By Tom Morrow
Back in 1984, I interviewed Oscar-winning actor Jack Lemmon for a “Some Like It Hot” party at the Hotel del Coronado where I was vice president of communications. During the interview, legendary film director Billy Wilder’s name came up.
Wilder, who was like a father to Lemmon, was a master of all that interested him, especially art. Lemmon recalled one experience he had with Wilder regarding art.
“Billy called me at home on evening telling me he wanted me to take him to a gallery for a private viewing. Of course, I jumped at the chance just to spend a few minutes with him,” said Lemmon. “I don’t think I’ve ever not spent an interesting time with him.”
After arriving at the gallery, Wilder was browsing through the aisles of paintings. Suddenly he stopped, turned to Lemmon and said, “Buy that one,” then he moved on.
“Well, I certainly didn’t like the painting,” Lemmon said. “I thought it was uninspiring – even ugly, but I forked out the $1,000 price tag because Billy said to do it.”
Lemmon said when he got home he stuck the painting in the back of a closet and forgot it.
“About 8 years later, the curator of that gallery called me, asking if I still had that painting,” Lemmon said. “From the sound of his voice, I could detect an offer coming my way.”
“Would you be interested in selling the painting,” the voice on the phone asked.
“Gee, I don’t know, it’s one of my favorite pieces,” Lemmon said, calling upon his wealth of voice acting skills.
“Well, I’ll give you $10,000 for it,” the curator offered.
Lemmon said he could barely contain himself, then he switched on his reluctant voice.
“Well, I suppose I could let it go if you really want it,” Lemmon said.
The deal was set, Lemmon delivered the painting and collected his $9,000 profit.
“Now, how in the hell did Billy know that painting would end up being valuable?” Lemmon said, shaking his head. “The man is a master at knowing what’s good and what’s not.”
A month or so later, I spent the weekend with Lemmon and Wilder for the time of my life. Lemmon was right. Billy Wilder, indeed, was a master at all that interested him and a few things that didn’t.
TOO PONDER — After the London ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist attack, government officials have arrested at least eight other ‘Lone Wolves’ who had conspired with the original ‘Lone Wolf’ in planning the ‘Lone Wolf’ attack. Even though all involved are Muslims, you can be assured, the ‘Lone Wolf’ attack had nothing at all to do with Islam, just like the other 1000 plus ‘Lone Wolf’ attacks by Muslims, are completely un-associated with Islam.
GROANER — A movie producer was planning his next blockbuster — an action docudrama about famous composers, so he set up a meeting with such noted icons as Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger, offering each a chance to select which famous musicians they’d like to portray.
“I’ve always admired Mozart,” Stallone said. “I’d love to play him.”
“Chopin has always been my favorite,” said Van Damme. “That’s the part for me.”
The producer turned to Schwarzenegger. “And you, Arnold? Who do you want to
be?” There was a long silence, then Arnold replied, “I’ll be Bach.”
KID SCIENCE — “To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube”
COWBOY ADVICE — There’s two theories to arguin’ with a woman — neither one works. –Will Rogers
Check out the mummified bodies popping out of the walls as two Oceanside detectives try to catch the culprit. Find out “Who Dun It” in Tom Morrow’s “Haunted Bones” each week in Sunday’s Serial.