The Ageless Artist: Penny Peyser’s Creative Journey

Joining us on Hey, Boomer today is the multi-talented Penny Peyser, known for her impressive career in acting, writing, and documentary filmmaking.

Penny has graced both the big and small screens, working alongside legendary actors like Alan Arkin and Peter Falk.

In this episode, Penny shared her journey of embracing humor in her later years and how it has transformed her life. From writing sonnets in iambic pentameter to exploring her comedic side, Penny’s creativity knows no bounds.

We learned about Penny’s book and traveling show “Sonnets from Suburbia”, her love of writing, and her recent experiences at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Penny even shared some of her sonnets with us, which was delightful.

She shared her outlook about finding joy in life and persevering through challenges. Penny Peyser takes us on a delightful journey with her infectious energy and vibrant spirit.

Episode Takeaways

  1. Age is not a barrier to finding new passions and exploring creative outlets.
  2. Humor can be a powerful tool for navigating challenging experiences.
  3. Embrace change and make the most of unexpected circumstances.
  4. Writing and self-expression can be transformative in finding a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Call to Action

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Wendy Green [00:00:10]:

Well, hello, and welcome to the Hey Boomer Show. My name is Wendy Green, and I am your

Wendy Green [00:00:16]:

host for Hey Boomer. And at Hey Boomer, we are changing the conversation about retirement. Rather than seeing it as an ending, We see it as an opening, an exciting new and vibrant chapter, a time for exploration, self expression, and fulfillment. So there are many ways that I can relate to my guest today, Penny Pizer. She's been a single mom. I've been a single mom. She has persevered in loving career. I think I have too.

Wendy Green [00:00:50]:

She has been a social activist as part of the actors strike and probably in other ways that I'm not aware of. She has had some amazing experiences like working with Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Alan Arkin. Yeah. I can't really relate to those experiences. And she has faced ageism in her chosen profession of acting, And still, she keeps her sense of humor and her sense of creativity. And Penny has recreated herself as a poet And has developed a new performance persona. So I think we're gonna have a lot of fun today when we talk to Penny, but before I bring her on, I want to talk about Road Scholar, the not for profit leader in educational travel for boomers and beyond. You know, I have taken 4 trips with Road Scholar, and every trip has been such an amazing experience.

Wendy Green [00:01:54]:

They take you; they they handle everything, and you just show up. And you Have wonderful food and you have wonderful experiences and you meet great friends. And I truly have made friends that are traveling with me again on my next trip where we're going to Quebec in July. So let me encourage you to please check out All that Road Scholar has to offer by going to road, r o a d, scholar, dot org / hey boomer and support our sponsor as you plan your next trip. Alright. Let's meet Penny. Hello, Penny. Morning.

Wendy Green [00:02:42]:

I'm so glad you I know, depending on where you are. Thanks for joining us today. Let me do a quick Intro of your your bio. So Penny Peyser is an actress, writer, documentary filmmaker, Best known for Rich Man, Poor Man, All the President's Men, The Tony Randall Show, The Frisco Kid, Crazy Like a Fox and Knots Landing. She has written, produced, and directed the award winning feature documentary, Trying to Get Good, The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon, and she did this with her husband, Doug McIntyre. She also wrote and directed and produced a documentary called Still Point, which is an intimate look inside a Northern California Zen Meditation Center. And then in June of 2023, thanks to the 6th ACT Theater Company, Lady Penelope, which is Penny's alter ego, was able to bring her obsession with iambic pentameter To the Hollywood Fringe Festival in her one act play, Sonnets from Suburbia. Penny lives in Los Angeles where she makes pizzas every Friday and does her best to spoil a couple of grandchildren while trying to keep her houseplants alive.

Wendy Green [00:04:07]:

Grandchildren are the best, aren't they?

Penny Peyser [00:04:09]:

The best. I know. I know.

Wendy Green [00:04:12]:

So let's start at the beginning, Penny. Can you tell me, like, why Acting. What what brought you to pursue acting as a career?

Penny Peyser [00:04:22]:

Well, I was very fortunate. I lived in New York In a suburb of, the city, and my parents loved theater. And when I was 6 years old, I got to Skip the day of kindergarten, and I went in for a matinee to see My Fair Lady starring Julie Andrews and Bexx Harrison. And I sat there and I looked at that and I said, I wanna do that.

Wendy Green [00:04:48]:

At kindergarten. Yeah. Wow.

Penny Peyser [00:04:51]:

Yeah. That's fantastic. Yeah. So parents can really I mean, I'm you know, it's like it's a lesson in obviously, I don't think my dad took me because he wanted me to be an actress or anything. I was 6 and but he loved, you know, musical theater, they used to always play the they wisely would play all the records before we went to see a show, so we were very familiar with what we were gonna see. And, I just I don't know. Just

Wendy Green [00:05:21]:

aborted. Were they encouraging once you, you know, got old enough to start Saying I wanna act.

