BuffyW

BuffyW
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California, USA
Birthday
August 10
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When I figure it out I'll add it, one blog at a time. I illustrated "Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks" written by Lea Lane. You can get it at Amazon and on Kindle!

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AUGUST 12, 2009 11:07AM

Popeye Doyle...My very own "French Connection".

Rate: 34 Flag

 

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Eddie Egan/Popeye Doyle 

 

Popeye Doyle.  That name mean anything to you?  Maybe, if you are from NY and of a certain age.  Remember the Narcotics Detectives, Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso and a big cocaine bust and a movie called, “The French Connection”?  I see you have a glimmer of recognition.

 

This is a story about Hollywood, actors, shysters, agents, cops, cop shows and white go-go boots.  Oh yeah, and me.

 

After I moved to Hollywood, I was slightly ahead most other people who came there to make something of themselves.  I had a Golden Globe nominated film behind me.  I was just interviewed by a reporter from the LA Times, and as a result of it coming out in the paper, I was subjected to every wannabe agent, manager, or sleezeball that was drawn to fame like Adam to Eve.  Enter Michael X.

 

Michael X. was who all the jokes about agents and managers is about.  Hey, it was my first toss out into the shark pit, okay?  Somehow he had sweet talked me into coming to his office under the pretense of...(you can laugh, it’s pretty funny to me as I look back) making me a “Rock Star”.  He had convinced me enough to come to his office on Sunset Blvd.  His office turned out to be in a high-rise, but an apartment decorated with black and white glossies of him with Dick Clark, Frankie Avalon and I forget who else.  He told me he was affiliated with Bandstand.  Maybe he had been, like sweeping the bleachers out after a show or something, but I digress.  The point is once there he explained away the fact it was his “home office”.   

 

“Buffy dear, I want to hear you sing.”

 

“I told you I’m no singer.”  I didn’t lie.  I sang in school and choir but becoming a rock star had never been in my head, ever, until smooth-talking Michael.

 

“Honey, you got the looks, I know you have a voice and I know I can make sound good...and we need personality which you have in spades doll.”

 

“Well thanks.”  

 

“I want you to sing a song by the Eagles, Take it Easy.”  

 

“Uh.  With the song?  You have the lyrics for me?  I know the song, but maybe not all of the words.”

 

“That’s okay, just sing what you know.”

 

“Acapella?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Oh God, I don’t know...it’s the Eagles.”  I felt like shit, I met the Eagles when I was managing a bar in Boulder, and man, I had no voice to be singing acapella Eagles....or anything else for that matter.  Who was this guy?  I guess the better question was why was I there?  I began to shake.  I mean I don’t even sing in my shower.  This was just so wrong on so many levels.

 

“Come on.”  He cajoled.  I looked around and the glossies and it only made it worse looking at Dick Clark smiling in front of the Bandstand logo.  I opened my mouth...and screeched “I was runnin’ down the road...” my eyes rolled back in my head, my mouth felt so dry, and I was shaking like someone had tossed me into the ring with Joe Frasier.  I stopped abruptly.

 

“Go on.”  He was stifling a smile and I knew it. 

 

“I can’t do this.  I don’t want to be a Rock Star.”  I grabbed my purse and the LA Times, which had just come out with my big interview, and tried to excused myself.  He was very persistent though, and before I knew it I had signed a contract with him.  He was my first manager, he’d get 25% of whatever I made.  (The last laugh was on him, because he got nothing in a year.)  When I left I had the Times under my arm, and a new-found confidence.

 

“Excuse me.”  I heard a voice say to me.  I turned to see this blond, heavyset, tall man eyeballing me.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Didn’t I see you in the paper today?”  He smiled.

 

Wow, someone recognizes me.  “Yes, you did.”  

 

He introduced himself, “I loved the article.  I’m Eddie Egan...you know, the actor?”  

 

I gave him a blank look.  I had no idea who he was.

 

“I’m the real Popeye Doyle...you know from the movie, The French Connection.”  He looked confident.

 

If you stop this clip at 1:06 you will see Hackman (as Popeye Doyle/Eddie Egan) getting in a blonde guy’s face...that guy is the real Eddie.)

 

I guess I had a blank look still because the movie was five years old by then.

“I’m in the tv show Police Story.”  He said confidently.

Ok, I had heard of it, though I didn’t have a television set.  “That’s great.  It’s nice to meet you.”

 

“How about dinner tonight?”  

 

“I think so, can you call me later to make sure?”  I gave him my phone number and he assured me we could meet somewhere, Cyrano’s on the strip.  Oh... fancy and so "in".

 

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Cyrano's 

 

"Sure...hey Buffy...." he seemed to have remembered something, "could you wear white go-go boots?"

