The day I met Jeff Goldblum…yeah, I’m in a mood to wax nostalgic.
That’s me on the left, and my friend Rebecca on the right, looking really excited. She’s one of my oldest friends. (Another story, but her first roommate in Seattle was Reggie Watts, who is now Jakob Lodwick’s roommate, and Jakob was how I found tumblr.)
Anyway, she’d moved to L.A. to follow her dream, working in the film business. She called me one Sunday and said she was back in town working on one of her latest films with her longtime friend, director Alan Rudolph (Nashville, Choose Me, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Made in Heaven, etc.), and asked me to come down to the hotel to go see it with her. It was the Seattle International Film Festival, and his latest was ‘The Secret Lives of Dentists’.
Despite having the worst hair day ever, I jumped at the chance. We met with Alan’s wife for brunch first. She was thrilled her old friend from ‘Nashville’ days, Jeff Goldlum was going to be in town. They were having a retrospective for him, showing clips from all of his best film roles, but she was worried their hectic schedule would prevent her from seeing him.
We all gathered back at the W hotel to meet up with Alan to go see his film.
And this is where it gets weird.
He had a good friend with him who wanted to tag along. Tom Robbins. (Yes, the writer, Another Roadside Attraction, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, etc.) Surreal day. So, we all head to the theater on foot, and somehow I ended up walking alongside Tom. He’s shuffling along in his bathrobe, slippers and oversized sunglasses, and I couldn’t help blurting out “My sister used to work on your bitewing!” (Yeah, she was the dental assistent to his dentist way back when. I’m telling you, this story just gets weird).
We see the movie, Q&A afterwards, blah blah. And then it’s time to head back to the hotel, but Tom wants to pick up his car. So we all troop over to the lot and climb into his huge battered old Caddy and drive up Fifth Avenue, and he’s all over the place. Feels like we’re at sea on an old boat.
We get back to the hotel and Alan and his wife pick up their bags from the valet, and their car is waiting for them. Alan’s wife is extremely upset because she knows Jeff is checking in soon and she’s bummed she’s going to miss him, but they need to leave. Rebecca and I wave goodbye to this motley crew and then head up to her room.
She’s on the top floor of the hotel, and when the elevator doors open, Jeff Goldblum is standing there. Now, I was in some sort of reality warp because this woman, his friend, had been going on and on about him, so I blurt out “WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT YOU!”. God. He looks shocked. And scared. Rebecca looks embarrassed and says “You’re missing Alan and his wife, they’re just leaving” So he rushes down and we go into our room. Rebecca calls them and finds out they’ve already left, so they urge her to get Jeff to wait for them, they’re heading back. She yells to me “We have to go!” So we rush back out to the elevator, the doors open, and there he is again, thinking he’s missed them. We literally shove him back into the elevator and yell ‘they’re coming back!” God.
So, awkward silence on the ride down. Until Rebecca tells him she’s friends with them, and then it just immediately becomes OK. We’re in some sort of extended family situation now. We get him down to the curb, they come back. It’s all hugs and kisses and old home week. And then we get our picture taken with him. He was so funny. I’ll never forget his “Mmmmm…” when he puts his arms around us. He asks us to meet up with him later at an after party, so we do.
When we walked into that private party and he saw us and his eyes lit up? Was the sweetest part of the day. He was a doll. He gave us both such a huge hug and thanked us for coming. And to this day, Rebecca still goes to hear him play piano at a jazz club in L.A. on Wednesday nights. Life is so wild.
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