For generations of children the scariest thing about the distinguished Portia Nelson was probably the fact that her decisive Sister Berthe didn’t like Julie Andrews’ lovable Maria in the 1965 film version of The Sound of Music. But Nelson’s friendship with author Tom Tryon actually resulted in a role with even more haunting consequences. Cast as Mrs. Rowe in the atmospheric film version of Tryon’s The Other, this eclectic artist found herself as a part of the cinematic universe of one of the most popular horror novels of the early ‘70s.
But Nelson, who was also an influential author and songwriter, was perhaps best known for her work in the cabaret. Her beautiful soprano voice, which deepened adroitly with age, was nimble enough to find subtle meanings in the songs she sang, allowing listeners to, as her most popular lyrical composition attested, “make a rainbow” in their minds.
Nelson, whose poem Autobiography in Five Chapters is a notable tool for those in recovery, also battled cancer for many years. Ever the warrior, she, ultimately, lost her life to the disease, at the age of 80, in 2001.
Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!