I was back in Hollywood after a memorable stay in New York City. My friend Mark, who had been acting in a Broadway play, had gone home to Pasadena to become a cop like his dad. I moved to a new part of town and into a beautiful art-deco apartment building. I had just met a new friend who was a star in film and TV, named Richard Deacon. Life was good.
When I first met Richard Deacon as I was moving into the building, he told me that he wanted to introduce me to a couple of neighbors after I was settled in. My friend, Doug, a film director at Warner Brothers, came over to help me. After we’d spent a few hours moving my things into the apartment and putting them into place, I asked Doug if he would like to go get something to eat. There was nothing in the apartment, as I hadn’t been to the store. A couple of blocks away was a great 50s diner so we went there. While there, a couple of people came in who knew Doug from the Studio. I was introduced to Vic Morrow and his Wife. Vic had done some Twilight Zone shows, a couple of films and now was getting ready to start shooting a new tv series called ‘Combat.’
We headed back to the apartment and when we got to my place, there was Richard knocking on my door. He wanted me to come to his apartment because he had a couple of ladies that he wanted me to meet. Doug and I followed him to his place and when we got inside I couldn’t believe my eyes. Doug was already hugging the ladies as old friends when he turned around and said, “Ed, I want you to meet Miss Estelle Winwood and Miss Nina Foch.” I was in heaven meeting these two lovely women. Estelle was an actress whose career stretched from silents to the day I met her. She was one of those actresses that could steal every scene she was in even though she was not the main star. Just her presence made the screen light up. What a lovely, kind and wonderful lady.
It was an interesting year in my new place. Afternoon cocktails with Estelle and Nina at a fine bar a couple of blocks from us on Santa Monica Blvd. Then I got to meet Rick Jason and, once again, meet Vic Morrow who were getting ready to start filming the tv series “Combat.” At times I thought that Richard must know everybody in Hollywood.
During this first year back from New York I tried to stay in touch with Lucy, the lovely Rockette I had left behind. Lately though, the letters had become few and far between. Sometimes long distance love affairs just don’t work out. I had talked to Rick about this as he was presently in between marriages, having just divorced his third wife. He said it was hard to be off shooting a film or doing TV and still maintain a solid marriage, but I think that egos had a lot to do with it also.
Rick had become like a fourth party to my afternoon cocktail get together with Estelle and Nina. He was a terrific guy and had a great sense of humor. He was telling us that “Combat” was one of the hardest shoots he had ever been on. He also told us that the sets and filming of the show were so real that when the show airs, you’d think the scenes were real or old footage shot during World War II.
But when the 1960’s came along things just weren’t the same at the Hollywood studios. Big Corporations started buying into the studios and had even taken over some of them. It spelled a bad time for contract players as the corporations were looking for just the big name stars and letting the contract on the other actors end, without extending them. What once was a feeling of family slowly faded away and only a business sense was left.