Archive for March, 2012

Halloween, Celebrity Style

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I was in my early 20’s.  I had been invited to Dean Martin’s daughter’s Halloween party.  Yes, at her father’s house.  A big ass Beverly Hills home.  I planned to be Elton John.  The girls — Gina and Donna — who had invited me to the party were very close with Shaun Cassidy, and I was told Shaun owned Ziggy Stardust-style silver lame’ rock & roll boots.  I didn’t know him or what size shoe he wore, but I boldly called and asked to borrow them: “Hi, I’m Fredde Duke, you don’t know me but….”

I picked up the rock & roll boots at his mother’s house on North Oakhurst.  Found it on my Map to the Stars’ Homes.  Kidding.  I enlisted the wardrobe department where my dad had a studio deal to write “Elton John” in a sequined signature on the back of my satin, emerald-green man’s coat.  A friend worked for Bernie Taupin and Elton at Rocket Records, and he gave me a stack of unsigned Elton John headshots.  At the toy store on Beverly Drive, I bought a child’s baby grand piano.  By now I’m realizing it would have been a lot easier to go as Pat Boone.  Then I scored a man’s wig in Hollywood, but cut it at the crown to make me look like I was balding.  The piece de resistance was the blacked out Elton gap tooth.  Voila, I was suddenly a gay rock star!!! (more…)

Poor Man’s Butler

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

I don’t want to sound mean.  Because I’m not.  That said, I would sometimes ask my dad who this guy was or that guy.  It would be a random dude that let’s say was always hanging around Jan Murray or Red Buttons.  Sorry I’m not coming up with bigger names, but these were big names in my world.  I guess I could say Frank.  We’ll get back to Frank.

My dad would answer, “He’s a WITH.”  And I will now explain what he explained to me because by this time in life, I knew what a “WITH” was.  It’s a full-time, unpaid career of being best friends with someone famous. The prerequisite is that you usually did not have a real job and you just sort of hung around with someone.  If you’ve seen “Entourage,” it’s sort of the modern day version.  Okay, getting back to Frank, I have one name.  Jilly.  I’ll say no more. (more…)

The Original Goth

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

I kept noticing her.  The contradiction of her Saks Fifth Avenue/Bonwit Teller perfect girlie-girl wardrobe and the dark brooding in her beautiful and unusual face.  She did not smile.  Kim was small like me, but opposite in that I had an eternal smile and wore tattered hand-me-downs or homemade clothes.  I was really intrigued and wanted to know what the story was behind those dark eyes of hers; almost black, that’s how dark they were.

Kim was not approachable, but somehow we did finally meet.  And we became close, finding much in common, but mostly it was just a match in chemistry.  I had never met anyone more authentic and honest.  There was something deep, powerful and haunting in my new friend.  She was a freshman and I was a sophomore in high school.  She was funny, extremely funny, though at times mean-spirited in her humor.  She never targeted her cruelty at me because she was highly aware of my fragility.  I’m not only sensitive, I’m quite thin-skinned.

Kim was also brilliant.   Well read, even at that age, she might pepper her conversations with names like Sartre and Kierkegaard.  All very vague to ditzy me, and I would constantly tell her how insecure I was about my own IQ.  She would invariably tell me that I was smart and that just because I wasn’t as well read as her meant and means nothing.  Early on, she was always giving me props for my emotional IQ. (more…)