We are the same age, and I had written her a couple of fan letters in my early teens, but had no reply. When clearing out my desk before heading to university in 1982, I found a note of the dates I had written to her a few years before. As a lark I decided to write again, asking why she had never written back, and saying how I went off her when she never responded. Judging by her reply, I must have told her off a bit in my letter. Also, I must have said something about her throwing my letter into the “trash can”.
Tatum’s brilliant reply, handwritten on her father‘s stationery, can be enjoyed below.
Transcript follows. Huge thanks to Andrew.
Recommended reading: A Paper Life, by Tatum O’Neal.
May 24th ’82
Dear Andrew — I don’t wonder you are angry, but you have no idea what happened since we went to Japan — Thousands of letters, gifts etc and we have four woman working on the mail — your letter simply fell to the bottom of one of the sacks. (This is Tatum writing) You should not be so cross that it makes your letter sound rude. Many of the actors never reply to fan mail — we don’t turn it over to a service because they send a cold rubber stamped picture — then stuff the envelope with ads for posters — tee shirts etc — It come to that because we are away so much. In four weeks time I will be going to New Zealand to make a film. Ryan — my father — will be somewhere else. And we don’t all say trash-cans — we say waste paper baskets, just as you do — or if it’s for the outside, we say trash bins.
Oh what an angry person you are! I’m looking around the studio at all the unanswered mail and I get a little sick to think these enthusiastic people will have such a long wait — I’m sure you receive few personal letters from other actors —
Daddy said to ask the chap called Andrew to relax and be cool about everything — he also said “Hello,” — and so do I.
I’m enclosing a picture of me — you can throw darts at it if you don’t want it.