Actor and singer Rita Wilson was honoured with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Installation Gala on Thursday, March 18. It has been almost a year since Rita Wilson and her husband, actor Tom Hanks, were diagnosed with COVID-19. Since then, Rita has been busy quarantining with her husband and has been singing, writing and hustling despite the ongoing challenges for musicians and artists amidst the pandemic. In a recent interview, she reflects back on her early career, when she was discovered at the age of 14 and how journalist and filmmaker Nora Nephron mentored Rita for her career in Hollywood.
In an interview with Variety, Rita Wilson shared her excitement about being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. She said that she has been in the business for about 50 years since she was about 14 years old. She launched her career as a model for Harper’s Bazaar magazine by the famous photographer Albert Watson. Then two years later she was cast as Pat Conway on The Brady Bunch, which earned her first Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.
She reflected on her first gig as a model being photographed by Albert Watson. The duo shot for the Harper's Bazaar magazine cover in 1971 for the next years issue where it was all "bathing suits and surfer chicks.". Rita was of the assumption that they were combining professional models with regular girls who came out of Hollywood High School. Rita Wilson then described how Nora Ephron became her first mentor in Hollywood. She said the renowned American journalist and filmmaker was her guiding force in her career, mentoring her in the tough terrain of Hollywood. Since her parents were immigrants, no one was from the entertainment business.
On being asked if she misses performing as a singer in person, she remarks that she loves to be with people and added that performing a song requires the participation of the audience so that they can understand what the artist is trying to do. Rita is currently in England working on the writing sessions with English and Swedish writers. She also wrote a lot of songs during the COVID-19 pandemic such as Hello World and I Want to Kiss Bob Dylan, including her upcoming EP.
Rita Wilson also reflected on the time when she and her husband Tom Hanks were diagnosed with the coronavirus saying she wasn't aware of the impact of the pandemic as they were in the hospital. She also wrote a playlist called Rita Wilson’s Quarantunes, which was about being quarantined and feeling ill. Rita Wilson concludes by saying she still cannot "wrap her head around" the number of people who died due to coronavirus.
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