The Times-News,
Hendersonville, N.C.

April 4, 1987

This article was submitted to us by Cousin Monika!  Thanks, Cousin!

Arthur May Be Next Judy Holliday

By C. Witbeck, Syndicated Columnist

HOLLYWOOD - "Everybody Loves Balki.  He's very childish.  So am I," says blonde Rebecca (sic . . . we will correct the spelling of her name in the rest of the article - Ed.) Arthur, known as stewardess Mary Anne, the tease on ABC's "Perfect Strangers."

Childish Bronson Pinchot lusts after naive Mary Anne, and, unlike most young TV characters, never gets to first base.  A nice touch in sex-obsessed TV.

Mary Anne is the latest in a long line of ditsy Hollywood blondes, a cliche that still retains flavor.  To Rebeca Arthur, a small, blonde lady with big eyes and a teacup poodle named Emmy usually by her side, Mary Anne is more naive than dumb.  Closer to Judy Holliday.

The other night Rebeca made her talk show debut with Johnny Carson, and she was uneasy.  Johnny gave her a look as if to say, "Why are you here?"  Rebeca went blank.

That produced the Carson look of "Golly, is she going to fall apart?"  Rebeca began to babble.  She got the audience laughing, and when Carson repeated the question to an earlier guest, Alan Thicke, on what he was doing after the show (Thicke was heading for a benefit hockey match), Rebeca told the truth, "Do my laundry, I guess."

Feeling she bombed with Johnny even though he asked her back, Rebeca was still down the following day.  "I've been watching Johnny Carson since I was a baby," she declared.  "Finally, I get on his show, and I goof."

In the pre-interview with a Carson assistant, Rebeca told stories for an hour.  But on camera she couldn't remember the stories.  Only one stayed in her head, and she knew better than to tell that one.

Don't get the idea Rebeca Arthur is dumb.  She admit being a lousy waitress, a terrible bank teller, and a pretty fair private eye, working three years for a man who specialized in missing persons, lost children.

When not out on leg work, she attended auditions, and finally landed jobs with "Guiding Light" and "Search for Tomorrow."

"I hesitated about coming to Hollywood," Rebeca notes, "because I knew the town must be loaded with blondes.  I'd be engulfed."

Not true.  Within a month she worked "Remington Steele," then came "TV Bloopers," a Rodney Dangerfield special, "Newhart," a TV movie "About Last Night," and an NBC pilot on women hairdressers with Vicki Lawrence, one that lost out to "Golden Girls."  A seventh month drought followed before "Perfect Strangers" signed Rebeca for a guest spot.  Producers liked her so much as Jennifer's roommate, the two ladies became regulars.

"We're on hiatus now, and go back in May so as to be ready in case there's a director's strike this summer," Rebeca explains.  "I didn't want to stop."