Well! Someone’s Got To Break The Ice And It Might As Well Be Me

30 Jul

Two posts in one day! Normally I wouldn’t inundate you with so much overwhelmingly good, thought-provoking and heart-stirring writing, but I just received some news that I feel warrants a second post.

Eileen Brennan – better known to most people of my generation as Mrs. Peacock in the movie “Clue” – has died. According to the news articles I found online today, she passed away on Sunday at the age of 80. Ms. Brennan was such a wonderful actress – she was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Captain Doreen Lewis in “Private Benjamin” in 1980 and had featured roles in great films such as “The Last Picture Show,” “The Sting,”   and one of my other favorites, “Murder By Death.” She was also seen on TV in shows like “Magnum, P.I.,” “The Love Boat,” “Blossom,” “Seventh Heaven,” “Taxi,” “Will & Grace” and she reprised her role as Capt. Lewis in a television adaptation of “Private Benjamin,” for which she won an Emmy. And many years ago I was surprised to learn that, in spite of her raspy, smoker’s voice later in life, Ms. Brennan originated the role of Irene Molloy in Hello, Dolly! on Broadway. Back in her day, she had a beautiful, rich mezzo-soprano voice. Despite her huge list of credits, though, I will always remember Eileen Brennan for playing the wonderful Mrs. Peacock in the 1985 film, “Clue.”

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Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock in “Clue.”

Admittedly, I was only 9 when the movie came out, and I don’t think I ever saw it in the theater, but I very distinctly remember renting it and watching it at home with our new VCR. I remember being fascinated that there were three possible endings – and that movie-goers only got to see one of the three at random in the cinema! The movie got me hooked on playing the board game which, for those young’uns out there, came first. I was charmed by it from the get-go.

I will not argue the artistic merits of “Clue,” but I will say that you would be hard-pressed to find a better ensemble in any film. Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull, Michael McKean, Lesley Ann Warren and, of course, Ms. Brennan, deliver some of the best line readings with the most impeccable timing you’re likely to see again in one film. Ms. Brennan’s “Break The Ice” speech at the dinner table is brilliantly delivered and Ms. Kahn’s “Flames On The Sides Of My Face” is legendary. It is one of my go-to “feel good” movies when I need a pick-me-up or when I just want something familiar playing in the background. It’s one of those films that I can quote almost from beginning to end and from which there is a quote to fit nearly every occasion. It is a wonderful, underrated film that is rich with wonderful performances. It’s playing on my laptop as I write this now.

I never got to meet Ms. Brennan, but I feel her loss deeply as a fan of her work. I hope that she and Ms. Kahn are smiling down on all of us now as we remember them and appreciate how funny they both were. Rest in peace, Mrs. Peacock.

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2 Responses to “Well! Someone’s Got To Break The Ice And It Might As Well Be Me”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ladies, What Can I Say? It’s Been A Fine Afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks Again For Turning Me In For Murder. | Confessions of a Merch Whore - June 29, 2014

    […] to certain movies, TV series and characters continues to this day – I am likely to watch “Clue” if I’m feeling a little down or just want something playing in the background as white noise, […]

  2. Genie, You’re Free or, Oh Captain! My Captain! or, Good Morning Vietnam! or, Nanoo Nanoo | Confessions of a Merch Whore - August 11, 2014

    […] written a couple of entries about celebrity deaths that have affected me, but this one has thrown me for a loop, not only because his work has been a part of my life almost […]

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