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More Than a Sex Symbol

Updated on March 17, 2011
80's Sex Symbol
80's Sex Symbol
Romancing the Stone
Romancing the Stone

Introducing...drum roll please...

Kathleen Turner! I was barely old enough to beg my parents to watch 'Romancing The Stone' when I was about 9. Ms.Turner was literally the first woman I recognized, even at my young age, as sexy, possibly before I really knew what sexy meant. Her voice, those legs, her ability to be daring, confident, and innocent all at once, were the only clues I needed to realize she was all woman. And what a woman! But what happened to her?

It wasn't until a few months ago I realized how much I had in common with her. In person, people unanimously describe her as quick witted, humorous, stubborn, reflects upon life constantly, stands up for her rights, and if that's not enough things we have in common; we both have Rheumatoid Arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. Right about the time that everybody, dedicated fans included, noticed she disappeared from the big screen, is when she was at the climax of pain from the onset of RA. Her daughter was 5 and my daughter was 2 when I found out I had RA. This means we went from our mid-thirties to feeling 80 almost overnight.

Prior to this news about her RA, I only thought of her as a sex symbol; young, beautiful, active (performed all her own stunts in movies). She hid her illness from the public eye for 9 years even under severe public and tabloid scrutiny. She was afraid she would never get an acting job again. The pain led her to exessive drinking, but ironically the drinking habit kept her working; small roles, tv appearances, and some broadway. She exaplained, it's easier to get hired in Hollywood if you're a lush rather than if you have an illness most people don't understand.

The medication she was taking for RA was destroying her body and brain in other ways; gaining a lot of weight, face bloating, raging attitude, memory and hair loss, and exhaustion. Sounds all too familiar for me; I've been graciously dealing with this for over a year.

Playing Ms. Robinson on broadway in 'The Graduate'
Playing Ms. Robinson on broadway in 'The Graduate'


A bit arrogant in her youth/prime (I can totally empathize) is how she describes her pre-Rheumatoid Arthritis days. Like her, I put a lot of my self-worth into how my body could perform and do whatever I wanted it to. In fact, I would say all my self-worth was wrapped up into this narrow description of myself. Like Kathleen, I knew I was smart, funny, and loving, but it's hard to be any of those when dealing with this illness.

This story has a happy ending though. Kathleen Turner got her sexy back! About 8 years ago, Kathleen Turner played Ms. Robinson (duh! of course she did) in the Broadway hit production of "The Graduate". She was forced to portray sexy, especially with a daring 20 second scene of her in the buff, completely nude. Since then, she has learned valuable lessons, who she is, and most of all sexy is a lot more than what's on the outside.

Sexy Life Lessons

Before I had RA, I enjoyed hearing about peoples' stories of overcoming tough obstacles in life, even physical disabilities. Back then I was 100% able inside and out, and I still took away priceless lessons on the human spirit. Now that I'm in that position, with an obstacle that defeats many, I have no doubt I can triumph over the challenges that lay ahead of me.

Kathleen Turner is a huge inspiration. Eventually, an RA patient will come across at least one doctor who will tell you negative statements like you'll never walk again, you'll be in a wheelchair, you're disabled, you have no future, etc. To overcome an illness (she is currently in remission) and the negativity from the outside world, is a test to who she really is; sexy. She is not just the sex symbol we knew her as. It took almost as much convincing that to herself than everyone else.

After reading her biography; 'Send Yourself Roses', I appreciated her candor most. I've heard stories where the person thought all good thoughts, but Kathleen was very intimate with her process to overcome. It wasn't all sunshine and fairy tales, but her approach to life now is nothing short of amazing. Let me share some lessons I'm currently learning and Kathleen Turner has already learned.

