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Interviews: It’s 1970s Again With Walton Sisters, Pamela Sue Martin

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StarPamela Sue Martin, Nancy Drew on “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries”

Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew is a familiar crush to many of the teenage boys of the late 1970s, sharing screen time with Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson on “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” (1977). Like Judy Norton, she also posed for Playboy around that time. She did act beyond that show, portraying Susan in “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972), John Dillinger’s love interest in “The Lady in Red.” (1979) and as Fallon Carrington Colby on “Dynasty” (1984). Most recently, she did a turn on the Showtime Channel series “The L Word.” Passionate and forthright, she continues her activism in environmental issues and spiritual pursuit.


Pamela Sue Martin at the Hollywood Celebrities & Memorabilia Show
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

HollywoodChicago.com: What significant decision did you make that got you from being a high schooler in Westport, Connecticut, to the set of The Poseidon Adventure in two short years?

Pamela Sue Martin: I decided to leave the fast food joint I was working in and go to New York City to become a model, and make some money for college. And that was kind of the beginning, I fell into my first film [’To Find a Man,’ 1972] and got ‘The Poseidon Adventure.’ While all my friends we’re going to college, I was going to the ‘College of Hollywood.’

HollywoodChicago.com: How was that early ride? Was modeling easy for you and doing the films?

Martin: The whole thing was difficult. I was very young and it was hard for me. I was in an adult world that was very challenging, and I was very nervous for many years. But I made some money for college later.

HollywoodChicago.com: In the midst of your Nancy Drew days, you posed in Playboy magazine. What was the decision behind doing that and did it change your image the way you wanted it to?

Martin: I think so, yes. It wasn’t a big deal for me. I never did any nudity in films, except for a brief moment in ‘Lady in Red.’ Everybody always wanted sex to be the middle name. And I thought, fine I could do it. I didn’t really put that much thought into it. Right after that I did the ‘Lady in Red,’ which perhaps is my favorite movie, even though it was a weird, B-movie Roger Corman film, it was kind of cool.

HollywoodChicago.com: What is the genesis of your environmental advocacy, was there a particular event in your background that had you make a commitment to these causes?

Martin: What happened was that I am an animal lover, and I am a vegetarian. It was around the time of Nancy Drew, and although I never felt comfortable in the spotlight, I wanted to use it for something worthwhile. I wanted to use the publicity for something beyond the usual.

There was an ad in Variety that asked for movie people to come to a Greenpeace meeting. I was the only one that showed up. I ended up going on a Greenpeace mission in its heyday. It was the hardest thing I ever did, and it changed my life. We went to the seal slaughter up in Canada. We were helicoptered onto the ice with Congressmen Jim Jeffords and Leo Ryan. Ryan died in Guyana near Jonestown shortly thereafter, and Jeffords later became a senator who changed parties in protest of George W. Bush. We watched the seal slaughter, and it really changed my perspective about man and nature, because it was so brutal.

That was actually the impetus for the Playboy cover. I talked about Greenpeace for the whole interview. I did every bit of publicity I could for the cause, because we couldn’t use nature in this manner.

Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew
Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew
Photo credit: Universal Home Entertainment

HollywoodChicago.com: You’ve written a couple of books, what is your latest about?

Martin: It is called ‘Surviving Love and Madness,’ and it has a spiritual and philosophical point of view. It is for friends and family of people who are mentally ill, because I have dealt with that through a partner. It is about how to remain balanced in life through loss in mental illness in others. I felt like now I can do something that makes all the superficiality and bizarreness of my early career make sense. It’s been slow to get published, but I think it will be out next year.

HollywoodChicago.com: As a certified Religious Science practitioner, how do you think that type of spirituality can heal the divisiveness and pain the world is currently experiencing?

Martin: It’s the only way to heal. Whether it’s Buddhist or Muslim or Christian, when you get into more of a broad based spiritual concept of oneness, and understanding from a scientific point of view – when science and religion coalesce at some point – there is a large agreement that the two can come together. We are all connected.

I started studying Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, but it’s not even called that any more, it’s now the United Center for Spiritual Living. It’s a new thought church, in the sense of how an individual projects their life from a spiritual perspective, and effects their life by the way they think. That was the scientific side. I went through all the studies, and I ended up becoming a spiritual counselor practitioner there, under the ministry in Sun Valley, Idaho.

HollywoodChicago.com: Finally, what can you tell us about Parker Stevenson that the rest of the world doesn’t know?

Martin: I don’t know what the rest of the world knows. He’s just a super nice guy. I just ran into him recently in Los Angeles, and he’s like the boy next door, still. He just couldn’t be nicer. I just love him like a brother.

The “Hollywood Celebrities & Memorabilia Show” is now “The Hollywood Show” and will be in Chicago on March 24th and 25th Click here for details.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Senior Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2011 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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