Stories From California

Frances Sch. - Hollywood, CA

"Das Dorf hatte eine große Wirkung auf mich,
und ich wusste immer: wenn meine Mutter stirbt,
dann geh ich nie mehr dort hin."
 
"The village made a big impression on me. I always knew: when my mother dies, I will never return."

Frances Schönberger interviewed them all: Hollywood stars, TV celebreties, Rock'n' Roll legends and teenage heart-throbs. She got wet in Woodstock, made out with David Bowie, put KISS on a cover for the first time, and watched Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nastassja Kinski splash about in her pool. The highlight of her reporter career was a day with John Lennon in New York.

But it all started in a small Bavarian village ...

Born out of wedlock in a catholic region of Germany, raised by a single mother who owned a village pub, surrounded by the burnt land of post-war Germany, she decided at a young age to show everybody that she would have a different life. She vowed to herself never to ask a man for anything, never to be stuck in a place, always to be free and master of her own decisions. 

Listening to Frances telling her story, I was of course reminded of my own. I also grew up in a small German village. I also have a strong desire to be independent. I also paved some ways in journalism and felt lonely along the way, even while I was surrounded by lots of people. 

But man - Frances went places I can only dream of. She did it in times when it was even less likely for a young woman to  head a correspondent's office in New York and Los Angeles. She got interviews while others were still waiting in line. She was relentless. She never gave up. She got things done. 

"I was not easy to be around", she admits. "People make fun of me. People don't like me. I can take it." Frances has mellowed a bit, says she has a better balance between work and private life now. She starts each day with yoga, and spends time with her baby grandson every evening.

"I see it as a privilege now to be around all these creative people," she says, referring to interviews as Hollywood Foreign Press Association reporter. Frances does not ask a lot of questions anymore during those events. She listens. And learns. 

"I was lucky. I was always around when interesting things happened." She says.

I think, she made a lot of things happen. Pretty cool!

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