Does anyone else here watch Drop Dead Diva? It's a semi-fantasy, on the Lifetime network, about a rather bubbleheaded pretty young model who dies and returns in the body of a very smart lawyer who is not slim. With that premise (and one of the best titles ever), the show explores (in a light-handed way) ideas about identity, facades, and body image. I was looking forward to the new season, and then the show announced that a guest role would be played by Kim Kardashian. Ick! I am thoroughly sick of that entire bejeweled tribe, who are famous for being famous. I was tempted to boycott the show. But I'm so glad I watched last night because otherwise I would have missed a real actress showing how it's done. One of the law firm's hard-luck clients was a pint-sized granny-aged lady with a temper. I was half watching when I suddenly realized that this woman was Patty Duke. If anyone remembers, she was a child actress who won an Oscar at the age of 14 (ice skater age!) in The Miracle Worker, playing Helen Keller. She's also won at least one Emmy and a Golden Globe, and has served as the president of the Screen Actors' Guild. These days she does mostly character parts, and if you look at her, you see why. She's about the same age as Goldie Hawn, who now looks like a girl of sixty. By contrast, Duke has let her hair go gray--here it was white--and she wears it short. No flowing hair extensions. Her face has every wrinkle she has earned through a strenuous life. Just imagine: an actress who wants to portray realistic human beings. She illuminated every scene she was in, and I was heartened to see her.

Over on NCIS, I noticed a bit of the same thing. Mark Harmon has allowed himself to go gray (and doesn't it look dazzling on him), but even nicer, Jamie Lee Curtis also appears with short, gray hair. Among them, these performers show that there's more than one way to be a knockout.