Lydia Cornell, Best Actress nominee at Method Fest for the independent film “Miss Supreme Queen,” and star of the long-running hit show “Too Close For Comfort,” guest stars this month on the groundbreaking HBO series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Lydia plays opposite Larry David as the helpful Victoria’s Secret salesgirl in the October 9th episode of “Curb.” “I love improv – playing off another actor with no script, no preparation, no rehearsal. With Larry it was magic. Of course ‘Curb’ is the best show for writers who act – or actors who like to live on the edge and make fools of themselves,” says Cornell.
Ms. Cornell is also a political writer and humorist who has been described as a “female Dave Sedaris.” Her current project is an explosive and controversial book tentatively titled “Serpentine: Tales of a Recovering Bimbo” about her own humiliating journey from the heights of fame to the devastation of alcoholism to miraculous renewal, including motherhood then marriage. Cornell now has three boys and two dogs, including her husband. Cornell says, “Everyone is going through puberty in our house. We are constantly regressing. I now have the most hilarious, incredible life I ever dreamed possible – but it was a very screwy route to spiritual growth. Lots of raw, ugly, embarrassing celebrity moments.” Including being dumped by various icons – and being locked in a bank vault above Harrods’s by Dodi Fayed, Princess Diana’s ill-fated partner. Lydia describes her Hollywood experience as a crash-and-burn, then a “catastrophic” spiritual awakening that was almost supernatural.
In “Serpentine,” with chapters such as “How to Talk to Ann Coulter, If You Must,” and “Falling Up,” Lydia chronicles her tragic-comic journey as a female in the 21st century, and explores being an American in this bizarre new millennium where ‘peace’ seems to be a dirty word.
Cornell went to Beirut, Lebanon in the first USO visit to a Mideast war zone for the International Peacekeeping forces. She left right before the first suicide truck bomb killed over 200 Marines of the 24th MAU. US Magazine published her “Beirut Diary.”
Her Soviet novel, “The Sylvia Plan” is based on the true story of one of Stalin’s most complex assassins: the man who killed Trotsky. The book, spanning the Spanish Civil War and World War II, had to be put on the back burner while Cornell raised children. It is finally coming out in 2006 and she has offers for the movie rights.
Cornell’s frustration with materialism compelled her to write the film “Venus Conspiracy.” “I actually know nine-year old girls who worry about wrinkles and dieting!” Cornell says. She teamed up with her former co-star from “Too Close For Comfort,” Deborah Van Valkenburgh. Ironically, both actresses portray sisters in “Venus” as they did some twenty years prior. “We got to have a great fight and we laughed until we cried,” says Cornell. This zany, poignant comedy-thriller in the vein of “Dr. Strangelove” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” clearly sends a message to all women, “Women have never achieved as much as men because they spend too much time putting on makeup!” EXTRA recently profiled Cornell and Van Valkenburgh, showing clips from “Venus.”
Cornell comes from a family dedicated to the arts. Her great-great grandmother was Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” A feminist and children’s advocate, she is passionate about helping orphans and underprivileged children. Profits from her ventures go to various children’s charities, including Give Kids a Break, Girls Inc. and Feed the Children and right now, hurricane relief/missing kids as well.
Rhino continues their highly successful DVD release of “Too Close For Comfort,” Seasons I and II, which follows the everyday exploits of a couple whose grown daughters live directly downstairs. “Too Close For Comfort” marked the triumphant return of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s” Ted Knight as San Francisco cartoonist Henry Rush. The popular series also stars Nancy Dussault, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, JM J. Bullock, and the legendary Audrey Meadows – who played Jackie Gleason’s wife on “The Honeymooners.” Please go to www.rhino.com for further information.