Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mike Mazurki

Mike Mazurki was a highly recognizable character actor, specializing in playing gangsters and tough-guys in features from the 1930s, and later on, tv shows, right up to the year he died (1990). He was also very adept at playing comedic heavies.

His address was on a list of celebrity addresses passed around by autograph collectors, and I looked him up in the Los Angeles phone directory I had. This was in 1980. His number was listed, but with a different first initial. I called, and the voice that answered was female. It was Mrs. Mazurki, and she confirmed I had the right number for Mike, but he was not home at the time (that's what she told me - maybe he was home and and she was screening my call). She asked how I got the number, and I told her I looked it up in the phone book, and matched it with the street address I had. She replied "That's very efficient of you". She wasn't at all bothered by my call, but told me that her husband was usually not available to talk, and it would be best to write him. I told her I'd send a photo I'd like him to autograph.

A week later, I received the photo, which he inscribed "To my friend and No. 1 fan". I guess I may have been the only fan who ever dared to call him at home, and while he didn't talk to me, he honored me with the "No. 1 fan" greeting.

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