  1. Be confident in that what makes you different and tally up your strengths- being appreciated only as a sex symbol made Kathleen re-evaluate who she really was. Since reading her book, I've learned this is a woman who is extremely intelligent and dedicated to her craft of acting. She found something she loves and has her own life- this is what makes her attractive. She has always had her voice, the voice that sets her apart from all the other actresses. The confidence she exudes is brilliant; she simply knows who she is and doesn't scrutinize herself anymore. It's what I call, fake it til' you make it. For me, this has worked in the way that all (yes, all) men I have dated, I met them wearing little or no make-up, in my waitress uniform (not flattering) or in sweats. I never (yes, never) got a guy dressed up. Why? Because I had to shine by being ME. I couldn't rely on looks and it always made the real me come out.
  2. It's OK to need others and ask for help- Asking for help was hard for me with RA because I didn't know if I could give back. I hated needing anybody because part of my self-worth and sexiness was being an independent woman. Kathleen Turner expresses this in her book, but the way she dealt with it was also how I did. "I will not accept this" and "what can I do to change this", is what you have to say. Asking for help is necessary for some of us- I still do it every day. But I will not live in despair about needing help. It's a part of life. You think the physical part of RA is the worst? No! The mental is much more and you learn to strengthen the mental and even be thankful you have people who will help you, you begin to value yourself again and this shines outward.
  3. Weakness and strength in parenthood- Most parents view themselves as the all powerful parent- they think this is how their child should see them. When Kathleen got RA, her daughter was 5 and witnessed a lot of her mother's weaknesses, at times having to feed her and open or squeeze containers. Kathleen thought of this as a new low, but later realized showing her natural vulnerable human side is what made her and her daughter closer. Also, when a child can witness a parent overcome and get along in spite of a weakness, think of how valuable that lesson is.
  4. Constantly examining yourself- Turner naturally does this, but acting really enforced this habit of examining herself and a character she was taking on. The first lesson of acting is it's the study of behavior. You can relate to others better if you examine yourself, the choices you make, your thoughts, how you act in situations. The same goes for acting; the character must be interpreted and portrayed in a way that people will relate to them. That is the essence of good acting and a good life in general.
  5. In every loss is a reward- even if you are young and haven't experienced a lot of losses, there are losses that come eventually and naturally when you age; hearing loss, a need for glasses, not being as physical, a little more tired, divorce, death of loved ones, etc. With these losses comes strength in friendships, self, forgiveness, knowledge, and hopefully wisdom. Wisdom is sexy and we can go forward in spite of losses.

One last quote from Kathleen turner, "You learn a lot from pain. Too bad you can't learn as much from being happy. Having RA has changed my notions of beauty. My looks were just a given, my sense of self was earned. My mother always said 'Don't pat yourself on the back for something you didn't earn."


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    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      where is the respect~ you obviosly didn't read this since you're only commenting on the pics- too bad.

    • profile image

      Where is the respect 6 years ago

      I cant believe woman pose like this and this is all woman r worth sex symbols ladies respect urself and say im worth more then fame and boners please show ur beautiful not worthless

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      gmwilliams~ thank you so much for the comment.

      ournote2self~ I think when you get something like this, you have to make something of it- who wants to suffer for no reason. Either to learn some lessons, help others, or any number of positive things can come of it. Thank you for the prayers!

    • ournote2self profile image

      ournote2self 6 years ago

      Great post. I'm sorry you have to live with this but I'm sure you are learning from in in the process. You will definitely be in my prayers! :)

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To izetti: Great and inspirational hub. Your own story is also inspirational.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I've just been using it in my applesauce, but perhaps the right kind of tea would be good too. I have a tendency to try things for a short time so now that I've stopped looking for a quick "cure" I am taking things slower and trying things out for months before I give up on them. It's definitely worth a try. I couldn't imagine being sick of cinn, but I guess it could happen

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      I should mention - some taking the cinn and honey found results within 2 weeks - others took 4 months.... I had knee surgery 3 summers ago and it made a huge difference for me within 2 weeks.... now when ever my knee feels the change in weather I eat it on toast and notice change in 2 days... I get too tired of cinn to eat it daily - however I know I should LOL...

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Neil~ thanks for your positive message and nice compliment! I'm trying as many natural things as possible before I have to take the harsher meds- I love cinn and honey.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Great hub --- you have something else in common with Kathleen -- you are HOT!!!

