Victoria Paige Meyerink (also known as Victoria Meyerink) is an American actress and film producer. She was born in 1960 at Santa Barbara, California. Victoria Paige Meyerink started acting as a child, first appearing in an episode of 'The Littlest Hobo' in 1963 and working on the popular CBS variety show the 'Danny Kaye Show' between 1946 and 1967. She went on to appear with Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra in MGM's 'Speedway' as well as in 'Brainstorm' with Anne Francis, 'Seconds' with Rock Hudson, and 'Night of the Grizzly' with Clint Walker and Martha Hyer. On television she was a regular on the popular series 'Green Acres', 'My Three Sons', and 'Family Affair' . In 2006 she received the Young Artist Awards 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award.
the following was a phone interview done on july 15 2007
joe Krein : can you tell me a little about your self and what your parents did?
victoria paige meyerink : i was born in santa Barbra California and my parents moved to los angelus when i was about two. my mother is an actress jean baird. i guess i followed her foot steps , it was a bit accidental , but i did get in to commercials and television at a very early age of two . i worked with my mom on some print ads , then i really had my big break on the danny kay show , when i was discovered in a Ralph super market singing in a shopping cart the score from hans Christian anderson. they were looking for a child for the show , i later learned they were looking for an older child about ten or eleven. i was only four , but the casting director was a friend of my mom , they insisted that i come in and meet him at least. i remember walking down the stage hallway at cbs and it hasn't changed at all . it looks the same today. so i was walking down the hallway and i remember seeing all these kids lined up next to the wall, i checked in a couple of kids came and went . then danny kay poked his head out the door , and i was a huge fan . we exchanged glances and he started playing hide and seek by the door . then he came out and put out his hand and i took it . i walked in and they sent everybody home. that's where it began.
you had this one on one with danny kay.
we just connected , it was instantaneous and mutual admiration, it was a very successful run and the ratings soared. it was a one night event that turned into four seasons commitment and launched my career and certainly gained international notoriety at a very early age. there were magazine covers and what have you. i continued to work until i was about fifteen. i worked straight thru , including one of my favorite roles as ellie esterlake in "speedway" with elvis!
how can you remember what happened to you when you were eight years old/ but i guess if i worked with elvis when i was eight i would remember it too. do you remember a lot ?
maybe i just have a great memory or something but i remember from when i was two or three years old vividly . i remember every show i have done. every person i have met . absolutely every detail from "speedway". elvis and i had some great times filming that movie.
how did you get the role in speedway?
i really think at the time i was very popular , i don't remember reading for it. i think i was just cast , it was offered to me , my mother read the script and so did my manager and agent at the time. they said they thought i should do it, it was a done deal.
so did an eight year old victoria paige know who elvis presley was?
i did but you know i didn't have a huge knowledge of him and his music. because we really didn't play that kind of music in the house. my family played classical music , some contemporary stuff . i knew of elvis , i knew a few of his tunes. i was never really star struck , at that age i had spent four years with danny kay who was a dear friend until his death in the early eighties. i had worked with rock hudson and cliff walker and all sought of big people . i wasn't a big fan of any body's , these were my friends. even people i worked with , we were fellow actors , and at the age eight i took it very seriously and these were buddies.
so you weren't blown away when you first met elvis?
of course! i loved the idea of working with him . i thought it was great . i didn't faint. you know and he kissed twice! in the movie alone and not to mention when we arrived on set.
can you tell me about the first time that you met elvis?
i remember it , i went up and he introduced himself. well hello I'm elvis presley. i remember extending my hand and saying hello mr. presley , very nice to meet you. i always called him mr. presley i never called him elvis. i was a very informal little kid.
what did you think of elvis being an actor. your eight years old but you had already done a lot. did you think he was a good actor?
i think he was and i think he had more to give as an actor. i don't think we saw all that he was capable of . i have read since in later years accounts that he was a bit frustrated , that there was dramatic films that he wanted to do. but they kept placing him in these little comedy musicals. farce sought of movies. very light fluffy movies . i think he would have really sunk his teeth into a meaty role.
i like to call them cookie cutter movies , they were all the same . they just changed the title and the girl.
your right they were very formula movies , but they were wonderful . i think "speedway " was made at his decline in acting. it was not at his height. it was just one movie after the other of formula cookie cutter movies. i thought he was great in fact i have a new venture that i will tell you about. i am know the founder and co director of the independent film festival in Colorado. in sept 5 thru 9 in ludville in uni vista Colorado. . next year in 2008 we will be honoring elvis as an actor not a singer. of course we will be running "speedway" and i will be there and i hope to have william shallert there.
how was it working with william schallert?
it was great , he was just the ultimate dad every little girl actress wants to have william shallert as there dad. i was so excited working on "speedway" that i was only working with thee elvis presley but bill bixby was "my favorite Martian" and that was my favorite tv show and its patti duke's dad!
