Neil Simon’s THE GOODBYE GIRL remains one of my all-time favourite films because of his script and its delivery. The 1977 film, directed by Herbert Ross about an odd trio thrown together in “one of life’s little jests,” features Marsha Mason as Paula McFadden, a former Broadway dancer bringing up her ten year-old daughter Lucy (Quinn Cummings) when a struggling actor, Elliot Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss) arrives at their New York apartment in the middle of the night, because Paula’s ex-lover has fled to Europe, subletting it… without telling her.
The film was a critical and commercial success with Richard winning the Best Actor Oscar, BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Marsha was also nominated for all three awards, winning the Globe. Her Actress in a Leading Role Academy Award nom was her second of four.
She had previously been acknowledged for her Golden Globe winning performance as prostitute Maggie Paul in CINDERELLA LIBERTY (1973). She played actresses Jennie MacLaine in CHAPTER TWO (1979) and Georgina Hines in ONLY WHEN I LAUGH (1981), receiving Oscar nominations for both. They were written by Neil Simon, who was her husband at the time. Marsha will be familiar to fans of the sitcom FRASIER, in which she had a recurring role as the fun-loving, brash and crass bartender Sherry Dempsey in the late 1990’s, receiving an Emmy nomination.
I sent this GOODBYE GIRL montage of Marsha to her Connecticut home a few weeks ago after my wife and I watched the film for the millionth time, and she kindly signed and returned it to me.