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Back in the day, Nov. 22, 1983: 'Terms of Endearment' holds its world premiere in Lincoln

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The world premiere of the award-winning movie “Terms of Endearment” was held on Nov. 22, 1983, in Lincoln, where part of the movie was filmed.

Bright searchlights scanned the cold, cloudy skies 39 years ago today as the world premiere of the award-winning movie "Terms of Endearment" was held in Lincoln, where part of the film was shot.

It looked like a Hollywood premiere: Dressed-up guests got the red-carpet treatment as they walked into the Stuart Theater with tickets that cost up to $75.

Proceeds from the showing went to Lincoln General Hospital (now called Bryan Medical Center West), where much of the Lincoln footage for the movie was shot, said then-hospital Assistant Administrator Dave Okerlund.

Lincoln General's cancer ward earned about $40,000 from the event as part of an arrangement allowing the film company to use an unoccupied wing of the hospital for 13 days.

Two stars of the film were on hand, Lisa Hart Carroll, who played the glamorous best friend of Debra Winger's character, and Lincoln resident Troy Bishop, who played one of Winger's sons.

lisahartcarroll001 (copy)

Actress Lisa Hart Carroll walks the red carpet at the World Premiere of "Terms of Endearment" in Lincoln.

Winger, the celebrated star of "Terms," did not attend the premiere.

Winger did speak to the sellout crowd of 850 by telephone from New York in brief ceremonies before the showing began. She said the evening was not without its stars.

"The star is really Lincoln, Nebraska, and the way it looks in the film," she told the crowd in her distinctively raspy voice. 

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James L. Brooks, the writer and director of the film, also addressed the crowd briefly by phone from New York.

It was "crucial" that the film was shot in Lincoln, Brooks said. "The hospital was as important as anything in the movie," he said.

Terms of Endearment

The stars of the movie "Terms Terms of Endearment," from left: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger and Jack Nicholson. 

"Terms of Endearment" was the first major movie since Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rain People" to represent the state and its people on the screen.

During six weeks of filming that took place in Lincoln earlier in the year, the movie crew used various sites in addition to Lincoln General Hospital, including the city's airport, the Holiday Inn, the interior of Leon's Food Mart and the exterior of Louie's IGA, K's Restaurant, an old house near 14th and G Streets, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.

In the film, sites in Lincoln double for the cities of Kearney and Des Moines.

The filming in Lincoln meant more than $1.5 million to the local economy.

"Terms of Endearment" received 11 Academy Award nominations and won five Oscars: best picture, best director, best actress (for Shirley MacLaine), best adapted screenplay and best supporting actor (for Jack Nicholson). 

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