Friday, October 16, 2020


My wife continues to toil over her memoir. The plan is for it to be released next year by Simon & Schuster. I read faster than she writes, so I am very current with how she is doing, which is a little like watching paint dry. The book, aptly titled Apparently There Were Complaints, is--pardon my bias—simply terrific. Sharon Gless, the TV icon from Cagney & Lacey and my bride of over a quarter of a century, has had one hell of a visit to this planet. That---coupled with the fact that she is an exceptionally good story teller---makes the tome a sweet read. Hearing her recite it aloud, as folks will soon be able to do thanks to the reality of audio books, is nothing short of a treat.

This process of her writing a book has been going on for a long-time—see earlier reference regarding the drying of paint. Sharon got a reprieve from the publisher when they told her no non-political books would be released by them in 2020. And, what with Simon & Schuster having Mary Trump’s book as well as Bob Woodward’s … who can blame them? Besides, there are only so many trees any single publisher may cut down in one year before having to consult with the U.N.’s commission on climate change. (Sorry, I could not resist attempting a little inside publishing house humor.)

Sharon’s book is all but done, 40+ chapters. Most of the pictures have been selected. Those will, of course, need to be captioned. The acknowledgment section remains to be completed and, knowing Sharon, it will probably contain the name of every human being she has ever met (at least in this lifetime). I hasten to clarify that last statement; I do not want to give the wrong impression. Sharon does have a spiritual side that might well be a book in its own right, but this memoir of hers is no Shirley MacLaine redux. Sharon sticks to demonstrable facts: she is a fifth generation Angelino and much of what is the San Fernando Valley was once under the control and ownership of her Basque ancestors. On the other side of the family are the McCarthy’s, dominating the social and entertainment pages of the newspapers of the time. Neil McCarthy, Sharon’s maternal grandfather, was attorney to Howard Hughes, Cecil B. DeMille, Ava Gardner, and Louis B. Mayer. He was the guy for whom the McCarthy salad was named by the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge. Oh yes, he played polo too, and the house his wife built for the family is today the embassy in Los Angeles for the People’s Republic of China… still sporting the shamrocks carved into the window shutters nearly one hundred years ago.

Sharon was the last of the contract players in the studio system in Hollywood and worked for years at Universal Studios with the likes of Jim Garner, Andy Griffith, R.J. Wagner, and Robert Young. Lots of good stuff there.

A third of the book is devoted to Cagney & Lacey and Sharon’s six years on that show with Tyne Daly… and me. Plenty of new stuff and lots of nostalgia for the faithful. Her views on our life together… and its interruptions (Queer as Folk for five years, Burn Notice for seven, plus three plays in London’s famed West End). It is a very nifty ride.

I make it sound as if the book were pretty much done, don’t I? Well almost. My bride is down to the last chapter, and that’s where things have come to everything but a conclusion.

Sharon’s editor at her famed publishing house wants more than a summary of what went before, or even a cheerful glance into what may be yet to come. They want her to pause and exhibit some thoughtful introspection as to what she has learned, what it all means, what is this life of hers all about? These are tough questions for anyone, but in my wife’s case, I am not altogether convinced that she has that gene.

Not an intellectual, and not by any means a cerebral individual, Sharon is tactile. “Feeling” something is more important to her than understanding it. And in a way (at least for her) feeling is understanding. The trick, it seems, is how to get that on the page?

I hate watching her struggle, but in this she must engage all on her own. I have seen her try being flip and end it all with a joke…some funny stuff, too… but then that gets thrown out and she begins anew.

Faulkner admonishes the writer to “first, kill all your darlings.” Sharon has done that… repeatedly. The process is not one she enjoys. In fact, she has been kicking and screaming at every blank page.

There is no telling how long this might go on, so, if you find yourself growing impatient, let me suggest you go to the Internet and the official Cagney & Lacey website ( There you will not only find a collection of past articles by your humble blogger, but also be given the opportunity to purchase Cagney & Lacey… and me. That is the memoir I wrote which, of course, you can also get on Amazon, APPLE, or I-Tunes, but then you would miss out on an autograph. It comes down to just how warm and fuzzy you want to be about such a purchase.

Since you have now read my comments on Sharon’s book, you might be wondering how she would review mine.

Me too.

She hasn’t read it. Something about wanting to remain married.


Barney Rosenzweig


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