In a fawning puff piece in the Houston Chronicle, Bernadette Peters’ telephone voice is described as having a “distinctive blend of brash self-confidence, womanly warmth and baby-fresh enthusiasm, tinged with a delicious dash of mischief.” But no mention of the forked tongue that delivers her words. Further down in the story, after a litany of her greatest hits, mostly on Broadway, Peters mentions how much she enjoyed playing Tammy Faye Bakker in the 1990 TV movie, Fall from Grace (costarring nobody Kevin Spacey as Jim). Actually, her comment is more about how good she was in the role.
“She [Tammy Faye] said she loved the way I portrayed her; she still comes to see me.”
That’s because Tammy Faye is a good and generous person; Peters was just acting. Says Fenton Bailey after reading the article: “When making The Eyes of Tammy Faye we requested an interview with her loveliness and she agreed. At first. But then she changed her mind. And she also refused to let us use her image from the film she had so loved to make. We sent letters, and even a generous fruit basket containing a rough cut of the film so that she could see for herself we meant her no harm. Now, fruit baskets are a kind of esperanto of peace, love and understanding. Bernadette’s response was to have her agents who were at that time our agents, call us up and threaten us with a cease-and-desist. So we did.”
(Here’s a preview of Tammy Faye: Death Defying, WOW’s very moving followup doc to The Eyes of Tammy Faye, airing soon.)