Have you ever heard it said that a true friend is someone you can sit with in silence and not feel the need to fill up the empty space with chatter?
Not long ago Tony Curtis appeared at the community center where I work. I had the honor of greeting him and escorting him backstage to the green room, where he was reunited with several old friends, fellow veterans of television’s Golden Age. After the hugs and handshakes, they sat down to what I assumed would be a conversation of excited exchanges and interruptions. Instead they spent a few minutes just smiling at one another, simply enjoying each other's presence. After a short silence, Tony said “See? Here we are old friends, sitting together in silence. Loving the fact that we’re lucky enough to still be able to see each other…. When you meet strangers, they go on and on….”
That is not to say that he didn’t enjoy his fans. After the program, he proceeded to his booksigning, where he spent over an hour greeting a long line of admirers, reminiscing about old times, and signing autographs. As he left, a crowd approached him on the street and he spent another 20 minutes talking with them before getting in his car. He was a class act – one of the last true Hollywood gents.
I know you're up there somewhere enjoying some joyful -- and peaceful -- reunions, Tony.
Here's a link to Leonard Lopate's interview on WNYC a couple of years ago.