I am uber-thrilled for Milena Canonero’s 4th Oscar, for Budapest Grand Hotel. In my first big budget film, THE COTTON CLUB (actually in its day, the most expensive film ever made) I’d grown my hair long and straightened it to portray Kid Griffin, the maitre de. Milena wanted to cut some of the periphery shorter. I told her we’d never be able to make it match, the length created the control. After acceding to her wishes (and then struggling for the next few weeks as it grew out) Milena came to me and said, “Dahling, you must never again let Anyone tell you what to do with your hair. I was wrong.” That was very gracious of her and it encouraged me to speak up without fear, no matter how large the project, in defense of my characters.
A lot of buzz of late about Brian Williams walk back of his enduring…what shall we call it? Conflation? Exaggeration? Embellishment? Mispoken? Confused memory? Nah. Come on. Most of us have done it. We gild the lily, we ‘improve’ the story, we become legends in our own minds. wink emoticon Brian has had to live with this guilt for quite a few years and I don’t envy his humiliation, I am embarrassed for him
Brian is a good newsman. He’s a journalist. Many journalists have exposed themselves to hostile fire over the years to bring us reportage we would never get from official governmental sources. Many have come under fire, some have been wounded, some have been captured, some have been killed. That all speaks to the measure of THEIR valor. This is not an issue of “stolen valor” and my veteran friends need to lighten the fuck up.
My veteran friends in VFT should have particular empathy for this human tendency. I hope they won’t succumb to such temptation but they are now in the entertainment business. For decades, actors have ‘embellished’ their resumes, extras become principals, principals become guest stars, even touting work in which they never appeared. And don’t get me started on their bios. Particularly nowadays, everyone wants “a compelling back story” for TV Guide and EXTRA. And woe betide the actor who gets caught; that can be some very humiliating shit.
In high school, I ran track and pole vaulted as a sophomore…until a weird accident. On a bitterly cold DC day, my mouth grazed the bar as I passed over and ripped open my lip. I decided, “Fuck that.” I went out for the golf team, made it; thus began my lifelong passion for this sport.
It was ’60. Tho golf, like much of America was segregated, I had no thoughts of a pro career. Just loved the smell of the grass and the rush of a pure strike or rolling in a long putt.
When Charlie Sifford was allowed to join the tour in ’61, I now had someone to root for who looked like me. Tiger says that it was Charlie who inspired him to become a golfer. Like Jackie Robinson earlier, Charlie endured the taunts, curses and hostility of fans and other golfers. In 1967, he became the first man of color to win a PGA event. Charlie Sifford died this week at 92.
Happy Trails, Charlie.