All ten year-old tragedians need a soundtrack. Mine was the Theme from Valley of the Dolls, that heartbreaking ballad from the film that starred Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate and Patty Duke. I had no idea that the song was meant to underscore the film heroine’s descent into pill addiction (I thought Parkins, Tate and Duke were the dolls). Instead, those Dory Previn lyrics tapped into a self-dislocation that was partly intuitive/real: a burgeoning sexuality that I didn’t know what to make of; the realization that my interests didn’t jibe with that of my siblings, or few other kids; my instinctive attraction to melancholia, less to do with being a genuine depressive than exhibiting a trait that was distinctly Cancerian. Previn’s gifts made her a true queen of pain: RIP.
Dionne Warwick sings the Theme from Valley of the Dolls