Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

In 1992, David Isaacs and I wrote the episode of CHEERS where Cliff writes a joke that gets on THE TONIGHT SHOW.  Miraculously, Johnny Carson agreed to do it.  The plan was to tape our segments on the TONIGHT SHOW set following a taping.  The audience was invited to just stick around and I don't think a single member left. 

You're saying, "Yeah yeah, isn't this supposed to be about Elizabeth Taylor?  This isn't one of those posts where you try to sucker us into buying your book?"  No.  Ms. Taylor is coming.  Hang on. 

David was out of town that night so I went alone, making myself available for any last-minute rewrites.  Before the taping I introduced myself to Mr. Carson and offered to make any changes he felt necessary.  He said, "No, this is fine.  I'll do it just like this."   I could have kissed him.

"Elizabeth Taylor?  Where's Elizabeth Taylor?"

Okay, okay!  I'm getting to that.

During the taping I was escorted into the Green Room, and there, sitting alone, was -- you guessed it -- Elizabeth Taylor.   She was a guest that night.

I didn't know what to do.  This wasn't just a movie star, this was Hollywood Royalty.  It's like, what's the correct procedure for addressing the queen? 

She must've sensed my discomfort because she said hello to me.  I sat down and tentively began a conversation.  I broke the ice by saying my father starred in a movie with her?   Well... not exactly "starred".   My dad was an extra one day on NATIONAL VELVET.   She laughed and within minutes we were chatting like friends.  Elizabeth Taylor could not have been more charming and disarming.  And funny.   She talked about her recent birthday party held at Disneyland.  The woman could tell a story.   I was enthralled.  It was an almost out-of-body experience.  I couldn't stop thinking, "What the hell am I doing here with ELIZABETH TAYLOR?"

Moments later it was time for her to go on the show.  We said goodbye, and I never saw her again.  That's it.  Not much of a story really.  Just one brief encounter.  But over the next few days I'm sure you'll see and hear many tributes to this true show business legend.  I just want you to know she was also a kick.  

No comments:

Post a Comment