Lauren Holly - Special Report

By Monica Sullivan

When Elizabeth Montgomery died in 1995, we gave her a “Movie Magazine” tribute. When we recorded the segment, a male listener wanted to know why we were honoring someone who was not a “real” movie star. I was stunned. Anyone who saw Montgomery’s Emmy-nominated work on “The Untouchables”’ “Rusty Heller Story” or who watched her in the riveting “Legend Of Lizzie Borden” couldn’t possible dismiss her talents so lightly.

Nearly 15 years later, there are so many wonderful actresses who do their primary work in television. The roles the small screen gives them are often superior to the lightly sketched roles offered to most wide screen actresses. Even so, they rarely get the respect of the gals who can open a mediocre theatrical feature. A current case in point is Lauren Holly, who is absolutely terrific when she’s offered a decent script and sensitive direction. Although she’s been in dozens of films since the mid-eighties, she has accepted more than her fair share of underwritten parts in which she gets lost in the shuffle.

Her best performance in a series was in “Picket Fences” as Max, an insecure young member of the Rome, Wisconsin police force. Holly had the chance to show a full range of emotional growth and evolving depth. It was a meaty part for her and she made the most of it. Yet a few years later, when she was cast in the role of the director of the “N.C.I.S.” unit, Holly was offered few stories to show what she was fully capable of delivering. It was no surprise when her character was killed off and replaced by character actor Rocky Carroll. In Lifetime movies (ignored by the cognoscenti, but eagerly pursued by actresses like Gina Gershon and Michelle Pfeiffer) Holly can be quite wonderful in “Caught In The Act” as a mother-turned-detective trying to salvage her life after she discovers her husband is cheating on her. Also powerful is her performance in “Too Late To Say Goodbye” as the sister of a murder victim shot by her spouse. When Holly is in a role that is right for her, she turns on her laser-like eyes, her innate humour and a flair for irony. At 46, Lauren Holly is at a precarious point in her career. In the Hollywood jungle, she deserves better breaks than she’s received and I hope she gets them soon.

© 2009 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 11/11/09
Movie Magazine International