Rita Wilson's new role: Songstress
Actress Rita Wilson performs on stage at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. (CBS)
(CBS News) Rita Wilson was in front of the camera along with future husband Tom Hanks in the early '80s TV series "Bosom Buddies." Night before last, however, she was on stage, in front of an audience, performing a very different sort of role . . . which prompted some questions from Seth Doane:
For some, the Troubadour in West Hollywood is the first stop on the path to singing-stardom. Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Cat Stevens . . . and now Rita Wilson.
"Oh, please," she said.
On Friday, a new voice took the stage, a voice belonging to a show-business veteran.
"I always wanted to sing," Wilson said. "I didn't know how to do it. I didn't know how to make the singing thing happen."
And that's saying something, because at the age of 55, Rita Wilson has made a lot happen. She's performed in 28 films, on TV, and on Broadway.
But she's probably best known for her marriage to one of Hollywood's leading men: Tom Hanks.
"Some critics, of course, would say, 'She couldn't do this if she wasn't Tom Hank's wife,'" said Doane.
"Yeah, and I'd say that's not true. How is a record label going to say "I'm going to do her a favor'?"
Rita Wilson's love of music goes back a long time, as a visit to Amoeba Records in Hollywood showed. Her new album features songs from the '60s and '70s, with "back-up" vocalists far more famous than she is: Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browns and Faith Hill.
As a teenager, she did whatever she could to at least be close to the musicians she loved. She worked as a ticket-taker at what is now called the Gibson Amphitheater.
"They would allow us to come up (to the stage) and sit on the step and watch the show," she said.
Her close proximity to music was not exactly privileged. "One part of the job here is that you could see the show but then, after the show, I had to go and clean the bathroom," she said, "and the bathrooms were really - yeah, you can imagine. A bathroom after a party. Too much beer, too much wine. That was my job!"
At the same time she was cleaning bathrooms, she was breaking out as a teenage actress, appearing on "The Brady Bunch" - the "classic episode," she said, where Greg Brady has to choose between his girlfriend and his sister Marcia for captain of the cheerleader squad, "and of course becomes the deciding vote." (Wilson played another contender - and won!)
But it was on the set of the movie "Volunteers" where Wilson's future changed, when she worked with Tom Hanks.
They married a few years later, and after 24 years are widely said to have one of the most successful marriages in Hollywood.
"Is it hard to be your own person when you are with someone who has - is so well-known for his success, for his career?" asked Doane.
"It depends on the people," she replied. "It depends on, you know, the two people that are in that marriage. I'm thrilled for him. He's thrilled for me."
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