You remember Jessica Walter from the Clint Eastwood movie, Play Misty for Me. She was the 'ultimate stalker' in that movie. More important to me is her appearance in one of my favorite movies Grand Prix, the racing movie directed by John Frankenheimer.
She starred in the TV series Amy Prentiss and had a recurring role on Trapper John, M.D. From 2003 to 2006, she appeared as the scheming alcoholic socialite in the TV series Arrested Development.
I was thrilled to be hired to go to Seattle to direct her and TV's Mission Impossible star Greg Morris in a 30 minute traffic safety film.
The producer had me go to the airport with him to greet her and from the airport to the hotel, I asked her all kinds of questions about Grand Prix, Play Misty for Me, and her TV show Amy Prentiss which she starred as San Francisco's first Chief of Detectives.
It only took a day to complete the project and she was the consummate professional, as was Mr. Morris. There were lots of talks and laughs between camera set ups.
I always called her Miss Walters, and when the press was watching us film she finally said, "Don't call me Miss Walters. You make me sound so old." I came back quickly with, "That's just while the press is here. After that I'll be 'Jessica Baby'." She and everyone laughed. Instantly Greg Morris jumped off his chair and cupped my face in his hands and laughed, "And you'll be 'Paul Baby'. Which got a bigger laugh.
Saying good-by at the end of the shoot, I gave Jessica a blessed coin from a prosperity temple in Japan that I was carrying in my wallet. She was very moved and kissed me on the cheek. Of course, I haven't washed it since.
Written by me:
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