Meryl Streep (left), Penny Marshall (center)
and Lesley Stahl

Women of Achievement

PENNY MARSHALL didn't think she was worthy of receiving a Spirit of Achievement Award from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

"I'm not a doctor," said the film director, "but I am a hypochondriac."

Talking about her native Bronx, the Laverne half of Laverne and Shirley fame said, "That's where the Albert Einstein thing is. Did Albert ever live in the Bronx?"

Four other women received the same award from Bambi Felderbaum, president of the New York chapter of the national women's division of Einstein, including Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes.

To illustrate the hazards of reading from the TelePrompTer, Stahl told about a disc jockey who announced, "Our next selection is dedicated to Ms. Madeline Bathgate, who's 111."

He paused, cleared his throat and started again. "Our next selection is dedicated to Ms. Madeline Bathgate, who's ill."

Stahl said her brother, who had cancer of the larynx, lost his voice box. "Over 12 years he's had every treatment that has come along. We depend on you for research to keep him alive for another year."

Stahl said she's actually grown younger since she's been on the venerable CBS newsmagazine.

"You get younger working with people that old - Mike Wallace is 80, Andy Rooney is 80, and producer Don Hewitt is 77. It's a conflict of interest if they want to do a story on Medicare."

Meryl Streep, who earned Academy Awards for Kramer vs. Kramer and Sophie's Choice, was another award winner. She saluted the women for supporting cancer research.

"In this decade, more women will die of breast cancer than all the people in the Civil War, the two world wars, Korea and Vietnam combined," she said. "We must make women's health care an important part of the national agenda."

The other two awardees were Lily Tartikoff, whose late husband Brandon was the popular head of NBC programming, and who personally raised $20 million for cancer research, and Julie Taymor, the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a musical, The Lion King.


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