      I've told a number of people about this who have RA and other types of Arthritis ---- 1 tsp of Cinnamon with 1 tbs of honey every day..... has helped countless people... maybe worth a try!

      Love - Light - Laughter


    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Fastest!

    • Fastest Car Rider profile image

      Fastest Car Rider 6 years ago from California

      She is Beautiful Thanks for writing this hub

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      THank you for the comment ruffridyer.

    • profile image

      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      So many actor &actresses vanish from sight leaving fans wondering where they went. A beautiful hub about a beautiful lady.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      smcopywrite~ THanks so much for reading. Glad you enjoyed.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      very nice hub.i have always admired kathleen turner and considered her a wonderful actress. thanks for the great hub

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      thank you RalphGreene.

    • RalphGreene profile image

      RalphGreene 6 years ago


    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      THank you agvulpes for kind words. I never knew what happened to her until I got Rheumatoid Arthritis. She's a strong woman and so am I. I'll make things work for me and I'll be OK.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for this informative Hub. I have often wondered why Kathleen Turners career ended what to me seemed so quickly.

      What a horrible thing this RA is and I hope you are doing well! I believe a positive outlook is the only way to fight such a thing :)

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      funmontrealgirl~ thanks for the wonderful comment.

    • funmontrealgirl profile image

      funmontrealgirl 6 years ago from Montreal

      This is so inspirational.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      b4murray~ War of the roses was intense but they are such good actors. I didn't know Kathleen Turner had RA until a short time ago. I was one of those,like the media, who saw that she gained a lot of weight and wondered what happened to her, but now I know. She has really done her best with her given circumstances. Just knowing someone who confident and ambitious has RA, makes me realize I've got a fighting chance to pursue my dreams too despite my RA.

    • b4murray profile image

      b4murray 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      FYI I love the movie "War of the roses"

      Kathleen Turner & Michael Douglas played a divorcing couple.

      Seems they both have dealt with alot in their real lives...

      I did not know Kathleen Turner had RA.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      THank you prasetio30 and henry1robertson.

    • henry1robertson profile image

      henry1robertson 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA 90013

      Nice photo looking really hot..

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I really adore woman. I know that woman has sex appeal. As the most beautiful creature in the world. All woman should read this hub. I'll suggest my friend to read this information. Very inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing this with us. Vote up as usual. Take care!

      Love and peace,

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      remaniki~ Hello and so nice to see you here. I've been concentrating on the meditation and mental aspect of easing my RA. I've been keeping a journal because some days are good and others bad. I haven't gotten in the pool as often as I'd like, but that will soon become more of a priority. I'm just taking steps to get there.

      You have been such an inspiration for me- you may not know how much. But I breathe asigh of relief knowing you have eased you RA and it might be possible for me too. Thanks for visiting and checking in- I really appreciate it.

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 7 years ago from Chennai, India

      Hi izettl,

      Glad to be back on your hub, I enjoyed reading every word written here. What a presentation! I'm glad that you have learned to manage your arthritis well. You can take me as an example of one who has sort of 'conquered' the condition, I would say. I am a very happy person these days and my only treatment is water and nothing else; and I'm feeling great. I ride my scooter and do all the day-to-day chores while continuing with my work-from-home job. I have started enjoying life now after suffering from RA for the last 17 years. Yes, more than the physical pain, the mental agony that goes with RA is more and only this worsens the condition. Great hub!! Keep smiling and stay well. Cheers


    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      thanks so much donkissotes.

    • donkissotes profile image

      donkissotes 7 years ago

      great Hub.! for u

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      THanks starLG

    • StarLG profile image

      StarLG 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      izettl your hub is very interesting, your story about Kathleen Turner was very touching,you seem to empathize with her struggles in her illness, Keep up the good work, I like your style of writing.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Martie- hubpages won't get rid of me easily. This is my outlet and even on days when my hands are killing me, the pain gets better when I type at my computer. It's distraction therapy :))

      I liked Kathleen Turner since I was a little girl. I was shocked how wise and candid she was in her book- I could relate to so much.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 7 years ago from South Africa

      And guess what – since I’ve met you I wanted to tell you that you remind me of Kathleen Turner. You are such an inspiration to me and many others. You are rectifying so many negative perceptions of women on themselves and on womanhood in general. Never stop hubbing. And I wish with all my heart that the medicine you are taking will be effective.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks everyone for the nice comments!

