Olympia Dukakis On Love & Marriage

By

Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis reveals the secrets of a 40-year marriage to Louis Zorich.

Louis and I decided at the very beginning that we would support each other's dreams, no matter what, even if we didn't agree with them. Since we got married, in 1962, even when I've done things that Louis considered crazy, he's always given me the room I need to figure out what I want to do, and helped structure our life so I've had the freedom to do it.

And vice versa. Louis has done things that I thought were crazy, but I supported him anyway, even when that meant taking total responsibility for the care of three kids, and doing everything myself—and I mean everything. Because when you work in the theater, it’s not like other jobs: You can't miss rehearsal, and you can’t miss a performance.

This philosophy, and the nature of our industry, also has meant that we've often been in very different places—Louis calls it "Otis Elevator Syndrome." Sometimes, over the years, he was flying high while I was in the dumps; sometimes it was the other way around. Every so often,we’d wind up on the same floor. But we had to learn early on how to be comfortable with that disparity; how to not just tolerate the other person going somewhere we’re not, but truly, ungrudgingly, give each other the space—emotional, intellectual, and physical—they need to get there.

Some people—maybe many people—will disagree with me on this, but I think the best way to stay happily married is to commit to trying (it's not always easy, I'll admit, but you have to try) to be OK with every kind of space your partner wants or needs. A lot of women hate Hillary Clinton because she took her husband back after what he did. If every man who did what Bill Clinton did got left by his wife, there wouldn’t be very many married people in America!