She was the beautiful undercover cop on TV's "The Mod Squad.” Peggy Lipton became a cultural icon on that hit show back in the 60s. But what very few knew was that behind that golden image was a woman living a life a lot darker and wilder than even her crime-fighting alter ego. Read an excerpt from her book, “Breathing Out,” below.
I arrived at the party wearing a pink silk skirt and my mother's Emilio Pucci checkered Jersey top and little heels. I just walked in and pretended to be very blase', like I wasn't about to expire with every step. Well, I am an actress, so I said, "Peggy, imagine you're a very composed, cool character who Is not in the least inhibited by all these famous people and what's about to unfold." It worked. I began snaking my way through the crowds that had gathered on the lawn In anticipation of greeting the world's most alluring popstars. I found myself talking to people. It was better than chewing on the inside of my mouth, which by now I couldn't stop doing. I talked to everyone ... anyone I met. The lovely Eva Marie Saint said hello and told me that she thought I resembled her! I felt extremely flattered. Enough to momentarily drop my raison d'etre--then it all hit me again. I'm going to see him. My heart was ready to burst open with my secret. I'd just have to stay cool for a little while longer.
I started aimlessly floating around. I could no longer concentrate on talking to people. I don't know where they were or where he was, but I was feeling it, believe me. Without warning, the four of them appeared, sitting on high wooden stools under a big tree. Someone politely announced that children should come forward now and say hello. To my dismay I saw a line forming-a line of little kids! They were all so small-their moms sending them off with tears in their eyes. I was obviously not a kid but a woman towering ridiculously over them in my slick Pucci getup. The only thing I had in common with those kids was that we'd all been outfitted by our mothers. Sweating rivers through my clothes, I was feeling somewhat humiliated but unerring in my determination. The whole year of longing culminated in this moment. Adolescence was over forever. I was in line to meet the Beatles.
The Fab Four under a tree. They looked cute. Just like the photos I had strewn across the walls of my bedroom. But I knew they weren't the cuddly mop tops they were pretending to be. You knew that when you got up close. John's twisted smile, for one thing, suggested a lot of strange thoughts could be going on in his head. Ringo, sporting a huge grin, seemed utterly bemused and nonchalant about it all. George was wiry and agile, adjusting his body to shake as many of the little hands as he could. I watched Paul. It felt like he was doing a sort of music-hall soft shoe routine for the crowd.
He was being a showman, a carny The nice one who could engage the multitudes. I didn't know if I'd be able to talk when my turn came. What was there to say? My mind went completely blank.
Okay, so John greeted me first, then George took my hand. I hardly remember them. Paul was the one I was watching and my heart was pounding too loud, sounding like thunder in my ears. "Look, Peggy," I said, trying to get a grip on myself. "He's being really sweet with these kids." I was admiring that while he was looking down and patting them on the head. All of a sudden I felt him looking at me and it was a totally different look. It was filled with promise and sexuality and I was stunned.
"Come on, Peggy, you can do it. Shake hands!" Earl was shouting as he was photographing me. I was embarrassed. "Please stop, Earl," I thought. But this was a great moment for him, too. He actually saw his diligent work paying off. I wanted Paul at that moment as much as I had ever wanted anything in my life. I came face to face with him.
"Hello' " I said, and he shook my hand and looked at me.
"My god, you're beautiful," he said.
"You're not so bad yourself," I replied, like an idiot. A year in the planning and that was all I could come up with?
My knees under the pink silk skirt buckled. I was madly in love with Paul McCartney, or should I say even more madly in love-knowing full well that disaster lay ahead. How could it be otherwise? Every woman wanted Paul.
"Well, move on. Next person," said a disembodied voice from hell. I went to the next person who was George Harrison or whomever. I couldn't have cared less. I had made the connection. Paul had looked at me with his puppy dog, long-lashed, beautiful eyes and that was it. Paul moved on with his conversation and charmed the next fan in line.