She has honorary doctorates, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an Oscar, Emmys and numerous other awards — but she candidly admits that work has not been easy to come by in recent times. Duke, who was a top series star as a teen, has been hankering for another series spot for years. “Glee” just might offer that — her and Meredith Baxter’s roles as a lesbian couple that take Kurt and Blaine (Chris Colfer and Darren Criss) under wing are prospects to recur next season on the show that recently got a two-year renewal.
Duke calls those reports just talk at this point, but makes it clear she’s delighted to be part of the Fox show. She and her husband Mike Pearce have always appreciated how “Glee” has helped kids who are different realize they they have a place in the world, as she put it to the Spokane Spokesman Review near her adopted home town of more than 20 years, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
She says she loves the energy she gets from working — plus, “I’d like to make a few more sheckels, so that when I do retire I can do so with a little bit of comfort and style.” And she does indeed expect to retire someday. “I can’t be Betty White, but I’m so thrilled for her. She is such an inspiration to me.”
Duke is herself an inspiration to many. Besides acting and personal appearances, she does a fair amount of speaking engagements related to mental health issues. Her story of coming back from the depths of bipolar illness serves as a beacon of hope to others coping with such problems.
“I hope it does,” she said. “What I want to be to them is a glimmer of who they can be if they choose to get balanced.”
Some three decades after her diagnosis, Duke told us, “Every day is not perfect for me. I get sad sometimes, but there’s a reason for it. It’s not that other kind of depression that lurks, waiting to bring you down. I feel ecstasy, but not the kind like when I bought several Mercedes in one day when I didn’t have any money.” She laughed. “But I paid the consequences for it. I paid and moved on.”
HELLO, AGAIN: Talk about reinventing one’s self. How about sassy TV maid-turned-documentarian? Shelley Morrison, fondly remembered by “Will & Grace” fans as Rosario, unveils a 12-year labor of love on May 18, with a benefit showing of “Weaving the Past: Journey of Discovery” at the Linwood Dunn Theater of the Motion Picture Academy’s Pickford Center in Hollywood. Pals including Eric Roberts and Ed Begley, Jr. are expected to attend the screening of the documentary film by Shelley’s husband of 40 years, Walter Dominguez. The couple has worked together on the film through money crises, family illnesses and more.
It all started, she says, when she was still on “Will & Grace,” and her husband’s father was dying. A last wish was for Walter to find the rest of his family in Mexico. “One thing led to another and another and another. He did interviews in Texas — San Antonio — and Mexico. It took on a life of its own. All these incredible stories about his grandfather came out. He was one of these Mexican revolutionaries” whose social sphere was filled with influential writers and activists. “There was so much history involved. …We were very careful with our research.”
The two are already into production of their second documentary, based on “Whitewashed Adobe: The Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of its Mexican Past” by William Deverell. Shelley says that her favorite part of the journey has been “realizing the depth of my husband. For me, he’s Gandhi.”
The “Weaving the Past” event benefits L.A.’s soon-to-open Museum of Social Justice.