The Marvel that was Tony Randall
Early in my career I was contacted by a pianist...
...who was doing a recital with Tony at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. It was a unique show where Tony read selections from the classic children's book Babaar the Elephant with the live piano soundtrack.
The shoot was to take place upstate New York at the rehearsal grounds for the Barnum & Bailey Circus. It was a slightly surreal moment to be photographing this legend atop an elephant.
Fast forward many years into my career to the time when I got the idea for my coffee table book project featuring notables in arts and culture over the age of 60.
I immediately thought back to that marvelous day and decided to give Tony a call. What better a way to start the project, I figured.
Tony agreed and I spent an afternoon in his magnificent apartment (really two apartments combined into one) in The Beresford, photographing him and some of the beautiful art he owned. He was courteous and engaged, introducing me to his lovely young wife and baby and putting me at ease with stories of working with Marilyn Monroe (who was chronically late to set!).
After the shoot he brought me to his study and proceeded to give me the names and numbers of some of his good (and legendary) friends who I later photographed such as Eli Wallach and Hume Cronyn.
What most people remember about Tony is his role in the Odd Couple, but I will mostly remember him for his daring (at the time) television portrayal of a gay leading character in Love, Sydney.
Tony will be dearly missed. He was another from an era in which tough times made good men.