Harbor Style Harbor Style March 2018 : Page 60

“My sweet husband said to me, ‘You have the energy of two people,’” she laughed. I thought perhaps she has the energy of three people; Seakwood is, indeed, a force of nature. I knew a little about her prior to our interview. For many years she worked as a production office coordinator for major films and television shows in New York, plus she appeared as an extra and minor actor in some major films, such as the Alfred Hitchcock classic North by Northwest. But what she revealed to me during our interview was simply fascinating. I sat down with her in her Punta Gorda home that is adorned with various photos from different eras. Many of the photos depict her with many Hollywood icons. One could not help but notice photos of a younger Seakwood with some of the world’s most famous actors: Cary Grant, Robert Redford, Patty Duke, Peter Falk, Michael J. Fox, Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman, Christopher Reeve and more. But that part of her life came later; I asked her to start at the beginning. Like Herb, Seakwood’s father also noticed that she had an abundance of energy, she said. Her father and mother both adored her. Mother Mae “wrote, produced, directed and acted in her off-off Broadway play,” Seakwood related. At the tender age of 5, she appeared in her mother’s production. “I never had any stage fright,” she proclaimed. Her sister Paulette was a professional accordionist, and “my first job was in a [northeast] mountain resort.” Seakwood sang and played the guitar with accordionist Paulette, performing “the popular music of the day.” Following school, Seakwood became a John Robert Powers Agency model, daughter Leonard revealed. (Powers was an American actor and founder of a New York City-based modeling agency bearing his name. He represented models who aspired to success in the Hollywood film industry.) Seakwood’s beauty led to movie roles both as an extra and bit player. Those films are considered classics today. One anecdote about North by Northwest perhaps should be included in a book on Hollywood films. Seakwood recalled that there was a major strike in the industry while Alfred Hitchcock was directing North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. “One hundred extras or more were needed” for that film, she recalled. Hitchcock gave her a minor role in which she would “take a cab away from Cary Grant.” Since “an extra makes nothing, I was thrilled,” she said. However, the director thought that Seakwood was “too pretty,” and so for her it was back to being an extra. She was placed in an elevator behind Grant and near three older people. “I was very upset; Cary Grant was standing right in front of me,” blocking her from the camera. “I leaned over and whispered to him, ‘My mother will never forgive you...’” The gentleman that he was, Grant stepped aside and for a few moments, Seakwood can be seen behind him in that memorable elevator scene. On the last day of shooting Three Days of the Condor, starring Robert Redford, there was a change in the script and Seakwood was asked to go to the location where they were shooting in New York City with the changes. Redford was but just one actor who she interacted with during film and television productions. As time went by, Seakwood married her first husband; then later, she was alone and raising her two daughters. She worked as a production office coordinator for many films and TV series such as Matlock (1988), Trading Places (1983), Annie (1982), Ragtime (1981), Wolfen (1981), Superman (1978), Three Days of the Condor 60 | HARBOR STYLE

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