Idol Chatter

SteveMartin071027.jpgPick the two celebrities, any two, you’d consider least likely to have had a youthful romantic hookup. Got ’em? I can beat that.
This week’s New Yorker magazine excerpts Steve Martin’s memoir of his early days in comedy, “Born Standing Up“; in it, Martin reveals that his first sexual experience was with a young fellow performer named Stormie Sherk, “later to become an enormously successful Christian author and proselytizer under her married name, Stormie Omartian.” That “plththth!” sound you hear is veteran observers of the Christian publishing market spraying their coffee.
Omartian, for those who don’t follow the Christian publishing industry, is the author of series of books on living life through prayer, beginning with “The Power of a Praying Wife” and including “The Power of the Praying Parent,” in which she tells of anointing her son’s room with oil to ward off evil spirits that might have entered it through a video game.” That sounds more like a Steve Martin gag than a former girlfriend.

stormiesidebar_index.jpgNot that Stormie portrays herself as innocent. Her first book, “Stormie,” recounted her journey through drug use, an abusive husband and other travails to a relationship with Jesus, but no mention, that I can recall, of her relationship with Martin. And no one looking at the pair–he a wisecracking Hollywood fixture, she a helmet-haired Christian matron–would ever have guessed.
Of course, she wasn’t always one of America’s top church ladies. Martin describes her, respectfully enough, as “beautiful, witty, bright, and filled with an engaging spirit that was not yet holy.” Martin credits her with turning on his mind as well as his body, and in turn says that the philosophy courses Omartian inspired him to take became the basis of his groundbreaking comedy. Mysterious ways indeed.

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