Friday, January 22, 2010

Coffee & Conversation with Mariette Hartley

Despite a torrential downpour, a crowd of 36 brave souls turned out for actress Mariette Hartley’s appearance Thursday night at the Buena Vista Branch Library. Her powerful memoir, Breaking the Silence, has been re-released in paperback and the Burbank Public Library was privileged to host Ms. Hartley for a book talk and signing.

A star of stage, screen, and countless television roles, Mariette Hartley shared anecdotes from her extensive career with a great deal of humor and warmth. She spoke of meeting Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling as a high school drama student in Connecticut. When they later ran into each other again in Hollywood, Serling wrote an episode to showcase Mariette. She was a regular cast member on TV's Peyton Place and guest starred on many TV series from Gunsmoke to Star Trek to Law and Order: SVU, and many, many more. Of course most people remember her from the series of Polaroid commercials she made with James Garner.

Mariette’s celebrity has also allowed her to speak out on several serious subjects that are close to her heart. Growing up in a household of depression and alcoholism, Mariette herself is a survivor of parental suicide. When Breaking the Silence was originally released in 1990, there weren’t any books that dealt with suicide on a personal level. Her open discussion of her experiences in this book has brought hope and comfort to countless suicide survivors. She continues to connect with others having similar struggles in their lives. She is also the spokesperson for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and has been honored for her tireless humanitarian work.

Those who attended Ms. Hartley’s talk found a wonderfully compassionate and caring woman who took the time to talk to each individual, give a hug, and share a laugh. Best of all, she expressed a willingness to make a return appearance at the Burbank Public Library! Mariette Hartley also donated copies of Breaking the Silence to the library so if you would like to read an inspiring biography filled with laughter and tears, be sure to check the shelves for this amazing book. Find out more about Mariette Hartley on her website at

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