Geena Davis’s The Red Pony: A Coming Out

Geena Davis's The Red Pony: A Coming Out

Geena Davis recalls Bill Murray pulling down her dress strap during ‘awful’ TV interview

Geena Davis remembers meeting director Bill Murray while filming their 1981 movie The Red Pony.

In interviews leading up to the film’s release, Murray had criticized the lead actor, Denholm Elliott, for his ‘awful’ television interview. So Davis, who had asked Elliott for a date at a Beverly Hills hotel, decided to give him a second chance.

She found herself standing before the “awesome” director, who asked her to let him help her dress during filming. The two got on famously, and when Davis said she had to leave him in the hotel room to grab some personal things, she wrote in her autobiography, “He wasn’t finished with me yet: He pulled down my dress strap and pulled it off.”

Elliott died of a heart attack in 1992 at the age of 49, but Davis said she’s grateful Murray left her with the memory of their time together. In an interview with People magazine, she said, “I did try to see him as he’d been in the past, but he always seemed sort of gone. He didn’t make eye contact.”

Elliott had come out publicly as gay in the early 1980s, only to go back to living as a man after the release of his 1978 film New York, with his then-husband, director Jack Nicholson.

In the People interview, Davis recalled that she found out from Elliott’s wife, Diane Keaton, who worked on the film. Davis said, “I learned that Bill and Diane were going to share a life together, that Bill was gay and Diane was straight. I thought, ‘Good God!’”

Her story of learning the truth about her beloved director is one of many revealing anecdotes in her memoir, which was published on Tuesday.

The book, written as a coming out, chronicles her experiences with an abusive father, struggles with body image and her struggle to define “queer,” as part of an ongoing discussion about race, gender identity, and gender.

Davis’ relationship with her adoptive mother is a central part of her story, with her mother leaving before she was born. But while her mother is a central figure throughout the book, her father is not.

“She did more to shape me

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