A week ago today, Franklin Cover -- veteran character actor -- passed away (or, as waaay too many headline-writers wagged, "moved on up").
Franklin Cover's one of those actors that really are part of StinkyLu's heart. So even though it is a little late, Franklin Cover's due a BM Tribute...
StinkyLulu fell in love with The Jeffersons in reruns, during the early 1980s, while doing math homework. And strangely, that abiding fondness may well have been all Franklin Cover's fault. See, StinkyLulu just cannot stand Sherman Helmsley but StinkyLulu fell in love with the show, mostly because StinkyLu just loved Isabel Sanford, Marla Gibbs and -- most especially -- Cover's televisual "other half" Roxie Roker. Though StinkyLu rarely noticed it at the time, Cover's chemistry with the women on that show is palpable -- kind, silly, sweet, goofy...everything that George was not. Truly, it seems to StinkyLulu that Franklin Cover's Tom Willis contributed something essential, maybe even the glue, that helped that ensemble to hustle for 10 seasons, the only one of the great Norman Lear sitcoms of the 1970s that never totally lost its initial spark.
Which is possibly why it was such a scary shock to see Franklin Cover as Ed Wimperis in the 1975 version of The Stepford Wives. See, StinkyLulu first screened the 1975 Stepford on home video in the verrrrry early 80s -- before noticing Mr. Cover on tv -- & of course the proto-feminist Lu loved it. While rereading the novel & rescreening the 1975 flick prior to the 2004 devastation of the story, StinkyLulu was all excited to see Tina Louise. The Lu totally remembered that Ginger played the glamorous & smart Charmaine, the tennis diva married to the doughy white guy whose transformation was so awful and chilling. (Indeed, for years, StinkyLulu would point to Stepford as the film that proved once-and-for-all that Tina Louise did indeed have chops as a dramatic actress. Lu stands by that claim, but demurs that it's a question for the ages.)
But imagine Lulu's shock, horror and thrill when Franklin Cover popped up as Charmaine's Stepford Husband, the somewhat devastated baddy who nonetheless bulldozes Tina's tennis court!?!? OMG. That quick sequence of supporting scenes Freaked Lulu the F*CK out. In 2004. Mostly cuz of Mr. Cover. (How cool is that?)
So, hey Mr. Cover, thanks. Held your own with two of StinkyLulu's most revered tv sitcom beauties (not to mention one of StinkyLulu's most loathed sitcom monstrosities) & somehow came out of the jaunt your own actor. That's good tv.