Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003): Season 4, Episode 23 - A&E Biography: Nina Van Horn - full transcript

(upbeat music)

- Hey folks.

We're trying something
a little different

tonight on the show

and I think you're
going to like it.

I've already seen
it's pretty good.

It goes a little like this.

(upbeat dramatic music)

- [Announcer] From
A&E this is Biography.

- She dazzled us a model.

She shocked us
with our politics.



She's had more lives
than a bag of alley cats.

For nearly 30 years
Nina Van Horn.

Has excited, delighted,
and entranced us.

And now thanks to the
American Film Academy's

reissue of the 1973
cult film Foxy Trouble

Nina has again been
catapulted into the

periphery of the
media spotlight.

Comeback week continues
with Nina Van Horn,

Trouble Be Thy Name.

(upbeat funky jazz music)

- I got your number super pimp.

(firing gun)

(screeching tires)

- Hey mama.



I ain't looking for trouble.

- Too bad, 'cause
trouble just found you.

(firing gun)

Foxy trouble.

- Life wasn't always catsuits
and glamor for Nina Van Horn.

Long before the fame.

There was a little girl who
desperately needed to belong.

Somewhere, anywhere, everywhere.

Abandoned by her
biological parents.

Nina was adopted by Abe
and Dorthy Noodleman.

Who found her in a feed
trough on their Colby,

Kansas pig farm.

Attached was a note.

It said "simply
allergic to bananas."

They named the child Claire.

After an old Bond cat
they thought had died,

but later resurfaced.

This only added to
the confusion of around

the already chaotic
Noodleman household.

Determined to stand
out from the pack.

You Claire never missed
an opportunity to perform

at the town's many barn dances.

And hog callings.

Her fresh face look and
compulsive show boating

finally paid off in the
seventh grade when

she started to pick
up local modeling jobs.

As luck would have it

New York talent scout Sammy
Rivers was passing through

Kansas when his car broke
down on the outskirts of Colby.

Sammy used a seed catalog
to open his radiator cap.

There on the cover was a
young Claire Noodleman.

- I couldn't take
my eyes off her.

It was a good minute
before I realized

I had those third degree
burns on my hand.

That my friends is how
you know you found a star.

(slow piano music)

- [Harry] But Claire's
father, a strict Methodist,

refused to allow his 12
year old daughter to move

to the big city with a stranger.

She would have to
wait until she was 14.

- One night I told mama I
was going down to the creek

to help the preacher
with the baptizing.

But instead I decided to hop
a freight train and head east.

- [Harry] Unfortunately
the train was headed west.

She ended up in Reno
where she got her first taste

of professional show business.

- She got job at
the local carnival

running the Tilt A Whirl.

And then someone
noticed she had 11 toes

then she started doing two
shows a night in the big tent.

And that made he happy I think.

- [Harry] Tired of low wages
and the sexual advances of

the amazing Honko Claire
finally fond the right train

and a month later she
was in the Big Apple.

- The first thing I did
was to change her name.

I wanted something
exotic and sophisticated.

So I took Nina from one of
those boats Columbus had

and Van Horn was
this Danish porn star

who lived in my building.

Boom, magic.

(upbeat sixties pop music)

- [Harry] With a new
name and a new wardrobe

Nina became an overnight
modeling sensation.

Her relationship the other
models quickly filled the gap

left by the absence of her
many brothers and sisters.

Although her new friends
were continually amazed

at her lack of refinement.

- A hole bunch of
us young models

lived in this one apartment.

And I thought I
was unsophisticated,

but this was the
first time that,

Nina had even seen
an ice cube tray.

- [Harry] But just
like back on the farm,

Nina wasn't happy
to be one of the crowd.

She needed to breakout.

She wouldn't have to wait long.

It would be a posted
that turned Nina Van Horn

into a pop culture icon.

- Cheryl Tiegs was
supposed to do that shoot.

And Nina offered to give
her a ride out to the beach.

But when Nina got
to Cheryl's house,

she found Cheryl
passed out in the garden.

- Well obviously Cheryl
couldn't do the job

because her face was swollen
from falling down so much.

