Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tribute: Glynnis O'Connor



Long past her halcyon days in the 1970s as a frequent co-star, and sometime girlfriend, of Robby Benson, Glynnis O'Connor rarely receives her due as one of the most talented and lovely young actresses of the 1970s and early 1980s.  With a variety of leading men, most notably Benson, O'Connor seemed to corner the market on tragic or melancholy teenage romances,which were invariably improved upon just by her presence. 


With Benson, she appeared in the bittersweet Jeremy and Ode to Billy Joe, a massively successful tearjerker in its day.  She went on to star as the object of John Travolta's affections in the widely-seen 1976 telefilm The Boy in the Plastic Bubble and headlined Baby Blue Marine with Jan-Michael Vincent. She then appeared in two underrated coming-of age dramas: California Dreaming with Dennis Christopher and Seymour Cassel and Those Lips, Those Eyes opposite Frank Langella and Tom Hulce.

  
Along the way, she starred in Amy Heckerling's celebrated short film Getting It Over With, about an 18 year-old determined to lose her virginity.  It was this film that led to Heckerling's opportunity to direct Fast Times at Ridgemont High several years later.  One of O'Connor's last feature film appearances would be in Heckerling's ill-fated Fast Times follow-up, Johnny Dangerously.  


In 1982, O'Connor made perhaps her most lasting impression on the big screen in the Canadian independent production, Melanie.  O'Connor played the title role, that of a young illiterate mother fighting to retain custody of her young son, and was awarded with a Genie for "Best Performance by a Foreign Actress." 

However, after gaining critical acclaim for her leading role in the 1984 telefilm Why Me?, O'Connor's starring roles dwindled and she appeared, increasingly, in supporting parts on episodic television, telefilms, and direct-to-video productions.  She has appeared in several incarnations of the Law & Order franchise in recent years, yet I still hold out hope that she will re-emerge with a prominent role in a feature film.


California Dreaming trailer, 1979:

17 comments:

Jeremy Richey said...

Very nice post...I have always liked her and have to admit to being a huge BOY IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE fan...

Ned Merrill said...

Jeremy,

I had a feeling you'd be a fan, based on your blogs. Along with Trini Alvarado, she is one of my favorite young actresses of big and small screen of that era.

I think that JEREMY is both her and Benson's best work. They both sing on the soundtrack and it actually works!

Gran Lady said...

Hola!! quisiera saber si se puede conseguir la pelicula why me? , me gustaria comprarla.
Muchas gracias
namujica@hotmail.com

Ned Merrill said...

gran lady,

As far as I know WHY ME? is not available on home video, unfortunately.

Lisa said...

Nice tribute... Turner Classic premiered a film from 1980 a few days ago, called "Those Lips, Those Eyes". When I finally recognized the leading lady as Glynnis O'Conner, I just had to Google her. This brings back many fond memories of this lovely young actress from the '70's. Thanks

Ned Merrill said...

Lisa,

Thanks for the note. I meant to DVR THOSE LIPS THOSE EYES and I forgot. Shoot! :-)

Anonymous said...

she is adorable, thanks for your Tribute....

Anonymous said...

she does continue to work. In the past years she had roles in "Graduation" (on DVD), "PJ" with John Heard (also on DVD) and a few years back she filmed a lead in Paul Sorvino's directorial debut "The Trouble with Cali" (which is still awaiting a release date). I know her personally and can report she's happy, healthy, and a mother of 2 beautiful daughters living in NYC. As with every actress over 50 work is sporadic to say the best. Blame the business and the youth centered market. But Glynnis is as beautiful and talented as ever, and will hopefully one day be seen in an amazing project soon. this lady deserves an Oscar... ask anyone who saw her sterling performances in movies such as "Why Me?", "Melanie," and "Ode to Billy Joe"... even if it's when she's 80 (like that lovely lass in the Titanic?

Ned Merrill said...

Thanks for your note, Anonymous! Glad to know that Glynnis is doing well in all the most important areas in life. I didn't know about the projects you mentioned and will keep an eye out. We agree that she deserves a top-notch showcase even if she is on the other side of 50...

Anonymous said...

I loved her 35 years ago when i saw her on film in boy in the plastic bubble and again in ode to billy joe. i would love to see her again for she is very much a part of my life.

Graeme Eddington said...

I love you Glynnis O'Connor. You were fantastic in 'Ode To Billy Joe' and the little talked about movie 'Little Mo'. If your daughters are as beautiful as you, they are very lucky girls. Please do some more movies - your voice is nicest I have ever heard and you always put a lot of emotion into your scenes. Don't let 'growing old' stop you from continuing your career as an actress. Graeme Eddington, Perth, Western Australia

Frank C. said...

I was searching for a tv station to stop at during a quick lunch break. I came across the beginning of California Dreaming, and wound up watching the entire movie. That movie had an impact on me. It came out when I was about 25 yrs old and I absolutely fell in love with her. It was like turning back the clock. I forgot just how beautiful she is. Then and i'm sure now as well. She built up quite a successful and steady body of work throughout the years. I didn't realize it was that vast. Well, so much for my 60 seconds of input. If your out there Glynnis ...marry me. My goodness..I'm half a century old and never have I ever put myself out there like this. Look forward to seeing your future endeavors. Take care....Regards from Frank C. from the Jersey Shore

Anonymous said...

I had to look through a site called "Memorable Seventies Made For TV Movies" and read halfway down to page before finally recognizing the name that I couldn't quite remember. Not only were there dozens of pretty well made televison movies put out during those years, but many outstanding performers as well. Miss O'Connor was one of those natural beauties (like Kathleen Beller and Lee Purcell, among others...) whose faces and figures just lept off of the screen and into young men's hearts. Why larger fame eluded them is a mysterious as why some lesser talents and faces made it big. But, looking back at the pictures and remembering the films (thanks to the ever-growing library presented on the internet and thoughtful bloggers like our host) certainly reminds this viewer why he was so taken and still remembers fondly those days and many of those people. Face it, real beauty has it's original parts, not the least of which beats within the person's breast...

Thanks for providing this tribute!

Tybolt

Anonymous said...

Nice tribute, I remember TV series, Sons and Daughters I thinkbit was called. Did any of her recent works get out?

Laura Davis said...

I just watched Melanie and had to google her name because I remember her face and wanted to remember what other movies she has been in. She is so fantastic and I sat mesmerized by her performance. I wish I could watch more of her and I am sure even at fifty plus she will be as beautiful as ever. Her beauty comes from within and she certainly has the it factor!!! Thank you for this informative blog and if Glynnis is reading this my advise to her is You Go Girl!!

Anonymous said...

shes lovely and that robby wow he was a good looking boy in his time

Anonymous said...

Glynnis has been my heart throb since I was 10. When she asked "Do you think I'm beautiful?" I wanted to stand up and shout YES! At 57 she is still my celebrity crush. I keep hoping she will be in another feature film.