Penny Peyser [00:05:27]:

Encouraging in the I think they were very wise. I it never occurred to me to try to be a child actor or anything. You know? But had I, they I mean, they were very much a believer of one should grow up and then go do what you're you wanna do.

Wendy Green [00:05:43]:


Penny Peyser [00:05:44]:

And so and it never occurred to me anyway. And living near Manhattan, had I been of you know, had they been of that persuasion, I certainly could've done that. But They were you know? So I went through school and college, you know, studying drama and Doing an acting in a lot of school plays, and then I launched my professional life.

Wendy Green [00:06:05]:

So you did you study theater in college?

Penny Peyser [00:06:08]:

Oh, I did. Yes. Uh-huh.

Wendy Green [00:06:09]:

Okay. And did you try to start in New York or did you immediately go to LA?

Penny Peyser [00:06:13]:

Well, no. No. I I was in New York. I graduated in 73 And, that's 1973. And, went to New York right away, and I was there for a little over 3 years. And, yeah, I started my career there. Start doing well, first, I started in restaurants in some You know, most actors. Right? Establishments in At an area, the worst of which which was called a quiet little table in the corner, which was in a downstairs pitch black restaurant where Men brought their mistresses to have lunch.

Wendy Green [00:06:50]:

Oh, my gosh.

Penny Peyser [00:06:51]:

The upside was is that you never got hit on because the men who were there were already in so much trouble. They were not gonna bother the waitresses. So there was that. There was that. Anyway, so I started there, and then I started working. I worked off Broadway in two Fantastic shows, and then I did a TV pilot in my 1st film when I was in New York, which is which was All the President's Men. It was shot in Washington, but I got cast out of New York.

Wendy Green [00:07:20]:

That was a great film too. And I

Penny Peyser [00:07:22]:

knew because I had, Off Broadway, I was kinda dead, and I couldn't get arrested on Broadway, apparently. And so I went out to Los Angeles for the Summer in 1976, and I never came back.

Wendy Green [00:07:38]:

Wow. So you've had you've worked with some amazing actors.

Penny Peyser [00:07:43]:


Wendy Green [00:07:44]:

Do you are there any favorites? Any great stories you wanna share with us?

Penny Peyser [00:07:49]:

Well, I would say, you know, I'll mention Alan Arkin, Very sweet man who just passed, as I'm sure you all know. I mean, the in laws was just, It you know, it would be a dream for any actor. And, you know, Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Director Arthur Hiller, I mean, it was just very strange. I'll just quickly say, the way I got cast in that, I auditioned. And, atypically, for me, I thought, well, I'm really right for this part. I think I'm gonna get cast. I did not get cast. Oh.

Penny Peyser [00:08:29]:

And so I was like, oh, well. Moving on. And then about 4 weeks later, I got, I got beeped on my beeper.

Wendy Green [00:08:39]:

Oh, that's no cell phones then.

Penny Peyser [00:08:41]:

Yeah. Where I walked to a pay phone To call my agent and she said she was all crazy and, you know, you gotta go to Warner. It was like 6 at night. You gotta go to Warner Brothers Right now, they're replacing the girl who, who's playing, Alan Arkin's daughter and they need to do a wardrobe fitting. I need to go to Warner Brothers right now. And I, you know, dirty hair, not skinny jeans. And I was like, alright. So I

Wendy Green [00:09:09]:

got in the mood, went

Penny Peyser [00:09:10]:

on to Warner Brothers, you know, opened the door and there was Alan and Arthur Hiller, and and I was kinda like. And I said and I said to Arthur, I said, I thought you were gonna cast me. And he goes, I did too. But And actually, I'll tell you who they I'll tell you who they cast, who you don't need to have a luncheon for or anything because she's done just fine. Fran Drescher

Wendy Green [00:09:33]:

Oh my gosh. Really?

Penny Peyser [00:09:35]:


Wendy Green [00:09:37]:

Well, you did great. And, and, and So that was that All the President's Men or that was in laws? That was the in laws.

Penny Peyser [00:09:45]:

With the

Wendy Green [00:09:46]:

in laws. Right. Yeah. Okay.

Penny Peyser [00:09:48]:

All the President's Men Well, we don't have to tell all all my stories. But, yeah, that was great. That was I mean, the scene with Dustin Hoffman, the only man I'd ever cut out pictures of, That was pretty intimidating and and great. I bet.

Wendy Green [00:10:05]:

I mean, you know, it's so funny for those of us on this side of the movie screen to to think, wow. You know, all of you actors and actresses like you, you know, no big deal. You all know each other. Yeah. But As a young actress, that must have been very intimidating.

Penny Peyser [00:10:22]:

Oh, it was. It was it was, I just was like

Wendy Green [00:10:29]:

So how were they? Were they helpful? Did they encourage you?

