Attention Animal Fair Readers: Despite repeated attempts using our considerable showbiz influence, we simply could not get an interview with Flossie. Even her human begged and pleaded for us, but no dice. Flossie kept saying she isn’t “in love” with the press because she has bad associations with newspapers from her experience in childhood. We explained that we are a magazine, not a newspaper, but to no avail.
Flossie finally agreed to work with us, but only on the following conditions: One, it had to be a “self-interview,” where she would tape herself talking and mail us the cassette. Two, she refused to tell her own story, and only wanted to talk about her human, an actress, pictured here. Obviously, it isn’t everyday we get the chance to have a real American dog hero like Flossie appear in our pages, so we happily agreed.
What follows is the unedited text of the tape we received:
“Hello, Animal Fair. Welcome to my world; the world of Flossie; hero, legend, canine superstar. Some call me ‘The Wonderdog.” But forget about me, because today I want to talk with you about my mom, my owner, the leader of my own personal pack. Her name is Drew, and we have quite a special relationship. She saved me, and I saved her back in return. But the story isn’t that simple. In fact, nothing about Drew’s life is simple. Nothing about her is predictable either, and– take it from me– nothing about her is dull.
My human, Drew Blythe Barrymore was born February 22, 1975, in Culver City, California. Her father is John Barrymore Jr. and her mom is named Jaid. For long time Drew and her mom didn’t get along very well, but all that has changed now, and Drew’s movie “Riding in Cars with Boys” had a lot to do with it. “Riding” was a pretty serious movie about a woman who has to raise a kid alone, and Drew told me she learned a lot about what her mom went through raising her. In fact, Drew and her mom have sort of reconciled. Drew even put her mom’s name in one of her tattoos.
Some people don’t like those tattoos. Heck, some people don’t like a lot of what Drew does, but then again, a lot of people love her. I was reading this magazine the other day– Usually, I only read the classics of course; Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, Lassie. But I happened to be waiting in the vet’s office and leafing through movie magazines when I saw this quote by Reese Witherspoon. She talks about admiring Drew.
It seems Reese was worried that her character in the movie, “Legally Blonde,” wouldn’t appeal to young women because the character was too perfect; blonde and beautiful, smart and ambitious. Reese said she tried to think of Drew while she was working because Drew is beautiful, smart, and ambitious, and yet incredibly likable– especially among young women. That’s pretty a pretty cool compliment.
So why is there so much controversy around Drew? Well, I tell you… Hold on! The mailman is here.”
(Editor’s note: At this point, there was about a thirty second pause in the tape with loud barking audible in the background. )
“Okay, I’m back. A dog’s work is never done, you know. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, people who don’t like Drew should try to learn more about her. She has had a pretty unusual life. I mean, Hollywood is a weird place to grow up.
I already told you her parent’s names, but what I didn’t tell you is that her grandparents and great-grandparents, and all her aunts and uncles were famous actors too. Maurice Barrymore, her great-great grandfather was born in1847 in Agra, India and came to the United States in 1875. He and his wife, Georgianna Drew were legendary stage actors. Their kids were John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore. Lionel won an Oscar in 1931, Ethel won one in 1944, and John, Drew’s grampa, was called the “the world’s greatest actor” and was the most widely acclaimed Hamlet of his generation. Heck, everybody in the family has been is show business. Sort of like the Baldwin’s.
Except, well the Barrymores also have a reputation for some pretty self-destructive behavior– worse, even, than running out into the middle of traffic or sleeping on that special couch in the living room. As Drew herself wrote in ‘Little Girl Lost” her family pretty much defined the word dysfunctional.
Jaid, who broke up with Drew’s dad before she was even born, started taking Drew to auditions as an infant, and the Barrymore baby got her first commercial before she was even a full one year old. Guess what it was for? Dog food, of course. Ah, even then she had good taste. She actually got the part after the puppy at the audition nibbled her, and instead of crying, she started giggling. Yes, the girl has always had an appreciation for the canine set…
Wait! What was that!?!?”
(Again, a pause in the monologue. Flossie’s barking is heard in the distance. Then she returns)
“Sorry. It was a jogger. Now where was I? Oh yeah. So you have to realize Drew has been in front of cameras her whole life. She had an upbringing as public as any in the history of the world. Ever. Talk about growing up in the public eye? This girl is a complete product of Hollywood. She has never really been off-screen.
