My Parents Have a Good Marriage,
So I Expect Mine Will Be Too!
Rona Barrett's Daytimers, November 1980
by Dorothy Vine
Article Provided By Wanda
Nana Tucker admits she is a romantic. Actually, the tall, slim actress with a trained ballerina’s beautiful posture doesn’t have to admit that. It shows in her large dark eyes when she talks about actor-singer Richard Muenz, the romance in her life.
“Richard is a very sensitive man”, Nana revealed, “and unusual - he allows himself to be romantic, as I am and he lives somewhat in a fantasy world as I do.”
Richard recently left the role of Joe Novak on Ryan's Hope to appear in the revival of the Lerner-Loewe musical classic, Camelot, as Lancelot, the role that catapulted Robert Goulet to fame.
“Richard and I met,” Nana said, “while I was dancing in the chorus and he was singing in Broadway’s The Prince of Grand Street starring Robert Preston. I remember I came home and told my mother after the first day, “it’s a real nice company except for one real idiot. God, I can’t stand him! On the other hand, he thought I was a ‘crazy and a weirdo’ because I used to dress very strangely and he couldn’t stand me. But underneath all of that, it was an instant love at first sight,” Nana laughed, “it was like meeting the man I had always been looking for. I was engaged at the time and Richard was involved with another lady, but we got out of our commitments and after we knew each other for a month, we started going out together.”
They’ve been together for over two years and share an apartment together. “I had my own apartment until now, which was my first, since I had been living with my parents. I wanted my own apartment because I thought it’s probably the only time I’ll live in an apartment myself, and I wanted to know how to manage. That was enough, and now we’re happily living together.”
Her parents weren’t shocked at the arrangement even though she’s so young. “My parents are very broadminded,” Nana admits, “and don’t think anything of it. They’re very much in step with the times and with their children’s lives. They don’t think of me as their little baby, they think of me as 22 and a woman. That’s the way it should be. Actually, they’re happy because they worried about me living alone in New York.”
The fact that her family is completely showbiz-oriented also helps their understanding. Her father is Robert Tucker, a former dancer and now a choreographer for whom Nana has worked occasionally. Her mother Nanette Charisse is a ballet dancer and teacher, with whom Nana takes daily classes. (“when I ‘m in her class, I’m just another student,” Nana insists). Her older brother Ian Tucker was a famous, and busy, child actor who later left the business, her older sister, Zan Charisse, is a model-actress now pursuing her career in California. The only one not in showbiz is eldest brother, Paris, who married a dancer-choregrapher and so also understands the business.
“I’m very close to my parents,” Nana affirmed. “I have incredible respect for them as human beings. They’re just wonderful people!”
Her parents have also influenced her ideas of marriage. “I absolutely believe in marriage. I’ve seen many happy marriages, my parents’ included, and I think it’s wonderful - so does Richard. I think it’s kind of an inevitability for us, but we feel now is not the time, especially since Richard will be away for about a year on tour. Neither of us feels pressed for marriage now and it’s just emotionally easier for us this way; there’s no strain and we know we’re making it work.
“The year’s separation,” she admitted, “isn’t going to be easy, but it’s something we’ve thought about. When Richard got the part, he said to me,” if you don’t want to do do it, I won’t; I’ll drop it right now.” We talked about it, but I realized it’s too big a thing for his career to pass up. And I’ll be in a position where I’ll be able to fly to Toronto or Los Angels to see him. It’s easy to let a relationship go through separation, but it’s too important to both of us, so we’re going to work at it and keep it going.”
Nana will have plenty to keep her busy while Richard’s on tour. She’ll go on with her daily ballet classes, attend theater and ballet performances as often as time allows and, of course, there’s her work on The Doctors, where Darcy will be an important part of the storyline.
“Darcy is very different from Nancy Feldman (Ryan's Hope) who was a nice Jewish girl and although they gave me some really nice scenes, I felt the overall story was unbelievable and went nowhere.”
Besides the difference in roles, Nana finds a great difference in conditions and the company of the two soaps. The layout is immediately apparent. “At Ryan's Hope, we were in a building by ourselves and the dressing rooms were all in one little area. We would sit in the main part of the studio, talk and have coffee. It was all intimate and everyone knew each other very well. At The Doctors, we’re in a big building (Rockefeller Center) and we’re all spread out, with the production office in another building completely. People are friendly but to me, it’s not a community feeling.”
Also, when she was on Ryan's Hope, Richard Munez was a part of the company. “Richard and I would keep to ourselves a lot. Although we were on the same show, we had only one scene together. It was fun to be together although sometimes it was difficult. When he does a love scene in one part of the studio and you do one in another part, no matter how professional you are, that’s hard. So in that sense, it’s easier for me on The Doctors.”
Nana is very serious about her career, which started professionally when she was 17 and still attending the Nighingale-Bamford School for Girls in Manhattan. She appeared in Louisiana Purchase at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut; Musical Jubilee on Broadway; a two-season tour with Angela Lansbury in Gypsy; the short-lived The Prince of Grand Street; then appeared in a film; and a television sitcom, Ivan the Terrible, starring Lou Jacobi.
”I don’t think of myself as a dancer; singer; or actress.” Nana says, “I think of myself as a performer. I love everything about performing. Some people like the performance only; some strangely enough, like to audition, but I love everything - even sitting with the coffee on the floor. sweaty, with your legs stretched out after rehearsal, and waiting for the next number to come up. I love waiting backstage, getting made up - just everything about theater.”
From all indications, the way her career is proceeding, Nana Tucker will have a lot of opportunity to do what she loves - to entertain and delight audiences with the many aspects of her performing talents - and still find the time to keep her long-distance romance with Richard Muenz alive until Camelot comes to Broadway and he’s again at home with her.
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