Penny Peyser [00:10:34]:

Oh, well, my scene in All the President's Men was essentially all improvised. And fortunately, I was comfortable with improvisation. My 1st professional job was with an an improv company called The Proposition, which Ran for many, many years in Cambridge, Massachusetts. So fortunately, I was comfortable with that. And it just happened that our little scene because I'm only in the movie for 90 seconds. But, As my little brother pointed that out, by the way. I never timed it. When my little brother saw it, it was 11 I bet

Wendy Green [00:11:10]:

it took a lot longer to record it.

Penny Peyser [00:11:12]:

Oh, yes.

Wendy Green [00:11:12]:

It Good. Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:11:14]:

Took back 12 hours.

Wendy Green [00:11:16]:

And get 90 seconds.

Penny Peyser [00:11:18]:

Yeah. Oh, I know. But, The script was very dry. It was just a page, basically, a page and change, and it was just basically and I was playing secretary of, Charles Colson's during the Watergate period. And the script was something like, did you know Howard Hunt? Yes. I know Howard Hunt. What was he like? Well, he was a nice man. So very dry dialogue.

Penny Peyser [00:11:43]:

And so yeah. Very. And Alan Pakula, Wonderful late director. And with his wisdom, he said, let's Let's why don't you improvise? And he whispered to each one of us, you know, something to try so neither one

Wendy Green [00:12:03]:

of us

Penny Peyser [00:12:03]:

would. And, it ended up being a very flirty scene. Uh-huh. I refer to it as the only sex scene in All the President's Men. And we ended up playing footsie under the table.

Wendy Green [00:12:18]:

With Dustin Hoffman. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:12:24]:

Yeah. And Dustin even said to Alan, he goes, look at our subtext.

Wendy Green [00:12:32]:

That is so funny. How much fun that must have been.

Penny Peyser [00:12:35]:

I I urge you to you know, it's on Criterion. It's on various, You know, services that movie all the time. So I'm in the first half hour, so check it out sometime.

Wendy Green [00:12:47]:

Oh, it was a great movie. It was a great movie. And your part I heard I heard Bob Woodward interviewing you. I mean, he was in love with that. He was in love with your part. That was so cute.

Penny Peyser [00:12:58]:

He said that, in his dating life, after that movie, he he he found out that women who would meet him were very Pointed he didn't look anything like Robert Redford. And that was that was kind of tough. But he he was just very Enamored of the whole movie and the movie making process, and it was it's a good thing for him. Yeah.

Wendy Green [00:13:22]:

Yeah. Yeah. That was great. Yeah. So So one of the reasons that I wanted to talk to you, Penny, was because you've reinvented yourself. But I wanted to you know, like, we're so aware. We see all the Media about ageism in Hollywood. Mhmm.

Wendy Green [00:13:39]:

And so can you tell me a little bit about how that has Impacted your career and what you have done about it? Well, I'll say that, I mean, I'm in my seventies, so

Penny Peyser [00:13:53]:

When I was 40, well, I had my 2nd child when I was days away from turning 40. Okay. You just discover as an actress, I think and I wanna say that, You know, having children and, unfortunately, going through divorces, I was a little distracted. I was not a going through some of those difficulties, I was really not able to be laser focused on my career. That said, I was still pursuing my career, and and I was working. But it really started to get, Especially after my 2nd child when I was absent for a number of months, it you know, the interviews just started getting Fewer and fewer, farther and farther fewer between. You know?

Wendy Green [00:14:48]:

Right. Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:14:51]:

And and the parts were getting smaller and smaller, and it started to be in television. Guest star roles, which I used to do regularly, We're starting to go to bigger and bigger names, celebrities. You know? I mean, and So costar roles sorta became the small the smaller roles you see on television. Mhmm.

Wendy Green [00:15:12]:

Not that

Penny Peyser [00:15:13]:

they can't be worthwhile sometimes, You know, was what I was going up for. And then that started the older I got, You know, that started to drive. So it just becomes and you suddenly turn around and you go and I was doing plays and Other stuff. But in terms of film and television stuff, you would know about, just, you know, started to be very long gaps. So I so I would say, you know, I I mean, yeah, ageism, Yes. I guess in the sense that they don't write as many roles for older women as perhaps they do in England, where they don't seem to mind if you're Older and look your age, by the way.

Wendy Green [00:16:01]:

Okay. I wasn't aware of that.

Penny Peyser [00:16:02]:

Well, you know, you if you turn on British TV and stuff, you'll see A lot of very mature actresses and and, but you just don't see the scripts, you know. And if you you know? And I I found myself looking at TV, you know, and I would not I would very rarely see myself.