 

That night I met Eddie at Cyrano's.  I was the only one there in white go-go boots.  I guessed it is so he would find me...like the old red rose thing.  

 

Dinner was fun.  I loved all the attention he seemed to command, plus we talked about being a working actor in Hollywood.  A couple of drinks and a bottle of red wine later, with a decent Italian meal under his belt he invited himself over to my place. 

 

"I'm sorry Eddie, I have a television show I need to be ready for early."  

 

"That's okay doll.  Look, we have our last show of the season filming tomorrow, so there's going to be a cast party afterwards...would you come as my guest?" 

 

Wow, a cast party.  I was impressed.  No telling who I would get to meet. "I'd love to."   “I would love to Eddie.”

 

The next night he picked me up in his Cadillac and we went to a sound stage (warehouse) which confused me.  I was expecting the party would be, well anything but on the last set.  I was disappointed, but the atmosphere was one of a real party, people milling about, dancing and getting drunk with the knowledge they wouldn’t be working there until the next season, if they were fortunate enough to get picked up.

 

At this party little did I know I would get to meet my future acting teacher, Bruce Glover, Lou Gosset Jr.. Anne Jeffries, Marty Ingalls, Desi Arnaz Jr., Walter Matthaw and a whole host of other people who had appeared on the show.  I didn’t know at the time I would cross paths with many of them again in the future.  The disco lights were twirling overhead and the crowd danced to the pulsing beat.  I kept losing Eddie, but I didn’t mind, there I was in the midst of this end of season party, and I loved it.

 

Egan 

 

“Buffy...BUFFY...”  I heard my name being called over the music.  It was Eddie, he wanted to go.  We left the lot soon after.  On the way back to my little studio apartment he started groping me with one hand.  

 

“Hey Eddie...don’t.”  I moved his hand off of my leg.  It bugged me that he thought I would let him just do whatever because he was...well, just a cop in my eyes.  I knew cops, and though he had traded on his good fortune, it did not entitle him to take advantage of me.  I knew he was drunk too; still no excuse.  And he told me he was married.  

 

“Aww Buf, com’on, when we get to your place you can put those white boots on...I’ve been thinking about them.”

 

Oh yuck.  So now the truth comes out.  A go-go boot fetish.  We pulled up to my apartment building, he parked and reached for me again.  “Thanks for a nice time Eddie...but this is where we part.”

 

“You leavin’ me alone?”  He slurred.

 

“Go home Eddie, you’re drunk.”  I opened the car door amidst his protestations.  

 

“G’night Eddie.  Go home to your wife.  Thanks for everything.”  I left him there, and when I heard his engine turn over I smiled, closing my door.  I never heard from Eddie again. 

 

The next morning I tossed out those white boots. 

 

*Eddie died from cancer November 4, 1995.  He's buried in NY.

 

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Here's bump for you Eddie...RIP.
Buffy, a great slice of life of the Hollywood scene and the original Popeye Doyle that you've described. I've seen the "French Connection" movies many times, but did not know anything about the background to the story and the real Popeye Doyle. How very interesting to attend a cast party with so many notables, too!
Fascinating story. Rated!
What a peek into the high life! Popeye Doyle is very well known.

"The French Connection" is a classic film, too. "Do you pick your feet in Poughkeepsie?"
You never cease to amaze and amuse...
Guess a guy does not have to be a celebrity to have a monumental ego and sleazy demeanor. I've had the misfortune of encountering several "Eddies" and "agent types" right here in the Midwest, over the years. You've certainly got the gams, but tossing the white "go-go" boots was certainly an "in-your-face" statement. Once again...Bravo, Buffy!
--rated--
Thanks for sharing another great memory!
Four words: go-go boots Nancy Sinatra
A fascinating life you've led, lady.
Oh Sheila, you can tell a tale. Would love to spend an evening with you, looking back. Maybe sometime.
Great story!

And I loved The French Connection so this was right up my alley.
Great classic story for the archives! Thanks so much for writing this today. I need that. Maybe between you and me, we can all start to simmer down.
I had a feeling it was going to end like that... so, why don't we know it when we are younger? Or do we, but the excitement of it all puts us in to denial? Great story! And yes, I did know who he was. Loved that film!
You know I never tire of your life's stories ! This was another great one. I look forward to reading many more! Thanks
Sheila
I remember the movie and the story of Egan. I also remember the commercials he did. It's sad to see his tombstone, but lovely to read something real life about the man. You just continue to amaze me. rAted!
He was a pretty good actor. This is a good story. You are rapidly becoming my most envied person in the world. Rated for you and the incredible life you've had.
Hackman was brilliant in that film. And how come I'm not surprised your path crossed with Popeye Doyle.
"Go home to your wife"?!

