Dr. Lisa Masterson of The Doctors "Paper Dollhouse" Touches on Bittersweet Childhood
Apr 25, 2011
Dr. Lisa Masterson of "The Doctors" says she thought long and hard before deciding to include the bitterest aspects of her bittersweet childhood in her new "Paper Dollhouse" memoir.
She paints a vivid picture of her late mother as relentless, beguiling and daring, finding ways to see to it that - despite being a single mother with little money - Lisa could get into top private schools, mingle with the elite and achieve her dreams.
But she also shows that among other things, her mother, on occasion, lost her temper to the extent that she had her strip and then beat her until she bled.
"I really wanted to portray her as a hero," says the USC-trained OB/GYN, who is on staff at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
"Heroes are human beings. They have all the shortcomings and humanity that everyone else does. You can still be a good person and an amazing person and not be perfect. You can go down the wrong road."
Of those awful episodes of being hit with a belt, she says, "She never meant it maliciously; it was a vent."
Masterson is also unsparing of herself in parts of the book. Feeling threatened by an also-smart Asian girl during her school days, she became downright malicious toward her - something she still feels bad about.
"It's the same thing. If I'm going to tell the whole story about my mother, I'm going to share this about me," she says.
Her hope is that fans see her story in a wider sense, as a story of a black woman and her daughter determined to achieve the American dream - using every bit of wits, wherewithal and wiles they possessed to make it happen.
Which it certainly did. Masterson's long list of accomplishments includes not only television fame and a thriving practice, but speaking before the U.N. on issues of women's health in developing nations, founding the first OB/GYN residency program in sub-Saharan Africa and starting birthing clinics in Kenya and India.
"You see a woman with a lot of education sitting in front of you, one who fought very much against racism and sexism. It has not been an easy road here. I have scrambled for what I've achieved."
However, she adds with a laugh, "I'm also showing that I got started in medicine (as a candy striper) because I didn't want to baby-sit my baby brother."
Eighteen-year-old heartthrob Gregg Sulkin gets credit for true grit. The London-born actor had an attack of acute appendicitis on the set of "Wizards of Waverly Place" two weeks ago, had his appendix removed and "by the next Thursday, I was back working," he reports.
As he still wasn't feeling 100 percent, he allows that he might have gone back a little too fast, but "I'm doing all right."
There are just three more episodes - ever - to shoot of the popular Disney Channel series on which Sulkin plays Selena Gomez's werewolf love interest.
"Everyone has been putting their minds toward making the last episodes of the show as great as we can make them. When we do the last live audience shows, that will be when it will get emotional, I'm guessing. That's when the tears will start flowing."
Sulkin has other irons in the fire, however, including the April 30 installment of "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour."
"It's like 'Twilight Zone,' but for kids," he says of the Hub series. His episode of the anthology has him playing one of two brothers in a family in which not everyone is quite as they appear.
The actor, who starred last year in the television movie of "Avalon High," also has the big-screen adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's "Camilla Dickinson."
"It's a period piece set in the 1940s, about two kids finding themselves and helping each other grow into adulthood. My character's parents are alcoholics."
Sulkin doesn't know what's happening as far as the film's release. He does know "It's the proudest I've ever been of my work."
AROUND THE WAY:
We get word that John Leguizamo's Broadway show, "Ghetto Klown," had one audience member who is known for rarely laughing in stitches last week. That would be one Spike Lee. A crowd waiting for Leguizamo outside caught sight of Lee en route out and "went NYC wild," says our source.
We also hear that Kathleen Turner, who is doing "High" on Broadway, has been de-stressing with the help of Stressbusters NYC, which specializes in chair massage, and which has helpful hands (quietly) helping lots of Broadway elite.
(Image Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com)
© COPYRIGHT 2011 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
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