A sad day here. I finally forced myself to take eighteen year old Tess to the vet and have her put to sleep. She'd lost half her weight in the past three months and had stopped eating the past few days. She was the scamp of the Gorman cats. We came home one day to find that she'd jumped from the mantle of our fireplace on to a hanging plant. She was just a kitten and not greatly skilled in such matters so she was splayed out across the plant and unable to get down. One of dozens of Tess stories.
I had to make the decision myself. Carol's in Poland as a visiting writer. The cell phone contact she was reassured we'd have doesn't work. Today she visited Auschwitz. We usually e mail back and forth but tonight she's traveling. She'll be home Friday.
One of my favorite writers, John O'Hara, describes it as the funeral age, that point in life when people beginning falling away, when you see old frinds only in churches and mortuaries.
Of course O'Hara, a grand Irish drunk who had to give it up because it almost killed him by age thirty, had other ages, too. I recently read an autobiography of the man. One night at the old 21 Club in NYC he got loaded and got himself goaded into a fist fight with a midget. All us alkies, practicing or recovered, know how insane things like that can happen sometimes.
Staying with my melancholy mood, I've recently seen three pictures with one of my all-time favorite character actos Jack Warden in them. I thought I'd reprint what I said on his death.
Back in the days when I had my own blog, I noted the deaths of actors who’d given me hours of particular pleasure. Ted Knight, Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright were among my favorites. We need all the momentary pleasures we can find in this vale of tears. And even though I didn’t know any of the people I bade goodbye, I felt the loss on an almost personal level.
Tonight I’m saying my goodbye to Jack Warden, certainly one of the two or three best character actors of his generation. While the movie sites are listing all the A+ movies he appeared in, I have my own list of his great performances – BYE BYE BRAVERMAN; USED CARS; SHAMPOO; THE SPORTING CLUB; THE APPRENTICESHIP OF DUDDY KRAVITZ, to name just a few.
And ... for true Jack Warden fans ... his CBS-TV Sunday night series Crazy Like A Fox. I know – it wasn’t The Rockford Files. It was TV-lite. But he made it wonderful. Carol and I would tape the shows so we could see them again the very next night. Just to watch him act. He was a wonderful comic actor as well as a powerful dramatic one. He had a particularly great line when his frustrated son told him that his office was a mess as was his life. Harry Fox: “Son, you gotta learn to rise above the details.” That is the wisdom I live by. I rise above the details every day.
Hours and hours and hours of Jack Warden dating back to the the mid-1950s and live TV. Never saw him phone one in or not know exactly how to inhabit the character. So long, Jack and thanks for all pleasure your immeasurable talent gave me.