Ugly June 28th
I hate this word. I never use it, and cringe when others use do. I could perhaps stomach its use to describe a person’s morals, say, but not for so-called facial imperfections. Danny Kaye is one of my favourite actors, but when I hear him sing The Ugly Duckling song, I get vexed. I mean, the other birds chased the duckling right out of town, just because his feathers were stubby and brown! However, I use it here as a tribute to Eli Wallach, who died a few days ago.
Eli Wallach was born in Brooklyn in 1915, the son of Polish immigrants. I saw him being interviewed at the NFT a few years back. After the interview he introduced a showing of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (in my top ten favourite films), hence the word, and he sat in the front row and watched the film with us. He was a lovely, gentle man, not ugly at all. Not Tuco at all. He said that Sergio Leone told him he wanted the whole movie to look like a Vermeer painting. How great is that?
Oddly enough, what with Frank also featuring on this napkin, Wallach was the original choice for the Sinatra role in From Here To Eternity. Also, although I don’t really want to mention Godfather 3, Sinatra was offered Wallach’s part, but turned it down.