Years back, I worked in movie publicity for about 15 years. Five of those were at Universal Studios, the other decade was freelance on individual movies. In all those years, only two people ever wrote me a thank you note when I did a favor for them. To be clear, I never thought that anyone owed me a thank you note, but two people felt they did and were gracious enough to do so. They were John Houseman and Dom DeLuise.
From my dealings with the two (I crossed paths with Houseman a couple of times, DeLuise only that once), I got the sense that Houseman did it because he came from a time and upbringing of grace when that's simply what a gentleman did -- and I got the sense that DeLuise did it because he was just plain nice.
Dom DeLuise passed away on Tuesday at the age of 75. I don't have anything more to add about the good fellow, my dealings with him were very limited, but I didn't want his passing to go without note, and most importantly, I didn't want his friendliness to go without remembrance. One can never have too much of the latter.
For those who want far better stories, however, I can direct you to previously mentioned around these parts and always wonderful website and blog by Mark Evanier, who does Dom DeLuise proud.
I guess if there's anything to close with, it's a lesson, because all good stories have a lesson, and so too do the best lives. Dom DeLuise and John Houseman wrote me their thank you notes about 25 years ago. And I always remembered both. Thank you notes are in short supply. People are often asking me for advice about succeeding in Hollywood. If you want to make yourself remembered, write thank you notes. It's not only a nice thing to do - but if the time comes when you, in turn, want a favor of someone, your simple act of thoughtfulness has a good chance of being remembered. And returned.
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