Actress and model Cynthia O'Neal was living her dream lifeâ€”married to the famous stage and screen actor Patrick Oâ€™Neal, the mother of two young sons, resident of the Dakota downstairs from John Lennon, owner of the successful Ginger Man restaurant, and frequent guest at dinner parties with Leonard Bernstein and Rudolf Nureyev. And then she changed course suddenly, surprisingly, and completely. The AIDS epidemic hit the arts community hard, and after seeing the multitude of people facing an unfamiliar and stigmatized disease completely alone, Cynthia walked into the fray. With the support of longtime friend Mike Nichols, she founded Friends in Deed and soon found herself spending her days in hospitals, cramped rooms, and dirty apartments, anywhere a patient needed a hug, a hand held, or confidence boosted.
And when Patrick became ill and passed away in 1994, Cynthia had to work through her own grief instead of someone elseâ€™s and found her life transformed again. Talk Softly is the story of a life well-livedâ€”with passion and compassion, in celebration of the joy of each moment, and with the ability to surprise yourself when you least expect to.