“This is my happening and it freaks me out!” For those who follow cinema, they know the catchphrase from “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” a script that Ebert wrote for Russ Meyer.
This was one of the most fun Luncheon Society gatherings that I had ever planned. It took place, two days after the 2006 Academy Award Ceremony at Michael’s, a entertainment industry-friendly restaurant in Santa Monica.
The big brouhaha was who really deserved the Oscar for best picture, “Brokeback Mountain” or “Crash.” It was a dinner, which started at 7 PM and was supposed to run until 9 PM. It was at Michaels in Santa Monica, which is staffed by struggling actors and filmmakers. However, by the time we finally staggered out at 12 midnight, every waiter ran home to get his screenplay or her headshots. He had an early flight to Chicago and I had an early flight to San Jose.
There were 5 Academy Award winners around the table, not to mention Larry Turman, who produced one of my favorite movies, “The Graduate.” With Ebert, the talk also centered on Russ Meyer, Super Vixens, and “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (which was the one screenplay that Ebert wrote. Sadly it was completely off the record and most of the juicy stuff has been lost to time and addled memory. However, I have some notes around and will try to rebuild that amazing night for our readers.
Sadly, Roger Ebert would fall deathly ill a couple of months after the luncheon but in that terrible moment, he began the bravest chapter of his life. Never had he shone more brightly than when his health was the most fragile.
Thanks for a wonderful evening.
Wow, we were there Bob, myself, my daughter Erica and the then president of Digital Domain, Scott Ross. What an evening to remember. What an icon Roger was and how lucky we were to have you share the evening with us.