AE: You have an incredible story
about being at a wedding reception with then First Lady, Nancy Reagan. Can you
PR: Well, I got very drunk. At the reception, [a friend] was wondering if
anyone would cut in on the First Lady – she was dancing with the groom – and
offered five hundred bucks to anyone who would cut in. I thought it would be an
easy five hundred, so I went over and I tapped [the groom's] shoulder and asked
if I could cut in. And
put her arms up, and off we went to "Embraceable You." And we slow
danced until the song ended.
And the next morning – and this was pre-internet – [the groom] called me
from his honeymoon and said, "I guess your dancing with Nancy Reagan made
it into Liz Smith['s gossip column.]"
In those days, it was not easy to get a hold of news; you had to actually
physically find somebody in
to [get the newspaper and] read it to you. I didn’t know what it said!
It took me a couple of hours to track it down, which gave me time to sit
there and think: "Oh my God, what is it going to say? Is it going to ruin
my career?" I didn’t know how people were going to take it. I really
We tracked down [the newspaper], only to find out it was all good humored.
Everybody thought it was hilarious. It didn’t say, "Drunken Dyke Attacks
This was my alcoholic bottom. I thought that maybe I shouldn’t really drink
in public. And I decided, about a month after that, maybe I shouldn’t drink at
AE: Just say "No."
PR: And I did.
AE: Was being gay in the 70s and 80s
a problem? Were you out, then?
PR: I never came out, because I was never "in." It was just a
fact of my life and it’s funny, but it didn’t really come up that much. I
didn’t go into this and say, "And by the way, I’m gay," but it was
pretty much common knowledge. I certainly never hid it.
And I had girlfriends at the time and they’d go to parties and business
things with me. But because I had never written anything with gay themes,
particularly – even though Nine to Five
has a big gay following – I was never really identified [as gay.] So, they’re
always honoring lesbians in the business and I’m like…
AE: You mean all eight of them?
PR: [laughs] I’ve been here a really long time! No one ever associates that
AE: Where have you been, Pat?
PR: I’ve been right here.