Thursday, October 15, 2015

Putting on a good face

Spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral. 12:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, October 15, 2015.  A beautiful day, yesterday in New York, although the traffic was a mess midtown and there were heavy dark storm clouds all around. But no rain, with temps last night moving in to the 40s. Brrrr; but not quite.

It was Wednesday. I went to Michael’s to lunch with Rosina Rucci. Many New Yorkers know her as the sister who for many years ran the studio for her brother, international designer Ralph Rucci. Rosina lives in Philadelphia. She came up to New York just to have lunch. It had been many months since we’d lunched together.
DPC and Rosina Rucci at Michael's.
Michael's List, 10/14

• Lisa Linden with
Hanna Arnold
• Richard Farley with
Paul Hasteings
• Tab Hunter with
Maria Cooper Janis and
Allan Glaser
• Jerry Moss with
Eugene Linden
• Euan Rellie
• Micky Ateyeh
• Elizabeth Belfer
• Jason Binn
• Joan Gelman with
Robert Zimmerman
• Diane Clehane
• Laurie Haspel Aronson
• Dr. Gerry Imber
• Jerry Della Femina
• Michael Kramer
• Joan Jakobson
• Jesse Kornbluth with
Wendy Goldberg
When I arrived the place was jumping as usual and I had an assignment. A longtime loyal reader from Atlanta sent me a message a couple of weeks ago when I published a video of the winds in the trees off my terrace. He suggested I take a video of Michael’s on a Wednesday to see what that was like.

Michael's List, con't

• Marshall Cohen
• Dan Lufkin with
Hugh Freund
• Jaqui Safra
• Stan Shuman
• Peggy Siegal
• Andrew Stein with
Judith Miller
• David Stern
• Jonathan Wald
• Adam Emmerich
• Peter Price
• David Schiff
• Jared Zerman
• Anne Hearst McInerney
• Dave Johnson
• Marty Pompadur
• Leesa Rowland
• Rosina Rucci
• Stewart Manger
• Dr. Alice Pisciotto
• Norah Lawlor with
Shana Schlossberg
So when I sat down yesterday, excusing myself with Rosina, I pulled out the camera to take a quick vid of the room. The point was – from me – to get a sense of the sound and the color and people in the room. My table is located just at the entrance to the front dining room. It is a very favorable table for a reporter because I literally can see everyone coming and going (if I’m paying attention).

The camera view from this table, however, catches only a quarter (the front) of the space which stretches back considerably to a wall of glass surrounded by a garden courtyard of an apartment complex built by the Rockefellers (Nelson, I think) in the 1940s. It’s a very bright room for a New York restaurant. But with Michael’s art collection, it has a very California light and fresh feeling to it.

So I sat down at table and told Rosina what I was doing (that would take me a minute). I turned on the camera and just as I did, I noticed in the camera walking into the space I was video-ing, Maria Cooper Janis coming across the room in my direction. I kept the camera on until, as you will see, I stopped to see what she came for.
It was because she was lunching with Tab Hunter and Allan Glaser, who produced Tab’s documentary “Tab Hunter Confidential” which Liz Smith wrote about in her column yesterday. Maria wanted to know if I wanted to take a picture of Tab who is here in town publicizing the film.

Of course. So I excused myself from Rosina (again) who had been waiting patiently when I was twenty minutes late, and I went over and met Mr. Hunter and Mr. Glaser. The thing is this. When you meet a famous movie star – and I mean famous to you, according to your generation – it is an odd pleasure, a kind of thrill and at the same time ... they’re just another human being like you and me. So you’re left with the kind of impression you get.
Allan Glaser, Maria Cooper Janis, and Tab Hunter.
The impression you get from Tab Hunter is nice man. With the same handsome, young man presence he had on the screen. He stood up to greet me, like a gentleman, to shake my hand. I told him we had a mutual acquaintance/friend from Santa Barbara, where he lives. Then I told him I was there to take his picture to publicize his film. He understood, sat down, and was camera ready.

I learned from my extensive experience with Debbie Reynolds writing her autobiography, that her and Tab’s generation of movie actors were highly disciplined in their relationship to the public. ALWAYS put on a good face, look good, and act courteously. Not all of the stars were able to achieve that and although that was their right, once around them, all you wanted to do was get away. Those who could achieve that were generally nice people anyway. Tab Hunter is a gent. It’s a corny thing to say but at 84 he still maintains that personable persona that made him a big star as a young man on the screen sixty years ago.

Contact DPC here.