In the Face Of Gossip and Rumor Patti Chandler's Mother Cries - Lee Did Not Make Patti A Bad Girl

by Lee Stevens, 1967


“As far as I can see, they’re very much in love… and it’s the kind of love that few people find: they worship one another: they have a very rare and unusual understanding, I think they’re wonderful together.” Mrs. Sylvia Lauderbeck, Patti Chandler’s youthful, vivacious mother was talking… freely and frankly about her daughter’s romance with Lee Majors - now in its third year. “I certainly hope they’ll get married, I mean if that’s what they want. My husband and I are very fond of Lee; we would love to have him in the family. But we’re not the type to push… If anything ever happens and Patti wants to come home she knows she is welcome here. And I’m always here when either of my children (Patti has an older, married sister, Carol) need me. But I make it a point not to be poking into their lives.

"Patti is a very sensible girl, I think." Mrs. Lauderback said, with satisfaction. "She knows the score; she can take care of herself. I don't worry about her for a minute. The only concern would be, is she happy? And there's been no question about that: she simply glows when she's with Lee!

"I tell you the truth, I'm glad Patti hasn't rushed into anything. I've always advised her, "Don't get married until you're at least 23." (Patti will be 22 this December 8.) So I guess some of what I said soaked in!" She chuckled reflectively.

"Sure I hear a lot of gossip about Patti and Lee," Mrs. Lauderback admitted, serious again. "And sometimes the things said aren't so nice..... well, I can't remember exactly, but you know how people can talk, when they've got nothing better to do. None of it bothers me and my husband though. Uh uh! It goes in one ear and out the other.....

"First of all, I think Lee and Patti are living in a different world. I'm sure it's just because they're in the public eye that people talk about them at all." Mrs. Lauderback nodded sagely. "Why, if they weren't in show business, no one would pay any attention to what they did.

"My husband and I believe what we see, not what we hear. We went over there the other night for dinner - Lee has a lovely home in Malibu; there's two bedrooms, living room, den, pool room - and Patti fixed a delicious meal. Oh, she's a wonderful cook. Afterwards we played pool and watched some TV. It was a beautiful evening, a very comfortable evening. Lee and Patti together - they're just as cute as can be!

"I'm not concerned that Lee has been married before," she answered a could-be-touchy question. "He was married very young... and it wasn't so much that Lee isn't good husband material as the fact that both of them were too young. They weren't ready for marriage. Lee will be the first to admit that.

"And I can understand his making that mistake, because you may not be aware of how much you have to 'get out of your system,' so to speak, before you are ready. I was 20 and at the time, I was terribly sure. Nobody could tell me to wait a little bit longer.... Now looking back, I think I was too young. I have a wonderful husband," she hastily added. "I don't mean anything like that. Al and I have gotten along beautifully. But, when you do get married very young, there's a part of life you miss out on - and I would imagine a man feels this even more.

"Patti is smart enough to let Lee go and do as he pleases," Mrs. Lauderback pointed out. "She doesn't seem to be upset if, occasionally, he goes out with other girls.. She doesn't say anything about it. As far as I know, she isn't seeing anyone else - and that's by choice. I mean, there's always been a lot of nice, young men wanting to take her out. Even in the last couple of years when she's been with Lee. But she isn't interested in another man... even if Lee should see another girl.

"See - and Patti will tell you this - she knows what's happening with him. She knows him very well and she has said to me that she doesn't ever ask him what he does. If he wants to tell her, fine; if he doesn't well, that's a good way to be, because you'll notice that Lee always comes back to her!

"The way I see it - and I'm sure Lee thinks this way too - if they ever did break up, he'd be much more the loser than she ever would. Where is he going to find a girl like her... who's as understanding and as much of a home-maker?

"It's a very rare thing today," Mrs. Lauderback declared, "that a girl just wants to be married and have a lot of children... that being a wife and a mother is the most important thing. Especially in Hollywood. And you've got to remember that Patti was brought up here (literally in the shadow of MGM studios) and that she's had a taste of acting and done real good at it. A lot of people have said this... I'm not the only one - she could have ... she still could have a big career.

"Please don't misunderstand," Mrs. Lauderback said earnestly. "If she doesn't want show business, that's fine by me, too. As long as she's happy, that's all I ask.

"But actually, even if Patti made it big as an actress and Lee asked her to marry him, I'm sure she'd say 'goodbye' to her career. Now girls like that are very few and far between today!

"Lee is very much a family man, too," Mrs. Lauderback reported. "Oh, yes. He is wonderful around children, he's just crazy about his little son. Patti adores that child too... and there's another thing; how often are you going to find a woman who loves you and your child?

"I think it's a lot to do with how you've been raised," she said thoughtfully. "We've tried to raise Patti, like I said to be a responsible, level-headed girl..... and Lee was raised real proper too. I can tell from his family: His father, who was just out here, is a wonderful man. His brother and his brother's wife visited too, on their way to Viet Nam.

"Despite what anyone might say, his success as an actor hasn't turned Lee's head one bit. He's the same down to earth and warm person he was two years ago, when nobody had ever heard of him.

"In fact, if you want to know what upsets Patti most, it's people making nasty cracks about Lee - saying he's "gone Hollywood" and become stuck up and so forth. Just the other day, she was practically in tears over an article in some magazine. And she said to me, "Mom, how can they say such things? Lee is the kindest person in the world; he wouldn't harm a flea.... You know how sensitive he is, he'll be so hurt when he reads this." I tried to tell her that Lee is smart enough not to let things like this bother him... but she still was worried about his feelings.

"I imagine people might misunderstand Lee, until they got to know him," Mrs. Lauderback remarked. "Because, he is shy and he doesn't push himself at you. It takes a while for him to feel at ease with you, even today, when he is a big name in show business and all. But that doesn't mean he isn't interested in you... not at all. Once he has spent some time with you, to where he feels comfortable, why he's as friendly as can be. I think it's just that people don't give him a chance, you know, to show how he really is....

"I couldn't predict what will happen with Patti and Lee," Mrs. Lauderback demurred. "I couldn't even want to try. But there was one thing we found out recently: Patti has this girl friend who's been studying astrology and Patti got interested in it. She discovered that her sign, Sagittarius and his, Taurus, ordinarily don't get along together. So, she went out and had their whole chart done. She called me all excited: "Guess what, Mom? We're perfect for each other! We counter-balance each other... and my moon is in his sign, which means we're soul-mates - like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton!