Husbands and Wives
• Actress Pia Zadora was very young when she married Meshulam “Rik” Riklis, a much older, very wealthy man. When she became pregnant, he was very happy and joked to her, “Now you’ll have somebody your own age to play with.”
• Don’t mispronounce the names of people who have sharp tongues. Hollywood actress Jean Harlow once approached the wife of the Prime Minister of England, and said, “Why, you must be Margot Asquith,” mispronouncing her name by pronouncing the ‘t’ in “Margot.” Ms. Asquith replied, “No, my dear, the ‘t’ is silent, as in ‘Harlow.’”
• Groucho Marx was known for his ability to insult people. This did have a disadvantage. Dick Cavett says that Groucho once complained that he couldn’t insult anyone anymore. Some people he wanted to insult, but when he insulted them, they laughed, and then they told other people, “Did you hear what Groucho just said to me?”
• When Hispanic actor Antonio Banderas first came to the United States to make movies, he did not speak English, although he was good at making English speakers think that he spoke English. When he met Arne Glimcher, who was to direct him in The Mambo Kings, he kept slapping him on the back, grabbing his arm and laughing, and saying a few English words such as “oh, yeah,” “of course,” and “right, right.” Eventually, Mr. Glimcher said to him, “You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?” Mr. Banderas responded by smiling and laughing. That was when Mr. Glimcher knew that he was in the presence of the actor he wanted to star in his movie. (Mr. Banderas did learn English for real and very quickly — he studied it eight hours a day so he could speak English in The Mambo Kings.)
• Actor Eli Wallach attempted to learn French by watching French films. During World War II, he had dinner with a free French family in Casablanca. After dinner, the family’s child was sent off to bed, so Mr. Wallach said to the child a few words that he had learned from a movie. To his horror, he learned that instead of saying “Kiss me good night,” as he had intended, he had said, “Sleep with me.”
• While making the B horror movie Evil Dead in rural Tennessee, actor Bruce Campbell was frequently covered in fake blood made in part from Karo Syrup. Sometimes, he would film all night, get in the back of a pickup truck while still covered in “blood,” then pass spit-polished families going to church. He always smiled, waved, and pretended that everything was absolutely normal.
• Comedian Robin Williams dressed in drag when the character he was playing in Mrs. Doubtfire disguised himself as an elderly nanny. The disguise was very effective. While filming in North Beach, California, Mr. Williams — dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire — stopped at a newsstand and looked through Playboy. A college student saw him and told a friend, “That old lady sure is hip, man.”
• Debbie Reynolds starred in many musicals as a dancer and singer. It’s not always a glamorous job — dancers sweat a lot and sometimes have to yell for pits makeup. When that happens, the dancer raises her arms in the air, and the makeup person mops up the sweat and powders the dancer’s armpits.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Movies — Buy