40 Years On, Celebrating”Tootsie!” This Raucous Comedy Remains A Modern, Empowered Classic!

TV Executive On A New York Soundstage: “I’d like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back?”

The Cameraman: “How do you feel about Cleveland?”

With that hilarious line, America met Dorothy Michaels, the “tough as nails” Actress who was actually Dustin Hoffman in drag!


40 years ago, “Dorothy Michaels” became the most empowered woman in America – except she was a man!

This classic 1982 comedy stars Dustin Hoffman as a desperate, unemployed Actor who disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a TV Soap Opera!

First, here is the trailer, which frankly isn’t very good at all – spending way too much time setting up the concept rather than emphasizing just how funny the film is!

Still, in hindsight it’s interesting to see how worried they were that people wouldn’t get the conceit!

A great blu-ray special edition of the film has tons of great stories about the making of the film – for example, after the film spends several minutes showing Hoffman dressing for the first time as “Tootsie”, the Director realized it was funnier to have Hoffman’s Agent tell him that NO ONE would hire him…and he says: “Oh yeah?” Then, jump cut to:

We see “Tootsie” emerge from a crowded New York Street, and it’s a hilarious moment – and from this point on the film is on a roll and never looks back!

“Tootsie” is so much more than just a terrific comedy: it looks at social issues, female empowerment, and how women are demeaned by men in powerful positions.

Jessica Lange co-stars, and is terrific as the “sex kitten” who isn’t taken seriously by the others – and who Tootsie falls in love with – but since he is in character, Tootsie can’t tell her that “she” is really a “he”!

Bill Murray has a substantial role in the film as well – but you wouldn’t know it from the poster!

Bill Murray Toosie

An Uncredited Bill Murray!

Jeff the Writer is played beautifully by Bill Murray, who didn’t take a credit in the film because he didn’t want people to think it was just another of his populist comedies of the time – so imagine that, he DIDN’T TAKE A CREDIT IN ORDER TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE MOVIE!

As you can see, his name is nowhere to be found – but he is hilarious!

funniest movies of all time

Here’s Bill Murray ad-libbing one scene that takes place at a party, discussing why he writes plays:

“I don’t like it when people come up to me after my plays and say, “I really dug your message, man.” Or, “I really dug your play, man, I cried.” You know. I like it when people come up to me the next day, or a week later, and they say, “I saw your play. What happened?”

Murray downplays his character in such a way that he ends up being the funniest person in the movie!

Teri Garr is also terrific, playing Sandy, an aspiring Actress who needs Hoffman to motivate her before an audition:

“Wait a minute! You can’t leave! How am I gonna get it back tomorrow? I can’t ask a total stranger to enrage me!”

“What time’s your audition?”


“Ok, I’ll pick you up at ten and enrage you.”

Talk about testing out the concept! Dustin Hoffman tried out his role as Dorothy by passing himself off as his daughter’s Aunt Dorothy at her parents’ evening at school. His performance was so good they had no idea it was him!

that is one nutty hospital


Murray has one of the last lines in the movie, a scene that beautifully brings all of the storylines together perfect.

“Toosie” is one of the greatest comedies ever made, and Bill Murray’s hilariously deadpan performance is one reason…

In 1990, Murray made his directorial debut in the comedy gem “Quick Change”:

If you haven’t seen this film, you are missing out – check out the trailer here:

I also shared the inside stories from another classic romantic comedy:

Yes, “When Harry Met Sally” has one of the most repeated lines in movie history:

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

Click here for more great lines from this classic comedy:

I had the chance to eat at the Deli – made immortal by a single scene in the film:

Click here to see more from inside the famous Katz’s Delicatessen in New York!

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…


Thanks so much for reading – let me know which of these films you’ve seen – and if you enjoy the story, please share on social media!

Categories: Art, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, New York, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Tootsie is a fantastic movie, John. A great post.


  2. John, you nailed this review. Tootsie is one of the best movies ever made. Really.
    How Bill Murray stayed back made him a star in the movie. I had no idea Dustin tried out his role at his daughter’s parent’s evening at school. Brilliant! I’m having my team of teachers get together for pizza and to watch a great old movie. Two teachers in their 30’s have never seen some of the great movies. That’s sad. We loved Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The next choice is Tootsie, or 9 to 5. It’s a hard decision!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How funny. I watched parts of it last night

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw that at the cinema and thought it was great. Perfect casting, and Teri Garr was always a personal favourite too. I have seen ‘Quick Change’, and it is definitely ‘overlooked’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. The Classic 80’s Comedy “Fast Times At Ridgmont High” Was REAL? The Book Behind The Film! – johnrieber

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