      Thanks Tom H and Merry Christmas to you my friend!

    • Secretmission profile image

      Secretmission 7 years ago from Sandwich

      Great hub, thanks.

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      iz, Merry christmas


    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      dwhite111~ THank you so much for your kind words.

    • dwhite111 profile image

      dwhite111 7 years ago from Michigan

      Oh, how I love Miss Turner! She is amazing. I never knew she has RA, that completely took me off guard. Your story is also one of a kind, thank you so much for being so honest in this hub.


    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      I just watched the old movie romancing the stone with my kids, they had never seen it, I remember having watched it for the first time when I was near their age, oh how time flies and yes Kathleen Turner is more than just a sex symbol, very interesting and well written. Thanks :)

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Hendrik~ thanks for reading. Kathleen was one of my early favorites as a kid. Now I have total respect for her as a person.

      Christopher Price~ great to see you friend. I agree- her voice is like none other. I hardly recognized her in Marley and Me and she didn't look that great, but now I know what happened and she seems to be doing better and looking better recently.I realy admire her for taking any roles she could even when in extreme pain.

      jagandelight~ Thanks for your compliment.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      bcatgray~ Sorry to hear about your mother. Many people did not realize why Kathleen Turner disappeared for a while, but who could blame her? Thanks for the "great job"!

      dahoglund~ Thanks for reading and I have always admired those who have to work hard to make their life better. THat admiration has turned to hope for me.

      Christoph~ I'm giving you my best smirk right now, Oh wait! It's turning into a full blown smile. Thanks.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I admire anyone who overcomes obstacles to improve their life.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

      Kathleen Turner was always one of my favorites, and still is. But then, so are you!

    • jagandelight profile image

      jagandelight 7 years ago from Florida

      Nice tribute to Kathleen Turner.

      Wisdom is extremely sexy.

      I like your style.

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 7 years ago from Vermont, USA

      When I think of Kathleen Turner it is her husky sultry voice that sets me to smiling and purring in response! I was watching the moivie "Marley And Me the other day and recognized the voice a couple of minutes after the dog trainer character came on was Ms. Turner, and, though her part was brief, it was good to see her again.

      The fact that Ms. Turner is in remission should give you hope that your RA will do the same. I hope that will be the case.


    • HendrikDB profile image

      HendrikDB 7 years ago

      Very good and thorough article.She was (is) one of my favorite actresses and Body Heat the movie of all movies.

    • bcatgray profile image

      bcatgray 7 years ago from United States of America

      I love Kathleen Turner. I had no idea she suffered from RA. My mother had chronic RA since I was 12 until she passed away 2 years ago. You did a wonderful job informing us about her and the RA disease. Great job!

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      fred allen~ great to see you and I just love your outlook on life of course, but even more so of your wife. That inside beauty is the absolute sexiest!

      TheManWithNoPants~ love the new pic. I wrote this last night and fell asleep so I need to get back more. I don't have anymore work to be done until begnning of new year so maybe I can get back to my hubpages hobby. See you around...

      drbj~ I look forward to your comments- beautiful words. It was actually hard to put down in words the lessons I've been going through lately and the relief of being able to read someone else, like Kathleen Turner, making it through the same thing, and even perservering.

      darrenhooper~ Thanks so much for your comment. I hope it inspired. Kathleen also said (for those of us in pain) "Sometimes just to endure is enough". Sometimes just getting through the day is good enough.

      ghomefitness~ I can sympathize with your daughter. They thought mine was lupus at first too. So I have done reading on that as well. None of it is fun for sure, but I believe something can always be changed or done about it. It';s hard to think that way when you're in pain, but to stay positive, you have to think always of what you can do. I bet your daughter is an inspiration.

