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Lorna Luft The American


lthough it’s what everyone asks her about, Lorna Luft makes sure her sometimes difficult past does not define her. The title of her new show that she’s bringing to London’s Crazy Coqs cabaret nightclub is a clue: Accentuate The Positive. Speaking to The American from California, before flying back to London (she has toured the UK many times), Lorna was bubbling with enthusiasm, even for the British weather she would face: “It’s warm here in Palm Springs, but I’m looking forward to London. It’s supposed to be cold in winter... I’m married to a Brit (the musician and Lorna’s musical director, Colin R. Freeman) so I get it,” she laughs. “It’s not right to be 90 degrees in December, I never get used to that!” Lorna is appearing at the Crazy Coqs for a residency in December, but her last tour took her to places she had never been before, like Truro in Cornwall. “That’s a lovely part of the country, but I’d never been there before. I’ve toured England so many times, I recognize the town from the dressing room. I walk in and think, ‘Ah, I’ve been in this theater, so I’ve been to this town!’ In Norwich, which is a stunning city with a great sense of life and style, they told me I’d been there twice – I said, ‘How nice, did I have a good time?’ We stay in each town for a week so I try to get out and look around. “Some places I just don’t want to

22 December 2014

leave. Edinburgh has a special place in my heart. We were there for the Independence vote, it was so exciting. And like London it has so many nooks and crannies, you can just walk and get lost. You think, I don’t know where this is going but it’ll come out someplace interesting. “London will always be my second home. I took the train to Southend for rehearsal, that’s a part I didn’t know before, and I don’t know the City of London so well. If any American can take a day, it’s incredible to walk around the City. Not only is it the financial Mecca of Great Britain, like Wall Street, it has the history – this is where it all started! I saw the poppies at the Tower of London. I hope Boris Johnson [London’s Mayor] gets his way and they keep them a while – my husband hasn’t seen them, it’s genius, breathtaking. “I get a shopping list from my family when I come over. Most things you can get both sides of the Atlantic but there are some things I’m on the lookout for - I’m looking forward going to the little bookstores and to buying a Paddington Bear for my new little baby granddaughter.” Lorna’s relationship with Britain and its capital goes back to early childhood. Her mother was, of course, Judy Garland, and her father Sid Luft, who produced A Star Is Born which starred Judy. “My father produced B-movies before he met my mother. Before that he was a test pilot for the

Above: Lorna and her mother, Judy Garland Right: Lorna today IMAGES COURTESY LORNA LUFT

Douglas Aircraft Company. I guess you’d call him a real ‘guy’s guy’, rough around the edges. If you had to cast him, it certainly wouldn’t be Cary Grant, more Humphrey Bogart – who happened to be one of his best friends. Tough drinking, brutally honest and loved, loved, loved the racetrack. He was a Damon Runyon character.” Sid and Judy divorced when Lorna was eleven, and Lorna and her siblings stayed with her mother. “We knew our dad could look after himself and our mom needed us. When the judge asked us, there wasn’t a question. She had difficulties in her life and we are all aware of those, but the one thing it never was, was boring. And given the choice, we were traveling all over the world, going to theaters, there was excitement and drama – you’d choose that over being at home, dinner at six, and going to one school. We lived in London, I went to school there – I had to work on that in therapy later on, because I was never around in school long enough to make friends.”

The American December 2014 Issue 739  

The American has been published for Americans in Britain since 1976. It's also for Brits who like American culture.

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