Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Suze Lanier

Intro Banner of Suze Lanier

Suze talks about leaving home for NY at 17, the impact of losing the role of Chrissy in Three’s Company, how finding joy is the greatest success and how letting go of perfection has opened up her life.


Susan Lanier is an actress, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, photographer, writer, director and producer. She is best known for starring in the original horror film classic, Wes Craven'sThe Hills Have Eyes, as well as her role as Bambi, John Travolta’s girlfriend in the TV sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter.


She has starred in many TV episodes, web series and stage productions from NY to LA throughout the years. Suze is also the President of Magnolia Gold Records where she is in the process of releasing her new EP record entitled, Allergic to Texas. Her previous, award winning release, Swamp Cabaret is available on iTunes.

Suze talks about leaving home for NY at 17, the impact of losing the role of Chrissy in Three’s Company, how finding joy is the greatest success and how letting go of perfection has opened up her life.


Susan Lanier is an actress, singer- songwriter, cabaret performer, photographer, writer, director and producer. She is best known for starring in the original horror film classic, Wes Craven'sThe Hills Have Eyes, as well as her role as Bambi, John Travolta’s girlfriend in the TV sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter.


She has starred in many TV episodes, web series and stage productions from NY to LA throughout the years. Suze is also the President of Magnolia Gold Records where she is in the process of releasing her new EP record entitled, Allergic to Texas. Her previous, award winning release, Swamp Cabaret is available on iTunes.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Suze Lanier – Actress, Singer, Songwriter, Cabaret Performer, Photographer, Writer, Director and Producer

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are speaking with Susan Lanier, Suze is an actress, singer songwriter, cabaret, performer, photographer, writer, director, and producer. She is best known for starring in the original horror film classic Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes as well as her role as Bambi, John Travolta's girlfriend in the TV series

[00:00:24] Welcome Back Kotter. She has starred in many TV episodes, web series and stage productions from New York to LA throughout the years. Suze is also the president of Magnolia Gold Records, where she is in the process of releasing her new EAP record entitled, Allergic to Texas. Her previous award-winning release.

[00:00:45] Swamp cabaret is available. On iTunes. I'm really excited to learn more soon. Thank you for joining us on fresh blood, please, could you tell us a little bit more about your story and your journey to getting to where you are today?

[00:01:00] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:01:00] The journey is a long one. So I don't know that we have that much time, but I started the acting bug hit me at the age of 13. Yeah. For some reason, I started doing plays in school. I had a wonderful school experience in Dallas, Texas, and they did put a lot of the emphasis on the arts, which I think

[00:01:24] Jolie Downs: [00:01:24] That's great.

[00:01:25] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:01:25] is sad that they don't, have that now. But it's a big emphasis on it, but they did them. And so by the time I was 15, I already knew at 13, I was going to pursue a career in either advertising or show business or are, the entertainment business for sure. And by the time I was 15, I ha I was a disc jockey in Lausanne and doubtless in high school. They did a contest and they were looking for someone that was close to the radio station. They wanted a teenager to dedicate songs to high school football games. Football is very big in Texas and I was the top drama student At the time in my high school was near kBox. So I became a little miss K box and I was a actual professional paid DJ at 15

[00:02:23] Jolie Downs: [00:02:23] At 15, what an experience,

[00:02:24] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:02:24] spinning tunes and talking on the radio stuff. I have no problems talking to people and I would meet big stars that would come into music stars that would come into Dallas. And that would be interviewed on the radio and stuff like that. So

[00:02:40] what

[00:02:40] Jolie Downs: [00:02:40] what did you learn from that time? Like how did that bring value to your life? Moving forward?

[00:02:44] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:02:44] well, Taught me, I think not to be too shy and that all things were possible and these artists seem so most of them were also down to earth. I met Carol Burnett there

[00:02:57] Jolie Downs: [00:02:57] Wow.

[00:02:58] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:02:58] she was just so down to earth and sweet and yeah. What do you want to do deer? And, she was young then. And I said I want to go to New York and work on stage.

[00:03:08] And she said, let me give you some numbers. And she did when I was 16. And by the time I was 17, I was ready to go to New York and

[00:03:21] Jolie Downs: [00:03:21] so you went to New York at 17.

[00:03:23] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:03:23] yeah.

[00:03:24] Jolie Downs: [00:03:24] Wow. Tell me about that. That's a lot, I that's the story that you hear, but what was it really besides the fantasy

[00:03:32] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:03:32] Well, I'm writing a book about it right now. It's

[00:03:35] Jolie Downs: [00:03:35] Perfect.

[00:03:36] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:03:36] pretty dark. It was the late sixties and My parents did not want me to go.

[00:03:41]I told them I wanted to. So they said no. And so I just got on an airplane. I had no money and went,

[00:03:47] and

[00:03:48] Jolie Downs: [00:03:48] Wow.

[00:03:49] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:03:49] so I didn't call them till four. I, in a couple of months I turned 18. I could have done what I wanted anyway.

[00:03:55] So I called them and said, I'm in New York. And I'm going to stay here. And I got a manager out of a newspaper right away and started auditioning for things like the original production of hair and Broadway shows. He got, he started getting me out right away, as soon as I turned 18.

[00:04:15] Jolie Downs: [00:04:15] That's amazing.

[00:04:16]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:04:16] It was a journey in New York.

[00:04:18] I lived on the lower east side, so I got share of dark. It was a lot of drugs and hippy, it w the black Panthers had just started. And, it was a wonderful political time to be on the lower east side. And I met a lot of people down in the village,

[00:04:34] Jolie Downs: [00:04:34] only imagine. What was your takeaway from living in New York during that time?

