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Monday August 3rd 2020

Tootsie | 1982

Tootsie film location: The Russian Tea Room, West 57th Street, New York
Tootsie film location: 'Dorothy' meets Michael's agent: The Russian Tea Room, West 57th Street, New York

Dustin Hoffman cheekily guys his own reputation as notoriously ‘difficult’ thesp Michael Dorsey, who transforms himself into ‘Dorothy Michaels’ to get work. As everyone knows, there are so many opportunities for middle-aged women in the acting profession.

The apartment Michael shares with aspiring playwright Jeff Slater (Bill Murray) is 15-17 West 18th Street at Fifth Avenue, north of Union Square.

Tootsie film location: West 18th Street, Union Square, New York
Tootsie film location: the apartment Michael shares with Jeff: West 18th Street, Union Square, New York | Photograph: Google Maps

Unemployable in the acting profession, Michael along with Jeff, is reduced to working in the kitchen at Jim McMullen, a popular East Side eaterie which stood at 1341 Third Avenue between 76th and 77th Streets. It went on to become the Atlantic Grill but the whole block has since been redeveloped.

After his friend Sandy (Teri Garr) misses out on a role in hospital TV series Southwest General, Michael reinvents himself as Dorothy and nabs the role for himself.

The TV studio in which the daytime drama (don’t ever call it a soap!) is recorded was the National Video Centre, which became the National Studios, 460 West 42nd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, now replaced by the Signature Theatre.

Tootsie film location: The Russian Tea Room, West 57th Street, New York
Tootsie film location: 'Dorothy' meets Michael's agent: The Russian Tea Room, West 57th Street, New York | Photograph: Wikimedia / Rubenstein

Dressed to impress, Dorothy goes on to check out ‘her’ credibility by contriving to bump into her agent George Fields (director Sydney Pollack) at the Russian Tea Room, 150 West 57th Street, Midtown. Alongside Carnegie Hall, this New York institution was founded in 1927 by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. You can see it also in Woody Allen’s Manhattan.

Really getting into the part, Dorothy extends her wardrobe, shopping at what was then Pour Moi, 1181 Second Avenue at 62nd Street (currently a vacant lot) and, laden with shopping, gets into a fracas over a yellow cab outside Bloomingdale’s, 1000 Third Avenue at East 59th Street on the East Side.

Michael's deception leads to unforeseen consequences once he starts to have feelings for his fellow cast member Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange). While deliberating over earrings for Dorothy in the window of what is now Delvaux leather goods store, on the corner of 5th Avenue at East 59th Street, Michael is concerned to see Julie emerging from the nearby Sherry-Netherland Hotel, 781 5th Avenue, with their obnoxious director Ron Carlisle (Dabney Coleman).

Life gets more complicated as Julie invites Dorothy to the upstate farmhouse of her widowed father, Les (Charles Durning), who finds himself irresistibly drawn to the spirited actress.

His homestead is the Wynkoop House, built in the 1690s for settler Cornelius Wynkoop on Wynkoop Road at Hurley Mountain Road, Hurley, a couple of miles west of Kingston in Ulster County, New York State. This is a private home – don't confused it with the more famous Wynkoop Stone House in Stone Bridge to the south, or the Wynkoop House in Saugerties to the north.

Les is so smitten that on a visit to New York, he proposes to Dorothy at the Copacabana Nightclub, which stood at 10 East 60th Street at Madison Avenue. The famed, but long-since closed, nightclub is famous from its appearance in that legendary tracking shot for Martin Scorsese’s 1990 Goodfellas, as well as in Brian De Palma’s Carlito’s Way.

Tootsie film location: Hurley Mountain Inn, Hurley, New York State
Tootsie film location: Michael makes up with Les over a drink: Hurley Mountain Inn, Hurley, New York State | Photograph: Google Maps

As events threaten to spiral out of control, Michael finally ‘outs’ himself live on-air, to the understandable shock of Julie and her father.

The upstate bar, where Dorsey makes up with Les over a drink, is back in Hurley. It’s the Hurley Mountain Inn, 106 Old Route 209, a restaurant and sports bar on Wynkoop Road just a few hundred yards east of the Wynkoop House.

Once back to Manhattan, Michael waits contritely for Julie outside the TV studio. To nobody’s surprise, the initially furious Julie is won around as the couple walks east along West 42nd Street, crossing Dyer Avenue and past Playwrights Horizons and the old La Rousse restaurant, which stood at 414 West 42nd Street.