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From Milwaukee To Hollywood, Susan Silver Shares Stories of Love and Show Business

Patrick McMullan
Susan Silver with the book cover of her new memoir, "Hot Pants in Hollywood"

Susan Silver may have left Milwaukee to follow her dreams in Los Angeles, but she says she's back in full force to discuss her years as a TV comedy writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her escapades in love. Her new memoir, Hot Pants in Hollywood: Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms details her encounters with people like Jim Morrison and Elvis in addition to dishing out advice for women pursuing their dreams. 

Silver began at The Mary Tyler Moore Show as one of the only women on the writing team. As the show came to the forefront at the beginning of the '70s feminist movement and the team grew to 25 women, Silver says that the female presence was an important experience for her. 

"That was just the peak experience with people who sought out women, who wanted to know what our lives were like," she says.

But being a woman was not what got Silver in the door at The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In her experience as a comedy writer, she says that talent is a big part of it and that she is lucky to be funny. 

"I must tell you, I taught comedy for awhile- you cannot teach someone to be funny," Silver says. "You can teach them the structure, and you know, how to break a show down and how to, you know, set up jokes and things. But you can't teach someone to be funny."

Before setting off to join the show and make a life in Los Angeles, Silver grew up in Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay as an only child. She says Milwaukee was a great place for her to learn values and grow up understanding the world from a Midwestern point of view. 

After years of living a bi-coastal lifestyle and growing frustrated with TV production, Silver relocated to New York and began to reflect on her years in "show business" and her search for "Mr. Adequate." She says her memoir is a lesson for all women, not just those running to Los Angeles or going through a divorce.

"So it's very important to find passion at different points of your life and keep evolving, I think that's one of the important things I want to tell young women," Silver says. 

Susan Silver will be at Boswell Book Company Tuesday, June 20th at 7 p.m. to discuss the memoir. 

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.