[00:04:38] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:04:38] Oh, my God. It just made me aware of possibilities. It made me aware of the creative force. I got to see Nina Simone, at the village gate and BB king. And I became friends with BB king and this huge world of opportunity. And just to give me, it gave me courage to go ahead and pursue whatever I wanted.

[00:05:05] Jolie Downs: [00:05:05] That's fantastic. And to have that at such a young age, that is a gift. You clearly have been going after your dreams throughout your life ever since then. And that's

[00:05:14] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:05:14] I think creation and anything you do, even if you're a scientist, I think the universe gives us these urges of creativity. Some people. Much stronger than others. And I must be there's this force inside of me that has to be creating something might not be acting, photography, but I have to be creating something almost every day.

[00:05:40] Jolie Downs: [00:05:40] Yeah. And I know, since then you started in New York at a young age and really since then you have been. Active in this field throughout your lifetime, correct? Even like you said, with photography, even when you were doing something, I read that you were actually listed as one of the top 10 photographers in LA at one point.

[00:05:59] So amazing.

[00:06:00] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:06:00] It was top five.

[00:06:01]Jolie Downs: [00:06:01] That's amazing. So tell us a little bit more what were your transition? Because you've also been a singer songwriter. You've been a photographer, you've been a producer. How did those come into your life?

[00:06:12] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:06:12] But tography came into my life and I think all of them did out of love and joy and necessity and the necessary transition to have to survive and show business. I love the fact that your show is geared towards. 40 the transition that happens at 40 and how challenging life can be. I started shooting around that age because my acting career had slowed down for many different reasons.

[00:06:45] Created. By me. And and I had fallen in love with a wonderful composer who ended up being my husband, Delaney Bramlett. So he was a songwriter. So I always loved music, always sang danced. He would need help on lyrics, or he would ask me if I wanted to help him with a song. So that fell into place from my husband.

[00:07:08] But the, but besides that, just the need to keep Burt, keep myself thriving. I had a son, I have a son and, to keep going when the acting slow down. been passage of survivorship to not only passion and love, which drove all of those pursuits, but the need to survive.

[00:07:37] Jolie Downs: [00:07:37] What I love is that we all go through that need to survive where we're all. Okay. There's some people in life that maybe have it a little bit easier than the majority of us have that need to survive. At some point. What I love is that even though in that time of needing to survive you, and after your joys and passions, You went after things that you wanted to help you.

[00:08:00] Survive. Instead of accepting the have to which so many of us will do because of fear and there's so much fear really, and uncertainty. And so you take what you think you have to but I love that you went and went for the want to, is there any advice that you would give someone who might be in that type of position of trying to figure out the right next path, the right next opportunity.

[00:08:21] Is there something that you've learned that you think could benefit.

[00:08:23]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:08:23] What I've learned is that art does not an a career does not get created by waiting for it to happen. You have to put in a lot of work harder. Time and hard work to make it really happen. I hear a lot. I'm I've gone back to the zoom, created the need for me to do something else too. And I started teaching, I used to teach acting in LA

[00:08:54] sometimes, and so this girl asks me if I teach her and I started doing some privates with her, and then all of a sudden I have a class and the students are from other parts of the United States because they don't have to be in LA. So I'm able to give them some really great. Working your practical onset lessons on suit, which I find is a great way to teach acting.

[00:09:18]And, but I hear a lot of people saying the business has changed. You have to be born into it. You have to be, I heard this yesterday, Gwyneth Paltrow and have famous parents or something.

[00:09:31] Jolie Downs: [00:09:31] okay.

[00:09:32] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:09:32] And and I go, no today. I think there are more opportunities to create a product and create a project cheaply and not, you don't have to depend on somebody giving you the green light to go out.

[00:09:50] Are make music are, write a book. You can self-publish, you can make your own webisode. You can, we've got, you can do that on an iPhone, forward that was completely off the table. You had to wait for an agent to pitch you for a show.

[00:10:07] Jolie Downs: [00:10:07] Yeah.

[00:10:08]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:10:08] So now it's a matter of, and now we have all these avenues for exposure, social media.

[00:10:15] Created celebrities out of people with zero talent,

[00:10:19] Jolie Downs: [00:10:19] Yes.

[00:10:21] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:10:21] zero substances, people, quite Frank. And yet it's made them famous and ridiculously rich. I think that anybody who sits around and complains about life, not being fair or them not having the opportunities that we had in the seventies, I hear that a lot.

[00:10:40]It was easier in the seventies, no.

[00:10:42] it was a little body I had in the seventies. I would have splashed it just like Kim Kardashian. Did. Okay.

[00:10:57] Jolie Downs: [00:10:57] Yeah, it is a different world and you're right. There are so many more opportunities. I'm so glad that you're removing those limiting beliefs from the students that you're working with, because that is the biggest problem. Are those beliefs that we hold to, that, that hold us back.

[00:11:10] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:11:10] How old is back. You can go in a parking lot. I told one of my students that I don't have any footage. I said you can go in a parking lot and get your wife to take your iPhone and shoot a scene and just put it on. On your profile. These things and who knows it

[00:11:29] might, somebody might like it.

[00:11:32] If you don't put it out there then, and you don't have the guts to put it out there, then nothing will happen.

[00:11:41] Jolie Downs: [00:11:41] No, nothing will happen. You're absolutely right. So out of all of the things that you've done throughout your life, what do you feel has been your greatest success and why, and what did you learn from it?

