Actress Claudia Christian (Babylon 5, The Hidden, Clean and Sober) joins us to talk about her tell-all book about Hollywood, a new way of coping with an alcohol addiction, and more in Babylon Confidential: A Memoir of Love, Sex, and Addiction. Part one of our interview deals with her illustrious start in Hollywood and inspiring people as Commander Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5.
DIGBOSTON: Thanks for joining us to talk about Babylon Confidential.
Claudia Christian: Thank you for having me.
What I expected was a Hollywood tell-all book and what I got was much more than that! An inspiring story of recovery, as well as stories about Hollywood and your relationships. Can you tell me about the interesting things that happened when you first moved to Hollywood?
Back in the ’80s, it was a much easier profession, I think. Nowadays with the advent of reality shows and so forth it is difficult for actors or actresses to get a job. My beginning is almost a joke. I met an actor in Laguna Beach when I was 16 working in a coffee shop, he gave me the name of a manager. I met her, she signed me, I booked a series! It was so easy.
There was much less competition, you didn’t have families moving out for pilot season with children in tow.
That was really exciting, I worked all the time, it was a new environment. I wanted to be on my own since I was a little kid. I loved being independent. I moved to LA when I was 17.
The beginning was fun. When I look back now, I didn’t understand I was working with people like Faye Dunaway and Bob Hope, George Clooney … at the time, they were just people. I wasn’t really inundated with star-struckness. It was just work.
Unfortunately you had some negative experiences with some famous actors you talk about in the book, such as Cliff Robertson and William Shatner.
The Cliff Robertson thing was kind of shocking because I had never been treated like that, it was a silly incident and he pulled a very dramatic, sort of violent gesture toward me and I thought, “Wow, is this what Hollywood is like?”
I only had one real classic “casting couch” incident but that was with Bob Evans.
I’m sure every actress in town has one of those with him! That didn’t make the book.
The other incidences were men making passes or just being inappropriate or lascivious or whatever. I think I got a pretty good deal compared to some actresses I’ve talked to.
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