"No gay or lesbian person had ever won even a primary for California for the State Legislature. The thing that actually made it easy was 'Zelda Gilroy.' Everybody already liked 'Zelda.' They liked her a lot. And once you realize your third grade teacher, the nurse that saved your life in the hospital, or your aunt are gay, you change your mind about stuff. 'Zelda' helped people feel they were electing a gay person who they already knew and liked."
About This Interview
In her two-hour-forty-five minute Archive interview, Sheila Kuehl talks about her introduction to performing on live radio as a child. She tells how that led to her role as "Jackie Erwin", the youngest daughter on The Stu Erwin Show aka Trouble With Father. She recalls working on the program with a then-unknown actor named James Dean, as well as guest-starring on My Little Margie and several dramatic programs. Kuehl recounts her four years as "Zelda Gilroy" on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, discusses her fondness for co-stars Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver, and details the production of the show. She recalls filming a pilot for a spin-off called Zelda Gilroy, which was eventually rejected by the network president for her being "too butch." She discusses leaving acting to pursue a career in law, and attending Harvard Law School. She outlines her political career from being the first lesbian to serve in the California State Assembly, to her service in the California State Senate, where she worked with California governors Pete Wilson, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on June 27, 2013 in North Hollywood, California.