So Nina rushed
off to do it for her.

Nina's a good friend.

- Weeks later when
I finally woke up

and learned to eat
with a fork again,

I heard rumors that Nina was
responsible for my accident.

So I went to see a hypnotist
to get my memory back.

Well it didn't work.

But at the time I did recall
a separate incident where

she tried to run me
over with a moped.

- [Harry] No one really knows
what happened in the garden

behind Cheryl Tieg's house.

But what is know is Nina Van
Horn's Jungle Beach poster

was the biggest seller of 1969.

- It was easy to see
why it was a smash.

The photographer had captured
what we professionals call

(foreign language)

golden moment.

Everything ended
together perfectly.

The lighting the
subtle shift in colors.

The depth of feel.

Plus you could see a nipple.

- [Harry] Her new found
popularity immediately launched her

into all the elusive circles.

She became a regular at

the Kennedy Compound
in Hyannis Port.

Yes Nina was living the
life she had always wanted.

Surrounded by the
rich and powerful,

she was becoming rich
and powerful herself.

But something was missing.

She ate for a family of her own.

Fortunately modeling all day

left her evenings free to marry.

(upbeat wedding music)

In a lot of ways I
think Nina was looking

for a kind of husband figure.

- I've been to a lot
of weddings in my life.

And most of them
have been Nina's.

I think Nina likes getting
married more than being married.

Well who doesn't?

I mean I don't.

- [Harry] Still searching
for a place to belong,

Nina attached herself to
the flower power movement.

Making all the
stops along the way.

Haight-Ashbury, Woodstock
and finally Altamont.

- Sociologically speaking.

Altamont was the
even that brought closer

if you will to the
Age of Aquarius.

Interesting footnote, it as
Nina who told Mick Jagger

to hire the Hells Angels
to do the security.

So one could say that Nina
Van Horn was the women

who opened the tool box
that held the hammer that

drove the nail into the
coffin that was the 60's.

- [Harry] The 60's may
have been finished,

but Nina was just
getting started.

Little did she know she
was headed for trouble.

(screeching tires)

(upbeat funky jazz)

(firing gun)

Foxy trouble.

(upbeat dramatic music)

We now return to A&E's
Biography of Nina Van Horn.

As America transitioned
from the psychedelic 60's

to the cynical 70's,

Nina Van Horn made
her own transition.

From top model to movie star.

(upbeat funk music)

- Hello sir, may I offer
you something to drink?

- Yeah how about a tall
class of white chocolate?

- That's not available,
until we land.

Anything else?

- Yeah, one order of airplane.

To go.

(upbeat funk music)

(murmuring)

- Sorry soul brother
we don't do take out.

(screaming)

- Damn.

You ain't no stewardess.

You Foxy Trouble.

- That's the name
my mama gave me.

- That's a mighty big gun.

For such a little lady.

- I'm going to have to ask
you to return to your seat.

(firing gun)

(screaming)

Would anybody
else like anything?

- You know it's funny
how life imitates art.

Now Nina and I did it
for a year after that movie.

But she ended up
shooting me for real in

the parking lot of a taco stand.

And I can't recall what
we were fighting about.

And I believe that's the
last time I saw the bitch.

- I convinced Dean Martin
to have the wrap party

for Foxy Trouble on his
houseboat in the marina.

Nina never left.

She just hung around for
the next couple of months.

You know washing
boats, telling fish stories.

Then she started saying
she was Dino's daughter.

Signing her name Nina Martin.

Well she obviously needed help.

So Dean had me and Flip
Wilson drive her up to Oxnard

and leave her at the navy base.

Dean loved the service.

- [Harry] Nina's
spirit was crushed.

And it showed on the set of
the sequel to Foxy Trouble.

A Cup Full of Trouble.

- Five hours and I
was shooting at anyone

who's going to hit the street.

Hit the streets.

Streets.

- [Man] Cut.

- [Harry] Shortly
after this take, - Huh.

- [Harry] Nina stole
the director's Camaro

and fled to Mexico

with gal pal Jerry Hall in tow.

