Growing up, there were certain movies that we saw over and over and over again because one or the other of us was in love with it. For my dad, it was David Lean’s movies. My brother was obsessed with Charlie Chaplin’s – especially the sadder ones. I was the baby by a mile so my gig was musicals: Gene Kelly was my pretend boyfriend for years. For my mother, though, Sydney Pollack was the man.
She’s not very good with names so she often forgets his name, but she’ll always remember his movies – “That man who made Out of Africa / Tootsie / Three Days of the Condor / Electric Horseman” is how she refers to him. She’s been in love with Robert Redford for years but the man who made her fall in love with him was Pollack.
Watching him in Michael Clayton last year, I didn’t have a clue that he was so seriously ill. I guess that’s a testament both to him as a man and the horrid disease that took his life.
R.I.P. Mr. Pollack.
But the story that made me bawl like a baby was this one. Goddammit. I hate it when this sort of thing happens.
I would be on a crowded busy street running an errand or picking up the boys from school near his hospital and my stomach would do a somersault at the sight of a man in my peripheral vision. I would instantly feel shame that my eyes had wandered or my loins been stirred by another and would quickly turn away, only seconds later to hear someone laughing and saying: “My darling, you just walked straight past me!”
I would explain how I thought I’d seen another sexy man and all along it was him and he would blush like a schoolboy and bury his face in my neck.
I just can’t believe I won’t feel his skin any more, how is that possible? I loved and touched him every day, and thank goodness I did.