HOLLYWOOD- Sir Edwin Fluffer once again delves into his personal memoirs – soon to be published as ‘Not THAT Kind of Fluffer!!!’ – to recall Henry Fonda.
Barely a day goes by without someone asking me what Henry Fonda was like. If truth be told he was rather like that chap in The Grapes of Wrath, just without the dungarees. He was much more likely to wear a pair of trousers, and if it looked like rain he would sometimes carry an umbrella, but apart from that the similarities were striking. They really were the spitting image of each other!
Success never really changed Henry but time did, and as the years went he rather came to resemble that man in Once Upon The Time In The West, and they both wore hats.
I once asked him where he bought them and he told me that it was in a shop. That was the kind of person Henry was: he’d do anything to help anyone. Toward the end of his life the years took their toll, and you’d easily mistake him for the old man from On Golden Pond, especially around the eyes. He had a son who was the exact spit of Peter Fonda, and rather touchingly Peter would always call him Dad, which was very sweet of him. When I think about Henry now I’m always reminded of that chap in 12 Angry Men who was sat in a room with all those men. I wouldn’t go so far to as to call Henry angry, but he could get a little disgruntled on occasion.
Of course he blew his top when I got him mixed up with the fellow from How The West Was Won, but that’s another story…
HOLLYWOOD – In another EXCLUSIVE extract from Sir Edwin Fluffer’s autobiography “In Like Niven!” comes this startlingly honest account of the great English actor and director Sir Laurence Olivier.
Larry Olivier had moved into a new place high in the Hollywood hills. It was every bit as grand and elegant as the great man himself, but the tree outside his bedroom window was home to a large family of rooks, and the dawn chorus would often wake him from his slumber.
I’ve never been much of a morning person and darling Larry’s early morning phone calls filled me with dread. Following the success of Henry V and Hamlet he’d found another one of Billy Shakespeare’s screenplays to have a go at; but this time he’d decided to turn it into a musical.
Banquo! was to be his all singing, all dancing version of Macbeth, and he’d already started work on the score with Larry Adler. I went round for breakfast to hear the fruits of their labour. Adler took out his harmonica and played me a couple of numbers including There Is Nothing Like A Thane and Kiss Me Hecate, I cancelled my plans to go bowling with Keenan Wynn and said “Where do I sign?”
We were all ready to begin filming, sets were up, costumes were made, Donald O’Connor had been booked, then tragedy. Larry lost a tooth during a heated game of chequers with Bobby Morley and his singing voice went with it. He wouldn’t let the part go to anyone else and the whole thing was cancelled – Three months of work down the drain, and I was furious with him.
Larry Adler gave me one of his harmonicas to say thank you for all my support but I could never learn to play the bloody thing. In the end, I gave it to Charles Bronson who used it to great effect in Sergio Leone’s One Upon A Time In The West. But that’s another story…