“I owned a frame shop in Atlanta for thirty years.  But every…

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“I owned a frame shop in Atlanta for thirty years.  But every time I went to a theater and sat in the audience, I got the feeling that God had come and left without me.  I just knew that I was meant to perform.  Then one day a woman walked up to me in a health food store, and asked:  ‘Do you always talk like that or do you have a cold?’  I said: ‘Excuse me?’  And she told me that she wanted to cast me in a BMW commercial.  I thought it was a freebie.  But on the way out of the studio, they asked for my social security number.  $750 for three minutes on the mic!  I thought: ‘I need more of this.’  I started taking acting classes.  I got cast in a few local plays.  I moved to New York on my 50th birthday.  I wasn’t about to sit around in my later years wondering if my soul had gotten what it needs.  I drew unemployment for the first time in my life.  But by 2003 I was a member of SAG.  By 2005 I had a speaking part on Law and Order SVU.  And at the age of 62 I was given a full scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  Things have dried up a bit since then.  I had to take care of my mother for six years.  And it’s hard for women of a certain age to get cast.  But it ain’t over yet.  Things happen when they’re supposed to happen.  And I’m a firm believer that nobody can get what is yours to have.  And I will tell you this: I’ve already envisioned what I’m wearing the first time I get invited to the Oscars.  Red mermaid dress, fitted from the waist to the knees, and flaring out at the bottom.  A stand-up collar that frames the back of my head.  Stunning neckline.  And a king’s ransom of rubies on loan from Harry Winston.”