Friday, November 9, 2012


 My husband, John Cullum, is the best -- best looking, most interesting, most talented, most versatile actor-singer-dancer, who can make me laugh, cry, cheer, and fall in or out of love with the person he's playing.

I love other actors also -- Cary Grant,  Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta. I've fallen in love with  Irons, Gibson, Hanks, Hackman, Beatty, and, if I stared into space for another minute or two, I'd come up with brief love affairs I've had with other actors, like Richard Gere.

I thought he was interesting the first time I saw him.

It was when John was in the musical "Shenandoah," at the Goodspeed Opera House, in upstate Connecticut, and producer Philip Rose was directing the first performances there.  I visited on weekends -- just popped in -- pulled myself away from my busy schedule in NYC, where I was hiring dancers for my Dance Drama Company.

I arrived at the train station around the same time Gere did on his motorcycle. He was dating the girl who was playing John's daughter in the show. He said, "Wanna ride?"  Hanging onto his waist, he delivered me to the theater.

I thought he was.-- hmmm  ... sort of rogue-ish -- messy hair, rough clothes, probably broke -- a sexy,  cute guy, who was playing around with a pretty professional actress.

He was flirty friendly.  He knew right away that I was worried about messing my hair.  He lent me his cap.  We had one of those fast, light chats one has with attractive strangers . What do you do? Oh, you're an actor?  What do I do? Oh, I'm a dancer -- I run a dance company.

My mind wrote a quick scenario -- he probably was thinking of taking acting classes -- the rough-diamond look of him was good.  I mentioned that making it in show biz was tough, that he ought to look for an agent.  When I introduced John to him, there was an embarrassing moment -- I didn't know the motorcycle-guy's name.

John already had fans -- guys and girls.  I thought my husband was spending too much time with the gorgeous  actress who played his daughter-in law in the show, so I was slightly sulking, looking at other guys like what's-his-name.

Yes, he was attractive -- not so much his looks, but my sense as a woman, that the guy saw ME. In the  brief, casual conversations we had in the course of the next weeks, he asked good questions about dancing and building a dance company. I remember thinking this guy likes women for what they really are.

Time marched on. I was surprised when I recognized him in "LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR."  He played the sexy, unstoppable killer who killed the leading lady.

Then -- wow -- I saw "AMERICAN GIGOLO."  I hadn't followed the motorcycle-guy's career, and only then, during the first scene of the movie, realized he was Richard Gere, an up-and-coming film star. The self-centered, vain, gigolo he was playing was, as a lover, remarkably tender, considerate, a lover who understood what his women clients wanted and needed.  

I loved the man Richard Gere played in this film.

I loved the man he played in "BREATHLESS."  Not only did I enjoy the sex scenes in the film, but I also found the end of that movie -- his death scene -- brilliant and touching.

I loved Gere in "PRETTY WOMAN" -- his chemistry with Julia Roberts, and the story.  Personal friends have asked disdainfully, "You loved Pretty Women? You're kidding!"   My own son thought I was kidding. No, I'm not kidding -- each time I've seen "PRETTY WOMAN," I love the movie, I love the man, cheered for the man that Richard Gere played. 

In other films, and there have been many others, each time I see Gere -- even when the role he's playing is a villainous, criminal, I LIKE HIM.
Richard Gere does something actor John Cullum does -- he finds the heroic aspect, the good  guy element in every role he plays.

Where is actor Gere heading now?  I think his need to express his personal beliefs -- his personal politics -- sometimes gets in the way of my feeling for him. And, of course, he's growing older -- he's not as handsome as he used to be.

Yes, my love affair has become a more platonic relationship, but I still have a crush on Richard Gere.

"American Gigolo"


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