Cocktails with Lauren Bacall…

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15 or 20 years ago, I was in New York chatting with a very dear friend and mentor, Schuyler Chapin, who was easily one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. I mentioned that I was going back to Boston the next day for an event being held at the Giorgio Armani boutique on Newbury St. and that Lauren Bacall was going to be there.

“Send Betty my love,” Schuyler said.

So the following evening, I went to the cocktail party, and I was introduced to Lauren Bacall.

“I think we have a friend in common,” I said, and when I told her who it was, she said, “We certainly do.” I’d clearly earned the stamp of approval, because she put her hand on my forearm and began talking, pretty oblivious to all the other people in the room. She was witty and salty and unbelievably charming, but I got the sense that small talk and cocktail parties weren’t really her thing. Now that she’d met someone with whom she shared a mutual friend, she seemed reluctant to let me go. Which would have been fine, except that there were at least three other journalists in the room who desperately wanted a photo of her and definitely didn’t want a reporter from a competing publication in the shot (a situation I’ve found myself in again). They didn’t have much choice, though.

Inevitably, someone interrupted us, and Lauren Bacall gave me a peck on the cheek and told me it was lovely to meet me in that unmistakable, unforgettable whiskey-sexy voice. And somewhere in the photo archives of the Boston Globe or the Boston Herald, there’s a picture of me with Lauren Bacall.

R.I.P., Betty. And please send Schuyler my best.

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My Moment With Robin Williams…

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A few years ago, I was in Los Angeles, sitting by the pool at a friend’s house, when someone mentioned that the semi-annual sale at Fred Segal was going on. We jumped into the car and high-tailed it over to my favorite place to shop in L.A.

As I approached a bin of sale items, my eyes immediately landed on a striped velour shirt that I simply had to have. The problem was: Robin Williams was looking it over.

I stood there, willing him not to buy it, thinking, “You can have any shirt you want!” And after a few agonizing moments, he put the shirt down and moved on.

I immediately pounced. The picture above is me wearing the shirt on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.

Despite having forgotten it that day, I’ve always known the truth that being rich and famous doesn’t mean you can have anything you want. But Robin Williams’ death is a stark reminder.

I hope he’s at peace.

 

 

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An Unedited Version of My Interview With Dr. Maya Angelou, April, 2007

May she rest in peace.

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Soroff/On Dr. Maya Angelou

 

World-renowned civil rights activist, poet, playwright, author, actor, composer, dancer, singer, director and producer Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the greatest public speakers of our time and will be appearing at the Boston Opera House on Thursday, May 31st. Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, MO, she grew up there and in Arkansas, where she attended school before furthering her education in California. read more

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