Thursday, December 01, 2005

Say it Ain't So, Wendie Jo

It is with a sad heart that I post today's latest celebrity obituary. I just found out that one of my favorite comediennes passed away this Tuesday: Wendie Jo Sperber.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Actress Wendie Jo Sperber, who starred opposite Tom Hanks on TV's "Bosom Buddies" and who in his words became "a walking inspiration" after she contracted cancer, has died. She was in her 40s. Sperber died at home Tuesday after an eight-year battle with breast cancer, publicist Jo-Ann Geffen said Wednesday. A Los Angeles native, Sperber appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including all three "Back to the Future" films.

Her publicist first said Sperber was 46, but later said she was 43 based on an Internet resource. The Associated Press in September reported Sperber's age as 47.

Sperber also had roles in Steven Spielberg's "1941," Robert Zemeckis'"I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and Neal Israel's "Moving Violations" and "Bachelor Party." Her television credits include "Murphy Brown,""Private Benjamin,""Will & Grace" and "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, the actress became an advocate for cancer care. In 2001, she founded the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, which provides free emotional support, information and social activities for individuals and families affected by cancer.

Sperber helped unveil and promote a breast cancer stamp for the U.S. Postal Service in 1998, Geffen said. "The memory of Wendie Jo is that of a walking inspiration," Hanks said in a statement. "She met the challenges of her illness with love, cheer, joy and altruism. We are going to miss her as surely as we are all better for knowing her."

Sperber is survived by a son and daughter, her parents, two sisters and a brother.


I looooved Wendie Jo. She single-handedly kept me in stitches for much of the 80's and well into the new millennium. She starred in some of my favorite movies and TV shows:

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)
• "Bosom Buddies" (1980) TV Series
• "Private Benjamin" (1981) TV Series
Bachelor Party (1984)
Moving Violations (1985)
Stewardess School (1986)
• "Babes" (1990) TV Series
Sorority Boys (2002)

She was my favorite thing about Bosom Buddies and made me laugh 'til I cried as the uptight proctologist, Dr. Tina Gassko in 1984's Bachelor Party. OMG, this is one of the funniest movies ever and a lot of its success is owed to Wendie. I HAVE to share with you, two of my favorite scenes:

Scene 1: Unbeknownst to anyone, the groom's arch nemesis (the bride's jilted ex-boyfriend) hires two S&M hookers to "perform" at the bride's bridal shower (allegedly on the behalf of the groom and his friends). When the mother of the bride answers the doorbell, there on the front porch is a very uncomfortable Dr. Tina Gassko (Wendie) surrounded on either side by the two kinky hookers. The hookers make themselves at home, and once locating a power source, proceed to do their act in front of a shocked group of snooty women socialites.

OMG, I died laughing.

Scene 2: After the bride's friends find out that her husband-to-be is being thrown a raunchy, outta-control bachelor party, they decide to move the bridal shower to a male strip club. Initially finding the whole situation repugnant, Dr. Tina Gassko (Wendie) eventually lets down her guard and gets completely outta control. At one point, throwing her leg over the stripper's shoulder and shimmying before tearing off his loin cloth with her teeth, then proceeding to prance around him like he was a maypole! Her husband (the groom's brother) lurks behind the scenes undetected, shocked, asking his friend:

"What does she think she's doing?!"
His friend replies:
"Maybe checking him for a hernia."

Friggin' hilarious! And that's just the tip of the iceberg! If you haven't seen the movie, it's a must-see 80's classic.

Thanks for all the laughs and great memories, Wendie. I truly am sad to see you go. R.I.P.


Blogger Dennis Cozzalio said...

I caught your comment on Dave Kehr's site, and I just wanted to concur here as well. Thanks for the great tribute. It really is nice to know that Wendie Jo Sperber was appreciated as much as she seems to have been. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog too-- it looks terrific. I have a tribute to Wendie Jo posted today at my blog SERGIO LEONE AND THE INFIELD FLY RULE, located at I hope you stop by.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:15:00 PM  
Blogger sugarfoot said...

Wasn't she the sister on Back to the Future, too? I always thought she was so funny, and loved that scene in Bachelor Party. Thanks for the tribute to her.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Yep, I really love me some Wendie Jo. After seeing her in I Wanna Hold Your Hand, she was the motivating factor in alll the other rentals. She will be sorely missed.

And speaking of your blog, I love it. No doubt about it. Just when I think I've seen them all, I get knocked out by a new one! You, my friend, are definitely a kindred soul. A fellow cinemaphile who shares my love of all things celluloid.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it! :D

Yep, that she was! And even though I loved those movies (the first 2 anyway) I didn't mention those simply because she didn't have as big of a role in those films. If you get the chance, you GOTTA rent Stewardess School. She was hilarious in that! If only it were on DVD, dammit!

Thanks for taking the time to reminisce with me. She was a one-of-a-kind lady.

Friday, December 02, 2005 9:26:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.