TV GUIDE.COM, JANUARY 6, 2004
MR. BELVEDERE MOM RETURNS
By Daniel R. Coleridge
For six seasons, Ilene Graff was the mom on MR. BELVEDERE. You know, that sitcom about the Pittsburgh family with a proper British butler. Except for a recent clip shown on VH1’s I LOVE THE 80’S, this series isn’t remembered as often as other TV classics. Why? Well, it seems if you peek behind the scenes, the cast just wasn’t tragic enough.
“We had no drinking, no car accidents, no nothing,” Graff laughs to TV Guide Online. “There is no E! True Hollywood Story on our show. There was a rumor for years that my TV son Rob Stone was really Marilyn Manson. Rob has no connection to him at all. He thinks it’s hilarious, and has no idea how it started!”
Sadly, Christopher Hewett–who played Mr. Belvedere himself–died two years ago. “I had no clue he was sick,” Graff sighs, “because he was very private. But we had a wonderful experience working together back then.”
Flash forward to 2004, and this TV mom’s still parlaying her maternal instincts into professional success. Graff’s CD, Baby’s Broadway Lullabies, currently is a Grammy nominee for best musical album for children. The theater veteran says the album concept was born around the same time as her daughter, who’s now in college. “You really get tired of trying to think up new words to ‘Rockabye Baby’, because you don’t want your child to think the baby falls out of the tree and dies,” she says with a chuckle. “It’s a terribly disturbing song. So we did show tunes instead.”
Parents who can’t carry a tune can find Graff’s CD on her website, and just let it work its soporific spell on their fussy newborns. “The moms tell me their babies fall asleep on the second or third song,” she says proudly. “It doesn’t bother me one bit that my audience falls asleep while they’re listening to me. That’s the goal.”