Gone but never to be forgotten, my one-to-one with a giant in the movie annals, John Huston.
And with cigars making smoke lately – George C Scott chomping on one throughout the award-winning film in the televised General Patton rig and an English company touting an e-cigar – the time’s right to recall my close-up-and-personal encounter with a trademark cigar specialist at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
He’d brought his fourth wife with him, married five days previously. True to himself, he’d reduced three cigars to ashes before he rose from his chair.
I wondered who he missed most . . . a whole lot of monumental individuals he’d known, after all, had departed the planet.
“I’d top the list with my father, Walter Huston. Peter Lorre, I miss him a lot. You’ve got to include Bogey. He must be having the time of his life – or death – observing this whole cult thing about him.
“Gable I miss too. With The Misfits he finished the last shot of the picture and went home and died.”
Father Walter, who carved his own name in Holywood, died at 67. Was John aware that he was almost on his father’s deadline? “I guess I am. There are subtle indications of some inner wear and tear but I’m aware of a fund of energy. I’m not the erratic type and I can always call on reserve resources. I’ve got a deep second wind.”
Nevada-born Huston had burned out his latest cigar and in another part of the suite the new Mrs H was ready to tour Edinburgh. A “fabulous” city, she reckoned. Her husband was the eager escort. “I’m delighted with her. I’ve known her for a year. She’s not at all involved in movies. Anyway I don’t want to talk about movies when I’m home.”
The smoke had cleared.