Wednesday, March 23, 2011

His old flame

I feel bad that Leonard Pennario's old flame Elizabeth Taylor died. Well, I use the term "old flame" loosely. They did not date for all that long. But the circumstances of this interlude, and where they went and what they did, and the hoops he had to jump through to make it happen, were memorable.

Of course I would not have been able to get her on the phone anyway. It is not as if I did not try. I got a hold of the press secretary at some point -- a feat in itself -- and then I did whatever I was supposed to do, fax an official request, or something. I went through the requisite trouble. I never heard back.

Movie stars are a real problem. In classical music, in my experience, no one is out of reach. The greatest pianists, the greatest violinists, it is amazing how easy it is to get a hold of them, and they will talk to you. Even conductors -- they can be a little dicier to nail but once you talk with them they are usually wonderful people.

But oh, movie stars are a different world. It is a challenge even to find who represents them. I do not know my way around that world. Once you do find that out, your answer is usually, to quote my eloquent friend Gary, "Well, that's not going to happen."

It is OK. It is of no moment. Isn't that a wonderful phrase, "It is of no moment"? I got it from "The Three Musketeers."

I got to ask Pennario, "Leonard, when you went out with Elizabeth Taylor, did you kiss her?"

That is not a question you would be asking some boring pianist. Like .... oh wait. I cannot name names! For Lent I am giving up throwing rocks at other pianists.

Ask me after Easter.

Meanwhile I am thinking about my own Elizabeth Taylor memories. She was one of the world's most beautiful women and it was a treat that she was among us for so long.

I have to say too that I admire her for growing old and getting fat and going through unfortunate fashion phases and personal phases, all in the public eye. People like Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana got off easy, dying young.

I remember when Liz married Larry Fortensky, in 1991 (I just looked it up). I was working nights at the Niagara Gazette where we had a great time. We would laugh nonstop about everything. And our editorial page editor, Jerry Brydges, he pulled a picture of the newlyweds out of the picture printer and he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Fortensky."

And we were all rolling on the newsroom floor.

Dear Liz. Lucky for her, Jesus said that in heaven we will not be married or given in marriage the way we are on earth.

I think she will find things easier there.

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