a lot of the interviews i have done with actors , they say elvis fooled around a lot on the set . do you remember anything?
he was a prankster , i know he did things but i don't remember . there was always a lot of laughter he had a lot of boyish charm . he was a big kid. i got the sense that he was a big kid , he loved hanging out with me. we spent every lunch together. after lunch we went back to my trailer because i had snuck a little kitten on to the set. the kittens mother had died , mgm would not let me bring the cat in the lot. so i snuck it in a shoe box , and of course i had told my best buddy elvis that i had this unauthorized kitten in my trailer. he came to the trailer every lunch and fed that kitten and helped me keep it alive.
oh my god that's a great story.
we shared some special times together and at rehearsals. he was such a pro .
so you had a lot of one on one time with elvis.
can you remember the things you talked about?
actually he told me about Priscilla being expecting a baby . i remember he had stood up on a bunch of apple boxes and he gathered the cast and crew. he said "hey every one Priscilla is pregnant . we are going to have a baby!" he ran over to me and said he wanted a little girl just like me. he got his wish ! he told me how he wanted to play with her and take her places , and give her everything in the world. he was so excited about that , he was so anticipating.
do you remember Priscilla being on the set?
you know i don't. if she did i don't remember seeing her . i hope to meet her shortly this year at elvis week . it would be great to meet and catch up.
did elvis give you any gifts?
elvis did not give me a car with my name on the door like he did for nancy Sinatra. no but when i had surgery later on several years later he sent me one of his albums before it was released. that was very sweet of him. we really didn't stay in touch much afterward. there were invitations to graceland and my schedule was always so packed. it was really up to my mom and agents to get me there , but for one reason or another , when your a kid its not in your control . if i was in control then like i am now i would had been there!
so he wanted you to come and visit so you two really hit it off.
oh yeah , absolutely. i remember we sat a lot of times in our director chairs and we talked about the books i would make. i made these little books , drawings and poems and pictures i would draw. i remember he liked my alphabet book . he said that he would really like one. so i went home on the weekend and i made one just for him. he encouraged the creativity in me.
i am sure its still in graceland , because elvis kept everything.
well we will have to dig that out.
you should have asked when you were there last year . you and bill were guests of epe.
yes we were , we were the guest speakers for the fan club presidents. it was a big event i was so stunned that the line waiting for autographs was four hours. it was a blast meeting all of the fans. i will be back there this year for elvis week.
what will you be doing this year in elvis week?
i will be making a appearance at the insiders and at the elvis expo on august 12 , 13 , and 14. i am also hoping to be able to go to tupelo on the fan appreciation day.
i have never had the chance to look around tupelo , i did a early morning show there but then i had to leave right away and do something else. so i would love to see his birth place.
can you remember when the movie was all done and it was time to say goodbye to everyone?
lots of hugs and i have a favorite lunch that i remember . we normally had our lunch at the commissary that was there. one day it was bill bixby elvis and me. all three of us was having lunch and elvis asked me . if you had to decide of which one of us you would marry. which one would it be?
that's not fair.
its not fair! I SAID I LOVE YOU BOTH I CAN'T just pick one of you.
THERE YOU GO.
I ACTUALLY HAD A BIG CRUSH ON BILL BIXBY.
YES HE WAS A LOVELY MAN I AM SO SORRY HE SUFFERED. WE LOST HIM.
ITS ALWAYS THE GREAT PEOPLE THAT HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO GIVE. WE LOSE THEM YOUNG.
DO YOU REMEMBER HOW YOU FOUND OUT ELVIS HAD PASSED?
I WAS IN SCHOOL AND SOMEBODY WAS MUMBLINGS. PEOPLE SEEM TO KNOW SOMETHING WAS GOING ON. I WENT TO A CELEBRITY TYPE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS. THERE WERE A LOT OF STARS KIDS. WHEN I HEARD , I REALLY DIDN'T BELIEVE IT . BUT THEN MY MOM PICKED ME UP AT SCHOOL AND WE HEARD IT ON THE RADIO. THAT'S HOW I FOUND OUT. I JUST THOUGHT WHAT A TRAGIC LOSS . I WAS ALWAYS LEARY OF THE PRESS WHEN I HEARD STORY'S ABOUT HIS LATER YEARS. THAT WAS NOT THE ELVIS I KNEW. I NEVER SAW HIM WITH A ANTE RAGE. WITH ALL THE TIME WE SPENT TOGETHER , THERE WAS NEVER ALL THESE PEOPLE AROUND HIM . WHISPERING IN HIS EAR OR GUIDING HIM. IF THERE WERE I DIDN'T SEE IT.
THAT WAS A QUESTION I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU , IF YOU REMEMBER THE MEMPHIS MAFIA BEING AROUND?
NO I DON'T .IT WAS ALWAYS HIM . HE WAS VERY ASSESSABLE.
HOW ABOUT THE COLONEL?
I DON'T REMEMBER HIM AT ALL. I DON'T THINK HE WAS THERE.
