Lisa Milroy, Bette Davis & Stephen J. CannellThursday, September 21, 2006
Sometime in 1982 I went to the Banff TV Film Festival. I had a job in the daily newspaper published during the week long festival. The job had been originally offered to still photographer Chris Halcermanas-Benge who had decided to stay in Vancouver to photograph Bette Davis during the making of A Piano For Mrs Cimino. Two events made that week memorable. I met Stephen J Cannell. In a seminar in which participants paid $150 for the honour (I went in for free) he told us that the three-act system is the only way a TV series will ever work. In act 1 you introduce the hero. In act 2 you bring in the conflict and the villain. Act 3 is the resolution. And that was that!
The other event of note was meeting one of the festival amanuensis. Her name was Lisa Milroy. She reminded me of a cross between Katherine Hepburn and Charlotte Rampling. When she spoke she sounded like Audrey Hepburn. I was charmed by her for a whole week. On the final night there was a formal (buffet) dinner at the Banff Springs Hotel. The men wore tuxedos (even I wore one) and the women beautiful evening gowns. I was lined up for the roast beef, juggling a very large and very hot empty plate. I heard that Hepburn voice. I turned around and behind me a radiant Lisa Milroy was wearing a pale green and very low cut gown. She was chatting with a friend (alas! there had been some vague rumours about this), a Frenchman who had directed and produced a film on Pier Paolo Pasolini. One of her straps had slipped and one of her breasts was completely exposed. Without thinking I moved my plate to her chest ( I didn't burn her nipple!) and I said (I swear it came out automatically),"A plate in time saves nine."
Back in Vancouver I photographed her in my Burnaby basement studio. Lisa moved to London to become a painter. She is married to British art filmaker Paul Bush and has two children.