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• In the mid-1960s, Dean Martin and his wife gave a black-tie anniversary party. Lots of people, including Frank Sinatra and other buddies and neighbors, came and enjoyed themselves, but at a little past 11 p.m. some police cars arrived and ordered everyone to be quiet. Mr. Sinatra was upset, and he asked a police officer to name the person who had called to complain. The police officer answered, “I’m not really at liberty to say,” but eventually he admitted that the call had come from inside the house. Mr. Sinatra then went to Mr. Martin’s bedroom, where he discovered the host of the party in pajamas and in bed, watching the evening news. Mr. Sinatra asked, “Did you call the cops on your own party?” Mr. Martin replied, “Hey, they ate, they drank. Let them go home. I gotta get up in the morning.” Mr. Sinatra said, admiringly, “You are one crazy bast*rd.” By the way, Mr. Martin was a member of Mr. Sinatra’s rat pack, but on his own terms. When he felt like partying, he partied. When he felt like going to bed early so he could play golf in the morning, he went to bed early. Once, before his married days, Mr. Martin felt like going to bed early, but when he did, he discovered that Mr. Sinatra had paid a working girl $1,000 to be naked in Mr. Martin’s bed. Mr. Martin wasn’t interested, so he paid her $2,000 to go back to Mr. Sinatra and tell him that he was fabulous in bed. On another occasion, Mr. Sinatra got into a fight while in a hotel room where Mr. Martin was watching TV. Mr. Martin said, “Hey, can you guys fight a little to the left? I’m having trouble seeing the picture.”
• For about 10 years, Roger Ebert lived in an attic apartment at 2437 N. Burling, finally moving after buying a coach house. Mr. Ebert loved the attic apartment, which he regarded as perfect and which he rented from Paul and Anna Dudak, whom he loved. When he moved, he had a house-warming party, which was attended by his friends Sherman Wolf and John McHugh, among others. At the party, Mr. Wolf told him, “Congratulations on your new house! You’ve worked hard and you deserve it. It’s a real step up from that pig-pen you used to live in.” Mr. Ebert replied, “Sherman, I don’t believe you’ve met my landlady from Burling Street, Mrs. Dudak.” Embarrassed, Mr. Wolf turned red and said, “Oh, my God! Oh, Mrs. Dudak, actually it was a very nice place, the rent was low, Roger was happy there, I was just trying to think of something nice to say to Roger.” Mrs. Dudak was polite and replied, “Now Sherman, don’t you apologize for a thing. It was time Roger found something better, and we’re happy for him.” Mr. Wolf then went outside on the deck, where he said to Mr. Wolf, “Oh God, John, I’m so embarrassed I could crawl into a hole. I just told Roger this place was a lot better than that pig-pen he used to live in, and who was standing right there but Mrs. Dudak!” Mr. McHugh then said to Mr. Wolf, “Sherman, I don’t believe you’ve ever met Mister Dudak, who is sitting right here next to me. And … Sherman? When Roger moved out of the pig-pen, I moved in.”
• Due to her years of drug abuse, actress/writer Mary Woronov, one of the stars of Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, has knowledge that ought to be forbidden to anyone. For salacious details, read her memoir Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory. One of the few funny things in her book of horror is a reference to eviction parties, in which a person being evicted from an apartment would invite destructive friends over for a party in which they would tear the apartment to pieces. She also recounts a brief acquaintance with a transvestite who wanted to send a photograph of himself in drag to his mother so she would know that he had turned out well and not trashy like some other drag queens. Ms. Woronov had a vision of an old lady opening the envelop, looking at the photograph, and then having a heart attack, but she advised the transvestite to go ahead and mail the photograph to his mother.
• President Theodore Roosevelt said, “I can do one of two things. I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.” Alice was his daughter, age 17 when he became President. She was a wild child. She had a green pet snake that she named Emily Spinach, and when the President forbade her to smoke in the White House, she climbed up on the roof and smoked there. After marrying Nicholas Longworth, she hosted many dinner parties, at which she seated next to each other sworn enemies. At age 90, she astonished guests at a Washington D.C. dinner party by sitting in the full lotus position and placing a boa constrictor across her shoulders. Alice knew herself. She said, “I just perform.” She added, “I give a good show.”
• Babe Ruth partied while he was a major-league baseball player—something that his coaches and managers did not care for. Ed Barrow, manager of the Boston Red Sox, sometimes stayed up during road trips so he would know what time his players came in and went to bed. Babe was usually the last one to come back to the hotel. Once, Mr. Barrow asked a porter to let him know when Babe came in. At 6 a.m., the porter woke him and said, “That fellow just came in.” Mr. Barrow went to Babe’s room. Babe was in bed, but Mr. Barrow pulled back the covers and saw that Babe was fully dressed, including his shoes.
• As a girl, ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq assisted at her parents’ cocktail parties by carrying around a big plate of hors d’oeuvre to offer guests. However, every so often—without her parents’ knowledge—she would disappear with the plate beneath a table and gorge herself with peanuts, sandwiches, potato chips, dips, olives, and anchovies.
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