I am a talent groupie. You might as well know that about me. Not a Hollywood groupie, a talent groupie.
By which I mean I respect talent more than anything. I have known many very famous people. I liked some of them, some of them I didn't. I didn't like them because they were famous.
My Dudley, Dudley Moore, I loved him dearly. He was famous, yes, but such a talented man. A great musician. Wonderful comedian, actor. And a good man. A very good man.
I have known many Hollywood legends and have not liked many of them. Cecil B. DeMille I did not like. He was a very strange man.
I had a very small part in his film Samson and Delilah. You can see me in the movie. I am standing behind Hedy Lamarr and they put this wig on me with blonde curls that made me look like a cocker spaniel.
There were 300 extras in this scene, who had to start running when Samson pulled down the temple. I asked DeMille if we could have a rehearsal, because all these extras were running by and I didn't want to be trampled. But he refused, and he did the scene. And as you know, anytime you fear anything, that is when it happens. I did get trampled. And I got hurt. It was terrible. I went home and never came back and that was the end of my acting career.
DeMille was Hollywood. He was a concept. He was an ugly, bald man in riding britches with a whip. He wanted terror, he wanted confusion.
I knew Sinatra. People think many things of him. But he could be a very generous, very good man. He saved Lee J. Cobb's life. Lee and his wife Mary were dear friends of mine. Lee had a series of heart attacks and couldn't recuperate. It was a bad time for him, after the Unamerican thing.
He became very ill, and was nearly broke. Sinatra got him an apartment, a gorgeous apartment, on Fountain Avenue in Hollywood. With a house boy! And Lee gradually got better.
Years go by. I was reunited with my David. [The late actor David Wayne]. And he was dying. Of lung cancer. I wrote another letter to Sinatra. I wrote, "Our David is dying. Write him a letter to show him all the wonderful things he thought about you his whole life are true."
And he did. Makes me cry. It was a wonderful letter. I can remember it:
"Hey Buddy, Wilbur is still going strong --" Wilbur probably the name for the genitals -- "and I'm glad you're going well, and glad you got Else back."
He wrote wonderful stuff. And I know he did terrible things, but he did wonderful things, too. This is certifiable. I still have that letter.
Chaplin. He was the most famous man in the world at one time. There was no awe in meeting Chaplin. He was the most egomaniacal man I have ever met. I went to a party. He was there with [his wife] Oona. She was very pregnant. Charlie was telling story after story, and wonderfully acting them out. And Oona kept saying, "Charlie, I need to go home." And he kept telling stories.
I felt sorry for Oona, more sorry than I was entertained by Charlie Chaplin.
It's still the same. You might be famous, world-famous even, but what kind of person are you really? That's what matters to me. I admire talent, and I admire goodness. Not saints, mind you! We're human, after all. But be a good human, that's all.