I'll Take Manhattan

Jul 03, 2019 | Heather J. LeBar


Here’s a thing you don’t know about me: I was in a miniseries. It was called “I’ll Take Manhattan” and it was based on a novel by Judith Krantz who died recently. Way back in 1986 the production came to my town to film a few scenes and there was a call for extras. I got four days of well-paid work and became very familiar with the Hollywood adage that show business is all “hurry up and wait”. Because the scenes were set in the 40’s, hair, makeup and costumes were an early call time – 4am. There was a lot of standing around in the cold – as I recall it was November and we were shooting spring scenes. At some point I was called upon to be the focus of an overhead tracking shot which is a fancy way of saying I got pulled out of the crowd and am actually visible in the movie. Reader, I had stars in my eyes. I got to hang out with the leads in between shots, Barry Bostwick signed my jacket, it all felt very glamourous.

Judith Krantz died a couple of weeks ago and it reminded me of that long-ago experience. I hadn’t actually been to Manhattan yet, that would be another 17 years in my future, when this photo was taken. I was, alas, not destined for movie stardom, and had actually just finished a summer job in Toronto on a trading desk – my first job in this business. And here I am.

Reading Judith Krantz’s obituary reminded me of an interview  I read a while ago with Danielle Steel. If you’re not familiar, Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz pretty much invented the concept of “beach reads”. My mom used to get them from her book-of-the-month club and I used to read them when she wasn’t looking. Clearly, so did the Real Housewives of Everywhere: they were dramatic, trashy and fun. Lest you think the same of the author, she made the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989 for having a book on the New York Times Best Seller List for the most consecutive weeks in a row (381). She has written 179 books, she works 20-22 hours a day (in a cashmere nightgown, bless her) and she has nine children. Nine. Children. The interview is pretty fascinating for all those revelations but I most loved hearing about her attitude towards money and work. She has a sign in her office that says There Are No Miracles, There Is Only Discipline. She has some strong opinions about “work-life balance” - unfavourable until you earn it - she believes your twenties should be devoted to your career to put yourself ahead later in life. Writing is obviously her passion and she worked (works) very, very hard to be financially successful. If you’re looking for work- or life-inspo you really have read this.

Happy beach reading,


Look for me on Facebook – H.J. LeBar of the Harper Wealth Management Group of RBC Dominion Securities or LinkedIn – Heather J. LeBar, for more frequent updates.