ‘Franco’ era, the city was bursting with energy -- new art studios, designer boutiques and Tapas bars.

I loved to walk the streets, sometimes for miles, visiting flea markets, taking in the flavors, scents and sounds of the flourishing city and its colorful people. I’d stop at a grocer, make sure I was armed with a bag of salad greens to hand to my server wherever I plopped myself for lunch. Menus consisted of meat and more meat, evidenced by rows of hanging pork legs in any restaurant you found yourself. (Note: this tradition is a carryover from the days of the Inquisition – hanging pork meat proved you were a devout Catholic and might prevent you from being burned at the stake). Suffice to say, the only fresh raw salad available at any restaurant or café might be tomatoes, bell peppers or onion slices.

A memory that lingers from my time in Barcelona is my culinary discovery of baby Angulas (baby eels), swimming in a delicate white wine and garlic sauce. When cooked they turn opaque, and are served in a small 6” earthenware bowl with a small fork made from Boj wood. Yum.

Walking Thunder

An Unforgettable Friendship

Something magical came out of working on this film.

The first day on set, upon meeting John Denver and talking awhile, he asked me: “Which of my songs do you like most?” My knee-jerk response was, “You know, I’ve never been a fan of your music.” He flinched, trying not to show his dismay. To explain myself, I continued, “There’s something honey-dipped, imponderable, almost nebulous about your songs.” Now he was really curious. When I told him I was from Stillwater, he blurted, “NO WAY!!!" Before long we figured out that our mothers were the best of friends through high school in Stillwater, Oklahoma! From then on we became fast friends. After the shoot, he presented me with a Panama hat.

He’d seen me admiring it at a hat-crafting shop, while we were getting costumed. It was made of delicate straw, something that takes five years for villagers to weave by hand. Inside it, he had it inscribed, “With love, John." After the shoot, he comped me tickets to his Tulsa Christmas Concert, afterward which our mothers couldn’t stop hugging in their euphoria.

A few months later I was in the Bahamas, about to take a week-long excursion to swim with dolphins. Just before leaving my hotel room, the phone rang. It was a reporter, asking if I had any comments to make about John. “What about him," I inquired -- having no idea he’d crashed his plane and died. Ah, the stories I could have told her. Instead, the phone slipped from my hand and I slumped onto my bed and wept.

You can’t be around a bear if you are on your menstrual cycle so I couldn’t be on the set that day — enough said.
Below: Bart the Bear with Doug Seus.

On the set with director, Craig Clyde, and cast: John Denver, Irene Miracle, Brian Kieth, Christopher Neame, Ted Thin Elk, David Tom, James Read, Don Shanks.


This was a wonderful series that sadly, didn't get picked up, and one of Milla's first film gigs. She played my daughter – in Childhoods End.