It takes a smart actor to play a dumb character. Teri Garr is one of those actors.
This weekend, the Brooklyn Academy of Music or BAM for short, is having a Teri Garr retrospective.
Earlier today, I saw Tootsie (1982). Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is an actor whose difficult reputation precedes him. Unable to get a job, he becomes Dorothy Michaels and gets a job on a soap opera. Garr plays Sandy, one of Michael’s actor friends whose neurosis is exacerbated by her inability to find work and Michael’s inconsistency during this period.
I’m not an actor, but I can imagine that many actors, especially those whose work history is sketchy, can relate to Sandy’s neurosis. She is the flip side to Jessica Lange’s Julie, Michael/Dorothy’s co-star and love interest. Ms. Garr could have gone completely out there, playing a stereotype. But there is a reality to her character. Sandy’s neurosis (which considering her choice of career is understandable) is firmly rooted in her lack of lack of self-esteem, which when done properly, can be incredibly funny. The character of Sandy is funny, as is the actress who plays her, Teri Garr.