I just watched the movie Peggy Sue Got Married and was reminded how gorgeous Kathleen Turner looked. She has substance, a healthy solidity to her, like something from a Cézanne fruit bowl. (I never was a fan of the wispy, runway-model look.) Then, too, I am a sucker for dimples, and she has dimples. Throw in the cardigan sweater, the plaid wool skirt, and the 50s hairstyle, and she looks as good as any woman can in my eyes.
So, it was a shock when I saw a recent photo of her appearing matronly beyond recognition. I understand the Buddhist philosophy that nothing is permanent, not friendships, not lives, and especially not a woman’s looks. But still, it was a shock.
In the early 1990s, soon after making Peggy Sue Got Married and the Indiana Jones sequel, Romancing the Stone, she came down with rheumatoid arthritis and began a constant battle with prescription drugs and alcohol to ease the pain. The prescription drugs included strong steroids with devastating side effects that changed her appearance. All of this must have been incredibly difficult for someone who made her living by her good health, good looks, and athleticism. My heart goes out to her.
Today, her symptoms are in remission and her life is back on track, but her stunning looks are gone forever. I was amazed to learn she was the voice of Jessica Rabbit. Oh, that husky voice! That has not changed.
She understands what is obvious in the mirror and defiantly says, “Okay, so I don’t look like I used to. Get over it!” She says she eats what she wants when she wants, and was never overly concerned with her appearance.
I totally agree with her, and give her all the credit in the world for it. Still, when I see what she once was . . . sigh . . . what a loss, for all of us.
At least she once had it, which is more than many of us can say. Only the fictitious Peggy Sue will never change, and she gave us that. I am the one who is shallow, and I am the one who is struggling with the inevitable ravages of time that I can easily see in others, but never in myself.