Mary Kay Bergman
Sunday, March 12, 2000
The Memorial Celebration and Concert was remarkable ... and cathartic. We cried, we laughed, we cried some more. We actually laughed quite a lot ... Mary Kay would have been pleased.
Many industry and voice-over people came to the event including Jane Jacobs, Mona Marshall, Barbara Goodson and Diane Michelle ... all of whom sang in the choir. The choir's musical accompanists were Reid Bruton and David Kaminski. Tara Charendoff, her fiance, Craig Strong, Tara's sister, Marla Charendoff and Debi Derryberry were also in attendance.
The service was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the famous Blossom Room. This is the room that the very first Academy Awards presentation (presided over by Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in 1929) took place in. The hotel, with its old-Hollywood glamour and charm, was the perfect setting for the memorial ... across the street from where Mary Kay shone at the South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999) premiere at Mann's Chinese Theater and down the street from Disney's El Capitan Theatre (Mary Kay didn't just do voices for Disney, she was also a HUGE fan as well).
The service began with the choir, who sang "Turn the World Around." Then Mary Kay's husband, Dino Andrade, described how Mary Kay grew up in Hollywood ... right around the corner from Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Disney's Snow White (1937), whose shoes Mary Kay would fill years later as Snow's official voice (1989 - 1999).
Being across the street from the Chinese Theater took on even more meaning when Dino told of how, as a kid, Mary Kay would sneak onto the Paramount Lot via the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (which is adjacent to the studio), and when she would see a line of limos heading to a premiere, she would race over to the Chinese Theater, by bus, to watch. She dreamed about someday being one of the people stepping out of a limo onto the red carpet ... and that dream was eventually fulfilled. It was a very moving and inspiring realization.
Dino then introduced our hosts for the rest of the afternoon, Aleta Braxton and Jess Harnell. Better known to most as Wakko Warner (Animaniacs), Jess treated us all to a touching version of "If I Only Had the Nerve," the Cowardly Lion's number from The Wizard of Oz (1939). We were stunned at how beautiful his singing voice is! (We also chatted briefly with Jess after the service and he was so nice!)
There wasn't a dry eye in the room when a poignant song by Lauren Adams made a point that victims of anxiety could take comfort in: "(You Don't Have to Be) Perfect Right Now." Lauren wrote this song especially for Mary Kay, on the morning she found out about MK's tragic passing.
Throughout the service, many family members, friends and colleagues of Mary Kay's spoke of the fun times they had; MK's thoughtfulness (she never forgot birthdays and hand-picked all gifts); MK's kindness (she was always very positive and supportive, even to competing voice-over actresses at auditions); and about how MK lit up any room she entered. It was clear she was very loved and respected by everyone whose lives she touched. All the speeches and all the songs were simply wonderful ... to accurately sum up the entire day would take many a webpage and we'd like to keep this article short, so we're just going to describe a few more of the highlights for you.
Anyway, Mary Kay was a big Dodgers fan, so everyone stood and sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" before a 15 minute intermission. After the break, E.G. Daily performed "Britney's Song," in an amazingly powerful, husky voice. She has such a big voice for someone so petite ... and there was no trace of Tommy Pickles (Rugrats)! After her song, E.G. and James Pluta reminisced about working on Bob's Video (2000) with Mary Kay. Richard Hall, who plays "the homeless opera guy" in Bob's Video, then sang "La Donna E Mobile" from the opera, Rigoletto.
Grey Delisle ("Nicole" in Bob's Video) related her days as Mary Kay's student and of how they first met shortly after Grey had made a wish (for success in acting) at Snow White's Wishing Well in Disneyland. After her wish, Grey noticed a sign that said something to the effect of "Learn Voice Acting with Snow White," and that's how she found Mary Kay (MK mentioned in our interview with her, in October 1999, that she loved to teach). Mary Kay, as we stated before, was Snow's official voice for ten years and Disneyland was Mary Kay's favorite place in the world to visit, so this was quite a cosmic tale, indeed.
It was mentioned (earlier in the service) that Grey Delisle will be taking over the role of Daphne Blake in future Scooby Doo projects (after Scooby Doo and The Alien Invaders). This bit of info also asserted the message that while characters can be replaced, there will never be a replacement for Mary Kay, herself, who was truly one of a kind.
Susie Lum, who works for Disney voice casting and also played "Deputy Spunkmeyer" in Bob's Video, explained how Mary Kay would approach a voice role, using the example of a puppy. Mary Kay wouldn't just bark, she wanted to know what breed of dog she was going to portray, how many pups were in the litter and even the exact birth order of her pup! Susie also spoke of MK's many Disney roles, particularly of her Joan Cusack voice match work in Toy Story 2 (1999), calling Mary Kay "our little cowgirl."
Aleta Braxton, a talented voice-over artist and director, lead the choir with her rich voice, in a beautiful rendition of "God Help the Outcasts," from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996) in which Mary Kay voiced the brief role of Quasimodo's mother (a role, Susie had noted, MK was very proud of). This tune spoke volumes in and of itself. Ms. Braxton also co-coordinated the memorial event with Dino and Jim Bell.
Before the closing by South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut co-composer Marc Shaiman, Dino spoke again and read two excerpts from Mary Kay's diary (written in 1987) which provided a telling view of her courage and creativity. He also read a statement that (South Park creators) Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who were unable to attend, sent in.
Last, but not least, the choir sang "Blame Canada," South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut's Academy Award nominated (for Best Song) tune which addresses the problems with kids today and asks: "Should we blame the government or blame society? Should we blame the images on TV?" (After some deliberation, the parents in South Park decide to "Blame Canada.") The choir's energetic performance drew an additional audience as several hotel patrons gathered just outside the doors to listen in. If you've never heard it, you can catch "Blame Canada," which will be performed (edited for content) at the Oscar ceremonies on March 26, 2000 on ABC (please check your local TV listings for airtimes).
We would like to take this opportunity to again thank Dino Andrade for inviting us to the service ... it was an honor to attend and a day we will never forget. Never before have we met someone with such courage, strength and compassion. Dino made a very important point, that deserves repeating (we're paraphrasing here) ... Suicide is not what is killing so many young people -- undiagnosed and untreated mental illness is. We all need to work on ending the stigma attached to mental illness in our society, so people can get help without embarrassment and/or fear of being called "crazy."
Doreen Mulman and Nora Salisbury
M U L T I M E D I A
The Service Program
Scans of the actual program:
Page 1 (front), Page 2 (Program - Part One), Page 3 (Program - Part Two), Page 4 (back)
or, for those who like fast-loading stuff, a .txt file version of the four pages listed above.
Other Items from the Service
Flyer with a pic of Mary Kay & her SP characters.
Demo CD Page featuring cover art scans and
RealMedia samples of Mary Kay's demo CD.
Related Item Found on the 'net
34 second .mp3 audio sample (413 Kb) of
"Blame Canada" featuring Mary Kay.
If you are viewing this page out of the site's frames, please click here
to access the entire Official Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Site.
"God Help the Outcasts" (8 Kb)
© 1996 Alan Menken / Disney
Page & Event MM by Doreen Mulman. Article © 03-13-2000 D.Mulman. All rights reserved.
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