Within the past month we have read with sadness of the deaths of four important artists who seemingly have little in common: composer and author Mary Rodgers Guettel, internationally famous American conductor Lorin Maazel, Broadway and cabaret star Elaine Stritch, and the legendary operatic tenor Carlo Bergonzi. They do actually have one thing in common: me.
My friend Sean messaged me. "You know, she lives in the Carlyle Hotel, and once I called the Carlyle and asked to speak with Elaine Stritch, and they connected me. So what you need to do is call her, tell her how fabulous you are, and she'll give you tickets!" I declined, and for a good reason: I had actually met Elaine.
I met her in November 1988. She was guest-starring on an episode of a short-lived NBC television series called Tattinger's. A one-shot playing star Stephen Collins' mother Franny, a seen-it-all former Broadway chorus girl. Cinch casting. And among the first of the many guest-starring tough mama roles that became her bread and butter in the decades ahead.