Elaine Stritch went on the Today show today in a big fur coat and dropped an f-bomb. That marvelous, carefree 89-year-old attitude is on full display in the documentary about her life, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, out this weekend.
This morning, Kathie Lee Gifford basically asked Stritch to curse on the air, when asking about her "mouth." Stritch said: "If you just say things naturally, it’s fine. They’re just thinking ‘f–k.’" Gifford and Hoda Kotb reacted with false shock. (Please, as if Elaine wasn't going to curse.)
For more of Stritch's unfettered mouth, it's worth seeing the movie directed by Chiemi Karasawa, who revealed at a screening this past Sunday that the subject was suggested by their mutual hairdresser. Stritch, for instance, opens the movie by saying: "I wish I could fucking drive. Then I'd really be a menace." When she's on set for 30 Rock she teases Alec Baldwin calling him "Alec Joan Crawford Baldwin." Truer words have probably never been spoken.
But Stritch's marvelous, not-giving-a-damn attitude is also on display in other, more revealing ways in the film. Not unlike Joan Rivers in the 2010 documentary A Piece of Work, Stritch lets the cameras see her at vulnerable moments. (Stritch, as is to be expected, more so than Rivers.) Stritch lets Karasawa shoot her when she's rehearsing for her cabaret show, forgetting the words to songs like "Rose's Turn" and "I Feel Pretty." She allows cameras to film her when she needs medical attention for her diabetes and when she's in the hospital. In one hilarious moment, she chides the camera person for not filming her whole routine involving Bays English Muffins, which she eats partly in honor of her late husband, John Bay.
Toward the end of the film, you see her in bed, no pants, not even wearing the tights that she usually wears in lieu of them. Interestingly enough, Stritch got frustrated at a person who asked about her affinity for going pantsless at a Q&A following a screening. "Why the hell would I got out in New York City without pants on, and don't anybody answer that," Stritch said. Stritch's predilection for wearing a white overshirt and black tights in lieu of other bottoms was even a punchline to a Tina Fey line about Stritch's general awesomeness in the film. (Hoda and Kathie Lee also brought up the pants question, to typical Stritch stonewalling.)
So if you're in awe of the legend's desire to mess with the Today show, go see the film in full.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.