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A lot of the time in my recurring dreams, before I was diagnosed, iconic people would either be good or evil figures. I remember dreaming really basic stuff like trying to navigate the London underground, but then Paul Newman would be the only one who would direct me to the right trains. And I’m trying to remember who would direct me to the wrong ones.
There is a danger in becoming an icon, as people can see you as remote and untouchable, and they are less willing to tolerate you doing things that don’t fit with their preconceived idea of you. Iconic status can be like a pair of handcuffs, especially if, like me, you wish to continually stretch yourself creatively, as Warhol did.
When we started the show [Lonesome Dove], Suzanne De Passe – who had done the original miniseries and still owned the property and was turning it into this series – she brought in a lot of old friends – Diahann Carroll and Billy Dee Williams and Dennis Weaver. And we had an interesting collection off the top of these old seasoned actors. Billy Dee was lovely and iconic.
I was researching some of the modern-day figures that The Sopranos were moulded on. So many iconic Sopranos moments. James Gandolfini and Edie Falco had an incredible scene together in the kitchen of that house that looked like it was about to explode. That was an iconic series that changed the way we did television. It is also an extremely realistic portrayal of the mafia. Much more so than The Godfather. The Godfather, one of the greatest films ever, but let’s face it, a romanticized version of the mob.
On June 22, 2008, at the age of 71, an American revolutionary died. He was a bona fide genius, an outspoken critich, a literary giant and an unprecedented visionary. For 50 years he entertained, challenged and amazed not only my generation, but also ones before mine and well after. He was sensational, brilliant, iconic and unique – the quintessential individual. He was my lifelong hero. His name was George Carlin.
Icon. What is an icon? When someone is iconic it means they have established a certain kind of legacy possibly, and I think it does come with time. It’s something in the arts, I feel. Maybe not, maybe it doesn’t have to be in the arts exactly. I’m not really sure. But I don’t think you are born an icon.
Some of the things I love the most are when a writer or a visionary takes on sort of an iconic character and then spins it. Like with Frank Miller, Batman was this one thing for basically forty years, and then Frank Miller came along and said he can also be this other thing. And Christopher Nolan came along and said he can also be this other thing. The idea of taking iconic comic book characters or superhero characters or mythic characters and subverting the genre or coming up with a new idea is something that’s really interesting to me.
I’m so honored to be on this recording with Ann & Nancy Wilson. They are iconic and I’ve truly been one of their biggest fans since I was a kid. And what a perfect song to sing with them, since I adore Vince Gill and have been very proud for his commitment to his own musical vision. When we were recording at Nancy’s house, and even though I’m friends with those girls now, I had to keep ‘pinching’ myself and marvel at how blessed my life is! It was a very PROUD moment for me.