Today’s Brain Stumper (II)

Q: How did Jeanne Tripplehorn become famous?

A (with spoilers): In 1967, Jeanne Tripplehorn was swinging on the swings at a playground in Rancho Cucamonga drinking a YooHoo when a casting agent walked by looking for a strategic place to park the stroller that held his infant son, the better to hit on the vicinity’s single and/or interested mothers. She drank her YooHoo without a straw and yet didn’t spill an ounce on her bright pink T. “You sure are enjoying that chocolate bottled drink beverage,” he said, getting gravel in his espadrilles.

Jeanne Tripplehorn pumped with her pale, fauny legs and said, “Yeah.”


“What’s your name, little-girl-on-the-swings?”

Jeanne Tripplehorn said, “Jeanne Tripplehorn. Like a unicorn, but three times better.”

She was cast in the next YooHoo commercial and spent the next twenty years wandering morosely around West Hollywood, dating gays and pretending not to.

In 1989 she was divorced from a man with whom regarding their relationship she never did find consummation, and feeling that she’d spent decades looking out only for number one she hightailed it one afternoon to La Jolla and volunteered for the upcoming Special Olympics. There she leaned awkwardly over a folding cafeteria table and filled out a contact-information sheet and next to her she could both hear and smell the soury open-mouth breathing of a man with shaggy BeeGee hair. This, at the end of the Cold War?

“You have the profile of a kestrel,” the man said, suddenly. Jeanne could hear in his utterance the flat wet vowelings of a Dutchman.

“Do you know, I have a hot tub on my roof?” he said. “And we could see each other naked in front of it?”

Jeanne Tripplehorn dropped her pen on the floor. “I’m not that kind of woman,” she said. “Who are you?”

The man said his name. His name was Paul Verhoeven. Jeanne Tripplehorn had never heard of him.

“I’ve never heard of you, either,” he said.

Three weeks later she was cast as Dr. Beth Garner in the breakthrough hit Basic Instinct. The rest, as they say, is Hollywood history.

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