ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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"SUE SYLVESTER ON GLEE IS STEALTHY AND LOOKS AT EVERYTHING AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO WAGE WAR AND WIN. SHE'S A WARRIOR GODDESS." different in that you are considerably older than those actors who are, to a certain extent, new to the business. Do you find yourself being a mentor to those actors? JL: Not at all. First of all, I don't work with them very much. I mostly work with Matt [Morrison], Iqbal [Theba], Dot[-Marie Jones], and Jayma Mays, and I love them. They're just the best. I don't work with [the young actors] that much. I mean kids these days are so sophisticated and smart; I did not have the chops—the life chops—that they have. My niece is from Chicago; she's 28 and she works on the show, behind the camera, and she's very good friends with the kids on the show, so I've gotten to know them that way as my niece's friend, and they are fabulous. They're just great kids. They're really exceptional people. Switching to another project: Back in 2009 you wrote a memoir called Happy Accidents. What inspired that? JL: I found myself going through speeches that I had written—for a while there I was at every gala where I would be the featured speaker. I always made it personal because that's the only way I know how to roll, my own personal experience with whatever these particular organizations I was speaking to, usually LGBT-related or animal-related. I started going through all of them because I was writing one and I figured I would just steal from myself. I thought, "I should just put these all down in order." A friend who is a writer said, "Let me introduce you to this agent and you guys can talk about it," and she actually wrote the proposal for me. Then the agent took it to book people, and before I knew it I had a book deal and a deadline. My wife sat down with me and the two of us put it together, and it was great—it was a very joyful thing. Another recent project is Hollywood Game Night, which was just renewed for a second season. Just watching that, it looks like you're having so much fun. JL: We were, and I was. What did you enjoy most about that experience? JL: I love hosting parties. I don't necessarily like going to them, but I love allowing people to shine—creating a platform for really fabulous people to enjoy themselves and show their fans what they're like. I know how fun that was for me when I would watch Password, even going back to Password, or Hollywood Squares or, what did I watch? Baffle. [Laughs] Any of those Gene Rayburn game shows and Bert Convy game shows. I loved watching these really funny people like Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly just rile each other, having a lot of fun, and just seeing them without lines where they were playing a character. When offered this opportunity by Sean Hayes, who's a friend of mine and a fellow Chicagoan, I said, "Oh yeah, you betcha I would love to do this." You mention speaking at galas for the LGBT community. Over the past several years, you've become a real role model in that community; do you think it's getting easier to be out in Hollywood? JL: First of all, Hollywood is so gay and has been forever—maybe not so much in front of the camera, and most people just didn't know. It is much easier, but I think we still have a problem as an audience—we haven't come far enough to where we will accept an openly gay person in a straight love interest role, whereas they can happen on Broadway all the time. That's the next thing around the corner. But yes, absolutely, I think it has [gotten easier], and it's due to people who had the courage to stand up when nobody else was doing it—people like Melissa Etheridge, Ellen DeGeneres, K.D. Lang standing up and saying, "Yes, this is who I am," plus Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, and [in British accent] the British male homosexuals. [Laughs] You mention that another cause dear to your heart is animal rights. Why so? JL: I just love them. We domesticated these little babies, and it's up to us to take care of them. We have to spay and neuter our pets and take responsibility for how and if they reproduce. I think the people out there saving animals off the streets and from abusive homes deserve all the support in the world. I support that work, but I could emotionally never do it. We do this thing with six shelters at the Rose Bowl around Halloween called Race for the Rescues. We do a walk or a run and somebody wins and everybody gets little prizes, but we take all of the animals and put them on a catwalk— including cats—and we parade them, basically, we whore them up and down the catwalk in costumes, and every single one of them gets adopted every year. That's so great. Now, you've worked with so many comedy greats. Who in particular are you inspired by these days? JL: Amy Poehler. I find her hilarious, and there's such a huge heart behind it. She's a real bright light and inspires me. I love Alec Baldwin's touch. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley of Absolutely Fabulous continue to blow me away—I still watch the old ones they made in the '90s over and over again. In terms of your own career, what's out there that you'd still like to accomplish? JL: I want to do more theater for sure, and I wouldn't mind spending more time in New York doing that. I'm going to talk to a friend about doing a series of concerts—I want to get a little band together and do some singin'… that sounds like a lot of fun to do on my hiatus. In your Twitter profile, you describe yourself as both an actress and a bon vivant. Outside of acting, what is giving you the most joy these days? JL: My friends. My friends and my family—one-on-ones, two-on-ones, three-on-ones, no more than that. I had a huge party at my house the other day, and I really enjoyed it, but I basically talked to one person the whole night. But I love going out; I love making dates with my friends. That's what I love doing. MA 112 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 108-113_MA_FEAT_CS_Winter2014.indd 112 11/20/13 10:19 AM

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