The Thrill of Meeting Ann Margret by Tony Piazza
This blog takes me back a few years- quite a few actually- to 1964-65. I was just a kid-attending grammar school, doing homework, playing ball with the neighborhood kids, and watching cartoons.
That same year, a young star was starting to make a name for herself- even as a cartoon character in a Hanna Barbera series- her name was ANN MARGRET. I remember watching her with my cousin on the “Flintstones”, and hearing all the hype from her film appearance in “Bye, Bye Birdie.” I never dreamed then, that not long after I would meet her in person. Even though pint-sized, I had a big crush on her and when I had heard that she would be the co-star of a film my Father was going to be assigned to- I cracked open the Aqua Velva (even though I didn’t shave yet!) in preparation for our meeting.
It was during the summer (most production crews preferred shooting in SF during the summer months- better weather (sometimes), and the location was a wooden pier south of the Ferry Building. All the principal actors were scheduled to shoot there- ALAIN DELON, VAN HEFLIN, and of course Ann Margret. The film was “Once a Thief” and the director was Ralph Nelson.
We had arrived during the lunch hour- and while my mother was trying to search out my father; I was trying to search out Ann Margret. I did catch sight of her eventually- in a scarf and dark glasses- walking back from lunch with (darn) a handsome escort. My father called them over and introduced Ms. Margret to my mother and myself. She took my hand and exclaimed at the same time, “how safe she had felt having my father around for security!” She then introduced her fiancee (another blow) Roger Smith (the same ROGER SMITH of “77 Sunset Strip” fame), and he shook hands with us as well. After a few more moments of small talk they excused themselves, for she was soon needed on the set.
I also met Alain Delon and Van Heflin that day too, but that was anti-climatic after meeting with Ann Margret!
We stayed around to watch filming that day. I was invited into the sound van (a converted VW bus- never seen anything like it since) and they gave me earphones to listen in on the scene. The actor had been shot (in the film) and the scene was the drama around the event. When it was over the sound man gave me a spool of recording tape as a souvenir- I always wondered if anything was recorded on it, since I didn’t have a player that worked with such a wide tape.
It was a great day- and one that still lives on in my memory today
Tony Piazza (Courtesy of Charlotte Alexander)
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His second novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was published next in early 2012, and in November of 2013 his second Tom Logan Mystery, “A Murder Amongst Angels was released.” In July of 2015 his latest Logan mystery, “Murder Is Such Sweet Revenge” was made available for purchase, and has since been an instant bestseller. All are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.
Tony Piazza is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and SLO NightWriters.
All my novels in the Tom Logan mystery series have become audio books- read by actor James Romick, and is available on Audible, Amazon, and I-tunes.
The rollicking adventure novel set in paradise. The thrill-a-minute bestseller that two film producers are interested in…”The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” is NOW an audio book, read by the talented Broadway actor, James Romick!
My earlier bestselling novels, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” and “Anything Short of Murder” now joins “A Murder Amongst Angels” and “Murder is Such Sweet Revenge” on Amazon’s Kindle at new, low prices. Now you can have hours of adventure, thrills, mystery, and romance for the price of a cup of coffee- and just as stimulating! Look for it on Amazon. Print versions have also been reduced.
Find them all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. Also available at an affordable price on Kindle.
Too cool! What an experience it must have been!!:-)
Hi kerry, It was very cool. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I hope you will follow more of my stories at http://www.authortonypiazza.com
I walked beside Michele Williams at Capeside High during the first episode of “Dawson’s Creek.” She seemed very nice although I could tell she was totally focused on the work. I didn’t want to disturb her so I never said ,”Hi.” She did smile at me in the (studio) hallway, however, later.
Hi again Kerry,
Yes. It is always best not to disturb them when they are working. It was the number one rule when I was an “extra” in films and television. My agent discouraged cameras and autograph hunting. Told us that we were professionals doing a job, and so were the actors.
Good talking with you.
Barbara A. Whittington says
How exciting and what a great memory! Loved that you wrote about it and shared some photos. Now we’d like to see one of you as a kiddie when you met her! Blessings, Barb