There were many ways in which I was not the typical teenager during my middle school and high school years. Talking entertainment was just one of many.
Although I did subscribe to Seventeen Magazine for a while, it wasn't for the latest gossip and interviews surrounding the latest "boy bands," "bubblegum pop" teenyboppers, and the stars of cultivated "chick" films. With the exception of Garth Brooks and Gilda Radner, none of my favorite stars ever got a mention anywhere except online. In fact, with the exception of the two G's (that would be Garth and Gilda), no one had even heard of the celebrities I looked up to. They were all obscure. To make matters worse, only people of a certain audience really knew them seriously - and I wasn't a part of even that audience! I was just myself.alone ,itseemed.
I once lamented in the car with a group of friends. One of our group's mothers was driving us somewhere downtown for an outing, and - not surprisingly, especially given the age group - the subject of arts and entertainment arose. "I hate talking favorite actresses with people," I said, "because my favorite is dead and nobody knows who she is."
The mother, who apparently considered herself somewhat a connoisseur of obscure things (she had a son with obscure interests, after all), tried to appease me. "Who is she?" she asked.
"Never mind," I said, gradually lowering my voice to a murmur. "you've never heard of her.
"How do you know?" replied the friend's mother cheerfully. "You haven't even told me who she is!"
"Okay, Okay... Cassandra Harris."
"Never heard of her. Who is she? Who is she? Come on! Indulge us!"
Oh Lord! I was afraid of that! I had pretty much had this conversation with nearly everyone I knew, and being the relatively unsociable person that I am, I grew quite fatigued (socially speaking) from explaining very quickly. How do I explain Cassandra to people who don't recognize her by name or by face? There is so much more to her story than simply the fact that she was married to Pierce Brosnan, was an actress who never quite made it big, and died of ovarian cancer. Anyone who has ever read the Pierce Brosnan biography by York Membry (published 1997) would know from the three chapters which focused almost solely on her, one of which contained her entire life story! And as most people who have read my posts might recognize, I tend to give an overview of what such people mean to me, rather than provide a biography of information they could easily find elsewhere.
However, Cassandra's history seems shady enough to your average person that a biography would almost be necessary.
But first, however, I suppose a traditional tribute-style post from me would be essential. Like I said earlier, I am not even of those typical audiences who recognize her name - those are audiences that consist of die-hard Pierce Brosnan fans, which I never was. This had been an incorrect speculation of many people throughout my teenage years, but the truth was I would only read about Mr. Brosnan to see if any Cassandra mentions were present - a ritual I did not perform as religiously as speculated - it really takes no time at all when you know all the google searching tricks, which my computer-programmer dad taught me.
It was my mother who I can partially blame for first giving me my Cassandra "fixation." You see, my mother used to watch Keely Shaye Smith (Pierce Brosnan's current wife) on programs like the Home Show (a home/garden/family recreation-type show back in the 80's/early 90's), and later Unsolved Mysteries. I rather liked Unsolved Mysteries a lot. I would actually sit down and watch it with my mother which was rare for me because I hated watching TV as I found watching anything to be too passive and as a result, boring. Eventually, I got to the point where I would do my homework with Robert Stack's voice narrating in the background as I needed something to break the monotony of all that reading and writing. It was quite possibly my first exposure to the dark, mysterious world which has become somewhat a trademark for my artwork. Quite odd - I loathe the unknown because I am such a control freak, yet I think it makes the most attractive artistic backdrop...
I decided to check out the show's website one day, which had hers and Robert Stack's biographies. The last line of hers had read that she and actor Pierce Brosnan had recently had a baby. I mentioned earlier how uninterested in pop culture I was; I had never heard of this Pierce Brosnan person... ever. I was curious, however, so I looked him up. One of the things that struck me the most was how he spoke of his late wife, Cassandra. She sounded like quite a character: strong-willed, gorgeous, stubborn and decisive, but tender-hearted and loyal, and apparently quite a beautiful actress as well. I was intrigued.
With the exception of politicians, there is something about obscure people with shady public histories that fascinates me a great deal. This is especially true when the subject happens to be a performer or artist, or some other professional who I feel never got the recognition they deserved. Maybe because I am such an obscure person who feels like nobody knows the "real me" too well... who has many times felt the agony of not being recognized rightfully (relative to what I am capable of, that is) and therefore, defying the old rule of physics that opposites attract, I am instead attracted to figments of my own kind.
Cassandra was the first celebrity I "discovered" who was one of those figments.