I was gonna add an R.I.P. to the title of this post, but Richard Jaeckel passed in 1997. However, I was watching THE DIRTY DOZEN for the umpteenth time tonight and I kept thinking how much weaker this entertaining action flick would have been without Jaeckel, who played the tough sergeant who holds his own with Lee Marvin in the movie that made Marvin a box office star for a while. Something Jaeckel never was though he worked with too many who were to even list here.
I was lucky enough to get to know him late in his life when we worked out in the same gym in Venice Beach. It was a small gym without steam rooms or saunas or whirlpools or even a locker room. It only used natural light from a huge skylight and there was no pumped in music. It was kind of a Zen like place to work out, and almost an elite gym, only in that despite its small size and low fees (and it was walkable from an apartment I had at the time just a few blocks away over the border with Santa Monica) it was never crowded and often felt like an almost meditative spot.
It was owned by Joe Gold, the guy who started Gold Gyms and then sold them and opened up this little space for the people he liked without all the frills. Arnold worked out there sometimes and even brought his kids, who were little at the time so it would distract me worrying about them being around all the heavy weights and workout machines. I saw Magic Johnson and other Lakers of the time there too. But they obviously worked out mainly somewhere else and just came by to be a part of what seemed like an exclusive atmosphere that really wasn't. (Though I did see another character actor, younger than me, who played villains in several hit movies of the time, get thrown out and told to never return for making a bad joke that Gold felt insulted the place.)
[Here's just some of my favorite movie performances by him in: GUADACANAL DIARY (1943), THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA (1949), BATTLEGROUND (1949), THE GUNFIGHTER (1950), COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA (1952), 3:10 TO YUMA (1957), TOWN WITHOUT PITY (1971), 4 FOR TEXAS (1963), THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967), SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION (1970), PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID (1973), STARMAN (1984).
And just a handful of the many many stars that were in movies with him: John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Glen Ford, Van Johnson, Elvis Presley, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Lee Marvin, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Chris Kristofferon, Bob Dylan, Jeff Bridges, Karen Allen, etc.]