Wendy Green [00:16:21]:


Penny Peyser [00:16:21]:

You know, I'd rarely go, Oh, I wish I had auditioned for that. Unless it was like Christine Lottie or, or a celebrity who was my age. And then I wrote, there was, I was not gonna be chosen for that anyway. In fact, I think a lot of actresses my age have had the experience Of being in an office for an audition, for obviously an age appropriate role, and hearing I mean, this is really just one of those Showbiz things and hearing an assistant calling a celebrity's agent to see if they were, To try to book for the role I was sitting there reading for.

Wendy Green [00:17:01]:

Right. That happened. A lot. Yeah. Yeah. You know, we don't get it, on this side. You know, like, in corporate America, we just Don't get the interviews. Right? They look at your resume, and they're like, oh, you graduated high school in 71? Oh, okay.

Wendy Green [00:17:20]:

You must be Technologically unequipped for this job. You know? But we don't get to hear, Oh, I want Meryl Streep for this job or something. You know? Right. We don't get to hear that. And so that has got to be really hard on your Personal image, your psyche, how you feel about yourself.

Penny Peyser [00:17:42]:

Well, the first time it happened, I was, you know, quite annoyed. But then the 2nd and 3rd time, you know, After a while, you just start going, well, you know, this is the way they're doing business, and I can't do anything about that. And then it you know, it just go go on, Wendy. Thanks.

Wendy Green [00:18:10]:

So there's the segue. You can't do anything about that. So you chose To take control of what you could control. So tell me about that.

Penny Peyser [00:18:19]:

Well, finally, I I'd always I've always been interested in writing. And in terms of the rhyming thing, which I'm quite fond of, I have made mostly my whole life, I've written a lot of parody songs, especially for friends' birthdays. You know, never done anything Professional with it. And then, and and I I didn't have I haven't had the kind of mind so far Where I think of a long story. You know, I I and if I did, and if I ever do, I'll let you know. But, I love Poems, and I love songs. So about 12 years ago, I was, in a Shakespearean acting class. I love Shakespeare.

Penny Peyser [00:19:08]:

Always adored Shakespeare. And, we had an assignment to go home and write a sonnet. So I went home and I dashed 1 off and I was like, that was fun. So I kept writing and I came back to class the next week with 4. Only one. He cared to have me read. Okay. And I just kept writing them.

Penny Peyser [00:19:29]:

And then, I got involved in a writing group, a class group. And And so very shortly, I had a 100 sonnets. And then I and so then I started getting them published. And, you know, you can There are many writing journals. There are many poetry journals. And you one submits one's work and You get published or you don't. So I started getting published, and then I put a book together. This is still many years ago.

Penny Peyser [00:20:00]:

I don't even remember what year that was, and started submitting it to publishers. I also started trying to get an agent, not really. I I learned very quickly after 20 rejections, which is not a lot of rejections for anyone for anyone, a writer, anyone who's doing anything like that. But I finally caught on. Oh, agents don't want to represent poets because there's no money. There's no money in poetry. And if you look at Super well known poets. They all are professors, almost.

Penny Peyser [00:20:33]:

They all are Because they you know, even though they've had, you know, success in their field, they can't you can't live on poetry With very few exceptions. Yeah. You can't. That's that's and that's fine. That's the way it is. And, anyway, I finally Poetry feeds your soul,

Wendy Green [00:20:53]:

but not your wallet. Right?

Penny Peyser [00:20:55]:

Exactly. And, you know, I like to think it it can, Feed other people's souls. You know? Any Mhmm. Mhmm. And anything else, like, entertain you know, I'm an entertainer. I I really enjoyed that. So, so anyway, I finally, I I just decided this is absolutely crazy, and I and I wanted to write performance piece that sort of would go hand in hand with a book. And I finally was like, I I can't wait for Simon and his little dog, Shuster.

Penny Peyser [00:21:29]:

And penguins can't read. Everyone knows that. Right. So anyway, I decided to self publish because Even if Simon had picked up my book, it would be 2 years before it got published. And I wanted to do this now. So I Published my book, wrote this, piece, and oh, yes.

Wendy Green [00:21:50]:

That is from suburbia. More candles and

Penny Peyser [00:21:53]:

cakes. Yep. And anyway and the next book is gonna come out a little before Valentine's Day next year.

Wendy Green [00:22:01]:

Oh, then a a new book.

Penny Peyser [00:22:03]:

A new book, Sonnets from Suburbia, Romance Dance.

Wendy Green [00:22:07]:

Oh, well, the this we'll have to look for that. This is more Candles from Cake. This is where you, came up with this lady Penelope.

Penny Peyser [00:22:17]:

Well, I actually came up with her. What year was that? Prior to this book, I started doing poetry readings of my and was enjoying it very much. And then 1 editor from a publishing house who had said, Interesting, but not right for us. Very generously gave me some advice and said, you know, you're an actress, And you say and your stuff is very performable. Why don't you try to get some kind of, online presence Doing your sonnets. Okay. And somehow because, you know, Elizabethan sonnets, modern day topics, I don't know. I just thought it would be fun to dress up in an Elizabethan costume while spouting these things.

