09/07/2014 03:40 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Jeff Goldblum: Los Angeles, August, 2004


I first saw Jeff Goldblum in Paul Mazursky's "Next Stop Greenwich Village" in the mid-1970s. Instantly I was intrigued by this tall, angular man, whose eyes glowed with knowledge as if harboring a secret - THE secret, which he shared (and continues to share) with us in his performance, his art, his way. By being himself and doing what seemed to be so natural for him, he was and remains, more than ever, Interesting. I still laugh with friends nearly forty years hence at his four word cameo into the telephone in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall": "I forgot my Mantra." Or his role as a writer at an alternative Boston Newspaper in Joan Micklin Silver's gem "Between The Lines," when, angered, he punches a hole in the wall and dubs it, deadpan, as conceptual art, "Hole in Wall With Fist and Fingers." I always wished I could meet him but never imagined I would. In the early 1990s, at the Focus on AIDS benefit event at the DGA Building in Hollywood (CA), we, the two tallest guys in the event space, make fleeting eye contact with smiles and nods of heads, but that's it. Flash forward to 2003, when I'm doing still for Jon Favreau's wonderful television project, "Dinner for Five," in which Jon and four actor friends sit around a dinner table and three cameras record the conversation. Jeff is a guest on one episode, during which the conversation turns to the Dogma school of cinema, in which long slow lighting set-ups are eschewed in favor of available light and hand-held cameras, in order that the actors can work and be in real time as opposed to short bursts of acting followed by long lighting pauses. I speak with him briefly about this after the show and from there, we naturally flow into a friendship. At the time, I have a cooking show project called "Gumbonation" and Jeff arranges to video an episode at Ed Begley Jr's house. He is also supportive of my KINDSIGHT project. One day he calls saying he'd like to do some photos for his acting, something like headshots but "I don't want to be looking into the camera, more like caught moments from filming." We get many images, of which this is one. I learn about some of the many sides of Jeff, including attending gigs with his jazz ensemble, about his teaching and inspiring many in acting, about his love of art, about staying in good shape. At one point he is prepping for a Holocaust related film role and arrange for him to spend an afternoon with my landlords, Wolf and Renee Zaidman, both Survivors. There is much more to say about Jeff, who continues to inspire and warm my life and many others, who to me, is like a big brother that I am so grateful to have in my life.