The other day, I wrote here about Bob Hoskins spot-on playing a character based on my friend Don Segall. As it happened, Mark Evanier linked to it on his website -- but also linked to a truly wonderful reminiscence about Don when the good fellow passed away in 1994.
Do read it. You can never have too much stories about Don Segall. And Mark does him proud -- dealing beautifully with the frenetic and friend-to-the-world nature that was Don, telling lots of great tales and confirming how remarkable Bob Hoskins' portrayal of him was.
Again, do read it. You can check out the whole thing here on an archive from Mark's website, but blow are a couple of passages to whet your appetite. And "appetite" is the appropriate term here when discussing Don. (You'll recall I mentioned the glorious spread he set out to help break the fast after Passover. Mark goes into much more loving detail about Don and food.)
"He was tall by any measure, save for Perpendicular. In a restaurant, he would run the help ragged with the changing of tables, the constant reconfigurations and add-ons of the order, never for his own comfort, only for that of his guests. (Well, I take that back: Those who write the most complex instruction manuals possible could not compete with Don Segall in the act of ordering a corned beef on rye. He would specify from which part of the loaf the two slices of bread should be taken, how the beef should be trimmed and laid thereupon…everything short of which pasture the cow should have grazed in. It reminded me of those scenes in the movies where a doctor on the phone has to talk a layman through performing a delicate surgical procedure and, thereby, save a life. Only Don was more serious about his sandwich.)
I mention in my piece how Don was close friends with Alan Alda, who gave a brilliant eulogy at Don's funeral. Mark refers to that, as well. One story not mentioned by either of us deserves telling.
Alan Alda's eulogy was hilarious, emotional, hilarious, touching, emotional, beautifully delivered, richly heart-felt, and hilarious and captured Don impeccably -- but then this is the same man who wrote a movie role that perfectly captured his dear friend. When he finished, the room in attendance was happier and sadder and far happier than they'd been before. It was deeply cathartic and so memorable. When he was finished, the next speaker came on the stage. He stood there a moment -- and then turned around to look at the casket behind him, at which point he said, "Thanks a lot, Don, for having me follow Alan..."
The room roared. It was all pure Don Segall.
Now, go read Mark Evanier's full posting here.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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