The Commercial Appeal - Memphis Tennessee - July 22, 2004
By Michael Donahue
Actress Seymour samples local flavor on 'royal tour'
Actress Jane Seymour had a memorable Southern visit recently thanks to "The Savannah Connection": Mary Susan Clinton, Kristi Jernigan and Jana Pettey.
Mary Susan refers to the group as "The Savannah Connection" because all the women are from Savannah, Tenn. They joined forces to make sure Jane had a blast when she visited Memphis, Brownsville and Savannah during the Fourth of July weekend.
Jane was in Memphis to spend the holiday with her husband, James Keach, who is in town co-producing "Walk the Line," the movie based on the life of Johnny Cash, said Mary Susan.
The actress, who lives in Malibu, brought her children, twins Kris and John (named after his godfather, the late Johnny Cash) and Jenni Flynn, her stepdaughter from a previous marriage.
"We royally entertained them," Mary Susan said. She originally met Jane at the Naples (Fla.) Winter Wine Festival, a charity fund-raiser that Mary Susan and her husband, J. D. Clinton, helped found. The Clintons and their children Denver and Hurst divide their time at their homes in Naples and Brownsville.
Jane, who also is an artist, was exhibiting her paintings at an art gallery in Naples, Mary Susan said. "Someone called me and said, ‘Would you like to be her host at the wine festival?’ We became really close friends and realized we have a lot of mutual friends."
After a lunch at the Rendezvous, Mary Susan and J. D. took the couple to their Brownsville home for a seated dinner with jazz entertainment by the Delta Cats. Dinner guests included Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and his wife, Ruby; Jana and John Pettey and Bridget and Phil Trenary.
The next night, the couple were entertained at a Fourth of July alfresco dinner at the Tennessee River-front home of Mary Susan's parents, Shelby and Dr. John Gallien, in Savannah. The Venus Mission band performed.
The next morning, they were the guests of Charlie and Judy Tripp, owner of Tripp's Country Hams, at a breakfast at their antebellum home in Brownsville.
They rounded out the trip July 6 at AutoZone Park, where they were the guests of Kristi and her husband, Dean Jernigan, in the Founder's Box at a Memphis Redbirds game. Jana and John Pettey were among the guests at that gathering.
The announcer invited Jane and the twins to the press box, Mary Susan said. "Jane got to sing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame.' "