“As you grow older you grow lonely because your associates are no longer of your own generation. The companions of your youth are gone and the new generation speaks a language without an echo. Until finally the last and the best, the faithfullest, the wisest, the finest, most upright of all, are gone”.
from my mother's journal
Peter Finch suffered his fatal heart attack here on the red carpet leading from the parking lot to the foyer.
"There but for the grace of God"…said Russ, days before his own demise.
"The Tower" has seen many transformations. The dank smell of stale booze and smoke has vanished beneath a thousand coats of oatmeal colored paint. In the penthouse, framing a spectacular view, shiny glass glistens in the sun’s rays, and in the night, the city beckons with a million lights. The terrace wraps around the entire building. Truman Capote, Claudette Colbert, Errol Flynn and, of course, Montgomery Clift, among others, had all stood there and watched a thousand dusk fall.
The night before Russ was to return home, we had dinner with a group of Hollywood friends, at Dan Tana’s the old eccentric on Santa Monica. We were in great form, full of life, deeply anarchic, and of course, hysterically funny. We shared the Hollywood we all had loved. The other tables were sullen and speechless, lost in anesthetic by comparison. We on the other hand were raucous, tipsy, and overflowing with stories. Russ had an impressive narrative of “the juiciest skeletons in the choicest closets”. Opinions were aired and squashed. Entire careers were polished off in a sentence. Others were enhanced by some extraordinary revelation. Russ knew them all. It was a magical evening and we closed the restaurant.
Back at the Tower we stood on the terrace. The ghosts were all out on the streets of West Hollywood, shadows flitting through the air, rats watching from the palm trees. Somewhere down there, the next blockbuster was being written by a lonely tech geek hunched before a computer.
Strands of streetlights shimmered in the misty desert night, mile after mile, as unimaginable as the universe, and all of us up here on the terrace looked down in wonder. Truman, Claudette, the Duke, Errol, Monty, Russ, and I.
Now, one more ghost has joined the party.