Actor Marilu Henner turns 70

She remembers almost everything!

Marilu HennerI’m most familiar with the actor Marilu Henner from the sitcom Taxi, which aired on ABC for four seasons and NBC for one, from 1978 to 1983. She played Elaine Nardo, the only female cabbie in the regular cast.

I also watched her on Evening Shade, a show about retired football player Wood Newton (Burt Reynolds) moving back to rural Evening Shade, AR with his attorney-wife (Henner) and their four children. It ran on CBS from 1990 to 1994  She appeared in the movie L.A. Story (1991).

But I wouldn’t have written about her here but for one specific trait. Marilu Henner has hyperthymesia or total recall memory. She claimed, and it was verified by researchers, that she can remember specific details of virtually every day of her life since she was a child.

I remember her appearance on 60 Minutes on December 19, 2010. In fact, as Henner discusses in 2015 for EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG, CBS could have had a story about the subject of extraordinary memory with another subject around 2006. But correspondent Lesley Stahl knew her friend Henner had a very good memory and thought it was no big deal.

Later, Stahl discovered what an extraordinary gift her friend had. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of Endless Memory, which also features other people with hyperthymesia and the researchers investigating the phenomenon. 60 Minutes Australia ran a similar story, featuring Henner, in 2018.

The performer was a consultant for a TV show called Unforgettable. “Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), a former police detective, has a rare ability to remember virtually everything she experiences including detailed visual recall. She returns to police work and uses her ability to solve crimes.”

What do I remember?

I was on an FFAPL Zoom talk with author Isaiah Rashad on February 15. He asked us what do we remember about 1997, and most of us struggled. I was in a wedding in 1996. In 1998, I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and appeared on JEOPARDY!

But 1997? Nothing came to mind until hours later. I was in a Bible study in 1996-97, 34 weeks and I read the whole thing. One of the latter exercises was to attend a worship service, not in my tradition.

As I mentioned, in passing here, I went to a Coptic (Egyptian Orthodox) church on Madison Avenue in Albany for a three-hour service. Afterward, I went to the coffee hour. And one of the parishioners, discovering that I was a Protestant, said, very casually and seemingly without malice, “You do know you’re going to hell, don’t you?” THAT happened in 1997.

But Marilu Henner could likely tell you what shoes she wore on any given day in 1997. She has a very meticulous closet, with all of the hangers the same. Her pairs of shoes always have one toe and one heel out.

Interestingly, of the five people in the original 60 Minutes segment, only Henner was in a relationship, her third marriage. This one seems to be the charm, especially after she helped discover Michael Brown’s bladder cancer

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