[00:11:53] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:11:53] Okay.

[00:11:53] I'm mostly known for my acting work. So that's been acknowledged more than anything else. I've probably made the most money in photography. I used to shoot with Marcus and I shot in Paris in New York and everywhere.

[00:12:10] And that's been a very lucrative thing for me. But what gives me the most joy is the music.

[00:12:18] Jolie Downs: [00:12:18] Sure.

[00:12:18] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:12:18] And I love to write songs. I'm probably not the greatest singer in the world, but to sit down at that piano and let a tune come out of me. That is triggered by what I'm feeling gives me the most joy. So that is so accessible. I can do it anytime. I don't have to wait for a photo client to call and say, could reshoot. I don't have to wait for a casting director to say, yes, you got the job. I can simply go in my studio, put my hands on those keys and let it come out. And so that when I'm down or I'm even happy, that brings me the most joy.

[00:13:04] Jolie Downs: [00:13:04] Oh, so good. We, that's what we all need. That's my wish for people that we all find something just like that fills you up, that you can do anytime you want to. And no one can take it away from you, right? All yours. That's beautiful. Thank you for that. Answer is beautiful. And you're, being able to create that music and share it with the world.

[00:13:23] That is

[00:13:24] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:13:24] It's not for everybody, but I've gotten great reviews on swamp cabaret. It's a little cabaret ish, a little rockish. It's not everybody's, it's not rap. It's not everybody's cup of tea. And I understand that I'm reading a fabulous book called big magic by Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote love, pray, whatever,

[00:13:43] Jolie Downs: [00:13:43] Yes, I haven't read a new one. Okay.

[00:13:45] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:13:45] Okay.

[00:13:47] I'm right. I'm reading it because it was recommended for me to read it by Brian Danley. Who's a wonderful director and writer in Hollywood. And I'm working on a new book. I'm not a proven writer. I'm a songwriter. I'm not approven literary writer and I'm writing a memoir, a very dark one and it's a lot of fun and sh and just here reading her book, big magic.

[00:14:13] Has changed my whole approach to how I approach this project. And I'm not with dread oh God, I've got to pay the bills. I've got to go look for a new car. I've got to go meet. So and so for lunch, but to make sure I set aside that time to let the love of writing it and let it love me back. Am I the greatest literary writer?

[00:14:36] I am sure I am not, but I am a good storyteller.

[00:14:40] Jolie Downs: [00:14:40] That's great. Big magic. I'm going to get that. Are there any other books or talks, videos, movie that you've watched or read that had a really big impact on your life that you think other people

[00:14:50]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:14:50] A lot. I have not, literally the truth is joined the masterclass series of all these people that you can actually study with.

[00:14:59] But during COVID I, some of my friends did and they cannot. Yeah. Talk enough about how inspired or how much they learned from actually, doing the series of lessons by James Patterson or, proven writers that have been very successful.

[00:15:17] And I think they share their habits and their information. So I would highly recommend that. And I'm planning to do that.

[00:15:26] Jolie Downs: [00:15:26] They actually just it from masterclass myself. I haven't used it yet, but I just signed up. That's a good time.

[00:15:31]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:15:31] I think that the, I think I hate the fact that we had a pandemic. I hate the fact that we were in lockdown. We could be again, I really despise that. But with what came the, the lemonade of it is that we have learned to communicate and. And talk to people that we don't have to be in the room with.

[00:15:56] And, I love having a student in San Francisco. I love having a student in San Diego and we get a lot done and to watch them grow from studying on zoom has been amazing. I got a big, huge monitor so I can watch them work so that they're almost as big as if they were in the room.

[00:16:16] Jolie Downs: [00:16:16] Yeah, it definitely has opened up our world. Hasn't it? It's expanded our world. We had to, so we expanded from our homes.

[00:16:23] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:16:23] Yes. Yes. And not to put the love in your home too. Even if, I don't have a big fancy home, but I always made sure that I love to be in my workspace, that it gives me joy to be in that space.

[00:16:39]Jolie Downs: [00:16:39] That's something that I really focused on in the pandemic as well. My, I admit that my workspace might've been. Messy,

[00:16:51] COVID gave me the chance to really clean that up and feng shui, it dialed in. And I got to say, it feels amazing. It feels very good. Yeah.

[00:17:00] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:17:00] It just helps you it get in the zone to create.

[00:17:04] Jolie Downs: [00:17:04] Yes. Yes. Now what about the flip side of the successes? What about a time that you had a failure or perceived failure or dealt with a really big obstacle and a big mistake? And what did you learn from it?

[00:17:15]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:17:15] I've had many failures. I've been rejected so many times on things I really wanted. And as most people know I was the first actually I was the one who did the pilot of three's company I had three.

[00:17:30] Jolie Downs: [00:17:30] with this big,

[00:17:31] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:17:31] I was Chrissy. I was the first one and for many political reasons, which we don't need to go into. They, I was out and Suzanne Somers was in.

[00:17:42] I thought she was wonderful by the way. But for some reason I was rejected

[00:17:46] and that

[00:17:47] Jolie Downs: [00:17:47] been worried.

[00:17:47]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:17:47] That was a bit of a blow. And shortly thereafter, I got a wonderful play to go on tour with some amazing Donald O'Connor and amazing actors. And I got a lot of joy from that and I would not have had that opportunity.

[00:18:04]Also I would not have met Delaney Bramlett. My future has.

