She resisted the conventions of her craft and the politics of her business for one year. Every new film propagated her image of beauty and lust with unrestrained promiscuity. Every man who watched her on celluloid became enamoured and jealous, possessive and demanding. A saviour to all, she was. The women saw a threat but none could forget the agency of her ingenuity in the few moments she was allowed to show it.
Her range of emotions increased auspiciously with every new middleman she dealt with and all the ambitious female allies she made. Fame was almost close enough to touch and she could feel it. One, two, then infinite lies took her to new levels of achievement. I watched, amused.
When she bowed out of her screen self at the end of rehearsals we used to meet at my flat between Franklin and Ivar avenues to drink shots of Jack’s. She would always ask: “Lucius, do you think I will be a star someday?” In the Oracle of my mind, my answer came back as multiple distorted echoes through barely-used synapses to help me understand she belonged to her public and the end of our intimacy was nigh.
In the spring of ’89 she entered the elite group of actors who can control their public image and projects after a masterful performance that earned her domestic and foreign awards. She mentioned me in her acceptance speeches! I was proud and full of joy for her.
One night, after celebrating yet another award, she turned to me, still smiling for the cameras and made me promise never to tell anyone about her childhood. She had finally entered the safe haven of wealth and its power to intoxicate her out of sad memories. Our friendship had become a dangerous part of the past she had been relentlessly escaping from because she was being born again.
The last time we met, she chose Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. We walked in the afternoon arm in arm. We laughed, then quarrelled over Champagne memories and finally stopped on the corner of La Brea and Sunset Boulevard. Tears fell from behind her cat’s eye framed dark sunglasses and gave me one last kiss, to remember what we were. She called a taxi and left me in the final act of her wondrous live performance. I was in the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
Text: © Lucius Bod, 2010
Images: © Neil Krug