      Petra Vlah~ I've also found it interesting that it takes celebrity to bring attention and awareness about certain issues. I certainly wish it wasn't like that. I haven't found any other books on RA so candid with her life as Kathleend was so this book was an inspiration for me. And it was a bonus that I thought she was one of the prettiest women when I was a little girl. Sometimes it's hard to feel pretty when you're in pain. Thanks for your comment.

      dallas93444~ thanks for your comment.

      Triplet mom~ Kathleen should be an inspiration to any woman. She is so intelligent, candid, humble, and sexy!

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Char M~ Thanks for your comment

      Silent Reed~ Yes, Kathleen Turner has something about her and it's a confidence, especially in her ability to act. I've always been so confident too, but what both her and I have gone through takes a lot of confidence away and you realize it's still there. It's just a state of mind.

      libby101a~Thanks for a great comment!

      David Stone~ I always appreciate your visits. It's funny, I never am happy about my writing when I write something personal such as this, but it's one of those pieces, I just wanted to write it.

      breakfastpop~ Thanks for stopping by and your nice words.

      A.A.Zavala~ "when the going gets tough"- ha! how appropriate!

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

      Awesome Hub!! I have always admired Kathleen Turner. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I enjoy your spirit. You are a winner... Thanks for thought-provoking article. I appreciate more my health...

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      First I want to wish you all the best and I know you will get through this by using your courage and intelligence. It is always one celebrity or another to bring to the front page the pain that regular people suffere from in silence; that creates awarness and raises money to find a cure, but also inspire people, so in the end, using celebrity status for a good cause, is good.

    • ghomefitness profile image

      ghomefitness 7 years ago from Chicago,IL

      She is an inspiration as are you! My teenage daughter has Lupus and has to deal with similar pain. She inspires me every day as I am sure you do for your family. I hope you have found diet triggers to avoid, to lessen your flair ups.

    • darrenhooper profile image

      darrenhooper 7 years ago from California

      izettl - Reading the story of both Kathleen Turner and yourself gives inspiration to those of us in constant pain. Very well done. Write on.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      izettl - this is a beautifully written tribute to Kathleen Turner which reflects two beautiful people: Kathleen and yourself. You have given us two important stories: a description of the inspirational person Kathleen really is, and sharing your most intimate thoughts about who you really are - a very remarkable young lady. Bless you. :)

    • TheManWithNoPants profile image

      TheManWithNoPants 7 years ago from Tucson, Az.

      Glad to have you back, and you're first one is a home run. Thumbs up, useful, and beautiful


    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 7 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      In my eyes, my wife is the sexiest woman alive. I've been taught that pretty is as pretty does. No one does pretty better than her. She has so many attributes that contribute to her beauty. She's kind and giving. She's the one who sees me as I am and loves me anyway. I'm crazy about her!

      You have made me think of her as I read your wonderful hub. What I have learned about you through your writing is that you also possess the same kind of beauty. Both inside and out.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 7 years ago from Texas

      Fascinating hub. When I think of Kathleen Turner, I keep hearing that Billy Ocean song "When the going gets Tough". Being positive is important to overcoming any obstacle. Thanks for sharing.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      What a beautiful and inspiring piece of writing. I wish you an equally beautiful journey through life. Be well. Voted up and awesome!

    • David Stone profile image

      David Stone 7 years ago from New York City

      I don't do much on hubs anymore, never anything original, but I always enjoy your posts when I catch a notice.

      Keep writing!

    • libby101a profile image

      libby101a 7 years ago from KY

      Beautiful!!! Voting up! I always loved watching her in movies! A very talented actress with a lot of spunk!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 7 years ago from Philippines

      I have always been a fan of Kathleen Turner.Usually it is the male lead that draws me to a movie. But with Turner in the film I don't care who the actor is.I always thought it was the strength of her screen portrayal that attracted me. After reading this hub I come to realize that part of that attraction was also Kathleen Turner the person.