September 1, 2018
Los Angeles, California
From Grobel’s book on “The Hustons” which author James Michener called “A Masterpiece” photo showing Walter Huston greeting his son John and his newly married first wife, Dorothy Huston circa 1926. (My mother, Dorothy would remain married to John for seven years, then divorce him and marry my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel in 1940.)
I attended an extremely entertaining evening at the South Pasadena Library last week.
The guest speaker was the author/UCLA professor Lawrence Grobel considered to be “The Mozart of Celebrity Interviewers.”
“Grobel was interviewed by actor, Playwright, and Teacher, Dean Ghaffari followed by an audience Q&A.
“Larry is the author of 28 books, including bios of Marlon Brando, John Huston, Al Pacino, Truman Capote, Ava Gardner, James Michener, and many others.”
A highlight of the evening was when Grobel shared a number of videotaped Playboy interviews he had conducted in the 1970s and 1980s. They included excerpts with him interviewing Truman Capote, Miles Davis and Allen Ginsberg.
After the screening, Grobel shared with the audience an anecdote from his full Capote interview where Truman was dining at a Florida restaurant and was approached by a somewhat inebriated woman who raised her blouse, exposed her midriff and asked the author to “please sign your name in a circle around my belly button.”
Capote initially declined, but the woman was insistent, so never one to disappoint a fan, Capote complied and signed his full name making a complete circle as requested.
Immediately after “the signing” the woman’s indignant husband approached Capote, unzipped his pants, took out his “manhood” and insisted that the author sign it. “If you can sign my wife’s bellybutton, then you can sign my ….”
Apparently, without missing a beat the lispy author replied, “Well, I’m afraid there is not enough room to sign my full name. How about if I just initial it?”
I’ve always been a huge fan of Grobel ever since he wrote: “THE HUSTONS” which to my mind is the definitive biography on my mother’s former husband John and his famous family.
Steve Hodel and Larry Grobel at South Pasadena Library
August 23, 2018