[00:18:10] Jolie Downs: [00:18:10] Really?

[00:18:11] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:18:11] Been on three's company, more than likely I would not have met him probably would not have done the Hills have eyes, which I that's how I met him. And he had gone to the drive in and saw the Hills have eyes. And I went to his gig the night after he had seen it.

[00:18:27] I had a friend that was playing in his band and he came down off the stage of with all my God. You're such a great screen.

[00:18:34] Jolie Downs: [00:18:34] Okay.

[00:18:36] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:18:36] I'm going to marry you. And I went well. He said, I don't care. Give me your, I, it turned out that I met the love of my life through doing the Hills, have eyes, and I wouldn't have had that opportunity if I'd been shooting threes companies.

[00:18:53] So everything happens for a reason.

[00:18:56]Also no such thing as perfection. Perfect. Everything can always be adjusted changed. You can do it a better way are not. And I learned to let go of striving for perfection.

[00:19:11] Jolie Downs: [00:19:11] Okay.

[00:19:11] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:19:11] I love to release music and I am so clear that I am not Bonnie Raitt. So clear on that, but the fun I get from doing it and letting go of trying to make it perfect and to have a perfect.

[00:19:26]Nina, Simone voice. I had to let that go or I would have brought myself of the joy of doing it. So rejection is always going to happen. Is everybody going to like my music? No. Is everybody gonna like my book? No. Is everybody gonna like my acting? No. And that's Okay.

[00:19:44] Jolie Downs: [00:19:44] that's okay. I love it right on every single account. I want to give you a little applause

[00:19:50] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:19:50] Yeah.

[00:19:52] Jolie Downs: [00:19:52] now. So I'm curious, what do you. What do you feel is your definition of success? Because everyone has their own definition. And based on that, what do you believe is key to having continued success throughout life?

[00:20:07] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:20:07] Isn't it. Wonderful question. I just went to the east coast. My girlfriend's private jet and we just went everywhere. We just did the whole east coast and I just got back a few week ago.

[00:20:20] Jolie Downs: [00:20:20] Amazing.

[00:20:21] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:20:21] And and she has these wonderful, she's one of my best friends. She has these wonderful homes in different places.

[00:20:29]And I came back with the appreciation of the simplicity. Of my own life, which clears my space to create. And so my idea, my goal of what success means has never been money or fame. Otherwise I would have done things much differently, but I enjoy having a peaceful and. As less stress as possible existence to me to be able to survive without going to work a day job and be at peace within his success.

[00:21:20] Jolie Downs: [00:21:20] Yeah. Yes. I completely agree.

[00:21:23] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:21:23] Now, a lot of people think it's money and fame and huge mansions. I've had a big house. I've had several the other. Coordinating all the workers and the Gardner and the pool man, and this and that. I don't w none of that is meaningful to me anymore. No.

[00:21:42] Jolie Downs: [00:21:42] Yeah, I love your definition of success. And what do you believe is key to having continued success in life? Continuing that throughout your life in your forties, fifties, sixties, seventies.

[00:21:53] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:21:53] harder. I think that appreciating that you woke up in the most. When you get to be my age. And I see some of my artist friends either declining or they're not any, they're not here any longer, one of my best friends just passed away who was

[00:22:09] Jolie Downs: [00:22:09] I'm sorry.

[00:22:10] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:22:10] younger than me, quite a bit. And I think that we're here for a certain amount of time and I think.

[00:22:19] Each day is a real gift. So when I wake up in the morning, I go, okay, I'm here today. And I'm just going to enjoy today to the utmost and then appreciate that and get done as much as I can. I get angry with myself if I wasted.

[00:22:38]Time on Facebook or, scrolling and I'm easily distracted, I can be entertained with that.

[00:22:45] And I've had to really discipline myself to say, my goal is not to be a Facebook's scroller

[00:22:51] Jolie Downs: [00:22:51] Yes.

[00:22:53] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:22:53] YouTube scroller. My goal is to produce work and I don't want to waste precious time that I have.

[00:23:02] Jolie Downs: [00:23:02] feel you on that.

[00:23:03] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:23:03] Good health. I don't take any medicine knock on wood and I don't take that for granted by the way. And and I try to work out every day. I try to eat right every day and then just enjoy, the day and enjoy the work. But I only have to do

[00:23:19] Jolie Downs: [00:23:19] Yes.

[00:23:20] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:23:20] that's all.

[00:23:21] Jolie Downs: [00:23:21] I love that we only have the day. You're absolutely right. There's no past, there's no future. There's only the present and to truly be happy. It's about finding that joy in the present, which you're talking to about some beliefs and habits that, that really have served you.

[00:23:37] Are there any other habits that you've or beliefs that you've developed over the years that you feel helped bring that success into your.

[00:23:44]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:23:44] I think feeling like trusting my instincts about. Is a good influence who will bring a positive energy into my life and trusting my instincts about who won't do that and not wasting my time with people that will only serve me with negative energy, but also knowing that every single person you meet has a story and every single person you meet has some capacity to teach you something.

[00:24:19] Jolie Downs: [00:24:19] Great.

[00:24:20]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:24:20] So I really try to get into people's stories. Sometimes they're not very interesting to me because I've lived a very active, rich life. I've met the greatest artists in the world. I've worked at Tennessee Williams, I've known Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr. Paul McCartney.

[00:24:41] I didn't meet John Lennon and Richard Chamberlain, I start in a play with him, Leslie Jordan, the little the guy who's taking the internet by storm right now, I've done three plays with Leslie Jordan. And but even my housekeeper, which I had before, COVID I haven't had one since, so I do, but.

