Friday, April 11, 2014

Ruth Buzzi & Kent Perkins Are Coming To The Concert, Too!

Today has been great. We've had a blast with Fay and our great friends/volunteers. This afternoon  Tony and I wanted to impress Fay, so we took her to Home Depot, in Kerrville, to buy a chainsaw. After we purchased the chainsaw, I think Fay was pretty impressed with us Texans, because later on in the evening, when all of us were eating dinner with Kinky, at the Medina Highpoint Resort, she said, in her cute, Canadian accent, "Well, I've never done that before!"

Well, you guessed it—Donna Gable Hatch and The Kerrville Daily Times have done it again for us! Here is a great story about our dear friends Ruth Buzzi and her husband Kent Perkins. We love Ruthie and Kent and we cannot thank Donna Gable Hatch and The Kerrville Daily Times enough for all they have done for us! Enjoy! And we will see y'all at the Concert for Utopia, on Sunday!

Comedienne Ruth Buzzi to pay visit to Kerrville

By Donna Gable Hatch 
Features Editor

She cracked us up as part of the sketch comedy troupe on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” She reduced the legendary Dean Martin and Johnny Carson to tears of laughter with her character, Gladys Ormphby, a hairnet-wearing, handbag-wielding spinster. She can even hold her own alongside the inimitable Miss Piggy.
She’s comedienne-actress Ruth Buzzi, and she’s in Kerrville this weekend to support her longtime friends at Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, in Medina.
“There have been too many highlights in my career to pick just one, so I’ll share a few: winning the 1972 Golden Globe for best supporting actress in a comedy or variety show was huge for me. Getting to know Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, even John Wayne and Muhammad Ali; the fascinating people I met along the way are all career highlights for me. But one thing that really stands out is the day I picked up TV Guide and saw my face on the cover. It wasn’t Rolling Stone, but I did get 10 copies for my mother,” Buzzi quipped.
A homecoming, of sorts
Buzzi and her husband of 36 years, Kent Perkins, will be in the audience at the Concert for Utopia, a benefit for the animal sanctuary founded in 1998 by Kinky Friedman, Nancy Parker-Simons and Tony Simons. The concert begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, 910 Main St., in Kerrville. It features nine-time Grammy winner Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, singer-songwriters Billy Joe Shaver, Chet O’Keefe and Jesse Dayton. Friedman and radio host Gordon “Big G” Ames will co-host.
Joining the couple in the balcony are her in-laws, Dee and Elaine Perkins of Southlake, Texas, who have been married 69 years. Perkins’ mother will celebrate her 88th birthday while in Kerrville.
“People are surprised that Ruth Buzzi has living in-laws,” Perkins cracked.
Perkins, who met Friedman in 1974, said he and his wife have been friends with the musical talent “for at least 30 years or more. We’ve spent some quality time with Ray and Billy Joe out at the ranch and other places. The concert will be like a homecoming for us. We love Nancy and Tony; they’re among our best friend. We couldn’t have the ranch without them. Nancy’s rare. Tony’s medium rare,” he joked.
Paws all in
Buzzi’s love affair with four-legged friends began as a child.
“I have always thought of animals as friends, from as early as I can recall in my childhood,” Buzzi said. “I was born in Rhode Island but raised in Wequetequock, a small seaside hamlet in Connecticut. It was country living back then, and I had a fox terrier named Fritzy and a black cat named Blackie.”
She and her husband live on a 600-acre ranch near Stephenville in north Texas, where they have 18 head of cattle, a bull, five horses, two rescue dogs — a great Pyrenees named Buffy and an American bull terrier named J.J. — two swans and 10 ducks.
The couple kicked off Utopia’s Pen Sponsorship program in August 2012, and Buzzi raised nearly $8,500 last year for the ranch through her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
She said she and her husband are ready to serve “whenever and wherever we can to support efforts in saving animals. Utopia Rescue has outdoor pens with a tree, at least one tree, in each pen. The dogs are loved there, fed well, played with and treated great by caretakers, Nancy and Tony, who devote their entire lives to the care and love of animals,” said Buzzi, who was honored in 2012 as one of the “Great Women of Texas” by the Fort Worth Business Press. “None of the money raised is wasted; not a penny of it. All the funds go for food, shelter, medical and support services for rescued animals.”
Parker-Simons said the couple’s support has been an invaluable asset to the ranch, and any time they’re in town is a treat, sometimes literally.
“We love it when they visit, because they're always so much fun,” she said. “A few years ago, they came down for a benefit, and later, Ruthie taught me how to cook beignets Italian style, and they were delicious.”
Buzzi and Perkins have been to the area many times throughout the years, and she said she’s grown quite fond of Kerrville.
“My favorite things about Kerrville are the attitude of the people, the incredible beauty of the area, and the name of your public library (Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library),” Buzzi cracked.
It’s that famous wit and impeccable timing that carried the TV Hall of Famer seamlessly from the Pasadena Playhouse in southern California — where she studied alongside Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman — to Off-Broadway, to Broadway, then on to television, followed by film.
“Dustin Hoffman, by the way, was the most shy of all my classmates. He practically hugged the walls as he went from class to class,” said Buzzi, who began working in theater professionally when she was 19, touring with singer Rudy Vallee in a live musical and comedy act. “I guess he’s come out of his shell, wouldn’t you say?”
Her time working with the “Laugh In” cast, she said, are among her most treasured memories in the business — and was a launch pad for lifelong friendships.
“JoAnn Worley and I are the best of phone buddies. I’ve also kept in touch with Gary Owens, Goldie (Hawn), and Lily (Tomlin), too, but we don’t get together much since I’ve moved to Texas,” she said. “When they need me for something, though, they call and we always support each other in whatever ways we can.”
The famously funny "Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" — which aired as an NBC television special show hosted by entertainer Dean Martin from 1974 to 1984 — left an indelible mark, because she got to know the men behind the laughter.

