SO even as I sorrow over the things in my life that haven't worked out, I heave an enormous sigh over the things that haven't that ended up being escapes: first among them, Frank Loesser. To me he seemed, and was at the time, the greatest American songwriter after Irving Berlin, whose birthday I had. And standing in front of Frank at MCA, all those years ago, hearing him say: "Kid, you're the biggest talent since me," I imagined my career was underway, along with my first great love affair. Understand that this was literally the virgin romance, my having bedded down only once or twice, and those disappointingly, although how I could have been disappointed when I had no idea what to expect is beyond me. Richard Lester, who was to go on to direct the first Beatles movie after having taken advantage of everyone there was to take advantage of in Torremolinos, on leaving my friend the McGiverns, took me to bed and told me "I'll close my eyes and try to pretend it's someone I like." A real sweetheart. Only one other guy, sort of, took me on, and he said in Spanish to his housemate, not knowing I would understand, that "this will end all talk of our being gay." Not a happy beginning to what ended up being a fairly fine sex life for as long as it lasted. My sweet and handsome and big and muscular husband got better as it went along and he realized holding on to me was going to be a challenge, and he rose to it for the brief time he had left.
I had the gift of a true friendship with Cary Grant, for which the romantic soul, of which I am certainly one, has to be truly grateful, and Gregory Peck took me as his date to an evening, seated, at the American Embassy in Paris, --one could ask no more unless it involved fucking. I no longer believe in an Afterlife or a contin- uuum (is that how you spell it?) so I guess I have had as much as I am going to get and should be grateful simply that I am still alive and not a Republican.
Now I have simply to begin recounting all the notable people I have known while there are still some people who might read this who can remember them, first among whom would have to be Gene Kelly, who was my dancing teacher in Pittsburgh, both our place of origin, and to which he returned before his burst into stardom, in time to throw me the length of the room when I was two, telling me I would never be a dancer. At the time, this seemed a tragic appraisal, as I had won the 'prettiest girl baby in Pittsburgh' contest, and I assume my mother was looking for a career for one of us. As noted elsewhere, when I went to my first Hollywood party, Gene Kelly said when I told him I was from Pittsburgh : "Really, kid?" and would have again, I bet, thrown me the length of the room except he walked away before engaging my hand. Eight days later he took on my screenplay of Mrs. Midas, which became "What a Way to Go," still pretty much my only real Hollywood credit. So that which I believed I truly hungered for, a career as a Hollywood writer(I was clever and prolific) was never truly achieved. No regrets, though. I have had a fuller and certainly longer life than most people, and am living in Southern Cal when it's going to be seven degrees in New York this weekend. Comfort counts.