[00:25:01] Has a story and that story, it can be enrich my life or trigger something in me are not your server at your local place at lunch has a story, and it's important that they see that you can hear their story. That you're a vessel for them to share their story. Is there a story's important.

[00:25:23]Jolie Downs: [00:25:23] It's one of my favorite things. Uncovering people's stories. There is so much, there's so much wealth in people's stories. It's wonderful. You've met a lot of people in your life. A lot of really amazingly. These great minds, that you've been able to meet. I'm just curious if out of all the people you've met, if anyone has provided you with a piece of advice that you have carried with you ever since?

[00:25:47]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:25:47] Raymond Massey Tennessee Williams. When I did night of the go on Raymond Massey wrote me the great actor, Raymond Massey, who I know young people probably don't know who he is, but he was one of the greatest actors of our day. And he wrote me a letter. He saw me on TV and he said, don't ever stop doing what you love.

[00:26:08] And and that That was a great piece of advice. I've gotten advice from a lot of great artists that have, that are famous and powerful people. And and I think to be encouraged by someone who's that great to be encouraged by Tennessee Williams, that's a big deal and I've been encouraged by all those people to just follow the dream.

[00:26:33] Jolie Downs: [00:26:33] It shows how important that is to give encouragement to other people. It is very impactful.

[00:26:38] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:26:38] I do with all my students. I really make them aware of your strong points and to embrace those. And if they have any bad habits I don't know back I might just say, okay, you need to watch out for this because it might not be marketable, Because we all, at the end of the day, The goal for these students is to make a living in the arts or as actors, so if I'm not pretty open and honest with them about how to hone the craft, then I'm not doing my job.

[00:27:10] Jolie Downs: [00:27:10] Now I'm curious because we were going through difficult times with the pandemic. And I know there's a lot of people, even though we're we're slowly coming out of it. There's a lot of people that are in struggles, various different kinds of struggles because of what we've been through.

[00:27:25] How have you pushed through your worst times that has helped you and could maybe resonate with other people?

[00:27:33] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:27:33] Okay.

[00:27:33]When the pandemic first started, first of all, I was in St. Louis doing a play with Cleo king and for black history month. And it was a wonderful project and we had to cut it short and come back to LA. And I was just bummed. I just went, what is going on? Nothing like this has ever happened in my long lifetime.

[00:27:55] And how is that going to affect everybody?

[00:28:00] And once I resigned, I gave resignation to it. I went, okay, I have to accept this now. What? Because I didn't create it. I can't change it. It's here.

[00:28:12] Jolie Downs: [00:28:12] Yeah.

[00:28:13] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:28:13] And it, and I have a feeling the change may not. I have a feeling it's not going to go away. As quickly as we all pray, it does find a medicine for treatment.

[00:28:26] But one of my students was diagnosed with COVID yesterday and she was a mother. And I, and I'm sure she'll be fine. She'll be fine. But I think just giving in to the fact that. The way I knew life before. If I'm going to fight it, I'm going to be miserable and totally depressed.

[00:28:47] So I have to find how I can make it work for me, where I'm at now and believe me every day, I'm grateful that I am in the generation that I grew up in because it was fun and possibilities were all open. And I had a lot of fun and I still have fun every day. We have fun. But I'm really grateful that I got the timeframe as me here in this earth suit.

[00:29:17]I'm so grateful that I got the time I got, sixties and seventies and the eighties and nineties, good times. And I don't plan to give them up.

[00:29:29] Jolie Downs: [00:29:29] I love it. And I'm curious, is there any story that sticks out from the sixties, seventies? It came back in the past that. Rise to the surface. If someone were to say, what's your craziest story?

[00:29:40] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:29:40] Oh, my God. I think meeting my husband was probably the craziest story?

[00:29:45] and the most universal kismet, How did he see the Hills Have Eyes at the drive in the night before I went to his concert, reluctantly, by the way, screaming, I didn't want to go. And my friend was married to his trumpet player and she said, you're not fun anymore.

[00:30:00] All you care about some work. And she said, come on, let's go here. Delaney Bramlett. And I went I don't, I'm tired. I don't really, I don't know. I don't think so. And she said, come on just one set, then we'll come back. And I went, okay. Okay.

[00:30:14]Mid twenties at that time. So I went all right.

[00:30:17] All right. All right, I'll go. And so we go to the nightclub and then I meet the man that I actually fall in love with. And I think that universe, if you just say Yes.

[00:30:29] more than if you say no, if you say yes, Great. Things can happen and maybe you'll be bored, but at least you cried, I think I've, I was going to pick one story.

[00:30:41] That would be it though. There have been many, I was a series regular on Tony, Orlando and Dawn doing stand-up comedy with George Carlin. He taught me a lot. George Carlin.

[00:30:52] I, we have.

[00:30:54] Jolie Downs: [00:30:54] George

[00:30:55] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:30:55] Crazy. And the back then I was confident. I was so confident and cocky and soci. So we had some major, little riffs, but we had so much fun doing comedy together and to learn from somebody so good.

[00:31:10] Jolie Downs: [00:31:10] Yeah.

[00:31:10]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:31:10] He was that jaded, negative, critical, brilliant mind. Even when I knew him in 1976, I think it was, or something is when I worked for him. And, I'm so blessed. I've worked with people like that.

[00:31:23] Jolie Downs: [00:31:23] Yes. Yes. That's amazing. Did he drop any truth bombs on you during that time?

