Many many years ago this was a most important day for me, as it undoubtedly was for Liza. She came at midnight to my hotel room in Mexico, where I was visiting her as she made 'LUCKY LADY', seemingly certain to be the biggest hit of the coming season, as she was the biggest coming star. Actually, she was a major star already, as Elizabeth Taylor's star was fading, faded, really, and it was at Elizabeth's Beverly Hills party, to which I had been invited, being, for the moment one of Elizabeth's truest, seemingly best friends, that Liza had blown in, borderline anxious as she always was, and headed straight for me.
Don was still very much alive, young and handsome, and as always ready and available to help me with my writing, which we both assumed was going to make me into a true figure for our time, as nobody had a better eye or a crisper tongue. He had just come back from the library downtown where he'd found the article about the man killed in Arizona, I think it was, probably by Burt Reynolds, who was good at protecting ladies, especially after hours. I was in the midst of trying to make a career as a serious writer in Filmville, and this was a real story that had not been seriously focussed on except maybe in one of the magazines that was trying to present itself as serious even when it published pieces about Hollywood murders. Everybody involved in this one had doubtless been paid off, the story had mostly disappeared, and Don was such a Good Guy-- I give it caps because that was what he deserved, probably in lights--that he had gone to the library to get all the information available. When he came back we went to Elizabeth's party, where Liza, not really someone I was at all close to, made a beeline for me as though I were her truest and best friend, and said to me that she was going to Mexico to make this movie Lucky Lady with Burt Reynolds and she didn't know anyone working on it, and would I go with her.
I was, at the time, very much into the mysterious, and this seemed divinely choreographed. So it was that I went and got into a dark and shallowly deep adventure that I will probably remember and recount in detail on my deathbed,-- I believe the village was Fuengirola. Places have begun to vague up, or down. But I do remember that the venal jerk producing it was excited that I was along, and said maybe I could write about it for the New York Times, as I still had some prestige as a writer. But when everything started going wrong with the movie, camera boats and spirits sinking, he was afraid I was going to write about it, and tried to have me arrested or killed or run out of town, whatever he could manage, except that my father was the mayor of Tucson and his bank was helping finance the movie. Oh, what a life I have had, if only I had amounted to something.
Also the movie was to have co-starred George Segal, the crush of my college years, at Haverford while I was at Bryn Mawr, our having been talented together in shows and my having kissed him once Junior Year as we looked down at the hockey field, thinking that was great love. I had been fat, and fasted all that following summer to win his heart or maybe more accurately his penis, only to come back to find out he had transferred to Columbia, when I'd gone upstairs and gained back all forty pounds.
Now, in Mexico, George had dropped out of Lucky Lady, so it was another ten or twelve or maybe twenty years until I ran into him again and he had really become a shit, though maybe that's what he really was all along. But I saw him last night in Virginia Woolf and he really had been good-looking as well as gifted, so maybe I wasn't as crazy as it seemed. It must be hard on him having become as old man unappealing as he has, though maybe he's grateful just to be still alive.
Anyway, it's Liza's birthday, and I am remembering her coming to my room that midnight counseling me not to be foolish about my family, and her sounding absolutely wise for the only time I can remember her sounding so, as I was tilted over movies and movie stars. I hope she is all right, though I understand that she herself is genuinely on a slant.
Life. It isn't the way it seemed in the magazines.
P.S. To be accurate, her birthday is the 12th, if she is still around next year and you want to send her a card.