Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have held off composing yet another blog, waiting for even more updated information on the forthcoming (honest, folks, it is coming) Limited Edition of the entire Cagney & Lacey series. I don’t, as yet, have enough of those facts, but am expecting same in the very near future. Time keeps passing and I am more and more remiss about keeping in touch. What this amounts to then is … well… two things: a head’s up to watch this space on a more regular basis in the coming days/weeks as “stuff” should be happening pretty quickly now, and two… just a blog because some stuff has happened that I wanted to share.

One thing about the new Limited Edition is that I have just completed recording an audio version of the entire book, Cagney & Lacey… and Me. This recording by the author will be included as part of the package that we, even as I write, are finalizing. So far the beautifully designed Limited Edition box will have the Loretta Swit Movie for Television, all the Meg Foster episodes, all 119 episodes with Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly as Cagney and Lacey, a tape of the entire 30th anniversary tribute evening put on by the British Film Institute and the aforementioned audio book. More to be added and announced very soon but, as promised earlier, the Limited Edition will also be personally autographed by Sharon, Tyne and yours truly. 
As to the “sharing” thing: Sharon lost a long time friend with the death of Andy Griffith. She had talked to him by phone shortly before his unexpected passing. They exchanged birthday greetings and he was talking about also moving down to Florida from his home in North Carolina. Andy was a terrific talent and a wonderful… and very funny… gentle man. His passing is a major loss to this world. Whoever said these things run in threes doesn’t know much about my address book. In the last week or so Celeste Holm, who starred for me in This Girl for Hire, a movie of the week/back door pilot I had made years ago with a great cast of character actors now mostly passed on that included Jose Ferrer, Howard Duff, Ray Walston, and Elisha Cook, Jr.  That tongue-in-cheek homage to film noir is only note worthy because of the cast I assembled and Ms Holm led that group wonderfully well. As a boy I had worshipped her talent as Adoo Annie in Oklahoma and in some pretty wonderful motion pictures including All About Eve. It was a thrill for me to actually get to know her and to work with her. This week she joined former studio head Richard Zanuck, William “Billy” Asher and then Frank Pierson to complete the loss of five very solid citizens in one week.

I had seen “Billy” Asher only once since he retired to Palm Springs, California. He was a fun pal to have during my early days in the Malibu Movie Colony out at that California beach community in the 1960’s and 70’s. In those days he was the celebrated creator/director of the television series Bewitched and was married to that show’s star, Elizabeth Montgomery. One would have to travel a very long way to find a better drinking companion or a funnier, more generous and talented man than he. I will never forget the time spent with him and one of his greatest pals, the late, great award winning actor Jack Warden who was also a Colony resident in those days.

I was probably more stunned by the death of Zanuck than any one of the others this week, not only because at 77 he was the youngest of this ensemble, but because of his place in my life and the life of the Hollywood community. Unless you had pretty much grown up in Hollywood as I sort of had, it is hard to imagine the class distinctions of Hollywood royalty and the rest of us. Dick Zanuck was way up there in that firmament and his death is/was like that of the loss of a sovereign in any number of national monarchies. When I first made my move into the class of associate producers in the mid 1960’s, Richard “Dick” Zanuck was the “King” of 20th Century Fox. Lily, his spouse, was his Queen and my then boss, Aaron Rosenberg served as a favored knight. Me? I was the equivalent of a Knight’s squire. It was all amplified for me by the fact that young Zanuck and I were close in age, but our social rank did not really allow us to be friends even though we liked each other. In those days, Zanuck’s pals were all closer to his father’s age than his own. He was a health nut and a good athlete. I don’t know why his heart failed so abruptly, but it hit me hard. On learning the news I Instinctively reached for the phone to call my former 20th Century Fox associate Joe Silver. Joe had worked for me on Daniel Boone and, as someone older than I, and truly a child of Hollywood, was even more integrated into the studio system. Both his father and brother (now long deceased) had been established figures at 20th Century Fox and as someone who had spent his entire working life at that studio, Joe knew more of that class system than most. I hadn’t talked with Joe or his wife Simone in a couple of years but I wanted to reach out to someone with whom I could commiserate regarding this end of an epoch. Joe’s phone number was “no longer in service.” It only took me a moment to do the math… The year 2012 would be Joe Silver’s 95th on the planet… that is assuming he was still here which, in all probability I realized, he was not. Ouch. Once again I faced one of the disadvantages of having moved across the continent from my home town. You lose touch with the home base.

Then yesterday … an “alert” popped up on my Internet connection. Frank Pierson had died. Frank and I once competed for the affections of the same young woman (a then very bright and talented actress by the name of Gail Kobe), before that… and after… when we had moved on in life to our individual marriages, we would occasionally see each other socially. We came close to working together once on a TV series Pierson had created for James Garner, but of course Frank was best known for the feature films he wrote including Cat Ballou, Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon. He was so smart, so articulate that it was probably a blessing I didn’t hang around him more often. I am not at all sure my ego could  have withstood the constant onslaught of his brilliance.  

That then was the week that was. I am looking forward to a better one with thanks to you all for allowing this indulgence and for being patient with the soon to be announcements on our Cagney & Lacey 30th anniversary events.

Barney Rosenzweig
July 25, 2012


Anonymous said...

Sherman hemsley & chad everett passed

anyone's MOTHERS said...

sherman h died

Neil Ryder said...

Sorry you've had such a bad week Barney, this has definately been bad week for the passing of talented people,and thanks for the update, this amazing box set just looks better and better :)

R,Rodriguez said...

So many talented actors passing. I'm glad you Barney are around to give us joy from your blogs and stories of Hollywood. Can't wait for the set to be released. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to here about your horrible week.I hate to here the passing of such good people that has intertained us for a lifetime.It leaves a deep lose and an empty feeling for a lot of us.Thank You for trying so hard on getting Cagney and Lacey out for us.At least we can treasure that great time and good memories with the DVD's.

Virey Stéphanie said...

So sad to read that so many talented actors passed away. I am feeling so sorry for you as they were very good friends.
Thank you so much to let us informed through your blog as here in France, we get any informations.
Also, i would like to thank you for trying so hard on getting "Cagney and Lacey" on DVD even if it will be impossible to get it here in france.
Again, all my condoleances for all the friends you have lost.
All my very best regards are going to their family and friends.

fab from France said...

Stéphanie, you are not the only person waiting for C and L DVDs in France :-)
As say in Belgium "l'union fait la force" ;-)

Virey Stéphanie said...

Mr. Rosenzweig,

If my memory is not so bad, i think that the 23rd of December, is your birthday.

I would like to present you for this nice occasion, all my very best and warm wishes.

I also would like to wish you and to Sharon, a wonderful Christmas and hope to both of you, all the best for the new year.

Thank you for all your efforts, to make this coffret of" Cagney and Lacey" possible. You have done a great job.

Again,Mr.Rosenzweig,happy birthday.
Merry Christmas and happy New year to you and Sharon.

All my very best regards from France.


Miss Virey Stéphanie.