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Jun 13, 2016

When you pick up a memoir – particularly a celebrity memoir – part of the inherent appeal is that you can safely be a voyeur at arm’s reach. But when that celebrity memoir falls short on sharing names and intimate details, well, that’s not a great read. Because if you just wanted to hear how swell everybody is and how perfect a celebrity’s life is, you could just tune in to “Ellen.”

CHARLOTTE STEWART podcast excerpt: "Life became just unbearable for Jim (Morrison, lead singer of The Doors). He was facing three years in jail and all kinds of paparazzi were around. He called me up one day and said, 'I have to get out of town. I want to go away. You want to come?' I said sure. He asked me because he trusted me. We didn't have an affair; we had a friendship. We headed up to Cambria and I introduced Jim to some artist friends of mine who didn't know who Jim was. Jim didn't look like Jim Morrison. We went up to Hearst Castle -- Jim Morrison was riding the Hearst tour bus. Nobody knew him. We were just shooting pool and drinking..."

So when I tell you that actress Charlotte Stewart’s autobiography delivers on both boldface names and remarkably personal details, trust me, I’m underselling the book.

In Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me, the author tells stories about the friends she made, the roles she played and the men she loved across Hollywood going back more than 50 years.

CHARLOTTE STEWART podcast excerpt: "David Lynch is a very sincere person. He is a meditator — he is a joyful person. I’ve never seen David in a bad mood. When I was shooting ’Twin Peaks’ last year, his set was so comfortable… David Lynch paints film; he does a visual thing that is unlike any other director I’ve known. And it works."

Like who? Well, she had a long getaway weekend with singer Jim Morrison of The Doors shortly before his fateful final trip to Paris. She was married to actor Tim Considine, one of the sons in the CBS hit comedy “My Three Sons” – although that didn’t keep her from leading a wild life of sex and drugs of which her husband knew nothing. One of the few men she turned down was her boss for four years as she played the reserved schoolmarm Miss Beadle on “Little House on the Prairie.” The boss’s name? Pa Ingalls himself, Michael Landon.

A few more names in her life’s story: Elvis Presley. Kevin Bacon. Kyle McLachlan. Neil Young. Joni Mitchell. Jimmy Stewart.

CHARLOTTE STEWART podcast excerpt: "I was so lucky in so many ways , but I took it for granted. I'm just glad I got through it."

Oh, and she inspired a scene in Tom Wolfe’s novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities. She also co-starred in David Lynch’s breakthrough cult film, Eraserhead, as Mary X. And while she and the director never got together off the set, she did live on and off through the years with Eraserhead himself, Jack Nance. (And Lynch gave her the recurring role of “Betsy Briggs” on his legendary TV show “Twin Peaks,” a role she’ll return to in the show’s third season in early 2017 on Showtime.) During today’s conversation, Charlotte will also read a short passage from Little House in the Hollywood Hills, which she co-wrote with Andy Demsky. This book will blow your mind. Promise.

Key interview moments:

• 17:25 Actress Charlotte Stewart spent a lost weekend with Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, shortly before his fateful trip to Paris from which he would never return;

• 45:02 Perhaps best known as the schoolmarm “Miss Beadle” on the long-running Michael Landon TV series, “Little House on the Prairie,” Stewart has nothing but love and respect for its growing legion of fans;

• 51:45 Stewart, who starried in director David Lynch’s very first film, Eraserhead, and his best-known work, the TV series “Twin Peaks,” talks about what he is like as a man and a friend.

Charlotte Stewart WebsiteFacebookTwitter • Order Miss Beadle Pillows and Tote Bags • Little House WikiaGoodreads • WikipediaIMDB

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