I WAS A STAGE MOTHER FOR THE FBI
As my longtime reader knows, I got my kid out of Vietnam when he was 4. At the time he was fluent in Vietnamese; spoke some French, a little German and a little English. After preschool and kindergarten all he spoke was English, the other languages were completely forgotten. He had become Americanized except he had difficulty being accepted by the other American kids. That bothered him a great deal.
It was still a problem for him a few years later when his 4th grade teacher invited me to school for a showing of a video they had made in class. They had taped a play in which my son appeared on the witness stand accused of something involving tooth decay. His teacher was gushing over his performance and he did look pretty good.
When he got home he told me he wanted to be an actor. Okay, great. Years before, when I had my brush with show business, Lee Marvin had taken a liking to me. He gave me a long lecture on how to get started in the movies. So I followed his advice on behalf of my son and got a Hollywood agent on the first try.
But here’s the kicker: At the time we lived in a gated community with a management office. I gave the agent the number of that office as an alternate contact. Then I gave our manager the agent’s card and asked him to take any messages in case I wasn’t at home. You should have seen how popular my kid suddenly became with the other kids. Am I a schemer? You bet. For him it was a dream come true.
Then, much to my surprise, my kid got a part in a movie. It seems he had a look that could pass for several races which meant opportunities. He was also outstanding at auditions. So he began a short-lived movie career. The problem was my kid was hyperactive and delays on movie sets seem interminable. After the third movie he told me he didn’t want to do that any more.
In the meantime, one of his directors gave me a clip of a film he was in which was shown in his class at school. That didn’t hurt his popularity. So it was a great experience.