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The Other Kirkland

February 08, 1987|DONNA PERLMUTTER

"The bonus of self-starvation was always the same: Attention. It got me attention. I had such small self-worth that I would go to almost any extreme for love. It was my way of competing with Gelsey and her magazine cover story. After all, none of my accomplishments meant anything if they didn't measure up to hers."

As for their supposed closeness, Kirkland laughs:

"The family joke was Gelsey's cosmetic surgeries (silicone implants in breast, lips and instep). They were never acknowledged. When we noticed that her mouth looked different, my mother told us that Gelsey was stung on the lips by a bee."

But despite their lifelong estrangement--Kirkland says she and her sister were always in different places--they have spoken frequently by phone the last few years. "Mostly, she would call to check on fact chronology for her book."

There is no longer a link through dance, however. One sister wrote an autobiography and intends to teach the principles of her art as she has reformulated them. The other has found a new creative medium in acrylics and paint.

"Nothing has changed," says Johnna Kirkland. "We still occupy different places in the world."

Los Angeles Times Monday February 9, 1987 Home Edition Calendar Part 6 Page 3 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 12 words Type of Material: Correction
Ex-dancer Johnna Kirkland's age was incorrectly given in the Feb. 8 Calendar. She is 36.

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