“Both Dean and Johnny were warm, wonderful guys with big hearts. People automatically knew that about Deano, but lots of folks assumed Johnny was standoffish,” she said. “The truth was that Johnny was simply uncomfortable in most large social gatherings, so he rarely went to big parties. He preferred small dinners with no more than four or five people, and my husband Kent and I were fortunate to be counted among those folks several times.” 

She said one image is seared into her heart. “We saw Johnny at a hospital with a dying mutual friend once. He sat beside her every day on his way home from the studio, held her hand and made her feel loved the last few days of her life,” she said. “It’s hard to forget that image of Johnny Carson. I loved him, and I loved Dean, and I miss them both.”

Buzzi said she’s looking forward to the Concert for Utopia and chatting with residents during intermission and while she’s in town. “People should feel free to stop me and say ‘hello’ when they run into me around Kerrville,” she said. “I love meeting people, and I’m never too busy for that.”

Here are a few pictures, too:

 Actress Ruth Buzzi, center, her husband, Kent Perkins, right, Courtesy photo
 and her in-laws Elaine and Dee Perkins of Southlake, will be in the
audience Sunday for the Concert for Utopia.

                                   Ruth Buzzi as park-bench spinster Gladys Ormphy on 
                                                 “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

Ruthie and me.

Y'all have a great evening!

1 comment:

Mari of the NoMads said...

Nancy, I was in Houston this past weekend, so sadly I had to miss the concert and thus perhaps a glimpse of Ruth Buzzi!

I just wanted to let you know that, while I was visiting my mother, Lori phoned to tell me to let my mother know that she had served none other than the great Ruth Buzzi at the Cowboy Steakhouse!

We are ALL so in awe of that woman - the fantastic write-up in the Times, though wonderful, didn't have enough space to do more than 'touch' on the true goodness of Ruth Buzzi's 'soul'.

What joy she brings to those around her!

I hope the concert was all you all had hoped for. I am so very disappointed to have missed it. We'll have to get together for lunch so you can tell me all about it!