Malick pulls double duty in 'Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story'
July 20, 1999
From Sherri Sylvester
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- At a time when most women in the United States still defined themselves by their roles within the home, identical twins Esther and Pauline Friedman established careers as advice columnists. Their competitive columns, penned under the names "Ann Landers" and "Abigail Van Buren," tore them apart as sisters and divided readers on the issues of the day.
The Lifetime cable channel has made an original movie that chronicles their out-of-print lives called "Take My Advice: The Ann and Abby Story." Actress Wendie Malick plays both parts.
"It all seems very tame now," she says. "But if you think about the '50s -- abortion and discrimination and homosexuality-- these are things that apparently their editors kept saying 'you can't talk about.'"
Malick says she came to admire both women immensely.
"I think they've always given wonderful advice, and I think they're two women who just have really good basic horse sense," she says.
Malick's own 'horse sense'
The actress known for her sophisticated city characters, lives on a 40-acre ranch in the Santa Monica mountains with "two head of horse, three head of dog, one head of cat."
"I get to wake up in the morning and ride my horse and walk the dogs and just be in this beautiful place. It's very restorative, and I think it's helped keep me centered in a way," Malick says.
She shares the ranch space with her husband, Richard Erickson. They met while building houses for impoverished families in Mexico. Each year, the couple travels to a remote village in Africa where Erickson built a medical facility.
During the regular TV season, her days are primarily spent on the set of the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me," where she plays Blush Magazine fashion editor Nina Van Horn. Acting out life in the fashion world isn't foreign to Malick, who modeled in New York, Paris and Madrid for five years. The character, however, does not mirror Malick's sensible nature.
"She (Nina) really is the queen of non sequiturs ... There are a lot of missing links in this woman's brain," Malick jokes.
Nina could probably benefit from Ann and Abby's advice, but Malick says she's found career contentment.
"I hope I can do this until my brain is shot -- until I can't remember the lines anymore."
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