HOLLYWOOD- Sir Edwin Fluffer once again delves into his personal memoirs – soon to be published as ‘Not THAT Kind of Fluffer!!!’ – to recall Jessica Tandy.
As a movie actor you soon realise that the best pal you can have in this business is the cameraman. Be friendly to him as he’s the fellow who’ll make you look a million dollars up there on the big screen. Get caught chatting up his wife and he’ll make you look like the geriatric drunk you are as I found out to my cost quite recently on The Queen’s Screech.
Don’t bother watching that one. No, my favourite cameraman was always John Rutland. Dietrich called him Mr Beady Eye because she once caught him peering through the keyhole of her dressing room door.
Darling Johnny was a Brit like me, so I always felt we had a connection. I was one of the few people he trusted to return his library books. He’d asked Veronica Lake to do it once but she forgot leaving Johnny with a $2 fine.
One of the greatest pictures we worked on together was X Marks The Spot, in which I played a treasure hunting plastic surgeon. In many ways it was ahead of its time, and audiences weren’t really prepared for the sight of me performing rhinoplasty on a young Jessica Tandy while solving the riddle of the sphinx, but thanks to John you’d never know the underwater scenes were actually shot in the local aquarium.
In those days Jessica still looked so young that she got student discount on her entry ticket. I was told that Brando desperately wanted to play the great white shark, but he couldn’t fit into the costume. Johnny knew that I couldn’t swim so having us play the underwater scenes in front of the tanks saved me a great deal of embarrassment.
I couldn’t thank Johnny enough so I kept the Rolex I’d bought him and sent a fruit basket instead. At his funeral service I placed a grapefruit on his coffin in tribute without realising that it was actually a rare citrus allergy that killed him. His family were furious but Art Carney couldn’t stop laughing! I still remember the time that the three of us challenged The Three Stooges to a game of naked table tennis.
But that’s another story…
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