• When Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet first came out, Ohio University Shakespeare scholar Samuel Crowl saw it at his local cineplex, where he was surprised by the number of teenyboppers who had come to see Leonardo DiCaprio play Romeo. When Mr. DiCaprio’s Romeo and Claire Danes’ Juliet first met, a young DiCaprio fan sitting behind Professor Crowl whispered, “Don’t touch him, you b*tch.”
• Gerard Depardieu once met a couple in a Parisian hotel, where the hotel manager was immensely impressed by such a famous guest. He came over to the table of three, asked Mr. Depardieu what he wanted to order to drink, received the order — a glass of red wine — then rushed off to fill the order, completely ignoring the other two people at the table.
• Late in Peter Lorre’s career, after he had begun to make bad films, a fan wrote him, “I would love to be tortured by you.” Mr. Lorre wrote back, “You have been tortured enough by going to my pictures.”
• Professional golfer Peter Jacobsen once played at a tournament with actor Clint Eastwood, and he brought his father along so he could be impressed. Unfortunately, his father did not recognize Mr. Eastwood — something that tickled one of the most famous actors (and directors) in the world. Mr. Eastwood mentioned a number of movies he had made, including the spaghetti westerns and the Dirty Harry movies, but Mr. Jacobsen’s father had not seen those movies. Eventually, Mr. Eastwood mentioned that early in his career he had been in Rawhide, and Mr. Jacobsen’s father said, “Oh, yeah. You were Rowdy …. I loved that show.” Mr. Jacobsen’s father started calling Mr. Eastwood “Rowdy,” and the two men got along very well indeed.
• Jack Benny, a Jewish comedian, made a film titled To Be or Not to Be, in which he wore a Nazi uniform and said such dialogue as “Heil Hitler.” Mr. Benny’s father saw the beginning of the film, then walked out and refused to speak to his son on the telephone for a long time, saying that Jack was no longer his son. Finally, Mr. Benny was able to speak to his father and explain that he had been misled by the beginning of the film — if his father would see all of the film, he would know that the character was actually fighting against the Nazis, not for them. Mr. Benny’s father returned to the movie theater and saw all of the film — a total of 46 times.
• As a boy, Lou Costello and his brother once played hooky from school, so they could see a Western at the local movie theater. When the movie ended, they discovered that their father, who also loved Westerns, was sitting behind them. Later in life, Mr. Costello made Universal Pictures hire his father as consultant to The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap, an Abbott and Costello comedy Western.
• When André Previn was working on the set of Porgy and Bess, he ran into a studio security officer who didn’t recognize him. One day, Mr. Previn took a break and brought back tea and doughnuts for the other people working on the movie. The security officer told him that it was a closed set, but let him in after asking if the set was expecting a delivery of tea and doughnuts. After that, the only way Mr. Previn could get past this security officer was to bring in tea and doughnuts. One day, Mr. Previn was on the podium conducting the orchestra when the security officer came in, looked at him, and said, “Sonny, get the hell off the podium — the conductor’s liable to be here any minute.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Movies — Buy