[00:31:27]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:31:27] We both were offered another show that ended up still on the air. And

[00:31:33] Jolie Downs: [00:31:33] what show

[00:31:35] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:31:35] that was Saturday night live. And we were getting nice paychecks at CBS on the Tony Orlando and Dawn. And it didn't last more than a season, but we didn't know that it would end. And he said, no, let's stick with where we're at because we, we've been recognized for doing skits together and we both turned it down.

[00:31:57] Jolie Downs: [00:31:57] Oh,

[00:31:59]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:31:59] It I just take it whatever decisions I make, I have to own them and have to make the most of them and just move into the next thing.

[00:32:08]Jolie Downs: [00:32:08] And I truly believe what you said, the universe things are happening, and they're happening for a reason. And you can't always see it. And when things like that happen and you say no, and then maybe the seasons canceled and oh, why did I make that mistake? And in that moment, and you feel like, oh, that was a big mistake.

[00:32:24] But like you said, as you move on through life, you see exactly why that happened and where you went and why you went there. And it all seems to line up. Once you start looking back, But in the moment, it's not always easy to see.

[00:32:36]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:32:36] We would have both been sued because we were under contract at CBS.

[00:32:39] So maybe there's that

[00:32:42] Jolie Downs: [00:32:42] You can't do that. That makes the decision easy,

[00:32:45] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:32:45] little easier.

[00:32:48] Jolie Downs: [00:32:48] done and done. Yeah. So have you, I'm curious, have you ever experienced or witnessed age-ism in the workplace, in your industry and in your world?

[00:32:58] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:32:58] Oh, mine. Oh my God. Yes. What's weird. Is that I think I'm experiencing ageism even as a acting teacher, as an acting teacher.

[00:33:09] Jolie Downs: [00:33:09] Really

[00:33:10] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:33:10] Yes. Because I think that it's easy to look me up. And so I it's do you really think that I can't teach you like somebody who doesn't have nearly the experience I have.

[00:33:24] I actually studied with Uta Hagen. I was at Sanford Meisner's last birthday party in 1992, and I sat with them. I have attended the actor studio. I was friends with Susan Strasberg. We Strasberg. Daughter and I have worked with great artists. Some of these people just go I studied with somebody who studied with Huda Hoggin.

[00:33:50] I studied Uta Hagen. I can tell you how I can teach you.

[00:33:55] Jolie Downs: [00:33:55] Yeah.

[00:33:56] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:33:56] I'm not young hip cute. And the it girl right now, it teacher Right.

[00:34:01] now, I don't advertise by the way you have to call me. And and we'll talk about it, but, I just don't want to work that hard. So I don't want it more than once a week.

[00:34:09]I've experienced agent age-ism as even a teacher, I've experienced ageism as a photographer,

[00:34:17] Jolie Downs: [00:34:17] Oh,

[00:34:17] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:34:17] my talents for any of this. And I certainly have experienced ageism with acting. I've found music is more accepting than any of it. And I just got invited to go sing with ladies of the blues in Orlando. And I said, yes, I would do that. And October, because. In blues, you can be, 400 years old and still do your thing.

[00:34:44] Jolie Downs: [00:34:44] Yes.

[00:34:44]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:34:44] And the voice can even go a little bit, it's you can just, the music is, as if you're not 50. 30 and want to be a rock star and you haven't made it by 30.

[00:34:56] I'm going to tell you it's probably too late. Wait until you're 60 and then bring that guitar and start again.

[00:35:04] Jolie Downs: [00:35:04] It's a whole new genre that you've got there.

[00:35:10] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:35:10] Yeah, because, yeah. In my age bracket, my managers said you're not Ray and they know how old you are. And, I said, Yeah.

[00:35:17] and I'm not going to be gray. I don't care about, put on a wig. Yeah, I've got to look at this face,

[00:35:27] Jolie Downs: [00:35:27] Yeah.

[00:35:28] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:35:28] look at me and I want to not cringe every time I do already.

[00:35:33]I'm, I am what I am, but

[00:35:35]Jolie Downs: [00:35:35] How have you overcome this age-ism though? Like, how do you overcome that when you're it.

[00:35:39] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:35:39] I do have to make it.

[00:35:41] okay. That some of my friends that are my age and they're working a lot. And they have let themselves age that, without having the same the same concerns I do, they just want to work. So they will. I, so I have to make that Okay.

[00:35:59] With me that I've made the decision that I don't want to do that.

[00:36:02]And put my energy and writing and other things, then shift from what the industry considers anywhere from 55 to 75, they are looking for old lady looking people for the most part, unless you're Jane Fonda and, they'll let her be cute. But your normal judge, our lawyer, they want to, they want somebody that, looks, worn out.

[00:36:29] Jolie Downs: [00:36:29] Okay.

[00:36:30] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:36:30] So sometimes I do look worn out, but I don't have to, I just.

[00:36:37] Jolie Downs: [00:36:37] that, just that just further at furthers, that belief that of like, when you get older, you look worn out, which just is not the truth. I Look at you. This is not the truth. Okay. We can look amazing at any age when you know, of course you have to work at it a little bit.

[00:36:58] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:36:58] Okay let me tell you, I, even if I'm writing and I'm not going to see one other person for the whole day, And I know that I'm not going to see a gardener. I'm not going to see anybody. I get up. I put myself together just to go, because it makes me feel good about myself

[00:37:17] Jolie Downs: [00:37:17] Okay.

[00:37:17]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:37:17] I'm not even going to go to the grocery store.

