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Based on a true story: Robert Harling wrote Steel Magnolias following the death of his beloved sister Susan Robinson.
An unknown Julia Roberts - pictured here with her on-screen son - played the character of Shelby, based on Susan 'Stubborn and wonderful': Robert Harling said he wrote all the qualities his sister Susan Robinson - on the left on her wedding day - possessed into the character of Shelby, played by newcomer Julia Roberts, then just 19His off-Broadway play became a hit and was then turned into a Hollywood blockbuster in 1989 starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley Maclaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis - and a young and unknown Julia Roberts, then just 19, who played Shelby, the character based on Susan.
Softly spoken and with a Southern accent that still hints at his Louisiana upbringing, Robert Harling wrote the play Steel Magnolias shortly after the death of his beloved sister Susan Robinson aged just 33 in 1985.
Susan left behind her husband Dr Pat Robinson and their two-year-old son Robert after years of battling diabetes, and amid the waves of his grief, Robert, then an actor, put pen to paper at the urging of close friends and wrote all about the town of Natchitoches, where his mother Margaret ruled the roost and the women ‘spoke in bumper stickers’.
‘I guess I started writing the play about six months later, it came out very, very fast.
I wrote the first version in 10 days, I was just trying desperately to get the language, and capture exactly how the women spoke.‘But to do everything my parents did and for it still not work, there were some very dark times,’ he admits.
You may recall the Japanese study we told you about in June which found that vitamin D was more effective than a vaccine in preventing flu, including pandemic flu.
The report, published in the , found that school children taking vitamin D were 58 percent less likely to catch influenza A.
It is the image of a small, blonde-haired all-American boy beaming in the Easter sunshine that flashes up at the end of Hollywood classic Steel Magnolias – and stays with you long after the credits have rolled.
Without vitamin D, the immune system’s T-cells remain dormant, offering little or no protection against invading microorganisms and viruses.
But with vitamin D in the bloodstream, T-cells begin seeking out invaders, which are then destroyed and carried out of the body.
Sally Field and Tom Skerrit played her parents M'Lynn and Drum Eatenton, while Dylan Mc Dermott played her husband Susan was diagnosed with diabetes when she 12 and said ‘well, this isn’t going to stop me’, according to Robert.
‘She wanted to be a majorette, so she made mama sew little pockets into her outfits so she could have candy, because her insulin would get all crazy on sweaty hot days.