There she fell into a coma

and was declared legally
dead for eight minutes.

She collapsed in the
middle of a bar called

Senior Frogs.

Luckily I was
dating Brand F pilot.

Who flew her over the
border to San Antonio.

No offense but I
have little rule of thumb

where Mexico's concerned.

Dinner table si,
operating table no.

I've often asked Nina
about that incident.

But she doesn't
like to talk about it.

Which is funny because
she'll go on and on

about the time she chocked
on her beads at Mardi Gras

and was legally
dead for five minutes.

- [Harry] Nina was alive.

But it looked like her
movie career was dead.

However, a certain young
director thought differently.

Well Redford dragged
me to this revival theater

to see this movie I'd
never heard of called

Foxy Trouble.

You know he's the world's
biggest Bernie Casey fan.

Anyways the seats
were uncomfortable,

the popcorn was stale

and the guy next to
me had some kind of

a breathing machine
or something,

but as soon as Nina
strutted out with that big gun

none of that mattered.

I couldn't look and
I could not look.

She was beauty traffic accident.

- [Harry] Pollock
called in some favors.

And landed Nina the lead
in a regional production of

Ibsen's A Doll's House.

- Sydney begged me
to go see Van Horn

in some rinky-dink
playhouse in La Hoya.

Long story short I
went, and she stunk.

She was hopped up on
everything from cocaine to butane.

After the show she
was a little down so

I tried to cheer her up.

Did I marry her the next day?

You bet your ass I did.

- Oh for the first two
weeks Bob and I were like

newlyweds.

But then we
began to drift apart.

And by the end of the month

we were two very
different people.

(soft piano music)

- [Harry] Once again alone

and looking for
some find of family.

Nina sought out an organization
that would satisfy her need

for order and a
sense of purpose.

The Symbionese Liberation Army.

She was with them during
their notorious crime spree.

Until their finally
showdown with police

in the streets of
South-Central Los Angeles.

- Oh in many ways the
shootout was very tragic.

Now on the plus side I
did get some TV time.

You know an agent saw me

and I started to
get a few bookings.

But Nina's chaotic existence
over the last two years

had left her in no
condition to resume

the pressured filled
life of a celebrity.

A fact that became all too
clear during an ill fated stint

hosting a local TV morning show.

- It sure is.

The spicer the nicer.

- What you're added
even more cayenne pepper.

- Uh you bet.

As they say in old Lebanon,

I never met a
cayenne I didn't like.

There we go how's that.

Hmm, boy that looks good.

- What the hell am I doing here?

- Hmm we're making some sauce.

- I used to be somebody.

I hate this show.

- What?

- I hate the Midwest.

I hate this kind of stupid food.

I just, I can't do it.

- Alright.
- Anymore.

- Well be right back.

- Do you hear me
I just can't do it.

- It was the craziest thing.

She kept calling me Daddy

and saying it was
Christmas morning.

Time for me to die.

- [Harry] Nina Van Horn
was more than happy

to say goodbye to the 70's.

Unfortunately the
80's lay dead ahead.

(upbeat dramatic music)

We now return to A&E's
Biography of Nina Van Horn.

After her humiliating
emotional collapse

on television,

and a brief stay in
an upstate New York

recuperation facility,

Nina was determined to
find meaning in her life.

She found it in disco.

(upbeat disco music)

Manhattan's famous
nightclub Studio 54

became Nina's new
home away from home.

- Studio 54.

54 is life.

Isn't it?

- [Harry] Until
one fateful night,

when she was the subject
of a random purse check.

Hey Truman soot over.

Alright don't touch my hair.

Bastards.

- [Harry] Not up
for more hard time,

Nina cut a deal with prosecutors
which lead to the closing

of Studio 54 and
lengthy jail sentences

for many of her close friends.

- You know when you
testify against people

you find out who
your real friends are.

Some of those jerks said some
pretty hurtful thins about me

as they were being
led out of the courtroom.

And I didn't need
that kind of static.

You know.

Not then, I mean.

