A Beautiful and Brainy Woman

By | on Apr 4, 2021 | No Comments

Hedy Lamarr was one of the most glamorous Hollywood film stars of the 30s and 40s. She was born in Vienna, Austria, and rose to fame as one of MGM’s most well-known actresses, starring alongside actors like Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor, Charles Boyer, Spencer Tracy, and Clark Gable, as well as other leading males. But few ...

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The Candy Man Can

By | on Mar 31, 2021 | No Comments

Sammy Davis Jr. was the greatest entertainer I have ever seen perform live—bar none. Not only could Sammy act, sing, and dance, but he could also play the hell out of the drums, bass, piano, sax, trumpet, vibes, violin, and guitar. It was astonishing to witness this seeming sleight of hand. But this is what ...

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My Girl

By | on Mar 26, 2021 | No Comments

Raquel Welch was—and still is—one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. I had a crush on her since I was a boy and always enjoyed watching her films—even if most were flops—just to see her move across the screen. She had so much sex appeal that it oozed from her pores. She ...

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Rutger the Menace

By | on Mar 18, 2021 | No Comments

Rutger Hauer was the most menacing actor I have ever met. In the mid to late 80s, I was living on the Upper West Side in New York, in a brownstone owned by Alexander Smalls, who was known more as an opera singer then than the chef he is today. I shared the basement floor ...

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Not Just a Tough Guy

By | on Mar 14, 2021 | No Comments

One actor who made a great impression on me was Charles Bronson. He was the epitome of cool—terse, stoic, and macho. Bronson had carved out a successful career in Hollywood by playing heroic tough guys, but that success didn’t come until much later when he starred—at the age of 52!—in Death Wish (1974), which became ...

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Too Hot for Comfort

By | on Mar 13, 2021 | No Comments

Another one of my favorite actors was the great Richard Widmark. Yes, he of the 1940s film noir and gangster films. Widmark had made a career in Hollywood out of playing villains, especially the psychopathic killer in the 1947 gangster film Kiss of Death, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for best-supporting ...

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Smooth Operators

By | on Mar 12, 2021 | No Comments

For years, Sam Cohn was one of the most powerful Hollywood agents with an endless list of A-list celebrities that included Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Liza Minnelli, Hume Cronyn, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, Bob Fosse, Arthur Miller, and E. L. Doctorow among sundry others. Many of them dined at Trattoria Dell’Arte, and I ...

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Monday at the MET

By | on Mar 11, 2021 | No Comments

When Tishman Speyer bought Rockefeller Center—previously owned by the Japanese Mitsubishi Estate—Jerry Speyer decided to overhaul the entire complex and give it a makeover. Unfortunately, this closed the center, including The Sea Grill restaurant, where I had worked for a couple of years. Before this happened, Paul Emmett, one of Restaurant Associate’s Vice Presidents, approached ...

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Fay Wray in the Mist

By | on Mar 11, 2021 | No Comments

It’s not often one meets a Hollywood starlet from the golden age of film. But on one wintry evening in the early 90s, Fay Wray, who enchanted us all in the original version of King Kong, came to dine at Fiorello’s. Canadian-born Wray started her career playing roles in silent comedy shorts before coming to ...

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Now, Don’t You Misbehave, Young Lady!

By | on Mar 2, 2021 | No Comments

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 ...

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