HOLLYWOOD – A new book by famous Hollywood scribe and roué (and personal friend of the Studio Exec) Jacques Ponk My Drunken Life is published today with much fanfare from the Sunset Boulevard branch of Barnes and Noble.
Ponk started his career as a stunt man in the early Sixties making films with such esteemed auteurs as Jean Paul Melville and Jean Luc Godard. Ponk admitted that much of his time, especially while working on Godard’s films, consisted of reading magazines.
‘Jean Luc didn’t ask for much stunt work, although once I did have to shut a window abruptly,’ recalls Ponk, screeching with a laugh that devolves into an asthmatic cough.
From 1967 on, however, Jacques Ponk became a professional alcoholic, paid thousands of dollars a night to match some of the biggest stars in the world drink for drink. ‘The problem with many of these hard drinking guys is often their entourage would have no one to match them,’ says Ponk. ‘My job would be to keep them company into what Frank Sinatra would call “the wee small hours of the morning.”‘
Unbeknownst to Ponk he was also preparing a treasure trove of anecdotes, but why publish now?
Dicky Burton’s dead, Dicky Harris too, Ollie Reed likewise. So this is a way of paying tribute to those guys. And the amazing things we would get up to.
So here are a few choice snippets:
- I was in Dublin with Dicky Burton. He was filming The Spy who Came in from the Cold and he wasn’t very happy, because Liz wasn’t there. So we began drinking and he got so drunk he trying to say “supercilious” and he just couldn’t.
- Ollie Reed and Alanie Bates and me were drinking in this lounge bar in Paris. It was 1968 and there were students on the streets in running battles with the police. Anyway, we were drinking Manhattans and at one point Ollie Reed told us this long story about Peter O’Toole and then about twenty minutes later he told us the exact same story again … because he was drunk you see.
- Tony Hopkins was a roaring drunk in his time. And once we were in Malibu and we were both very drunk. Tony stood up to go to the toilet but he stood up too quickly and had to sit down again. Ha ha ha!! Happy days, happy days.
- I’d drunk three Magnums of champagne with Dicky Harris and we were toasting the success of The Wild Geese and Dicky drank his champagne but it went down the wrong hole. He was coughing and we were laughing and… by God, we don’t have stars like that any more. Giants. Giants I say.