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Pete Reynolds Reports on the Hectic Happenings When Four Fame Stars
Endured a Typical British Press Conference
On 30th December, Lee, Debbie, Carlo and Gene took time out from their hectic schedule to give an all-too-brief press conference in a top London hotel. In close-up they looked just like they do on screen, and it didn't seem as if their non-stop British tour had tired them out too much. Indeed, Debbie spoke for them all when she said they were loving every moment, including all the dashing from place to place. "All this hoopla - it's great!" she exclaimed, and we knew she meant all the crazy, busy things they'd been doing since the moment they set foot in England.
Debbie looked chic in an Indian-style, multicoloured scarf and tweed flat cap, Lee wore a fawn sweater and a scarf patterned with piano keys, Gene had on a smart red and blue sweatshirt, and Carlo a leather jacket and a natty trilby hat, all with the inevitable jeans and legwarmers!
One of the first questions we asked was, "Do you ever fight about what goes into the show?" Debbie replied to that one. "We disagree sometimes, but I am the director so I have the last word," she smiled. "The others have lots of ideas, though, so I give them plenty of room to play!"
What about advice for kids hoping to make it in showbusiness?" Just jump in there and study real hard. It's the only way," she said wisely.
The record company biography about the Fame characters says that Gene Anthony Ray, who plays Leroy, is a shy, quiet person off-camera. If that's so, he certainly wasn't in a shy mood when we met him! "I don't get depressed often, just now and then like everyone else," he assured us. "This is my first stage performance ever and I can tell you it has been an experience and a half! I can't explain what it's like to be on stage. It's not like TV, you don't get a second chance, and there's no-one to shout 'cut', so you just go straight into it. I guess I helped to create the character of Leroy from my own experiences."
Gene had touched on something that everyone wanted to know: are Debbie, Lee, Carlo and Gene anything like Lydia, Bruno, Danny and Leroy, the characters they play?
"I'm not really a comedian," began Carlo, but Gene disagreed with him! Lee says he uses his own and others' experiences in his songwriting and Debbie says that although she isn't exactly like Lydia, there is a lot of Lydia in her.
The Kids all welcomed the chance to come to Britain and show us what they can do in person. "This is our stage debut," Debbie explained. "Even the States has never seen us live, but we think the audience there would be just the same. Live performance is really something special. It gives the people who love the show a chance to get a closer look at us!"
Someone asked the Kids if they have any faults. "My bedroom is pretty wild!" Carlo admitted. "Yeah - his bed's on the ceiling," quipped Gene, who later confessed that he sometimes suffers from stagefright. "I've messed things up a few times on stage but luckily the audience didn't notice," he smiled.
Lee told us that he started writing songs when he was seventeen; Debbie said her favourite drink is carrot and watermelon juice; and Gene told us that his favourite colour is black. Just as things were getting interesting and we were finding out all these secrets about our favourite people, they were hustled away to prepare for that afternoon's show.
"We love England. We don't just like it, we LOVE it!" was Gene's parting shot. So I think we can safely predict that they'll be back just as soon as they can make it!
This interview was provided to me by Stuart Farrell.
The article above is from the Official Fame Magazines from 1983. The OFFICIAL FAME MAGAZINE was published by Beat Publications Ltd. and the interviews are copyright MGM/UA Entertainment Co.