At four years old, she made her film debut and was only seven when she landed a plum part in the biggest movie of all time! I mean, how cool is my human, Drew? When I was seven– in dog years that is– I was barely out of paper-training. Anyway, she does “ET,” and ka-boom! She is like the biggest star in the world. She is the youngest person ever to host Saturday Night Live and even got to be on the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was still the host. Wow. Speaking of talk shows, did I ever tell you that I invented that ‘woof-woof’ thing the crowd used to do on the Arsenio Hall show? Anyway, Drew was really famous and had all this money, and she went out a lot, sometimes to nightclubs, sometimes, um, with her mother. That was when she started getting into some pretty bad stuff, running with the wrong pack and howling at the moon, if you know what I mean.
She said it herself, ‘I started smoking cigarettes when I was 9 ½ … It wasn’t long before I began thinking, ‘Well, if I can smoke cigarettes, I can drink.’ I drank to get drunk.’ How did the dog take this???
After drinking and smoking cigarettes, she started smoking other things, you know, besides cigarettes. Then she was sniffing stuff at the age of 10 or 11. It wasn’t fun, cool stuff like trees and fire hydrants, either. All in all. It was a pretty tough childhood. You know… Come to think of it, maybe that is one of the reasons she and I get along so well. My upbringing was pretty rough, too. If you want to talk about a dysfunctional family, I’ll tell you about my childhood sometime.
But Drew dropped out of school, which she totally shouldn’t have done. I myself plan on attending school. I may become one of those Search and Rescue dogs or help the blind. That’s just the way I am. I love to help. Anyway… Drew dropped out of school and went though lots of rehab and stuff, and was suicidal and everything. Then– and this is the cool part– she came back and started acting again. But it wasn’t just a regular comeback. It was huge.
At first, she was taking all these parts that exploited her wild-child image, like the movie ‘Poison Ivy’ and this made-for-TV- movie about Amy Fisher, which was kind of weird. Meanwhile, she also was doing a lot more stuff people called crazy, like getting all those tattoos and posing nude in Playboy. She was married for 51 days when she was 19, and she flashed David Letterman on his birthday. But there was a difference. This time all the antics were on her terms, not anybody else’s. She sort of took control, you know?
The movie career really boomed when she was twenty and did a serious role in ‘Boys on the Side’ with Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker. Then she was in ‘Scream’ and ‘Batman Forever’ which were very big, popular movies. In 1998, she co-starred in the ‘The Wedding Singer’ with Adam Sandler. That movie was, like, totally huge and made a gillion dollars, basically because Drew was so incredibly charming in it.
For me, though, it was ‘Ever After,’ that really marked her coming of age. I mean, for a supposedly “bad” girl to be cast as a legendary princess in a Disney movie? For a girl who had this frantic, wild background to be embraced by the American people as Cinderella? Well… It’s touching really… I love this country… Just a bunch of wonderful mutts, we are…”
(Ten second pause. Soft whimpers in the background)
“I’m sorry, but I get so emotional… Remember this, dear Animal Fair readers: There are no ‘bad’ girls! Just like there are no ‘bad’ dogs. Sorry to get so preachy on you, but this stuff
just hits me where I live… Drew saved me from.. She is just… Remember, how I was talking about reading literary classics? Well, the other day I was reading those ‘Manners,’ essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson– he was a great dog-lover you know– and I came across this passage. Ralph wrote:
(begin offset italics)
‘I have seen an individual… who exhilarated the fancy by flinging wide the doors of new modes of existence; who shook off the captivity of etiquette, with happy, spirited bearing, good-natured and free as Robin Hood; yet with the port of an emperor, – if need be, calm, serious, and fit to stand the gaze of millions.’(end offset italics)
That is absolutely my Drewbie Tuesday! She is totally free-spirited and a trailblazer, but still takes care of business. The gaze of millions!? Ol’ Ralph didn’t know what the scrutiny was all about. Living your entire life on the covers of tabloids; showing up on Oscar night and knowing that people in nations all over the world will be watching your every move now, that’s what I call the gaze of millions. (should gaze of millions be in quotes????)