Fate can be a cruel mistress. Especially if she's wearing white go-go boots.
Hehehe. The Hits just keep coming, folks!
Sheila,
I'm hoping that sometime soon we'll see a compilation of your adventures in a book. You're an incredible writer who has led an adventurous life. Thanks.
I like what Cartouche said. Great story.
You life stories are fabulous. rated
Buffy you never got to find out if Eddie "picked his feet in Poughkeepsie"

Roy Scheider asked Egan's partner Sonny Grosso why he was Eddie's friend when Eddie could be such a prick. Grosso's response was "someone has to be". That's how Scheider played his role in the movie.
wow...this is so well written....and that picture of Cyrano's...there's something about that restaurant...the sight of it..always made me feel very sad...it still does apparently...strange. xox
Designator--Thanks, it’s a strange place, but I was young and full of eagerness...and very gullible apparently!
Unbreakable--Thanks, don’t think I’d told this story before:)
Zuma--Honestly, I can’t say I remember that line...gasp...well, he kinda ruined watching the film again for me.
Mothership--Yes, those dogs are all over, just looking for innocence to corrupt. They barked up the wrong tree that time. Thanks sweety.
Spotted_mind--My pleasure to share, always way more fun in retrospect.
littlewilly--touché, lol.
Boomerbob--I must say it hasn’t been too dull. Thanks.
Lea--Thank you, it would be a pleasure.
Manch Wok--Thanks!
Cartouche--I look for entertaining pieces, the issues and hysterics are making me crazy. Thanks, I hope so.
MAWB--These seem to be lessons we learn on the way to perspective. Or not. Thanks for your comment.
RanchWife--It’s getting so I almost prefer to talk about “then”, now is so...funless. Thank you for coming by!
Mr. M--I guess I missed his commercials, but did see him off and on in different shows. I only realize he was gone yesterday when I was thinking about the story. I think he died in Florida where he lived last. Thank you, I feel the same about you!
bobbot--I think he got better over time. You are too sweet, but I don’t share much about the crap parts of life, what fun would that be?
GJI Penguin--You are a tough one to surprise! Thanks.
Skip--Yep, but hey, makes life interesting doesn’t it!
Michael--I think I may have a few more to share. Thanks for coming by.
Walter--Maybe, if I ever can tear myself away from OS long enough! Thank you for your support and kind words, as always.
Deborah--Thank you dear.
OldNewLefty--Thank you, happy to share them!
OE--I love Roy’s inspiration line. So true.
Robin--You know Cyranos went on to become LeDome? I know it makes me feel sad, only because the era was such a vibrant one for me. Thank you for the generous comment.
What a great remembrance from your colorful past!
What fun! Lou Gosset Jr., awesome!!! I think I would have been tempted to send Eddie home alone.
Great story, Buffy! Way to stand up for yourself!
Great story! The title hooked me, loved the film. Looks like I'm the last to the party again, and have some reading to do. Thanks. Rated!
Sheesh! It's not too often that I find myself wishing I were just a bit older but your true stories can sometimes have that effect on me. I was still a little kid in Amherst when all of this took place.All these wild and wooly adventures. Of course (as always) you inspire me to write my own autobiographical blogs. Party on!
Jeez, Buffy, you've taken some of the wind out of my sails with that one. You think your experiences with agents were awful. Boy, could I tell you stories. Knife-in-the-back stuff, Hollywood-style.

Great piece! Rated.
LOL...I put this in prespective in my head as I read it....While I was WATCHING police Story, you was out dancing with Eddie Egan! I have lived such a sheltered life! This is exactly why it is so much fun for me to read your Hollywood Stories. Great stuff girl oh and congratulations for another EP....your writing richly deserves it.
Another great reminiscence, perfectly paced and beautifully drawn. Rated, of course!
congratulations on your EP, why is the font so very small in this post? had difficulty reading it on the old computer but enjoyed it.
Your life never ceases to amaze me. I love reading your stories.
You've got a whole closet full of these, don'tcha?

At the only Hollywood cast party I ever went to, high on X and too impatient to wait my turn, Tracy Ullman told me (with dismissive finality), "there are no fucking little people."

Do you wish you had those go-go boots today?
Great story! I'll have to add "The French Connection" to my list of movies I need to rent.
Entertaining and really well told story. Thank you!
"Go home to your wife"-- that's rough!

Anyway it sounds like you had quite a time, go-go boots or no.
I was just a kid in that era, but remember the movie and POLICE STORY well. I knew who Egan was, because I did a little reading trying to figure out how much Egan there was in Popeye Doyle.
As for the go-go boots...these boots are made for walking. And nothing else!