Thursday, September 29, 2011
First edition cover
Patricia Neal (born September 21, 1944), known professionally as Fannie Flagg, is an American actress, comedienne and author. She is perhaps best-known for the 1988 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was adapted into the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes; Flagg was nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay adaptation.
Theatrical release poster
Flagg, born in Birmingham, Alabama, is the daughter of Marion Leona (née LeGore) and William Hurbert Neal, Jr., who was a small-business owner and projectionist.
As her acting career began, Flagg could not professionally use her birthname, as there was already a well-known Oscar-winning actress named Patricia Neal.
A quaint town with all the memories of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, the Whistle Stop Cafe, the train station with a real train that runs through, the church, cemetery with two graves marked with the names of Buddy Threadgood and Ruth Jamison, a grave by the hickory pit that bears the reading of: Here lies Frank Bennet of Valdosta "The secret was in the sauce" and here!
During the 1960's, Flagg co-hosted the locally produced "Morning Show" on WBRC-TV in Birmingham, Alabama. Following this, she was hired as a staff writer for Allen Funt's Candid Camera, and she later became Funt's co-host on the syndicated 1970s weekly version of the show. After a lull in her writing career, she returned her focus to writing in the 1980's. Among her novels are Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man (originally titled Coming Attractions), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (1998) and perhaps her best known book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. She subsequently wrote the screenplay based on that book which became the film Fried Green Tomatoes. The 1991 movie garnered her a nomination for an Academy Award. Fried Green Tomatoes starred Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker, and Cicely Tyson.
She has also written "Coming Attractions" (1983) (Later re-released in 1992 as "Daisy Fay And The Miracle Man"), "Welcome To The World, Baby Girl!" (1998), Standing in the Rainbow (2002), A Redbird Christmas, (2004), and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven (2006). Her most recent book, I Still Dream About You: A Novel was published on November 9, 2010 by Random House.
During the 1970's, Flagg was a fixture on game show panels. She is best known for her appearances on the game show Match Game (normally occupying the lower right-hand seat next to regular panelist Richard Dawson). Her acting credits include the Broadway production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the films Some of My Best Friends Are..., Five Easy Pieces, Stay Hungry, Grease and Crazy in Alabama, as well as minor roles in various television shows. In 1975 she appeared as the Amazon Doctor in the pilot for The New Adventures of Wonder Woman. She is also known for being a regular on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, where for two seasons she played Mike Preston, sister to Van Dyke's character Dick Preston, and for her role as Cassie Bowman in all 30 episodes of the 1980-81 sitcom version of Harper Valley PTA, starring Barbara Eden.
During the 1960's and '70's, Flagg recorded two comedy albums with various skits that included many parodies of Lady Bird Johnson and Martha Mitchell. Also during the 1960's Fannie Flagg hosted a morning show on WBRC-TV in Birmingham, and occasionally reported the weather in the 1970's on the same station.
Flagg has spoken publicly about being dyslexic. Flagg has said she was enormously challenged as a writer because she "was severely dyslexic and couldn't spell, still can't spell. So I was discouraged from writing and embarrassed". Her burgeoning writing career was put on hold for much of the 1970's, but Flagg overcame her fear and completed several novels and screenplays.
Flagg was at one time the partner of author Rita Mae Brown.
Flagg divides her time between homes in California and Alabama.