Jan Lisa Huttner: Aviva, in YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG, you show Gertrude Berg living a groundbreaking professional life, but you say very little about her domestic life. Clearly “Molly” was, in part, the mother Berg wished she had had, but how much of “Molly” was also the mother she wished she could have been?
Aviva Kempner: Actually I never thought of it that way. For me, it was just always amazing that she developed the full character of a loving mother that she didn’t have. I’m trying to think if anyone talked about her feeling guilty. I know that she was very busy and not always there with her kids, but everyone talks about her bestowing gifts on the family, entertaining them, having them out to her country home.
She drew from her family, but as she said: “I’m more hours a day Molly than I am Gertrude.” It wasn’t always so easy. She would be moody. And I think it was very clear that she was a dictator on the set. I didn’t coat that over.
At home, she had full-time help, so let’s be clear that she didn’t have to run a home. As you know from the film, she published a cookbook, but she really didn’t know how to cook.
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