I’ve been reading Michael Parkinson‘s autobiography called “Parky” for a second time. It’s a beautiful book with some real human stories. One such story evolves around his interview with past and famous actor Henry Fonda. Fonda loved to talk about his talented children, especially Jane. In the interview he said the following about her: “She is one of the most incredible actresses I have ever seen . When I saw Klute, as an example, I couldn’t wait to sit and talk to her, not father to daughter, but actor to actor. I realized one scene that particularly knocked me out was improvisation, which I couldn’t do if I was paid a lot of money. It just tore me apart.”
Many years later Parky was interviewing Jane Fonda and she was sharing how distant her father had been, how he seemed unable to communicate with his family. Remembering the Interview he had had with Henry Fonda, Parky told her what he had said about her. She responded rather sadly, “He never told me.” Parkinson then said to her that in the interview her father had described her as one of the most extraordinary actresses he had ever seen. Her eyes filled with tears. “Why didn’t he tell me,” she said. At the end of the show she was given a copy of that interview so that she could finally hear her father’s words about her.
Parkinson writes, “How strange he could have so publicly and proudly praised her and yet not found it possible to tell her himself, knowing, as he surely must have, how much she craved his approval.” Is it really so strange? Don’t we all do this to some degree?