Penny Peyser [00:23:12]:

And that's and that's how. So I went to historical costumes .com and got that outfit.

Wendy Green [00:23:19]:

But then you had to come up with the persona of lady Penelope.

Penny Peyser [00:23:23]:

Well, yeah.

Wendy Green [00:23:23]:

So how did you create her?

Penny Peyser [00:23:25]:

I think when you If you put this costume on, Wendy, I think you would be her too. Oh, yank. It was just I think the the the performance energy of doing these sonnets, kinda the way they Manifest themselves in my body and voice, that just kinda became her. And I put the costume on, and then I was her. It it's like That's that's the only way I can explain it, really. And and then I, for my play, my producer directors, I mean, I just wanted to do this show where I was just kind of all funny and very superficial, frankly. I was gonna be quite happy with that. But they said, no, no.

Penny Peyser [00:24:10]:

These are very good producers and writers. And they said, no, no. We'd we'd really like to know Who is Lady Penelope? Why is she dressing like that? What's the deal? Because she's not living in Shakespeare's time, she's living now.

Wendy Green [00:24:26]:


Penny Peyser [00:24:26]:

Why should so I had to come up with this whole thing, and and I also made myself an agoraphobic who had not Emerged from quarantine after the pandemic.

Wendy Green [00:24:37]:

Oh, no.

Penny Peyser [00:24:38]:

Well, that's kinda my thing. And so, you know, my audience is there and I say thank you for my doctor says this is the only way I can see people. And, anyway, it it it was a great experience, and I'm I'm going to be performing it ad nauseam as soon as I can get another gig. I I'm actually I'm going to go to the Edinburgh, French Festival next, August in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fun. Fun.

Wendy Green [00:25:07]:

Fun. Fun.

Penny Peyser [00:25:07]:

Fun. In the venue yet, but I will.

Wendy Green [00:25:10]:

People can see some of it on YouTube. Right? Yes. You can go to Join

Penny Peyser [00:25:19]:

dozens and dozens of people who have visited there.

Wendy Green [00:25:23]:

There are so many Cubans there, sonnets from suburbia on YouTube. Go look for that and subscribe and like it and all that good stuff. And Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:25:32]:

You'll get the idea. You'll very quickly understand.

Wendy Green [00:25:34]:

You'll get some laughs. But but I you know? I mean, you hear about all the character development and all that, so I had to ask you, like, oh, what's her backstory? How did you develop He said, I just put on the costume.

Penny Peyser [00:25:49]:

Well, you know, sometimes sometimes you do talk to actors and they and they'll, Some sometimes, not always, but sometimes putting on the costume just it just does something to your posture For good or ill, if you're playing a wicked witch, you know, at night. Yeah. Yeah. You know, Richard the third. Got that coming. There is you know, the the costume is sort of the icing. I mean, you have to do a lot of other work normally. Normally, yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:26:19]:

My own, you know, little easier in a way because This is yours. I am her. She is me. It's, You know?

Wendy Green [00:26:28]:

So would you be so kind as to read us a few of the sonnets? Sure. Well, I have a few favorites.

Penny Peyser [00:26:38]:

Okay. I'll I'll read your favorites, then I may I may do one that Perhaps

Wendy Green [00:26:42]:

this do one of your favorite. So I really liked that one about the no Internet.

Penny Peyser [00:26:46]:

Oh, okay.

Wendy Green [00:26:47]:

Because I think we can all relate to that.

Penny Peyser [00:26:50]:

Right. Absolutely. Okay. Pardon me for not knowing this one by heart. But Okay. The Internet is out, and I am crazed. I cannot post. I cannot pay my bills.

Penny Peyser [00:27:05]:

Not long ago, I wouldn't have been fazed. Those days are gone. I'm reaching for my pills. I won't watch anything that isn't streaming. The husband and myself would have to talk. And I'm afraid we too could end up screaming. To calm ourselves, we may need to take a walk. The mighty web doth dominate our lives.

Penny Peyser [00:27:29]:

Without it, must I leave my home to shop? It's been an hour, I'm breaking out in hives. Our domicile has grounded to a stop. We're isolated, frightened, all alone. My god. I might need to pick up the phone.

Wendy Green [00:27:50]:

Everybody, you all can relate to that. Everybody listening. I love that one. That's great. Thank you. How about, As I said in the opening, you and I have been single parents, and we have persevered through love. So how about the one about husbands?