[00:37:19] I still do it because I have to look at it. And I just want to know. I want to feel better. It makes me feel a little bit better. Or as long as I'm here. I'll I think I picked that up from my grandmother. She always was together.

[00:37:35] Yeah. know.

[00:37:39] Jolie Downs: [00:37:39] I picked it up from my mother, but I actually do, cause I've been working from home for over a decade. So there were many days where maybe I wasn't seeing someone except for my children, but I would continue to put myself together because what I noticed was the days when I didn't, I just.

[00:37:57] I felt worse. I didn't feel as good. But the process of doing it just made me feel good internally, which made me act better externally. So yeah, I think,

[00:38:06] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:38:06] Better. I just feel better all over overall. It makes me feel healthier. It makes me feel a little more vital, or keeps me a little energy boost. I don't know. I that's my thing. My friends go you're nuts. Why would you do that? And so not everybody thinks that way,

[00:38:26]Jolie Downs: [00:38:26] It's to each their own and not everyone needs that, but I know I've just learned for myself that it definitely helps make me feel better internally, overall. So I now out of everything that you have learned throughout all of your experiences, what do you feel has brought the most benefit to your life?

[00:38:45] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:38:45] yeah.

[00:38:45] believing that the universe knows better than I do. And that universe could be gone. That could be whatever you believe is my higher power and that I have trusted my higher power to make major decisions about whatever's in front of me to say yes or no to. But I figured if it's in front of me, I better say yes.

[00:39:17] So because it's been put in front of me and I think my higher power are the universe, which is all the same to me, which is God has given me a sense of survivorship in life, not just the arts, but in life to listen to my instinct. That's a gift that I think that we all are given when we're born

[00:39:45] Jolie Downs: [00:39:45] yeah. Yeah. I agree me not everyone's listening. I push it down too much.

[00:39:52] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:39:52] and we're all born with a sense of right. And wrong and love. And and somewhere along the line we tend to lose the gift that we were given as human beings, every human. Equally on the earth.

[00:40:09] Jolie Downs: [00:40:09] Is there a way that you feel people can help get more in touch with that? Is there anything that you've done that help you get more in touch with your own intuition?

[00:40:15]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:40:15] I do this standard things like do a little meditation. I do enjoy working out. So all of that, puts in positive energy into my body, i. Had a wonderful surprise. 23 and me and I discovered family members that we're very close family members. We are descendants of slaves and my great grandmother was a slave.

[00:40:41] And so I've had to, it's opened up a whole new world to me at this late age to find out that I am part African-American.

[00:40:51] Jolie Downs: [00:40:51] Ask me.

[00:40:51]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:40:51] And so looking at me, you would go that's no, but Yes.

[00:40:57] that's all in, in love with that part of my family members, particularly one cousin and a lot of stuff together, we were planning a trip right now and. So that's been a weird thing that happened to me late in life. I wish I had known it earlier. And so I have and then my and then as not because of that, because of some marriages and with my nephew and stuff, people are mixing and it's I look forward to a world where, and I may not see it in my lifetime, but I really look forward to a world where we just look at people as equal, oh, that's a person not.

[00:41:41] In a conscious state, making a judgment on who color that person is or what religion that person is that we're all in it together. And if we don't get there, the hippies were trying to, we were trying to do that and love and happiness.

[00:41:57] Jolie Downs: [00:41:57] Yes.

[00:41:57]Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:41:57] But if we don't get there, we're going to be in serious trouble.

[00:42:02] Jolie Downs: [00:42:02] I agree. I agree. That was perfect. I now before we get going, if our listeners want to learn a little bit more about you, or let's say an actor may be listening and they want to learn more about your services, is there any website that they should go to and also to find out about your music as well?

[00:42:19] Could you tell us where people should go.

[00:42:21] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:42:21] Swamp cabaret and soon allergic to Texas will both be available for purchase on iTunes under my music name, Suze linear dash Bramlett as S U Z E L a N I E R dash, Bramlett, B R a M L E T T. And then my manager just recently made me change my acting name back to Susan Lanier. So all my acting credits and my IMDB are under Susan linear and it's all interconnected.

[00:42:50] Anyway. It's not hard to figure out. And if you are interested in any of my services of photography, teaching whatever, or want to talk to me please DM me on Facebook under Instagram under Susan Linear actor on Instagram, our Suze linear Bramlett on Facebook. I know that seems confusing. I have two names, but you'll find me

[00:43:12] Jolie Downs: [00:43:12] Perfect. And, we'll add any news to the show notes too, to make it easier for people as well. So we'll include that, but this has been great before we go, I want to ask you my final question, which is just, I just love to hear what people answer, what are you sure of in life?

[00:43:31] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:43:31] That looking back life?

[00:43:32] is short

[00:43:33]

[00:43:33] You better make the most of it.

[00:43:34]Don't wait. Don't waste a minute.

[00:43:39] Jolie Downs: [00:43:39] Let's give me a little tingles. Don't waste a minute. Thank you so much, Susan. This has been absolutely wonderful.

[00:43:46] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:43:46] I've had such a good time. Thanks for having me as your guests today.

[00:43:52] Jolie Downs: [00:43:52] you.

[00:43:52] Suze Lanier-Bramlett: [00:43:52] I know we were in the same town. We'd be hanging.

Jolie Downs:

Suze and I would definitely be hanging if we were in the same town. I Loved her energy and her story.


