HELLO AMERICA!─After hearing that actor Max Von Sydow passed, it was an extremely sad moment for me, as well as millions of others. Without a doubt he was one of a kind, especially in Hollywood. When I first met Max, it was on location in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. He was shooting a film with Peter O’Toole and Charlotte Rampling. I was assigned to interview them all, which would take at least three days, pending on their schedule, of course. I was set up to get to the island via a small private plane, which had a forced landing as soon as we entered the Mexican territory of the shoot.
Fortunately, we were picked up in a small truck driven by one of the residents of the area and I was dropped off at the hotel. There were only two in that specific area. As for the airport where we should have landed, it was merely a small area field type landing place with a small building where one might land a small plane. The hotel was located on a hill with the ocean below; it would make an overwhelming painting, that’s for sure.
I was to meet the daughter in-law of the President of Mexico who was introduced to me when I was invited to the home of John Huston and his wife Cece who was absolutely adorable in every way. She made sure I met anybody who had a name of significance. Zsa Zsa turned up; Flip Wilson’s sons where there, Peter Ford, a close friend, and son of Glenn, Barbara Eden, Mia Farrow, and famous recognizable faces continued to make a prominent entrance. Of course, I loved every minute of it.
When introduced to the daughter in-law of Mexico’s president, we immediately delved in discussing films, music and both Mexican and American actors and musicians we both admired. When it was mentioned that I would enjoy visiting her country, especially, since it was scheduled for film stars Peter O’Toole, Charlotte Rampling and Max Von Sydow were scheduled to work in a film together called “Foxtrot” to be shot on the small island of Cabo San Lucas.
When I indicated that it would be something very special to me to cover. She then took me by the hand over to where Cece was sitting and insisted that she arrange for me to cover the shoot for a few days. Since Cece had planned to be there in Cabo as well, because she and her husband, John Huston were very good friends of O’Toole, she thought it was a great idea!
Within a few days everything was arranged with my PLAYERS publishers and off I went for an adventure never anticipated. When meeting everyone connected with the production at the hotel, I decided I was quite ready to take a bit of rest. Preparing for bed, I noticed there were no curtains with no windowpanes, as well. It was so hot I decided to go to bed without pajamas. When finally relaxing in the bed, I suddenly saw something crawling in wiggly fashion on the wall; focusing on the moving image even more so, and to my utter surprise, it was a snake!
Even as a boy scout, I have been scared to death of snakes, so I jumped out of the bed, ran to one of the windows, stark naked, and jumped to the street floor of the hotel and ran stark naked through the hotel lobby yelling, “THERE’S A DAMN SNAKE IN MY ROOM…A SNAKE! Peter O’Toole and Max Von Sydow were having dinner and began laughing hysterically and the other guests began laughing, even applauding as if it were a planned show. However, I learned later that O’Toole remarked to a few of the inquisitive guests when asked about it, he said, “Oh, yes, it was one of the funniest things I had ever seen…it was like a black, naked snake running through the lobby!”
Actually, the incident made my session with Max Von Sydow more interesting because he easily relaxed with me and related tons of stories, and I do mean outrageous experiences he not only had as a youngster growing up, but some scandalous ones he experienced while reaching a level of respect as an actor in Hollywood. Through the years, whenever there was an opportunity to connect with Max, I dropped everything else to meet up with this extraordinary man, who was more human and approachable than most people I had met at that time in Hollywood.