Penny Peyser [00:28:06]:

Okay. I mean, what is what is what are these life experiences worth if you can't turn A little in the story, a remembrance, your special curse word, you know, something. We all get something. It's funny how in the in at the time, you know, I mean, divorce is just a horrible thing. And and And the pain you go through, I don't care if you're having an amicable divorce. I keep wanting to talk to those people. I mean, In the time, it's it's horrible. And then as as there's more time between you and the event, then you can Then you can choke on it.

Penny Peyser [00:28:50]:

Then you can have some perspective, and the pain is a memory. But, You know, you have to get some distance from it to write a poem about it, for example.

Wendy Green [00:29:02]:

So You do. And to have a sense of humor about it.

Penny Peyser [00:29:05]:

Yes. Yes. I mean, I've been known for having no sense of humor whatsoever.

Wendy Green [00:29:10]:

When you're going through that.

Penny Peyser [00:29:12]:

Yes. Exactly. Okay, this is called husband 1, or 2, or 3. Oh, was it husband 1, or 2, or 3, Who taught me properly to cook a fish, while pointing out the dimple in my knee, and promising that he'd fulfill my wish? Oh, was a husband 3, or 2, or 1? Who loved chorizos in his scrambled eggs? Loved more to dwell in pure oblivion, Just thinking of the space between my legs. Oh, was it husband 1 or 3 or 2 who hurled a cup and saucer at my head As curses, screaming, ranting all round flew. Yes, certainly, he wished that I was dead. From dreams I have awakened and can see, my soul's salvation was in number 3.

Wendy Green [00:30:10]:

I am glad you have found number 3. Yes.

Penny Peyser [00:30:13]:

I didn't think that was gonna happen. I was quite resigned. I was quite sanguine about, well, the jury's in. I cannot pick a husband. I have my boys. I'm sure I'll date. I don't hate men, but Yeah. And then I got married.

Wendy Green [00:30:35]:

There you go. Well, I haven't gotten there yet, but I can certainly relate to.

Penny Peyser [00:30:40]:

I have my kids. Well, it can It can happen, Wendy. It's it's It can happen.

Wendy Green [00:30:46]:

You never know?

Penny Peyser [00:30:47]:

No. You really don't. You really don't.

Wendy Green [00:30:49]:

So Your sense of humor is just fabulous, Penny, and I'm sure it, it has served you well through some of these challenges. Can you Talk to me about that a little bit.

Penny Peyser [00:31:02]:


Wendy Green [00:31:03]:

about where that comes from and how you find it.

Penny Peyser [00:31:08]:

Well, you know, I don't even I don't even I don't even know how to answer that. I think I think I've become More humorous as I've aged. Mhmm. I guess I'll, you know, I guess I'll say that. I mean, I've always been, You know, I I think I I really, as I've as I've gotten older and also my My husband, Doug, calls me my current wife, my current husband. He is very funny. And, he really, I mean, we have a lot of laughs. And he he really not that I never I've always had a sense of humor, but he really kind of Brought out my inner comedian and, and and writer.

Penny Peyser [00:32:02]:

I mean, he's he's a writer, as you know, and and I just I don't know. Creating things became possible when I got together with Doug because He is a creator, and we, you know, we did 2 documentaries. We featured it in a book. We you know? And none of that none of that kind of thing would have been possible previously. It just developed it's developed later in life. It really it just really has been a gift of being more mature And letting something in me that always wanted to get out, get out.

Wendy Green [00:32:35]:


Penny Peyser [00:32:36]:

That's what I was

Wendy Green [00:32:38]:

Yeah. So it seems like it has really, you know, broadened your horizon. Some of this with the sonnets. You've been able to tap into that part of you. Talk to me about the sonnets for a minute. Like, that iambic pentameter, what? Explain that. No.

Penny Peyser [00:32:56]:

Okay. I am a pentameter. I have only William Shakespeare to thank. He didn't invent it, But, you know, that's what how most of us, if we're familiar with Shakespeare at all, that's how most of us know iambic pentameter. And an I'm is a foot of meter. So I'm a contender 5 feet. It's da dump, da dump, Da dump, da dump, da dump. In fact, I have I have a sonnet called How to Write a Sonnet.

Penny Peyser [00:33:27]:

Oh, yeah? I'll do it for you really quickly only because I think it explains what you're asking me a little better. Okay. Okay. Dear friends, I'll teach you how to write a sonic. A sonic? No. I'm gonna start over, dear friends. Dear friends, I'll teach you how to write a sonnet. Elizabethan is what I prefer.

Penny Peyser [00:33:47]:

'Twas good enough for Shakespeare. Let's get on it. 'Tis most familiar scholars would concur. Three quatrains and a couplets all you need with alternating rhymes, save for the end. Add iambic pentameter indeed, dot dump, dot dump, dot dump, like heartbeats penned. All subjects are fair game, so fear ye not. Your muse can take the playing field at will. Observe the form most strictly to the dot, or lack of grace will follow from your quill.

