GETTING pissed with SEAN and MICHAEL (Hollywood Memory)
The year is 1983.
Two new James Bond films are slated for release, one of which will star the one, the only, SEAN CONNERY, while the other one sports Jolly Roger Moore.
Never Say Never Again VS Octopussy, and I am one of the original James Bond fanatics--so, how can I possibly miss out on the opportunity to attend the WORLD PREMIERE of Connery’s flick? The premiere was to be held at the Mann National theater in Westwood California.
Was I excited or what?!
Tickets were impossible to obtain--UNLESS--you had contacts in “the Biz” and fortunately for me, I did. I was friends with a celebrity photographer at the time, Dick Zimmerman, and he owed me a favor. Zimmerman, a Scientologist, shot top celebs for magazine covers and publicity events. He was invited to everything, of course.
Terry: “Dick, let me get right to the point without pretext: I need 2 tickets to Never Say Never. Can you get them for me?”
Zimmerman: “No. Everybody who's anybody will show up. Even people who used to be somebody will show up. Hell, people who nobody has heard of in years will want tickets. So, I’m sorry--I can’t help you. I’m using my tickets for myself.”
Terry: “Dick--do I have to say the magic words?”
Zimmerman: “What--what magic words?”
Terry: “You know.”
Zimmerman: “What the fuck are you talking about? What are these magic words?”
Terry: “Okay. You have left me no choice. YOU OWE ME.”
Terry: “So, when can I pick them up?”
Zimmerman: (Pouting) “Tomorrow at noon at my studio. Bastard!”
Terry: “Thank you, Dickie-bird!”
Zimmerman: “Fuck you.”
Now I know you are curious. So here it is. I was friends with set decorators from MGM Studios and I came up with the idea of putting Zimmerman together with the set decorators for the purpose of using Zimmerman’s photography studio (a fabulous location) for shooting TV and feature films. The studio was in close proximity to MGM and Zimmerman would pick up $$ (covertly paid without tax liability) for the use of his location after hours. A sweet deal for both parties.
What did I get out of it? Well, if you are paying attention: TICKETS to the world premiere of Never Say Never Again with Sean Connery!
I was living in Redondo Beach, California at the time in a condominium not all that far from the ocean. I mean, if you went out on the sundeck, squinted your eyes, craned your neck around the side of the condo, and the light was j-u-s-t right, you could glimpse the Pacific Ocean. Sort of. Pretty neat, eh? I told my (then) wife, Jadzia (Yah-jah) “Wear something very ‘Hollywood’ because we’re going to a Premiere!” She had something slinky and gorgeous, of course, and off we zoomed in the FIAT convertible (top down) for the dream event of my lifetime!
Zimmerman was right!
Every breathing Hollywood relic appeared for the klieg lights, cameras and Entertainment Tonight stroll by microphone interviews. Some of these old stars, up close, didn’t appear to be human--so much make-up and face-lift engineering had gone into their facade of glamor.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, for example. When the lights hit her cheeks, they gleamed like the leather on a tuck n’ roll seat cover in an old Rolls Royce. She wore a red silk sort of Chinese thingy and her diamond earrings dangled like chandeliers from the Paris Opera.
Dudley Moore appeared bedazzled by the hubbub, standing next to his 6 ft. tall blonde date, Susan Anton (who did all the talking).
The question of the night: “When have you said 'Never Again?"
Susan Anton: (Nodding toward little Dudley) “I said I’d never go out with HIM again.”
Zsa Zsa: “I said I’d never again divorce!” (She had 9 husbands!)
Robert Culp: “I said I’d never do I SPY again.” (He later said he would and then changed his mind)
Neil Simon: “I have never said never. Well, just once. No, I never have.”
Larry Hagman: (Gesturing toward his wife, Maj, next to him). “I said I’d never get a divorce and we’ve been married 29 years.”
Michael Caine: “I said I’d never again go to a movie premiere...and here I am.”
Yes, movie premieres are silly but fantastic fun!
This one was a charity event for the WCIL (Westside Community for Independent Living).
My wife Jadzia and I arrived early so we’d nab great seats.
My coerced Zimmerman tickets were in the V.I.P. section, as it turned out.
We didn’t have to worry about reserving a good spot.
We elected to stand just inside the front entrance rather than outside on the sidewalk with all the chaos and commotions. The celebrities would perforce enter directly in front of us!
Co-star Barbara Carrera is the epitome of stunning in her red dress and sleek black hair and flashing eyes. And yet--my eyes were riveted on Sean and Michael! As they walk past us, I fell in behind as close as I could without looking like an idiot.
I felt a tug at my elbow--my wife had clutched my arm and yanked me backward.
“Don’t abandon me like that--it’s rude!”
Well--oops. I did have a pretty good excuse. How often would I find myself standing next to Sean Connery and Michael Caine? (The answer to that is contained in the title to this story.)
The two of us were starving. I elected to buy a large container of buttery popcorn. We stood rooted near the entrance, munching away as half of Hollywood's elite traipsed past us--staring at the popcorn with envious eyes, I might add.
What happened next, is just plain nuts.
Red-haired Rhonda Fleming (carefully preserved at the age of 60) marched up to my wife and with her flouncy out-of-date evening gown and teased hair confronting us directly with hands on hips.
Rhonda: “You aren’t allowed to eat down here during the ceremony.”
Terry: “Hi, Rhonda.”
Rhonda: “Did you hear me? Eating is unseemly.”
Terry: “What was that 3-D movie you were in 30 years ago? Those Redheads From Seattle ?”
Rhonda: “You’ve been warned!”
Terry: “Thanks for stopping by.”
No--I don’t have the slightest idea what THAT was all about or who died and made her Empress of the Premiere.
In no time at all the signal was sounded for the throngs of worshippers and elite to take their seats. Bearing V.I.P. tickets we were shown to our seats. I almost died when I saw who was seated behind us: we were seated directly in front of Mr. and Mrs. Sean Connery and his best buddy, Michael Caine!!
I swear I just about lost it. I’m not a fanboy...not usually. I’ve seen or met plenty of actors and actresses. However--you have to cut me some slack here. This was JAMES BOND!
The lights dimmed. Cue the projector. We’re off to the movies!!
About halfway through the film, I needed to pee. I mean BIG TIME!
I held it as long as I could--then arose and sauntered up to the aisle and out the door searching for a restroom. An usher was standing close by.
“Sir--the V.I.P. restroom is up to the stairs in the private room to the right.
Well awwww ri-i-i-i-ight!
I leaped like a gazelle upward on the stairs skipping two at a time until I found the private door.
I swung it open and found three lovely urinals lined up on the other side of a lavish gold and marble bathroom with subdued lighting.
I took my spot directly in the center urinal and reached for my zipper at just about the exact moment I heard the door behind me opening.
The voices of the 2 men who entered were absolutely unmistakable!
SEAN and MICHAEL!
Here I am, my plumbing in my hand, Sean Connery on my left and Michael Caine on my right--and they are CONVERSING with me in the center!
Not only could I NOT release the contents of my bladder...I was almost losing consciousness!
I haven’t a clue what either of them said to each other or how long I stood there producing nothing but memories!
Yet--there you have it--not only my brush with fame...but my flush with fame.
As Hollywood memories go--this may be my favorite!!
(Dick Zimmerman created portraits for Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson's "Thriller", John Travolta and was personally commissioned by Salvador Dali to create his 50th wedding anniversary portrait with his wife, Gala)