March 30th was Hollywood legend Warren Beatty’s 77th birthday. Since Stargayzing doesn’t publish on Sundays, we are starting the week with F.O.G. (Friend of Stargayzing) Nancy Balbirer’s lovely anecdote about Mr. Beatty that she shared yesterday in his honor.
One night, several years ago, Charles Busch and I attended a dinner party to celebrate the movie “The Kids Are All Right” at a swanky hotel in SoHo. We spent the first part of the evening hanging out with Nora Ephron and her lovely hubby Nick Pileggi, eating delicious filet mignon, and, because we figured neither of us would have the nerve to talk to him, staring at Warren Beatty across the room.
But, then we saw Larry Kramer talking to him. Larry was “downtown”, too; here was our in! So, we sauntered over, Charles and I, sidled up and listened attentively as Larry tried to convince Warren that Abraham Lincoln was gay. Somehow, we were able to not only dip our toes into the convo, but seamlessly hijack it. Soon, it was all Charles Busch, Warren Beatty and me (what??!) talking about movies—one of life’s OH MY FUCKING GOD moments that I will truly NEVER, EVER forget. Nor will I forget how it felt when Warren hugged me after I told him that my very favorite of all his films is “Heaven Can Wait”*.
How utterly thrilling that I didn’t have to wait to get to Heaven for that…
Happy 77th Birthday, Warren!”
Nancy Balbirer is a New York-based writer and actress and past contributor to Stargayzing. She is the author of the memoir Take Your Shirt Off and Cry, which is available at amazon.com.
*For those who are unfamiliar with the film Miss Balbirer is referring to, Heaven Can Wait is the 1978 remake of the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan. It was a huge box office and critical hit and reunited McCabe and Mrs. Miller co-stars (and ersthwhile lovers), Beatty and Julie Christie. The film received 1o Oscar nominations: and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Warren Beatty), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Warden), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Dyan Cannon), Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Music, Original Score, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Elaine May and Warren Beatty). It won the Oscar for Best Art Direction (Paul Sylbert, Edwin O’Donovan, George Gaines). The film was remade again 2001 as the Chris Rock film Down to Earth, which is exactly where it summarily fell. Clearly Hollywood likes this story and Stargayzing highly recommends both the 1941 and 1978 versions.
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