Penny Peyser [00:34:23]:

Do not begrudge the boundaries of meter, For rhyme and rhythm make this life much sweeter.

Wendy Green [00:34:33]:

Okay. So know everybody listening knows how to write a sonnet. I expect to see sonnets in the quotes and not comments here. We've had some lovely comments. So, they they're loving this. Loves she says Susan says, oh, she's great. Janice's lady Penelope is such a clever idea. Well done, Penny.

Wendy Green [00:34:54]:

Thank you, Britney. And Steve says this very specific Structure of sonnets is interesting. Those were great. So Thank you. Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:35:04]:

It's fun to have to write, you know, in a form. And, I have a little rant in my show about, you know, free verse is the fashion these days.

Wendy Green [00:35:15]:

Oh, that's right. That's right.

Penny Peyser [00:35:17]:

Yeah. Spoken word poetry. Yeah. So I I I mean, it's really it's even it's hard to find publications that will accept rhyming poetry. I mean, they're very snobby about that. And sonnets, you know, I really have to choose my shots for I mean, there really are a lot of Lot of places that say no rhyming.

Wendy Green [00:35:37]:

And that's all that we learned growing up, was rhyming poetry.

Penny Peyser [00:35:41]:

Oh, yeah. And nursery rhymes. Right.

Wendy Green [00:35:44]:

That's right.

Penny Peyser [00:35:44]:

Would be. I know. But but, you know, rappers are in sync with me on this because where would rap be without rhyme and rhythm?

Wendy Green [00:35:53]:

Alright. So I wanna hear lady Penelope rapping next time.

Penny Peyser [00:35:57]:

Oh, okay. Well, I actually I I won't I'll say it for next time. I actually have a whole rap song in my show, but I'll

Wendy Green [00:36:04]:

I'll say Do you really? And then and then alright. I hope you put it on on YouTube or you come to South Carolina and perform it here?

Penny Peyser [00:36:13]:

I would I would love to. That's really what I wanna do is go.

Wendy Green [00:36:17]:

Travel around?

Penny Peyser [00:36:18]:

Yeah. I really do.

Wendy Green [00:36:20]:

Alright. So we've got anybody have any, ends with theaters? Let's get in touch with Penny.

Penny Peyser [00:36:28]:

Don't need don't need a big space.

Wendy Green [00:36:30]:


Penny Peyser [00:36:31]:

Great traveling show. I got a bag of props and, my sonnet wheel. I have a sonnet wheel that I use. I I do that at bookstores too when I'm doing a signing or something. It's a, you know, like a prize wheel. You spin it. I have someone in the audience come up and spin it, and whatever sonnet it lands on, that's the one I perform. So

Wendy Green [00:36:51]:

Oh, that's fun.

Penny Peyser [00:36:52]:

That's fun. It's a lot of fun.

Wendy Green [00:36:55]:

So, Penny, what keeps you inspired and motivated?

Penny Peyser [00:37:00]:

What keeps me inspired and motivated? Well

Wendy Green [00:37:04]:

Besides Doug.

Penny Peyser [00:37:06]:

At the yeah. Well, at this point, I I really I really do love, this writing form. I really, you know, I found it, and I'm sticking to it right now. And I just wanna keep writing better ones And putting it out there, I I love being able I love having something that I can like a book that I can hold in my hand. I mean, Acting is very ephemeral. It's I mean, if you're on film, yes, it's preserved forever. Sometimes you wish it wasn't, but it is. It's just out there.

Penny Peyser [00:37:40]:

I mean, people you know, I get little notes from someone. I saw you on Barnaby Jones last night. I'm like,

Wendy Green [00:37:48]:

I don't even like, really? Are they still playing that?

Penny Peyser [00:37:51]:

Oh, sometimes it's well, you know, sometimes, you know, I'm I'm proud of some stuff I've done. There's other stuff. Like, other stuff is like I'm just gonna play, then it would just be gone.

Wendy Green [00:38:03]:

Yeah. I'm sure.

Penny Peyser [00:38:06]:

I think it's just because I love I I'm really enjoying writing these things. I'm enjoying how they seem to be Playing in front of people, I mean, I was so gratified to perform these and have people respond to them. I mean, that's That's a just it's just a great feeling, so that's why I that's why I'm I'm doing it.

Wendy Green [00:38:29]:

Well, Doris wants to get you to come here to Greenville, Doris will have to work Fabulous. Yep.

Penny Peyser [00:38:35]:

Susan says and retirement facilities

Wendy Green [00:38:38]:

Right. Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:38:39]:

My audience.

Wendy Green [00:38:41]:

Susan says you're so young from the inside out.

