Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy once came to Trattoria Dell’Arte for dinner. It was the first and only time I saw them there. So, to woo them, we gave them one of our best tables (#52), usually reserved for our regulars and ultra-special celebrities.
Cronyn was a Canadian-born actor who had distinguished himself over a seven-decade career playing versatile roles in such films as Shadow of a Doubt (1943), The Green Years (1946), The Seventh Cross (1944), Cleopatra (1963), The Gin Game (1977), Foxfire (1982), and the megahit, Cocoon (1985). British-born Tandy appeared in over 100 stage productions and some 60 TV and film roles. At 80, she became the oldest actress to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Driving Miss Daisy (1989). But it was as the “First Couple of the American Theatre” that they became most well known, as they appeared in numerous stage productions together. Their marriage lasted 52 years, until Tandy’s death in 1994.
They were really a delightful couple and very cordial to me. Hume had his unlit pipe in his mouth while reading the menu, and Jessica looked like the regal woman that she actually was. But on this particular night, their adult daughter, Tandy, joined them for dinner. At one point, during the course of the evening, she started sobbing uncontrollably. She sounded like a small kitten wailing.
I passed by their table nonchalantly to see what was happening, but save for their daughter, Hume and Jessica were keeping up appearances as if nothing was happening. As soon as I passed their table, then they would lean into their daughter even more. Jessica said something to the effect, “Now, young lady, you listen to your father and I don’t want to hear another word from you. Do you hear me?”
Man, this was awkward to see and hear, especially since they were seated in the main dining room while others were in earshot. At one point, their daughter left prematurely, and Hume and Jessica continued enjoying their meal as if nothing had happened. It looked like they were playing one of their movie roles, for which I had a front-row seat.
Former restauranteur, musician, concert promoter, producer, publisher, manager, and impresario, Charles Carlini has synthesized these roles to become a dynamic force in the music industry–noted for his ability to bring diverse talent together to create innovative concerts and recordings that reach and move music-lovers everywhere.