HOLLYWOOD – Sir Edwin Fluffer once again delves into his personal memoirs – soon to be published as ‘Not THAT Kind of Fluffer!!!’ – to recall King Kong.
After Hedda Hopper every actor’s worst enemy is typecasting.
I lost count of the number of friends who enjoyed a big hit only to see their careers go straight down the lavatory never to work again. Just look at King Kong. Don’t get me wrong, he thoroughly enjoyed all the trappings of his success, the mansion house, the fast car, the women, but deep down I think he would’ve swapped the lot for another shot at the big time.
We all tried our hardest for him, but nothing seemed to work out. Chuck Laughton managed to wangle him a few days on Mutiny on the Bounty, but King got seasick and it affected him quite badly. He kept climbing to the top of the mast and swatting at the seagulls as they flew past and in the end they had to let him go.
It was a similar story on Casablanca. Every time Bogie tried to say goodbye to Ingrid Bergman at the airport King would run in, pick her up, and start attacking the plane. For me his finest performance will always be when he played Rod Steiger in In The Heat Of The Night. The Academy Award was the industry’s way of saying thank you for trying, but by then his best years were behind him. He saw out his last days on the golf course with Bing Crosby, and although there was some talk of an album of duets I don’t believe that anything ever came of it. He read for the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street and roles like that, but by then he’d got mixed up with the Scientologists and there was a furious row with Big Bird about his addiction to prescription painkillers.
But that’s another story…
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