Many thousands of adoring fans know Carol Ann Susi for her hysterical performances as the voice of Mrs. Wolowitz on the Big Bang Theory TV show. For me, she was first a friend. When I first met Carol Ann about 20 years ago, I didn’t know she was an actor. We met through a couple of shared close friends, probably at a party or community gathering. I don’t remember exactly. We instantly connected. Her “realness”, loving and sparkling nature made connecting effortless. She was a funny, caring, kind, and fun to be with force of nature who also happened to love food…. every aspect of it. Talking about it, chopping, planning, baking, shopping, sharing it, enjoying it, trying new things, and at Christmas time, selling it (she made amazing homemade cookie gift baskets for a few years). Whatever the occasion, feeding others brought her tremendous joy. Outside of community parties, girlfriend get togethers, and other social events, this is what we bonded over…. food, our shared love and passion.
When I had my Yogi Eats catering business out of Hugo’s restaurant in the early 2000s sometimes Carol Ann would come over and help me in the kitchen. Other times I’d stop by for a visit at her little totally Carol Ann funky fun cluttered but perfect apartment in West Hollywood. One day about 9 or 10 years ago we were talking and sort of goofing around and decided it made perfect sense for us to do a cooking show together. She knew of somebody at the Food Network that might be a good connection. Of course, we should make a pilot, and send it to them! It would be fantastic! I have to be honest and say that as giddy as I was, I couldn’t match Carol Ann! She was bubbling over like fireworks with all the possibilities of what the show could be, how fun and great and all the great fooood we could make! We brainstormed names and finally settled on calling our show “The Dharma Dames”. The plan was, we would gab, chop, cook, make jokes, make food, gab some more, be spectacular of course, and if not become millionaires, we would at least have one heck of a good time!
Her friend Pam’s husband was a film director and he agreed to shoot our first episode at their home in the Hollywood hills. It was a family affair, with Pam’s in-laws visiting from Europe. What a blast we had, almost falling over each other laughing, chopping, rolling out dough and frying up a plateful of potato paraanthas. We hadn’t really planned what we’d do, so just dove in unscripted. Then we all sat down to gobble up those tasty paraanthas.
Nothing ever happened with the “show” and I don’t know if that tape even exists anymore, but it gave us a great memory to joke about over the years!
I’ve only seen Carol Ann a few times since I moved away from L.A. six years ago. The last time about 2 years ago. The past few weeks she has been on my mind almost every day. I’d hear her unmistakable voice on The Big Bang Theory, and feel happy for her success with TV’s #1 comedy show, miss living in L.A. where I could regularly visit with girlfriends, and think I really ought to call her, just wanting to share some love. Now I am so sorry that I did not make that call or send that email or mail that hey girl whatchya up to Hallmark card…. Because now she’s gone. Gone on home to the Light, in the embrace of the Universal One, and feeling a whole new kind of exuberant joy and gratitude.
We’ll miss you Carol Ann. Like I said on my Facebook post…. Thank God for reruns (and Netflix). You will be bringing laughter into hearts and homes for years to come, and the joy of having you as a friend will remain in my heart forever. Thank you for touching my life, my family’s life, and spreading joy everywhere. Keep on keep on, dear sweet beloved soul… Ciao ciao!