1/25/16 is my 60th birthday, and I recently marked 50 years in show business.
This May will be the 40th anniversary of my summer in Beach Blanket Babylon, (which is still going strong in SF.)
And next year will mark my 40th anniversary as a union actor.
“You’re an actor! Why must you tell everyone your real age?”
(Fortunately, that old friend is no longer my theatrical representative.)
Everyone says the odds of winning the Powerball are impossible. Statistically, I am more of an improbability.
Consider these facts:
My great grandfather survived a Confederate prison camp. 30% of prisoners died in them.
Mother survived a Japanese prison camp in Manila: 4,000 POWs. 2,000 survivors. (Mom weighed 79 lbs. when MacArthur “returned.”)
Her water broke during a blizzard. Drunk, (but lucid enough to recognize that an ambulance wouldn’t get up the hill in the snow,) she drove herself to the hospital.
The baby weighed 4 lbs, and was covered in bruises. They didn’t have the term “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” in January of 1956, but the doctor said the baby wasn’t expected to last 24 hrs.
Today, however, that baby has beaten those odds by 21, 915%.
In January of 1956, Lerner & Lowe tried out a show in New Haven called My Fair Lady, Sinatra recorded I’ve Got You Under My Skin, and Elvis hit the Top Ten with Heartbreak Hotel, and on that particular Wednesday, Shatner was doing a matinee of Julius Caesar at Broadway’s Winter Garden.
And on 1/25/56, my wonderfully absurd and silly life began.
I am happy to still be here, to still have most of my sense of humor, much of my self -respect, and to still be reasonably ambulatory.
I am happy to have begun my 7th year teaching writing at WCSU.
I am grateful for having had the good fortune of working in a wide spectrum of creative endeavors.
I am lucky to have had more successes than failures, more laughter than tears, more good times than bad, and more friends than enemies.
I’m proud to count actors, dancers, singers, musicians, comedians, clowns, magicians, teachers, librarians and writers among those friends.
(And one really good mime. But he doesn’t want to talk about it.)
Thank you, my friends, for having enriched my 60 years on this planet.
If I had to describe my life in one word, I would probably quote Robert Benchley’s description of Alexander Woolcott:
But it has been a helluva ride on that seesaw, and it ain’t over yet.