I have told of how JEREMY BRETT embarrassed me on the first day of shooting "My Fair Lady" by walking right up to me, in front of everyone.....and handed me a paper water cup with his name and phone number on it. He said, "Call me. You're the most beautiful boy I've seen so far, in Hollywood."
This, mind you, while GEORGE CUKOR, AUDREY HRPBURN, REX HARRISON, WILFRID HYDE-WHITE, MARJORIE BENNETT, etc. and the crew, are all within earshot.
Without even looking at the cup, I shoved it in my pocket, and prayed that we could all just 'go on' as though nothing had happened.
Somehow, that mood prevailed, and CUKOR went on with his direction as though there had been no interruption.
The paper cup given to CHRISTOPHER that day on the "My Fair Lady" set with JEREMY BRETT'S contact information.
Once shooting on "My Fair Lady" had wrapped, but before the film was released, CHRISTOPHER received a letter from JEREMY BRETT.
Here is the letter that CHRISTOPHER received from MR. BRETT, when he was doing a play in New York.
At one time, CHRISTOPHER was on ROBERT REDFORD'S Christmas card list.
From the wonderful artist, KENNETH KENDALL, December 1956.
MR. KENDALL did all those wonderful drawings of STEVE REEVES, when he began to become known as an actor, as well as a body builder. Many of these drawings were ultimately made into greeting cards.
WILSON took the pictures of JAMES DEAN that piqued the interest of Warner Bros. And the studio, in turn, showed these pictures to ELIA KAZAN.
Naturally, JIM and WILSON became great friends at this time. I was still living in No. California, finishing High School, and chomping at the bit to get to Hollywood.
At this juncture, I can't recall if it were I, who contacted WILSON, or if he found me.
In any case, I arrived......despite JIM no longer being here. And not only did I get a job in a film on my second day in town; I was actually working in the picture that JIM had mentioned he was to do next.
Through WILSON, I met many, many wonderful people. For, not only did he take photos of actors and actresses, he was also THEE House Photographer for The Greek Theatre.
I've mentioned before, that through WILSON, I met JUDY GARLAND, JOHNNY MATHIS, HARRY BELAFONTE, NANCY WILSON, just to name a few. AND, I was at every Ballet performance; often able to stand in the wings.
Anyway, here is not only one of WILSON'S amusing Christmas Cards, but the way he used to advertise his work.
MONTGOMERY CLIFT'S accident affected me in such a way that I walked away from making movies for a while. At first, I thought I would not do anything associated with Show Business, at all.
Somehow, I secured a job at Forest Lawn Memorial Park; and almost immediately, they put me in charge of handling the funerals of film stars. I believe my first big funeral was, HUMPHREY BOGART.
This, however, is the card for ERROL FLYNN'S services. MS PATRICE WYMORE asked me to handle details that only 'show people' would understand.
But the big responsibility of the day was.......making sure that Beverly Aadland never got anywhere near the proceedings.
From GLADYS COOPER. 1967.
From GLADYS COOPER. 1968
From LEWIS MILESTONE'S wife, KENDALL. 1975.
From our 'family friend,' DREW DUDLEY.
DREW had been an aide to the Shah of Iran when my 'dad' and Kendall met him in Paris. This was when my 'dad' was Blacklisted. Later, DREW worked for Delecorte Press.
He's the only person I know of that was allowed to be friends with BOTH, JOAN FONTAINE, and OLIVIA de HAVILLAND. And, he got them both to write their Autobiographies for his company.
I'll tell you this: The Creator isn't making people like these three anymore.
This is a placemat that was used in the MGM Commissary when I first arrived.
I DO remember taking this home with me, that afternoon of February 29th, 1956. My first day at Metro, and my first day working in a film. (By the way, I hadn't even been in town a full 24 hours yet!)
I'll bet Betty Sherman Corp, and Alicia Mayer get a kick out of this.
This evening was set up because James just happened to be in town (Vallarta) on vacation, and we had all gone out for the evening.
Someone asked James to play the piano; and after a few numbers, he coaxed me into getting up and singing.
The owners of Garbo were impressed enough to set up this date. And, I might add, I'm told that people are still raving about how much they enjoyed the night of real New York Cabaret.
Singing at Garbo, in Puerto Vallarta.
This was taken in my garden, at the house in which I raised my son, and housed my 'adopted' boys. We spent 22 years in that house. Lots of sweet memories there, that's for sure.
My wonderful MARY HUGHES. We not only did quite a few Beach Films together, we were also in "Double Trouble" with Elvis, together.
MARY always wanted me to join the gang 'after hours.'
I had to remind her that, not only was I at least ten years older than the rest of the 'surfers,' I also had an infant son at home, waiting for me to return, make dinner, and put him to bed.
Must say, I really loved MARY. She was a dear, dear girl. As was our other surf-mate, SALLI SACHSE.
I'd love to have those days back again. Little did I know at that time.
October, 2017. From CHRISTOPHER:
Miss Rachel and I on the set of an upcoming episode.
I suggested that I could perform my old Balloon Dance for everyone; but Rachel thought I should just stay seated.
Our DGA Trainee took the photo. I think she's beginning to get a kick out of me.
— with Rachel L Smith.
Hopefully, one day we'll do the same Elvis Festival together, again. We did The Elvis Cruise, Collingwood, and several Tributes in Vegas.
CP and I have been friends since 1960. We were supposed to do "Kissin' Cousins" together, but I still had much work to do on "My Fair Lady."
Elvis's comment? "You'd rather be with Audrey Hepburn?"
From CHRISTOPHER, originally posted December 22, 2018:
I believe it was in 1976 that I was offered the job of putting together, yet another Night Club. We had had tremendous success with my efforts for Studio One; so I accepted. We took over the old Millionaire's Club venue on La Cienega Blvd. What an undertaking. HUGE building.
