HELLO AMERICA!—Because of my weekly entertainment column in the Canyon News in Beverly Hills, I receive letters from people, young and old concerning so many issues. However, stories and items about their favorite actors, musicians, and even certain outrageous politicians really do spark a lot of interest.
To be honest, I have to have my small staff of people who really keep me informed, check over and over again during the day to make darn sure that the person of interest is still alive. After all, very popular people of note right across the board are dropping like flies. You might see someone dancing like mad, having an outrageous time in one of the Hollywood clubs or parties, and the next day, they are found dead lying naked on the bathroom floor. I assume this is another reason to say, THAT’S SHOW BIZ! Hello!!
Since I arrived in Hollywood during the very early 1950s, attending school at USC, I enjoyed the opportunity of meeting tons of stars, actors, musicians, writers of note during that period. Of course, I took full advantage of it and met as many of them as possible.
Believe it or not, they made it easy for me, during that period, and invited me for lunch or dinner. Many of them insisted that I accept invitations to a party attended by some rather powerful industry people, so, I was rather lucky in that respect, that’s for sure. When meeting a rather cute, soft-spoken, giggly little blond actress who introduced herself as Norma Jean, I thought immediately she was an extra because her voice was rather light, soft and she giggled at nearly every breath.
When she found I was working on my first film “Carmen Jones,” she was extremely interested, even insisted on taking me to lunch in the commissary. Of course, I agreed, and off we went. When entering the commissary, all the heads turned to the entrance watching Norma and me. Naturally, I believed they were looking at me, after all, I had received much attention in Hedda Hopper’s column and even photos in the Los Angeles Times. In other words, I thought I was the object of everybody’s interest at that moment. My phony attitude of importance would have my grandma back in Morton, Pennsylvania gave me a slap on the head to get real again.
Norma and I talked about my very close friend James Dean, Bette Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, she raved about her voice and even had some very funny loving things to say about Pearl Bailey. When I explained my problems with Otto Preminger, the director-producer of the film I was being introduced in, she let out with an outrageous laugh. She knew what I was talking about because she had experiences with him herself. However, Norma didn’t tell me how she was involved with the director of horror. By the end of the lunch, however, I was completely impressed with the blond girl without a speck of makeup.
When she left our table, suggesting that I should try and see if Monroe was back in her trailer, I smiled and said it was a good idea. Now on her exit from the commissary, all the attention given when Norma was with me, suddenly died. I quickly thought of how fast fame disappears. On my way back to the set where a few other friends were working in film “There’s No Business Like Showbusiness,” I decided to check to see if Marilyn Monroe had returned from lunch; when approaching her trailer, I heard loud laughter and as I got closer, I noticed singer Johnny Ray sitting on the trailer steps of Monroe talking a bit loud.
So, I rushed up to the door and as soon as Marilyn spotted me she pointed and said, “There he is, Michael my friend I was telling you about!” I stood there in total shock, viewing a makeup woman turn Norma into the Marilyn Monroe the world was learning to love.
We became rather good friends after that first time at Fox; whenever she came to town, there was always a message to connect. When she finally married writer, Arthur Miller, she made sure we met when appearing with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis on the Samuel Goldwyn lot. He seemed a bit surprised at our close relationship, but managed to survive.
New faces arrive in Tinseltown from all over the world! It is always very special when new faces are introduced to the world of motion pictures, TV, and now, of course, Cable networks. When introduced to Russian actress, Katerina , it was quite a thrill. First of all, she spoke English better than most native Americans. She, already, co-starred in a horror film shot in New York, and in a few months will take a challenging role in another film.
Chris Barone, who is from Boston had been spending time working in Las Vegas, is being considered for a key role where he will be required to bring the personality of James Dean back to life in front of the camera. Kamel, the young talented actor-rapper from Oran, is being groomed for a key role in sitcom “Hillside Manor” starring Ruta Lee and Debra Wilson. Even though the “Coronavirus” has put a stop on film production right across the board in the industry, directors, producers from the theatre as well as film companies are busy exchanging ideas and plans concerning respective shows. All of this proving again that the show must go on!
It is extremely exciting when receiving news and videos introducing new and fresh music talent from all over the country, for example, they’re receiving a video of Julliard student Ross Johnson, an extremely gifted cellist, is an obvious star of tomorrow; listening to him perform gives one a feeling of being very special. Yes, we are living through some extremely challenging times, but it hasn’t circumvented an explosion of new music genius or outrageously gifted new people deserving of applause from those who continue to believe, and dream of a world full of hope.
By the way, congrats to the Obamas on their deal with Netflix to produce stories and issues that interest them and their millions of followers and supporters all over the world.
We applaud Jennifer Lewis who has in New York City humming with all sorts of new creative ideas, whether it is music, art, theatre or senior citizens who are using so-called returned, re-embrace their God-given talents and open the doors of information for younger people who are struggling to find their way of happiness as well as fulfillment.
So proud of actor, model, and talented cameraman Chris Cavalier who has returned to Hollywood, getting ready for assignment in several film projects. He and wife Judy, son, Quan recently welcomed little Bella who will, no doubt, be before the camera before we know it. HEY, that’s the way it is in Tinsel Town. HELLO!