I’m still out in L.A. and the opportunity arises to interview a well-know, successful film producer. Known for shunning all interviews, Fred agrees to talk to me.
Fred’s personal office is the size of a small subdivision, a cream leather sofa dominates the room; it could comfortably seat twenty-five film execs.
Greeted with a handshake, I am offered a beverage. Fred directs me to a seat on the monster sofa and then settles in five cushions away from me. Ain’t no way this seating arrangement is going to work. I need intimacy.
I pop up all perky and lovable, and plop down smack next to Fred. I put a sofa pillow on my knees and use it to support my notebook.
He’s thrown off for an instant by my bold move; but then the movie mogul grins. “Nice boots,” he nods at my feet.
“Thanks,” I chirp.
“Where do we start?” Fred asks.
“Tell me your vision of a woman worth your love.”
I take a sip of the bottled water and place it back on an exotic looking coaster.
“As I experience women, I feel quite badly in many ways for them because many times that this feminism or women’s movement or whatever it is that you want to declare it, has not given them the liberation one would have hoped.”
My first impression is that perhaps this is a prepared speech, it flows so easily from his lips; but then a look of great concern settles on his face.
Fred continues, “What it’s done in some ways has been to say, that if you’re not successful in the context that men are successful, your life has not been worth living.” He shakes his head. “I just don’t believe that.”
I scarf up the luxury of the room, and wonder if it’s easier to say these things when you have conquered the world.
His voice is softer now, “I believe from the bottom of my heart that one of the greatest women that I’ve ever known is not an overly bright woman. In the context of success in the outer world, hers is almost nonexistent.”
“Who is this woman?”
“She is one of the most honest, loving, giving human beings I’ve ever met. On that basis she is a hugely successful individual. And that’s my mom.” He tilts his head in a boyish manner.
“Everybody views my dad as a hugely accomplished man in his own right. But it’s unfortunate that people slight people who have committed themselves to making other people happy.”
A tear settles in his right eye. “If my mother were to stand up there as a contemporary woman, she doesn’t have a college degree and she’s not writing a book or she’s not a successful something or other, people would say, it’s kind of a wasted life.
“There are times when I want to say to people, do you not get the value of growing up with somebody there to talk to, about whatever it is you want to talk about?”
Finally, an appreciation of the stay-at-home mom.
Fred continues, “If only for the reason that my mom was there for me, I never went through one of those stages where ‘I hate my parents, I’m going to go out and get drunk, do drugs, and have sex’.
“I lived by such a cautious measure, because I never really wanted to make my parents feel as though they didn’t do the right thing.”
He smiles. “The value of having someone there when you come home from school …whether you scraped your knee or whatever… SOMEONE TO TALK TO. We owe this to our children.”
Is love simply having your love appreciated?