Not when I knew that there
were plenty of people on

the west coast who would
be damn glad to see me.

- Nina Van Horn single
handedly broke up the Eagles.

She was crashing
at Joe Walsh's house.

And he used to bring
her to recording sessions.

He didn't want to leave
her alone in his house

because, well she
would steal things.

In the studio she
used to try to sneak in

and play tambourine
and do background vocals.

We couldn't get rid of her.

So finally we just
said, to hell with it.

Let's all of solo.

- [Harry] Inspired by the
Eagles and fueled by new over

the counter smart
drugs, Nina set out on

a solo singing
career of her own.

(upbeat 80's pop music)

♪ What's time ♪ What is the time

♪ Tic tic toc it's party o'clock

♪ It's quarter to two
- Wait cut, cut, cut.

Don, the trumpets are flat.

Or sharp.

Can I just, can I get a tab?

- What a nightmare.

She kept fighting me
to use more of her voice.

You want to hear her voice?

♪ What's the time
♪ What is the time

♪ Tic tic toc it's party o'clock

♪ Sweet party You tell me.

- [Harry] Despite dismal
reviews and meager sales,

Nina's music did manage
to touch a few lives.

- I first hear Sweet
Party Time when

i was a teenager in
Albany, New York.

I was training for a major
local ice skating competition

and as soon as I heard
Nina's song, whoa.

I knew I no longer wanted to
use the theme from Ghostbusters

as my accompanying music.

Of course in my routine,
I continue to fight ghosts.

'Cause it was already
part of my closer.

And it killed.

- [Harry] Her singing
career a hazy memory

and no jobs on the horizon,

Nina disappeared off
the pop culture map.

No single moment
defined her absence from

the public consciousnesses
more succinctly that this one.

On the popular American
game show Wheel of Fortune.

- [Pat] Do you want
to solve the puzzle?

- Nina Van

Hoon?

(electronic buzzing)

- Oh it was horrible I
mean, eventually we just had

to stop tap and give
the contestants luggage

and send them home.

We had less trouble
with the word vichyssoise.

- [Harry] Her back
against the wall,

Nina made ends meet by
taking a series of low paying

anonymous modeling assignments.

The most humiliating of
these was reappearance

on the cover of the
catalog that started it all.

Blumgarten's.

Only this time instead of cash.

She was paid in seeds.

Then while playing a
mermaid at a boat show,

a chance meeting with an
old friend changed her life.

- Sure Nina was a
little down on her luck

when I hired her here at Blush.

It's a great story actually

I don't remember
all the details,

But it's in my autobiography,
Don't Back Down.

Now available everywhere.

- She's clearly not a
trained journalist like I am

with a masters
degree from Columbia.

But she brings a
unique perspective

and life experience to Blush.

For instance some of
the layout we've done.

Models driving cabs
in their underwear.

Models going to church
in their underwear.

That's pure Nina.

They don't teach
you that at Columbia.

Or at Stanford.

Which is where I did
my undergraduate work.

(soft country music)

Yes the little girl
from the sees catalog

had finally blossomed
as the successful

and influential fashion
editor to Blush magazine

top designers continually
seek her approval.

And more importantly
she found the family

she had always longed for.

So from foundling to farm girl,

to model to actress,
to singer, to felon,

and all points between,

Nina Van Horn like the
cat she was named after

has truly lived nine lives.

- One word to describe Nina.

Timeless.

- Client.

- Gallows-esque.

- Backseat drive.

- Destructive.

No vibrant.

Is there a word that
means both those things?

I bet the German have one.

- High strung.

- Bipolar.

- Chinatown.

- Spooky.

- Soulmate, I mean roommate.

- Tall.

- Lover.

- Life continues to be exciting

and unpredictable
for Nina Van Horn.

Last night at a
signing of the new DVD

re-release of Foxy Trouble,

Nina was reunited with
her costar Bernie Casey.

Ironically as they
posed for publicity stills,

Nina accidentally shot
him in the shoulder with

what she thought
was a cigarette lighter.

For Biography, I'm Harry Smith.

(upbeat cheerful music)

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