Thomas Thompson’s tribute to Natalie Wood (PEOPLE, Dec. 14) was a warm and sensitive goodbye that contrasted sharply with other exploitive coverage. May it be a small consolation to her family that we all feel the pain of her absence because of the contribution she made to the world.
Dix Hills, N.Y.
Your tribute to Natalie Wood was good; however, the lady was a legend and all PEOPLE gave her was the last three pages in the magazine. When John Lennon was killed, the tribute was excellent, cover and all. When Natalie died, you chose to put the Three’s Company screwballs on the cover!
Mr. Thompson’s eloquent tribute reminds me of the moment in Splendor in the Grass when Natalie reads Wordsworth’s lines, “Though nothing can bring back the hour/ Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower/ We will grieve not, rather find/ Strength in what remains behind.”
Ellicott City, Md.
Webster’s defines a star as a “self-illuminating body.” Natalie Wood was just that. She was also one of the kindest, wittiest, most compassionate young women I’ve ever known. Rare in Hollywood. I think her mother, Maria Gurdin, spoke for us all when, after the funeral, she held us all together with the sweetest words: “Weren’t we all lucky to have known Natalie? Weren’t we blessed?” Yes, we were. As a lifelong friend I want to say thanks for serving her memory so beautifully.
Feld is a well-known costume designer who was working on Brainstorm, the film Natalie was making at the time of her death.—ED.
Rep. Morris Udall
Your article on Rep. Udall’s fight against Parkinson’s disease brought me to tears. My beloved grandmother passed away in 1977, a victim of Parkinson’s. She had had the disease for 10 years, but it was not diagnosed until a few months before her death. At that time I had never even heard of Parkinson’s, but it made me feel better to learn that my grandmother wasn’t the only one. Maybe now more people will recognize the symptoms and get the help they need.
Rep. Udall is clearly one of the 85 percent of patients who are benefiting from current therapy. Other patients are not so fortunate, and many suffer lapses, or “bad days” when they may be unable to move, speak or even feed themselves. Mr. Udall’s suggestion that one should not “submit to” Parkinson’s is unfortunate: Families and friends of patients have difficulty understanding how a patient who can do everything for himself one day may be bedridden the next. Parkinson’s remains a serious, incapacitating, chronic illness, and as yet there is no cure.
Dinah T. Orr
Parkinson’s Disease Foundation
New York City
Thank you for your great story on Priscilla Barnes. She’s doing a terrific job of replacing Suzanne Somers on Three’s Company. Even if she does have less and, as she says, “absolutely no A,” I like her the way she is.
Mount St. Helens
Tragic loss of life is hard to take under any circumstances, but I agree with those who feel Mr. Karr used poor judgment in being anywhere near Mount St. Helens. No one could have foretold the magnitude of the blast, but let us keep in mind that we may all live or die by our own actions. History has shown that we can’t depend on our government to tell us what is safe.
Mr. Coulson’s advice on what to do if you’re about to get fired left out one important point: Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing an up-to-date résumé. You wouldn’t believe how many calls my office, which prepares résumé, gets from individuals who need theirs completely developed, written, typed and printed overnight.
I am very glad that Vladimir Sichov and his family are now residing in the West, but it is ironic that many of my Russian friends, bona fide Jews, who have been trying to emigrate to Israel for years have been denied exit visas while Sichov succeeded in getting one by pretending to be Jewish.
New York City
I enjoyed reading your article on my sister Stephani Cook but want to clarify one point for the record. PEOPLE said that our mother “became an alcoholic and died in 1976.” She died of a cerebral hemorrhage resulting from a congenital aneurysm. Her death was, according to her neurosurgeon, unrelated to her dependence on alcohol.
It is also important for our relatives and friends of our family to realize that our childhoods were “the best of times and the worst of times.” While these people may not approve of Second Life or of the PEOPLE article, both are accurate, if incredible, accounts of Stephani’s experience. I admire her candor and courage.
Avis Cook Spring
Dr. Graves wrote that the word “pregnant” offended him when PEOPLE applied it to Princess Diana. Well, I am offended that any doctor should be so pompous. He insults millions of women who are happily “pregnant” by suggesting that, because of who Princess Diana is, her “blessed event” is any more blessed than theirs. Princess Diana is a woman with the same bodily functions as any other woman. She is pregnant.