We had a Show Room, a restaurant, a Disco, a Game Room, etc. Much like we had at Studio One.
Our immediate problem, of course, was in changing the name of this famous Landmark. The two owners (Walter and Alex) decided they wanted to have a contest in re-naming the place. For the life of me, at the moment, I can't think of what the prize was.
In any case, these cards were distributed at both of their other establishments (The Gallery Room, and The Gallery Inn.) I could write many a story about those places; but.......another time.
One evening, while I was dining at The Gallery Room, my pal, and former co-worker, Sal Mineo, walked over to my table and handed me his card/entry. Of course, he said something salacious to me, suggesting that 'should he win......' I laughed, and took his card with me.
When the contest was over, and the name, 'Up' was selected, all these cards were brought into my office. Somehow, Sal's card sat right in front of me, right side up, and as my son often says.....'spoke to me.' So, instead of throwing his card away with the others; I have kept this thing ALL these years.
I came across it, as I'm going through these last few boxes of 'stuff' in my attempt to get settled into this 'new' and smaller space. And, you know, when you find things like this, you begin to recall the entire relationship.
Sal and I met on my second day in Hollywood.... my first day in a motion picture. February 29, 1956.
I got a strange vibe from Sal that early morning. I sensed he didn't like me. So, at a naive 18 years old, I decided I didn't like him either. So silly, so childish. But typical.
It wasn't really until 1961 that we became friendlier. By then we discovered we had some of the same friends, and frequented many of the same restaurants. Anyway, it was the night of the Academy Awards, when Sal had been nominated for 'Exodus' that really broke the ice.
Suffice to say, we became warm friends who eventually appreciated each other's accomplishments. It was my hope that we would one day work together again. I even thought that perhaps Sal might direct me in something. In those days, I was still making movies and TV during the day, and appearing on stage in the evenings. And Sal was making a fine name for himself as a Director.
Sadly, those daydreams never came to fruition. Since Sal's untimely death, I have corresponded with some of his family members; and right now, I am often working with a cousin of his on the TV Comedy in which I appear. Anyway, for those of you who are TRUE film fans, I thought I might share this with you. And, at the same time, give a nod to a lovely and talented man, whom I used to know.
WOW! Trudy (Taphorn, event organizer) caught me by surprise, and asked me 'just what kind of a person ELVIS was.' I almost couldn't get it out. I have to admit, I choked up, and had to stop myself from crying.
LANA and CHRISTOPHER were reunited at The Hollywood (Autograph) Show in 2017. They first worked together in the 1965 film 'The Girls On The Beach.'
This event benefits local charities in the Westlock, Alberta, Canada area and draws thousands of people each year.
At the autograph signing table.
Outside Rockabillies at Graceland.
Carol Coleman not only presented me with her card; she presented me with a pair of her dancing shoes. This is when Patsy Swayze and I used to fly around the Country, attending Dance Contests, and discuss the art of dancing in the various mediums: Stage, Film, TV.
Ron Creager is a fantastic piano player whom I met first when he was hired to play at parties in the home of Costume Designers, Grady Hunt and Bill Jobe. After meeting him, I used to frequent the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in which he played, quite often. It was wonderful to sit there, sipping my Scotch, and having Ron play all my favorite tunes.
Billy Blackburn had been an ice skater in several Ice Shows before he got the job on 'Star Trek.' He's usually sitting right next to George Takai; with whom I worked in the stage production of 'Fly Blackbird,' in 1961.
William Ware Theiss was the well known Costume Designer. He had been a friend of James Dean; however we had never met......until he was assigned to dress me in some TV Show. At the moment, I can't recall which show.
The great character actress, Elvia Allman. We worked together in 'Many Happy Returns.' Elvia was the Supervisor in the Candy Factory, when Lucy & Ethel got a job there. You've seen her in hundreds of shows.
James Sheldon was a TV Director in the early years in New York. He too, was a friend of Jimmy's. We worked together when he was directing 'The Bing Crosy Show.' We formed a great friendship; and it was he, who introduced me to Marlon Brando.
CHRISTOPHER'S 48th birthday party.
Just arriving....you might recognize the lovely Fran Allison.
I guarantee you, when I was a kid, watching 'Kukla, Fran and Ollie,' I never dreamed that Fran would be a guest at one of my parties.
CHRISTOPHER in the lead role in "Dracula" (1959). He received a Best Actor nomination.
My James Bond photo.
This is one of the few times I did any modeling.
The picture was taken by the wonderfully talented, Wilson Millar.
Bill, as friends called him (though, for some reason, I never did) was a great friend and photographer of James Dean's. Later, Wilson took me under his wing when I moved to Hollywood.
CHRISTOPHER and his son SEAN in early 1964.
At the 2014 Elvis Festival in Collingwood, Ontario.
This is April 1961, The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium; where the Oscar presentations took place for the films of 1960. That's Eddie Fisher, leading his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, up the aisle in order to retrieve her Award for her performance in 'Butterfield 8.'
If you count 5 people behind, and to Fisher's left, you will see a very young Christopher Riordan. I was seated right behind Ms Taylor on this evening. The lady sitting in front of me is/was what is known as a Seat Filler. These people fill the seats when a star is called up to the Stage.
On this evening, however, the woman sat there for thee longest time. It wasn't until about five minutes before the Best Actress nominations were announced that she got up and made the seat available for Elizabeth. And, as soon as Elizabeth began to walk down the aisle, this woman quickly took the chair once again.
Quite an evening for me. Seeing Elizabeth again. Seeing Audrey Hepburn for the very first time. Being with Sal Mineo again. And........oh, well....so many little stories.