Tue, Feb. 18

'Life Lessons Learned'
Twins share secrets of life in Hollywood

Few escape the chameleon-like Hollywood facade unscathed, but identical twins Jennie and Terrie Frankel did. Not only did they survive and thrive, they also came away with "life lessons" they're eager to share.

For the past year they've been writing their memoirs documenting the secrets of Tinseltown and its celebrities. In this exposé, "Kiss Kiss and Tell Tell," these New York Times best selling authors are not afraid to share their personal experiences with the rich and famous.

These humorous short stories cover the likes of Barbra Streisand, Jay Leno, David Letterman and Dr. Phil, among others, casting them in a unique seldom-seen light.

The Frankel's exotic journey began when they left Chicago in hopes of auditioning at The Comedy Store on Hollywood's Sunset Strip.

"We wanted to be like the Smothers Brothers," they chime in unison while relaxing in their spacious Sedona home.

The two became featured as stand-up comedians known as The Frankel Twins, performing a hilarious musical routine "on the Sunset Strip." At the time, a young Jay Leno and David Letterman each earned $25 a night hosting the comics. The twins recommended the undiscovered talent of Letterman to old pal Joey Bishop, whom they met in 1968 while touring with the USO in Vietnam. This referral led to Letterman's first writing job on The Tonight Show. A grateful Letterman promised the girls if they ever needed a favor to contact him. The twins would later learn that his words were like Swiss cheese ‹ full of holes. (They asked for five favors, he said "no" to all, including tickets for his show.)

The twins share memories such as this in their upcoming book titled, "Kiss Kiss and Tell Tell." This autobiography from an insider's perspective is sure to enthrall those fascinated with the Hollywood scene.

They were inspired to commit their memories to paper after Terrie took Sedona author Cynthia Richmond's 10-week writing workshop, "The Story of Your Life." Currently, the twins are polishing their manuscript.

Meanwhile, fans can sink their teeth into an earlier work and New York Times best seller, "You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again." Other books these accomplished writers have contributed to include: "Tales From the Casting Couch," "Unfinished Lives" and "I Know You Want to Tell Me But I Really Don't Want to Know," an O.J. parody. Terrie also co-wrote the internationally distributed film, Lunch Wagon, the largest grossing low budget film of that year. She was also a ghostwriter on the New York Times best seller, "Nicole Brown Simpson ­ the Private Diary of a Life Interrupted," a book that stopped the O.J. Simpson trial.

Along life's journey, the twins have embraced many adventures. From age 6 to 16, they volunteered to share their musical talents at veterans' hospitals, nursing homes, the Red Cross, and military bases. Throughout the years family and friends have benefited from their continued generosity, earning them a legacy of "angels to many."

At 18, the beauties became USO performers in Vietnam, a highlight of their lives, they say. During their tour they performed 36 shows over a one-month period between November and December 1968. Performing mostly out in the boonies where soldiers rarely enjoyed entertainment, they recall being treated as if they were Marilyn Monroe.

They also are members of The Circumnavigators Club, an honor bestowed on those who have circumnavigated the globe.

Some may remember them as the Doublemint Twins from the gum commercials; the original Doublemint Twins were the Boyd twins of Hammond, Ind.

After their stint at The Comedy Store launched their Hollywood careers, they went on to achieve celebrity-like status among the town's "A-list." Terrie served on the board of directors of the Producers Guild of America for years, while Jennie continues to be a judge for the Emmys; both are members of the Grammys, and they also write music and lyrics. They've penned a musical titled, Heaven On Broadway.

"Our dream is to one day have this musical play produced on Broadway," they say.

Tired of living in the fast lane, the twins left Tinseltown and found refuge in Sedona, where they've lived obscurely for more than a decade.

Delighted to call this home, they reflect on their numerous accomplishments while basking in the serenity of Red Rock Country.

"It's beautiful," Terrie exalts. "Every day is a thrill!"

From their early years of volunteer performing in Chicago, to their successful Hollywood lives, the twins are certainly fulfilling their dreams.

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