Drew stands up for what she believes in too. She is strictly vegan, and turned down an opportunity to appear on the cover of “Vogue” because they wanted her to a wear a designer who uses fur and leather. She agreed to do the cover only if she could wear cruelty-free clothing from Stella McCartney. Drew gives to AIDS charities, to cancer research, and one of her favorites is Wildlife Way station, a foundation created to rescue exotic animals and educate the public about global habitat depletion.
Drew and partner Nancy Juvonen formed a production company, Flower Films, and she got her first executive producer credit in 1999 with the another sort of Cinderella story, this one more modern, called, “Never Been Kissed. Then, when ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ came out and was a huge hit as well, Drew was officially a Hollywood top dog.
Last year, Entertainment Weekly put Drew and Nancy at #78th on their Most Powerful in Hollywood list– ahead of big names like Snoopy and that troublemaker Eddie from ‘Frasier.’ You know, I was up for that part in Frasier, by the way. I would have gotten it, too, if I hadn’t barked too loudly and woken up Kelsey Grammar from his nap. Forget me though. We aren’t talking about me today.
Drew has won all kinds of MTV awards and gotten nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys. She was even Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club’s ‘Woman of the Year,’ an award whose recipients include Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Sally Field, Glenn Close, Jodie Foster, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, and Julia Roberts. Yikes!
Oh, Drew also met Tom. Tom Green. That’s her husband. He is very nice, and I like him quite a bit, but well… Let’s just say we know who the big dog is in Drew’s eyes. Tom is a good guy and everything, but… He doesn’t save people from fires, like I do.
It was Sunday, February 18, of this year, just after Drew and Tom got married. I was doing my normal, great job as a watchdog. When I smelled smoke at about 3:30 a.m., I immediately sprung into action and started woofing and scratching outside their bedroom door– like this–”
(About thirty seconds of barking)
Ahem. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’ve never even had formal voice lessons. Okay, so I led Drew, Tom and the other dogs– Oh, yeah, did I mention that? We live with couple other pups; this girl Vivian and my brother Templeton. But I’d rather not comment on them. Frankly, just between us, they both have been acting a little jealous of all the attention I have been getting since I managed to lead everyone to safety.
Yes, I saved everyone from the fire single-handedly. I know, I know. You are thinking that I really am a wonderdog. Modesty forbids me to accept such high praise! True, my exploits have been featured in People magazine and USA Today, and the reporter from the Associated Press wrote this, ‘According to the actress’ spokesman, Eddie Michaels, the couple (Tom and Drew) owes their lives to the quick thinking of their trusty dog, Flossie. The heroic hound roused the duo out of bed…” Eddie needs to be withdrawn
Heroic hound? Me? Heck, I was just doing what I always do; takin’ care of business. Why, just yesterday there were some squirrels on the lawn. I scared them off. Later, this poodle from down the street walked by with her human. I let ‘em know who was boss of this block. Oh, by the way, that Eddie Michaels guy doesn’t work around here anymore. That’s okay, though, he always smelled kind of funny. Frankly I’m thinking of handling Drew’s PR duties myself, but I have so many other offers to entertain. (I think it’s hilarious –about Eddie Michaels-but I don’t think our readers will get the joke…. May not be worth putting in….)
So does my girl. Tom and Drew have settled into our new place, and her next movie is going to be an update of Barbarella or maybe something with Ben Stiller. Yes, it is Ben Stiller– a move called ‘Duplex,’ I think. I can’t keep track. I do have my own career to consider, after all. Oh. And in answer to the obvious question, yes, Drew and I have discussed working onscreen together. Right now, we are just waiting for the right project to come along. I’m hoping we can secure the rights to a remake of ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’
Is my human perfect? No. She makes mistakes just like everybody else. Recently, she got a lot of people nipping at her heels when said she was afraid to be in New York after all the bad stuff happened. Should she have said it? Who knows? At least, she was honest. That’s more than most of you humans are. To tell the truth, I just wish she had brought me to New York with her. I would have kept her safe, like I always do. Besides, I really should get out of the house and mingle with my fans more often. Ah well, the price of fame. The truth is she did not want to be away from me during this time, you know I am her kid
This is Flossie Barrymore, from Hollywood, signing off. We love you Animal Fair. (!)
(Click. End tape)