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1st February 2009

I live opposite a rather ‘posh’ health club and this morning I was cheered by the sight of a young man trudging in to exercise in shorts, a jacket and trainers with orange supermarket shopping bags over his shoes. I wish I could draw (my mother would have sketched a very funny picture), he did look a treat. We have had a heavy snowfall and no-one is about. There is usually a long queue of Chelsea Tractors (four wheel drives to you and me) waiting to get in. That in itself is quite entertaining, think about it. But this morning the entrance is white and silent and closed to vehicles. The irony is that I had decided not to spend much time in the snow in Idaho this winter – so it followed me here!

Strangely the snow has brought back memories of a US pilot I did in 1981, Unit 4 (not to be confused with The Unit!). We filmed in Glenwood Springs Colorado in the deepest thickest snow I have ever seen except in Switzerland. You won’t find much about it, but I remember it for a charming young actress called Dominique Dunne. She was as unspoiled as I can remember, a young LA actress can be. I was shocked and saddened to read later of her murder by her ‘boyfriend’, how can a man be so bitter and jealous to take the life of someone so lovely, just starting hers? It is a strange thing about Hollywood. The industry often does create violent reaction in real life. I was touched by a little of it: Pete Duell (partner of Ben Murphy in ‘Alias Smith and Jones’ – Ben was also in Unit 4), also shot himself just about two weeks after I had been in Smith and Jones.

Finally I remember a gorgeous actress Brenda Benet married to Bill Bixby – a friend and a lovely man- who also shot herself about a year after their little boy had died in a tragic minor operation which went wrong. All so sad and such wasted lives, I think. Do we have such drama in our drama industry here, I don’t think so. I am not sure why, maybe it’s the difference in character and our society in which until recently, guns were not so easily available.

Going back to ‘Unit 4’ and on a lighter note, Glenwood Springs is a small town in the middle of these extraordinary huge hunting lodges; I use the word loosely, they were really huge mansions in the midst of mountains and forest. Glenwood Springs is a resort created by Theodore Roosevelt, who loved hunting. There is an open air hot swimming pool in the middle of the town and underground very smelly hot springs, where you can be covered in the local mud and have a massage. I do love the Americans, who call their massive holiday homes, cottages (The Hamptons) and hunting lodges as I have described. This was all before the Great Depression of course.

Enough memories of Hollywood for now. I will be there again this month for a quick visit on the way to see the grandchildren et al. More soon.

Be well and happy.


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