Hollywood actress Sally Kellerman admits of all her show biz stories from a 50-year-plus career, it's her tale with Marlon Brando, in his bedroom, that people want to hear about the most.
"What, if anything happened, is why I tell those same people they have to read my book," says Kellerman, who was in Chicago last week promoting her new autobiography, both dishy and inspiring, called "Read My Lips: Stories of a Hollywood Life" ($26 Weinstein Books) released May 1.
The book's title, of course, is a reference to her most famous role as the original mouthy military nurse, Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, in the 1970 20th Century Fox film "M*A*S*H" starring opposite Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Elliott Gould, and the inspiration for the hit CBS television series of the same name that starred Loretta Swit in the same nurse role.
"I've made all of these films over the years, but that role is the one I hear about the most," Kellerman says, reminding the movie was directed by her friend, the late, great Robert Altman.
Kellerman also has another favorite friend, who is a "Hollywood Hoosier" from Northwest Indiana, and credits him as the reason her memoir as finally been published after five decades pondering the project.
Scott Yonover, a 1982 graduate of Munster High School and 1986 graduate of Indiana University, is a lawyer who grew up in the Region and even worked as a newspaper carrier for The Times during his youth.
He also happens to be friends with Kellerman's "M*A*S*H" co-star Gould, the reason he became pals with Kellerman three years ago.
"Scott is the dearest, because he not only pushed me to finally do this book, but he also did all the dealings and made the connections," says Keller, who celebrates her 76th birthday in two weeks on June 2 and considers her completed tome "her early birthday gift."
"We were out to dinner a few years ago and the next day, I get a call from him telling me I have to do this book, and how he's already arranged meetings with publishers in New York, and even has two bids on the table."
Yonover, who also graduated with a University of Indianapolis law degree in 1989 and his M.B.A. from DePaul University in 2005, is used to the business of getting deals done.
His parents, Joel and Carol Yonover, moved with Scott to Indianapolis in the 1980s when father Joel started a law firm with Birch Bayh, after Bayh lost his senate seat to Dan Quayle in 1980. Scott's father Joel died in 1995 and his mother now lives in Wilmette, Ill.
Always fond of the world of entertainment, Scott moved to Los Angeles and worked for famed talent agent Michael Ovitz, who is also originally from Chicago, for his Artist Management Group. By 2003, he was back in Chicago working in the legal department for NBC Universal, including doing representation for "The Jerry Springer Show." Today, in addition to helping his clients and friends like Kellerman with side projects, Yonover works as the deputy director of financial policy for the city of Chicago.
Kellerman says it was Yonover's Chicago ties that helped forge their friendship since she knew he was "a good guy" because of "where he's from."
Kellerman's husband Jonathan Krane, a lawyer-turned-producer who is 15 years her junior, is also from Chicago and the couple got engaged while she was in the Windy City in 1980 with actress Jodie Foster on a press junket to promote their film "Foxes."
"The first thing I did when Jonathan asked me to marry him, was to call Chicago gossip columnist Irv Kupcinet, who we had been to dinner with the night before," says Kellerman, who at age 52, after the second marriage, adopted newborn twins Jack and Hanna.
Of the assorted stories in her book, ranging from her friendships with movie stars like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Jones to playing a "sexy professor" opposite Rodney Dangerfield in the 1986 comedy "Back to School," Kellerman is especially fond of a story included in her book about Groucho Marx, her next door neighbor in Malibu, and how he helped name her oldest adopted daughter Claire.
"It's a great story, but a long one," Kellerman says.
"But it's worth it when you read my book."