At the age of 15 Suze won a contest to do dedications on the radio. This work on the radio led to meeting amazing artists, such as Carol Burnett, artists that Suze soon learned were people. Down to earth human beings who were kind, offering advice and support. What an amazing lesson to learn early in life, that we are all people, these stars are not super humans, they are just like you and me, and anything can be accessible if you reach for it.


Suze received this amazing gift of a lesson because she had the bravery to try.


How many things have you considered doing, contests, classes, groups, that you ended up not moving forward with for whatever reason you told yourself, but really, because there was fear or there was uncertainty or there was uncomfortableness. We all have so much fear we carry inside of ourselves and most of the population is dealing with imposter syndrome, our own minds telling us we aren’t good enough or we simply allow ourselves to naturally gravitate to that which is familiar because we haven’t gotten comfortable with experiencing the unfamiliar.


What opportunities in life have been missed because you didn’t take the chance?


I wonder what road Suze would have taken had she not had the courage to simply try and win at a contest. I know her story is a reminder to me, anything that piques my interest, always give it a try. As Suze advised, if you just say yes, great things can happen.


Moving to NY alone at the age of 17 was another bold move, Suze taking control of her life and going after what she wanted. Her experiences made her aware of the possibilities and aware of the creative force in the universe giving her the courage to continuously pursue her dreams through life, whether that be acting, photography or creating music.


Suze learned something important during this and from the people she met.


A career does not get created by waiting for it to happen. You have to be proactive and put in the work to make things happen. Whether internally with a company or externally for yourself, it is your actions that will create your reality. The good news is, we have more opportunity available now than ever before. As Suze pointed out, today, there are more opportunities to create products and projects cheaply. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you the green light. You just have to give yourself the green light. The people are out there with the expertise to help you accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish – build a new business, create a new app, sell your art, put out your music or video skits – they are out there and the options are endless.


Suze also shared excellent life advice. It’s imperative to find something that brings you joy. For Suze, finding those things that brought her joy, the things that are accessible and can’t be taken away by anyone has brought her the greatest feeling of success. She can bring joy into her life anytime she wants, when she needs it because she’s sad or when she feels it because she’s happy – every single day she has the power to infuse her world with joy.


Are you doing the same?


If not, ask yourself, why not? Make a promise to yourself that you will find the time and the accessible activity that will bring joy to your life every day. You deserve nothing less.


If you don’t know what brings you joy, then you get the pleasure of finding out! What a fun experience – go out and try a lot of different things and find something that appeals to you. You can find local classes and local groups or online classes and online groups like meetup or you can sign up for an online education platform like MasterClass or Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning or so many more.


The opportunities for finding your joy are endless.


I absolutely loved Suze’s story about meeting her husband, Delaney Bramlett. She went to one of his shows and he spotted her, having watched a movie she starred in, the Hills Have Eyes, the night before. Delaney pursued Suze after that night, becoming the love her life. This is one of the great highlights in Suze’s story, this beautiful story of love. And none of it would have been possible had she not experienced a massive disappointment when she was cut from her role as Chrissy in Three’s Company,


I’m sure this was a difficult experience for Suze, it would be for anyone. It can cause all kinds of negative feelings to surface and float around, and I’m sure Suze felt her share during that time. But had she not been cut from Three’s Company, she never would have made the movie, The Hills Have Eyes and she never would have met her husband, the man who starred in her own personal love story. I’ve found this to be a common thread in our stories, That our lowest times often lead into our greatest. The bad things that happen, they often lead into good. I do believe things happen for a reason, not always one you can see or understand, but the universe is continuously nudging us in the right direction and it’s our responsibility to keep our eyes open and continue looking around.


If you are dealing with a difficult situation, I ask you to keep Suze’s story in mind and see if you can lessen the mourning of what was and what could have been and start putting your focus towards what could be in your future moving forward.


I loved Suze’s advice about letting go of striving for perfection. There is no such thing as perfection. Every time I think of perfection, I think of this sentence:


Perfection is the enemy of Progress


And this is the truth.


As Suze shared, trying to make things perfect robbed her of the joy of the experience, but once she was able to let go, the joy came flooding back in. She realized it’s ok not to be perfect, it’s ok for someone to not like what she’s doing, the only important thing is that Suze herself is enjoying what she is doing.

This is why the saying, Dance like nobody is watching is so popular – because you must, you must dance like nobody is watching – theoretically – you must live your life as if no one’s watching, as if there is no judgement - if you don’t, you will end up at the end of your life having realized you stood on the sidelines and watched while everyone else truly lived. You will have missed out on the true joy of fully living and thriving in the skin your currently inhabit. I promise you that feeling will feel much much worse than any kind of fear you have at the moment about putting yourself out there. Let go of perfection, let go of others perception and go out and do what you want to do.


That is how Suze has been living her life and it has led her to multiple successful careers doing the things she loves to do.


I’ll leave with a final piece of Suze’s advice, that I urge us all to take, every day begin the morning with appreciation that you are alive in this day. See the day as a gift, the only gift you know you have for sure, and decide that you’ll meet the day with joy and creation. Do not waste your time scrolling through social media and watching what everyone else is doing or saying, instead focus on what you can do and say, what you can bring to the day to make it the best day – for you and everyone around you. After all, life is short and there is no promised time but we do have today.


So that is my wish for us all, that you make the most of each gift of a day that you’ve been given while infusing your personal world with peace, love and happiness.


Until next time





social icon
social icon
social icon

Listen to the

Latest Episode of

Company

social icon
social icon
social icon

Company

Listen to the

Latest Episode of