Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jay Fruchtman Remembers Zelda

The black and white shots are from the LA opening of Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding back in October - November of 1989 ... the first day I met Zelda! I was in full make-up as an old man and as you can see, Zelda was so very dear and kind to my character...and of course, we had an immediate connection!! We spoke Italian together, had a little dance and spent a large portion of the event with each other.

Then we had a chance to actually "meet" at the opening night party and our wonderful friendship began! It was great to see her reaction when I came to say hello to her out of make-up and all dressed up! Needless to say, and no surprise to you--I'm sure!, Zelda was thrilled to find a fairly nice-looking youngish guy under all that make-up!! (That's me on the right..) What a wonderful flirt she always was and what a ball we had together from that day forward!!

During my time in LA--just under a year--we saw each other quite a bit. That year the Tony 'n' Tina company was asked to host the LA Weekly awards and what a night it was!! Because of our friendship, we were asked if we might consider doing a skit together and we did!! We did "our" version of a scene from A STAR IS BORN. Zelda was accepting a fake "special" award and I came out from the audience drunk a la Judy Garland and James Mason...

Until people caught on to what we were doing, it was kind of shocking to many and then of course, a riot to all!! Because of Zelda's size--the moment when I accidentally am supposed to slap her in the face--I actually swung and went right over her head!! The audience went wild with laughter!! What a great lady and sport she was!!!

We were friends for the next 20 years--how lucky for me!!!! I loved her.

I was lucky enough to be in LA for her 70th birthday celebration and her 75th....and we saw each other whenever she was in NY. Even when I spoke to her last while she was in hospital--she still managed to make me laugh...and we had a great giggle together...

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