THE ELVIS I KNEW WAS ALWAYS A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN. YES SIR , YES MAM. HE WAS SUCH A PROFESSIONAL , I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM HIM . STARS TODAY DON'T KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE ON SET. THERE INSTANT OVER NIGHT , MOST OF THEM KIDS AND THEY DON'T HANDLE IT WELL. I DON'T THEY REALIZE WHAT POWER THEY HAVE AND WHAT POSITIVE IMPACT THEY COULD HAVE ON THE WORLD IF THEY USE THE POWER THAT THEY HAVE. REALLY REALLY WELL AND TO DO GOOD. ITS ALL ABOUT ME , ITS THE ME GENERATION , GIVE IT TO ME , GIVE IT TO ME NOW. I GOT IT YESTERDAY WHEN I SHOULD HAVE HAD IT A YEAR AGO. THAT'S A MIND SET I CAN'T RELATE TOO. ELVIS WAS SO GRACIOUS , HE ALWAYS HAD TIME FOR THE FANS. WHEN WE WALKED DOWN THE STREET THERE AT MGM , OR ON LOCATION AT THE SPEEDWAY. ANYBODY COULD WALK UP TO ELVIS , HE WOULD TAKE TIME. PLUS HE ALWAYS KNEW HIS LINES , HE WAS FUN TO WORK WITH , HE WAS NEVER GRUMPY OR DEPRESSED OR ANGRY. HE DIDN'T THROW TANTRUMS THAT I WAS AWARE OF. HE WAS A PRO , A NORMAL GREAT GUY. I REMEMBER HIM EATING MEAT LOAF. (LAUGHING) WHEN I WAS IN MEMPHIS LAST YEAR , NOT THE FANS BUT THE RESIDENTS THERE IN TENNESSEE. EVERYBODY HAS STORIES ABOUT THE GRACIOUS POLITE KID, ELVIS AND WHAT A GREAT GUY HE WAS AND WHAT A NORMAL PERSON HE WAS. THESE ARE LIKE LOST QUALITIES.
HOW WAS NANCY SINATRA TO WORK WITH?
SHE WAS VERY NICE , WE HAD A FEW SCENES TOGETHER , SHE WAS VERY SWEET. I LOVED THE DANCE NUMBERS ,SHE HAD SUCH A GREAT FEEL AND SHE COULD REALLY MOVE AND I LOVED WATCHING THEM. I WASN'T IN THOSE BIG PRODUCTION NUMBERS AT THE SPEEDWAY BAR , BUT I WOULD BE THERE WATCHING THEM , THAT WAS REALLY FUN.
SHE REALLY CLICKED WITH ELVIS , YOU COULD SEE IT ON THE SCREEN.
I GUESS THEY HAD MET YEARS BEFORE , SO THEY HAD BEEN FRIENDS FOR A WHILE AND I THINK THAT SHOWED. BUT HE ENJOYED WORKING WITH EVERYBODY. BILL SHALERT HAS GREAT MEMORIES OF ELVIS , THEY WERE LOCKED UP IN THAT CAR FOR HOURS. SO HE REALLY GOT TO KNOW ELVIS.
WERE THERE OTHER CHILDREN IN THAT MOVIE?
THERE WERE THREE YOUNGER SISTERS OF MINE.
DO YOU SEE THEM OR HAVE YOU HEARD FROM THEM?
NO , I DON'T THINK THEY ARE EITHER WORKING , ONE WAS THE DIRECTORS GRAND DAUGHTER. THEY DIDN'T STAY IN TOUCH.
SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
A LOT HAPPENED SINCE SPEEDWAY , I SWITCHED FROM BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AND I AM NOW BEHIND THE SCENES. BUT AFTER SPEEDWAY I HAD SURGERY SO IT TOOK ME OUT OF THE BUSINESS FOR A FEW YEARS. AFTER I WENT TO COLLAGE I MET MY HUSBAND WHO IS A WONDERFUL DIRECTOR WRITER OF FEATURE FILMS. I HAD MET HIM WHEN I WAS STILL ON CRUTCHES AND HE ASKED ME TO HELP HIM BEHIND THE SCENES. EVEN WHEN I WAS YOUNG I WANTED TO KNOW WHY CERTAIN THINGS WERE BEING DONE THAT WAY. I JUST PICKED IT ALL UP LIKE A SPONGE. I AM STILL WITH LAWRENCE WE WERE MARRIED IN 1983.
AFTER YOU WORKED WITH ELVIS DID YOU BECOME AN ELVIS FAN?
OVER THE YEARS I HAVE DEVELOPED A N A APPRECIATION FOR ELVIS AND HIS MUSIC. I BECAME A FAN OF THE PERSON . WHAT A TALENT , HE WAS SO A HEAD OF HIS TIME.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEVER ENDING POPULARITY OF ELVIS PRESLEY?
ITS AMAZING , ITS ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL . I DON'T THINK WE WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN.