Before our food arrived, I asked Sue if she'd do me the honor of autographing two books about Benny, which I'd brought across the Atlantic with me solely for that purpose. She was happy to do so: "What should I write?" she asked. "Anything you'd like," I replied. Sue's inscriptions were far nicer, longer, and more personal than other celebrities' usual perfunctory "Best wishes" or the like - and I was interested to note that, like me, Sue is left-handed.
I then asked Sue about autographs for those who, unlike me, weren't lucky enough to be sitting across the table from her. In response, she very graciously offered to send a short handwritten message to any member of the Hill's Angels discussion group who wanted one. Ian very kindly volunteered to pass messages on to Sue, from anyone who wrote to him. "What about postage?" I asked. "Don't worry about it," Sue replied. This was an extremely kind and generous offer on her part, but I hate to see her get stuck for postage. Would anyone who takes her up on this offer please enclose a British first-class airmail stamp (if in the UK, or somewhere where British stamps are easily available) or an International Reply Coupon (if not).
I also took the opportunity to bring out a few printouts from the Hills Angels group and another Angels website, in hopes that Sue could identify some of the previously anonymous Angels. She identified about a half-dozen, and I've since sent her identifications to the webmasters of the sites, to be added.
Our food arrived shortly thereafter. I'm sure it must have been the best fish and chips in England, but I was too busy talking and listening to Sue, to bother to eat much. After all, I could eat anytime, but a chance to talk with Sue doesn't come along every day! I had a pocket tape recorder with me, but I decided not to use it - except for a short audio greeting from her to the group, which I recorded for eventual digitization and use on the Hill's Angels group website. I think using the recorder tends to make the other person a bit stiffer, and tends to make the conversation more like an interview - which I didn't want to happen. I wanted my encounter with Sue to be a friendly chat, not an interview. For that reason, my account of all this is based on the notes I scribbled in a small notebook.
One of the things I was interested to know was how Sue came to be on the show, and what she'd done in show business apart from her work with Benny. Sue started off as a dancer and model; she also did cabaret and nightclub singing. Her agent at the time sent a picture to Benny, who invited her in for an audition. Sue said that she was just as nervous going to her audition, as I'd been about meeting her - but Benny put her at her ease right away.
Sue said that she first started on the show as a member of Love Machine, a dance troupe which was sort of a precursor to Hill's Angels. This perplexed me a bit: I knew about Love Machine, but as best I remembered, it only had four girls, none of them who looked like Sue. Sue said she might have been "cut" from Love Machine, before the episodes in which they appeared. On the other hand, now I've had a bit of time to think about it, though, I do remember one of their numbers which had five girls. Maybe Sue was the fifth - I'll have to try to find that number on my collection of Benny-videos.
After Sue moved from Love Machine into the ranks of Benny's stock company, she was often cast as a very young girl, because of her looks. Her first role, she said, was as a little girl whose kite gets stuck in a tree. Benny gets it down - but then Sue refuses his affections, and he goes off to become a bad guy.
Although Sue enjoyed performing with the other Angels, she said she found it "boring" to be sexy and glamorous all the time; she also didn't want to be typecast, to be thought of as only being able to act sexy. And so, she decided to ask for character parts, to allow her to develop as an actress. (Sue asked for "anything with an eyepatch," she said.) As she began to do character roles, her comic talent and timing became more obvious, and she was given more of these roles, which she greatly enjoyed playing - but luckily for us, she also continued to take part in the Angels' dance routines.