Monday, December 04, 2006

Interesting friends

Ed here: As I've always said, I sure do have interesting friends. Here's a part of a letter I got from novelist Bob Levinson today:

I just answered one (an interview question) about an old PR client, Marcel Marceau. Thought you might enjoy reading it:

This involvement was a joy. Thrilling to be around a creative genius, the best at his art. He was the serious type, more business than those entertainers who need to be on all the time. Yes, he spoke English, and he did it for the first time in America on a guest shot we set for him on (about to date myself again)...(wait for it)...Joey Bishop's talk show. (The other guest that night was--wow!--Dizzy Gillespie.)

A story I haven't told in years...A reception at a private BH home was scheduled to follow the show Marcel did at UCLA as a fund-raiser for Actors Studio West. Curtain. It seems like the entire audience is now sardined backstage to meet him, get an autograph, whatever.

Marcel says, Have them line up, and takes a position outside his dressing room. He greets one after the other, engages in conversation, signs an autograph that includes reference to his BIP persona. On and on and on. A key Actors Studio figure grows shoe-tapping impatient. Sidles up to Marcel and tells him he has to stop. Tells him there are important people waiting to meet him at the reception. Marcel says,These also are important people. I won't disappoint them. We didn't get out of there until everyone who'd come backstage had been satisfied.


Then yesterday the actor Kevin McCarthy called to talk as we frequenty do and mentioned, among other things, that when he saw Gore Vidal was in LA he decided to call a phone number Vidal had given him 35 years ago. And it still worked. Vidal, Kevin said, was among several writers including Norman Mailer and James Jones who hung around the Actors Studio in NYC when pieces of theirs were being performed by the students.

So Kevin and his wife Kate spent a good part of an afternoon last week at Vidal's house catching up on 35 years of personal histories.

You just don't hardly ever see Marcel Marceau or Gore Vidal in Cedar Rapids. Hardly ever.

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