Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Monday, September 27, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
I wasn't a close friend of Willie Garson's, but I hung out a few times with him and others in my LA years and bonded a bit over both of us being from Jersey. He was a really nice guy, as well as a terrific actor, and completely unpretentious. Gone way too soon. Condolences to his son and other family, friends, and fans.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
People have been coming by to say their laters ("good-bye" has always seemed too final for me, so I prefer the short version of "catch you later"). Here's the old man (me, 79) with the wonderful poet and dear friend Maria Serrano in the living room of my apartment, the place I've lived the longest (out of over 30) since I left home at 18 in 1960. [PS: I've been cutting my own hair for many years and still do even with the tremors!]
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Berry Berenson was a friend to me in my early years in Hollywood. She was married to the movie star Tony Perkins at the time and until his death in 1992. They seemed really loving to each other and I admired their relationship. And I admired her.
Though she was often noted more as Perkin's wife or as model/actress Marisa Berenson's sister, Berry was a wonderful actor in her own right (see REMEMBER MY NAME). But despite her fame-for-whatever-reason, at least around me she was always the least pretentious or self-centered person I ever met anywhere.
She came to a play I was in early on in L.A, Landford Wilson's BALM IN GILEAD, and after the performance stuck around to talk to me. One of the things she said to me that night was that she had only seen one other person in her life who had the kind of glow, I think that was the word she used, that I had, and that was Marilyn Monroe!
She was wonderful on screen and off, either in front of the camera or behind it (she was a great photographer), and I only wish, as I too often do with many friends, that I had made more of an effort to see her more often. Especially after I heard the news that she had been on one of the two planes that crashed into The World Trade Center towers on 9/11.
I knew some others who went down with the towers on that tragic day, like Father Mike Judge, but Berry is the one I think of most often. As I later wrote in a poem ("March 18, 2003"), she was:
"a woman who was kind to me when
she didn't need to be[...]
How many people have died
before you got the chance to tell them what you meant to?"
R.I.P. to all those we lost on that horrific day (and those we continue to lose).
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
This was my street a week ago, just a few doors down from the old house my apartment is in. We weren't impacted much but these businesses were. I'll be moving to The Berkshires soon (my kids don't want me living alone anymore, especially with Parkinson's), so if you live near me now, call and come by to say later, and see if you want any books I'm giving away (or furniture and other stuff). Oh, and Happy Jewish New Year from this Jersey Mick.
Monday, September 6, 2021
Labor day was traditionally the last day we spent down the shore in Belmar, New Jersey. This doesn't look like Belmar. My father leaning forward, cigarette in mouth, his youngest brother, my Uncle John, behind him in striped tee shirt, and the third guy most likely my old man's buddy, Rusty Zigler. Looks like the late 1930s or early 1940s. This is how grown men went to the beach when I was a boy in the '40s.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
That's me carrying the sign that says (somebody else made it): "DEFEND WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS STOP KAVANAUGH" protesting the whiney little bully's being appointed to The Supreme Court. Anyone who doesn't vote because they believe there isn't any difference between Democrats and Republicans should tell it to women in Texas...
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
It's of its time, and maybe you have to be from that time to be impacted by it the way I am. I was born a few months after Pearl Harbor, and my two oldest brothers were in The Army Air Corps and The Navy at the end of the war, one in Okinawa when the fighting stopped. My two sisters, who were five and seven years older than me, took me with them to the movies most Sunday afternoons (to get us out of the house for our father's weekly nap on his only day off), including to this one.
But even if this film doesn't evoke for you the same kinds of memories it does for me, it can still be admired as classic Hollywood filmmaking. William Wyler's direction is so good (aided exquisitely by Gregg Toland's famous depth of field cinematography), even the briefest scenes and the acting in them resonate. Three of my favorite actors—Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, and Cathy O'Donnell—give superb performances, while Virginia Mayo and Dana Andrews give their best performances ever (and Frederic March and Harold Russell won Oscars for theirs).
For me, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is a perfect film. There, I've said it.