Liam Rudden: It’s great when heroes are heroic

Tony Curtis. Pic: Comp

Tony Curtis. Pic: Comp

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JOHN CLEESE has been on my interview bucket list for a long time, ever since I first watched Fawlty Towers to be precise. There was just something about him that seemed more interesting than other actors of his generation - with the possible exception of Tom Baker, who turned out to be delightfully bonkers when I met him.

So it was with a little trepidation, followed by some relief, that I discovered his craic was everything I’d expected it to be; friendly, witty, direct and intelligent when I finally got to interview him earlier this week... Actually, it was more relaxed than an interview, more, like a chat. Best of all, he was a nice guy.

Not all are.

Having now ticked John off my list, it’s looking a little depleted. Others who have also been ‘ticked off’ include The Persuaders star and 007 Roger Moore. Another gentleman. As were Superman’s General Zod Terence Stamp, and NCIS’ Ducky, David McCallum.

So who is left? Well, the obvious ones for me are Michael Caine, imagine the tales he must have to tell, and the Horror Master himself, John Carpenter. I could talk Halloween for hours. Oh, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Which brings me to the one that got away, her dad, Tony Curtis.

Many years ago, after chancing my hand as a freelancer, the Hollywood legend agreed to meet and chat over lunch on a trip to London.

At the last minute his schedule changed and instead, I was invited to join him in Dublin, a no go in the days before lo-cost airlines.

Instead, he sent me a signed copy of his autobiography. Then, a few years ago it was announced that Tony, by now using a wheelchair, was to make a rare appearance at the Filmhouse, where he was to attend a screening. My chance at last, only he took ill, dying shortly before that trip.

I wonder what he would have said...