"Do You Know Who You Are?" Memory Provides What Life Does Not

I burst into tears the other day, when I heard the news that James Garner had just died. I worked with him professionally at Universal Studios during production of THE ROCKFORD FILES. 

 I worked with Jimmy as a production assistant/actress. At that time, Universal was the last of the major studios to have its own talent program with contract players. I was one of those. It sounds impressive but  it wasn't, I assure you.  Contract playing mostly consisted of standing on your feet all day waiitng for the director to yell, 'action' and living on coffee, chain-smoking and nibbling on the occasion lettece leaf. Miss Monique James (the head of talent division) always thought I was too fat.

I once made the dreadful mistake of allowing my country-bumpkin relatives to join me for a tour of the lot and lunch in the commisary.  We were all seated at a table, in the middle of the meal, when Jimmy walked in. All four of them jumped up and started elbowing each other:

         "Look, look, is that James Garner?"

Their voices rose:       

         "It is. Hey James Garner, over here."

The volume rose some more and by this time the whole room was watching. The cousins grabbed their autograph books and pens and fell all over everyone trying to get to him first.

          "I love the ROCKFORD FILES. I love you, you're my favorite movie star. Do you know who you are?"

I gingerly brought up the rear. I was frantically trying to silently indicate to Jimmy that I was terribly sorry, never happen again etc. But I knew my days at Universal were over. As soon as he got back to is office, he'd make the call and Miss James would be screaming at me. But  He was so kind and gracious with all of them. He signed every autograph and took his time. He confided to my meek, obese cousin:

             "You know, I've been working here since 6 AM, and nobody's asked me for my autograph yet. You're the first. It's a pleasure, dear."

 And nary a word was ever said about me or the incident.  However, I imagined at least, that Jimmy gave me one of his sideways goofy grins every time we made eye contact though the shootings..

 I never got skinny and never became an actress. I did continue to work on the ROCKFORD FILES and others through the years. I went on to write, travel and have those long 'meaningful relationships' they talk about in the magazines.

 I'll always remember Jimmy as a kind man, a true gentle man.  And we know 'who you are' and we'll never forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I burst into tears when heard James Garner had just died.  He was one of my contemporaries when I was doing "THE ROCKFORD FILES" under contract at Universal. (It sounds impressive. It wasn't.) While I was working with him, I made the dreadful mistake of taking my country hick cousins for lunch at the Universal commissary. When he walked in the door, my hick relatives jumped up and shouted:  “There's James Garner, let's get his autograph.”  "Hey James Garner, over here" "We love you!" "Do you know who you are?"

 They stampeded across the dining hall with autograph books in hand. I followed gingerly behind.

   He first spoke to my meek, obese cousin: "You know, I've been working here since 6am, and nobody's asked for my autograph yet. It'll be a pleasure."

  Meanwhile, I knew this was the end of my days at Universal.  As soon as Mr. Garner got back to his office, after such a protracted public humiliation,  I'd be off the lot forever. He was so kind and gracious in front of everyone. And nary a word was ever mentioned to me by anyone. (Although I think he did bestow that michievious, knowing grin whenever we made eye contract through the following years.)

    I never pursued acting further and I never spoke to my hick relatives again, either. They never figured out why. I did go on to write, travel and have those long meaningful relationships that they wrote about in the magazines.

   Jimmy was a gentle man.  To parashrase my cousin,' We know who you are', and we'll remember. RIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hi

James

Garner, over here!”  “I love you! Do you know who you are?” I followed gingerly behind.  He first spoke to my meek, obese cousin:

   “You know,” he confided to her, “I’ve been working since 6am, and nobody’s asked for my autograph. It’s a pleasure.”  Meanwhile, I knew this was the end of my career at Universal. As soon as Mr. Garner got back to his office, I’d be off the lot forever. He was so kind and gracious in front of everybody. I never spoke to my hick cousins again, and they never figured out why.

But that never happened. Nary a word was ever said. But he did shoot me that mischievous, knowing grin whenever we made eye contact in the following years.

I never pursued acting further, but I did go on to write, travel and develop those long term ‘meaningful relationships’ that they write about.  Jimmy was a true gentle man. We know who you are Jimmy, RIP.

 

I burst into tears when I heard James Garner had just died. He was one of my contemporaries when I was doing "THE ROCKFORD FILES" under contract at Universal. (It sounds impressive. It wasn't.) While I was working with him, I made the dreadful mistake of talking my country hick cousins for lunch at the Universal commissary. When he walked in the door, my  relatives jumped up and shouted:  “There's James Garner, let's get his autograph.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Hi

James

Garner, over here!”  “I love you! Do you know who you are?” I followed gingerly behind.  He first spoke to my meek, obese cousin:

   “You know,” he confided to her, “I’ve been working since 6am, and nobody’s asked for my autograph. It’s a pleasure.”  Meanwhile, I knew this was the end of my career at Universal.  After such a protracted, public humiliation, I'm done for.  As soon as Mr. Garner got back to his office, I’d be off the lot forever. However, he was so kind and gracious in front of everybody.

But that never happened. Nary a word was ever said. But he did shoot me that mischievous, knowing grin whenever we made eye contact in the following years.

I never pursued acting further, but I did go on to write, travel and develop those long term ‘meaningful relationships’ that they write about.  I never spoke to my country bumpkin relatives again, and they never understood why.  Jimmy was a true gentle man. We know who you are Jimmy and we'll remember. RIP.

 

ADD A COMMENT

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.

Recent Posts by MaureenMcCloud

Menu