Then there was Harold Gary – real name Harold Garfinkel. Art Garfunkel was his nephew so it should have been Simon and Garfinkel. Harold was an excellent character-actor who first appeared on Broadway in the 1920s. (Remember the wealthy heroin dealer in The French Connection who looked like a Jewish orangutan? That was Harold.) We shared a dressing room and since we were both sports-fans, we became fast friends. And, since I was a theater buff, I was a perfect audience for his showbiz war stories. Harold claimed to have fucked every woman in show business and to have told every man in show business to go fuck himself.
I’d be doing my pre-show warm-ups while Harold reclined pasha-like on the union- mandated cot and cast his pearls-of-wisdom my way –
- “Stop with the stretching already. The best warm-up for a show is a good bowel movement just before curtain.
- “So, I gave Jayne Mansfield a dozen chicks for Easter, all different colors – red, blue, purple – but she rolled over on top of them while she was sleeping and killed ’em all. She was too upset to fuck so I took her bowling instead.
- “Mae West’s sister used to give blowjobs in the basement of the Brill Building.
- “So, I’m sitting in the steam room with little Larry Hart. Ya know – Rodgers & Hart? He was almost a midget. Who comes in but Joe Louis and I’m tellin’ ya his prick reaches down to his knees. And, Larry Hart sez to him – ‘Joe, that thing’s bigger than I am. Aren’t you afraid it’ll turn on ya?’
- “Joe Louis told me that Sonja Henie was the best pussy he ever had next to Fanny Brice.
- “So, I walks up to Mike Todd an’ I sez to him – Mike, that’s the kind of guy I am and if you don’t like it step outside.
- “1929, I was in the original Diamond Lil with Clark Gable. No one knew who he was. I take him down to Coney Island one day – we swim, we box, we play handball, we ride bikes, we play basketball, we play tennis. On the way home on the subway he sez to me, ‘Harold,’ he sez, ‘I feel like I’ve spent a month in the country.’ I sez to him – Clark, I do this ev’y day.
- “’Nother time, I’m down Coney and I’m swimmin’ way out. I was very ath-a-letic, see. A guy swims up and sez, ‘You mind if I swim along with ya?’ I sez, Fine. When we get back to the beach he sticks out his mitt and sez, ‘I’m Roy Cohn.’ I sez – Why didn’t you tell me out there, I woulda drowned ya, ya bastard.
- “Ya know my brother Sid Gary was the tenor on the Bing Crosby radio show.
- “You ever hear of Harry Greb the boxer with one glass eye. Forget about these faggot boxers today. Harry Greb…
- “I ever tell you about the time I fucked Helen Twelvetrees?”