Penny Peyser [00:38:44]:

Oh, thank you. Thank you

Wendy Green [00:38:45]:

so much. Susan. So I can't quite Right. No. It's your energy, Penny. You have this vibrancy about you and this smile about you that just radiates through. So it's

Penny Peyser [00:38:58]:

yeah. Absolutely. Gift from my folks. And, my grandchildren too. Not that I Just got it when they came on the scene. The oldest one's 3a half. But they really I well, you know, we all know this. It's such a cliche.

Penny Peyser [00:39:14]:

I mean, they just

Wendy Green [00:39:16]:

They're great.

Penny Peyser [00:39:17]:

Young, and I didn't wanna be a grandmother who couldn't get down on the floor. I am. I'm not the youngest Grandmother in the world, but god god willing, I, you know, I've been healthy and I work at it. So as long as I can keep it up, That's not what we're all trying to do, but that's, I mean, gosh, you just have to be around those little people. And,

Wendy Green [00:39:42]:

I know. It's true. Really. Yeah. So so takeaways. If you were to talk to my audience about, You know, what how do you persevere? How do you come back from the setbacks of, you know, Hollywood says you're too old? Or How do you how would you advise people to persevere in this next stage of life?

Penny Peyser [00:40:08]:

Well, I think it's focusing on something or maybe realizing for the 1st time. Who knows? Something that Really makes you joyful because, you know, I'm, you know, I'm proud of my book, but I'm not gonna Get rich on my book of sonnets. I'm not and I'm not being negative. I I because if I became a best seller, I still

Wendy Green [00:40:36]:

Don't get rich on books typically. Right?

Penny Peyser [00:40:39]:

Oh, it's and I'm you know, I'm very fortunate. I have a pension from screen actor skills, But that's not enough either. But, I I think the thing is is is finding something joyful, if there's something that you love doing. And whether or not you you you wanna make a business out of it, that's, I mean, that's up to you. That's because because God knows I mean, look at you. This is what you've you've done. That's right. Yeah.

Penny Peyser [00:41:07]:

I mean, you could probably, you could give a very comprehensive talk on this subject. Far better than me. So really, I guess that's just my answer. It's like, You know, I, obviously, I'm still an actress. I haven't been on television in 3 years, I guess, but Except in reruns, but, you

Wendy Green [00:41:27]:

know But you have your play, and you have your sonnets.

Penny Peyser [00:41:31]:

I can do I can do what I I can do what I love. You know?

Wendy Green [00:41:35]:

And and I think that's important. I do think that's important in this next stage to find what you love. So Yeah. The book is called Sonnets from Suburbia, More Candles Than Cake. And, apparently, there's a new one coming out in February. Oh, let me just say, Judy says, Kudos to you, Penny. I love your book. I feel honored to have grown up with you.

Penny Peyser [00:41:54]:

Oh, hi, Judy. I wonder well, I can think of 1 Judy that might be, but is that Judy's normal?

Wendy Green [00:42:03]:

Yes. It is.

Penny Peyser [00:42:04]:

Is it? I guess. I guess.

Wendy Green [00:42:09]:

So you can go to Penny's website at

Penny Peyser [00:42:15]:

You can buy my book there, or you could buy it on Amazon. Okay.

Wendy Green [00:42:20]:

And you can follow her on Instagram at @penpizer. And like I said earlier, check it out on YouTube. Go look for Sonnets from Suburbia on YouTube, and Continue with the smiles and the chuckles that you gave us by reading yours. Thank you so much for doing that.

Penny Peyser [00:42:38]:

Oh, thank you for having me, Wendy. This was a ton of fun.

Wendy Green [00:42:41]:

So much fun, Penny. So much fun. I loved it. So I and I love all the comments that our listeners Share when they're watching live. It's so it's just so exciting. I love that. And I just wanna share a comment that I got From a listener from the Buy Me a Coffee, she says, I love the Hey Boomer show. The guests are great for people looking to transition from Full time work to an enriching later life.

Wendy Green [00:43:09]:

Wendy is a fantastic interviewer who lets her guests talk. Thank you. You are. The show the shows are informative and diverse. I hope she gets a lot of support for the Boomer Believers, and you too can become a Boomer Believer by going to So I hope you will join that. Thank you. And also check out Road Scholar, you know, and when you're thinking.

Wendy Green [00:43:40]:

They do a great Job with trips, and I'm so impressed with them. So it's Go check them out. Plan your next adventure. And who's coming up next week? Next week, My guest is a woman name Donna Frias, and she is a fascinating and inspiring woman. She's an author, a Professor Emeritus of Cypress College, a social advocate for women and children. She retired in 2010, and she has found many wonderful and intriguing activities to become involved in that she cannot believe she was so terrified to retire. So join me on Monday, November 13th to meet Donna and get inspired by her outlook on life.

Wendy Green [00:44:32]:

Just like we got inspired by you, Penny. This was wonderful. Thank you. Thank you. Continue to embrace this time of your life with self expression and fulfillment. My name is Wendy Green, and this has been Hey Boomer.

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