A chance meeting with movie star Elizabeth Taylor in a soon-to-be constructed Beverly Hills home in the 1950s did not go very well for writer Ted Sherman.
Wouldja believe it? Liz Taylor cussed me out! It happened in opulent Beverly Hills in the mid-1950s. It was my wild encounter with glamorous movie star Elizabeth Taylor. Before I explain, let me tell you how that shocking incident happened.
After Navy service in World War II and college, Id just completed two more active duty Korean War years. A native of Philadelphia, I hated the lousy weather there, so I opted to find a job in sunny Southern California. After a lot of searching, I was hired by the Beverly Hills Citizen newspaper. It was owned by Will Rogers Jr., and he was turning it from a weekly freebee to a daily afternoon subscription newspaper to be delivered by local kids.
When on active Navy duty, Id been earning more than $200 a week, plus free food and lodging. This job paid $75 a week, with no benefits. In addition to covering news events, one of my assignments was hiring delivery boys.
The subscription cost customers $30 a month, and the kids got $10. I visited Beverly Hills families to make pitches for Junior to do after-school deliveries. Just imagine my task. After being admitted to the home, sometimes by the butler, I had to convince wealthy Mom and Dad that it wasnt the money. Junior would get valuable business training for when he grew up to be a movie mogul like dear old dad.
One day, after some parent interviews, I was driving in a section of Beverly Hills where new houses were in various stages of construction, I saw one that would soon become a beautiful mansion, but so far mostly just wooden framing. Curious, I parked my car on the driveway and strolled through the open first level.
After a minute or two, I was startled by a very loud, shrill voice from behind me. What the hell are you doing here? I turned to see a small woman facing me. She was wearing a head scarf and big dark sunglasses, but as a movie buff, I immediately recognized the Liz Taylor voice and figure. It seemed to be her reciting Maggie the Cat screeching at husband Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Remember?
When I just stood there confused, Liz took off the sunglasses and flashed those famous violet eyes at me. Another angry outburst. What business do you have in my house, you son of a bitch? I managed a few confused “Uhs …” and “Ohs …,” but couldnt say anything intelligent. I tried to smile, but it made her even more furious.
If you dont get your sorry ass off my property right now, Im calling the fucking police! she hissed. With as much dignity as I could muster, I backed away, fell over some boards, got back up and staggered down the driveway to my car.
After returning to the office, I was told she had surprised trespasser me at her soon-to-be new home with then-husband Mike Todd. He produced the original Around the World in 80 Days in 1956. He died several years later in a plane crash, and Elizabeth Taylor sailed on through her brilliant career … and another four husbands.
Ted Sherman is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. He will turn 90 on Aug. 8. Hes a U.S. Navy vet who served in World War II and the Korean War, and after a lifetime of writing for other people, hes now sharing his opinions with the world at large for various publications and on his blog 90 Is The New Black. Its a daily rant on current news, sports, health, travel, careers, entertainment, sports, relationships and, of course, problems of advanced age.