Thursday, February 01, 2007

Remembering Sidney Sheldon

Today's New York Times ran an interesting obituary of novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and producer Sidney Sheldon. I was sorry to read that he had passed away at age 89. My sympathies go to his daughter, he cast a giant shadow...

Interestingly, I met Sheldon while a high-school student. A friend of mine, we'll call him "K", was friendly with the already best-selling novelist's daughter, and took me along to their house for dinner high up in the hills. We had to pass in front of some very big and very barking German Shepherds. That's not the only reason I'll never forget it--a British roast beef dinner, with Yorkshire pudding, served by a butler. Mrs. Sheldon took us upstairs to listen to Yoga tapes. It was incredibly dramatic, like a scene in a film about Hollywood--Mr. Sheldon seemed to have a New York accent (although he was born in Chicago); his wife seemed to have a British one; and the daughter a perfect mid-Atlantic accent (she was the best-behaved teenager I had ever met, poised, and incredibly adult for a 16-year old, especially compared with bratty yours truly)--lots of fun. The next time, "K" took me to a party at a friend of theirs' home--where I met an aging Groucho Marx. Unforgettable as well. A glimpse into another world.

What I remember most is that all the Sheldons were very nice to me, a complete stranger tagging along. They seemed generous, considerate, and kindly. They chatted with me and seemed unpretentious personally, despite very lavish surroundings.

When I read that he had 300 million books in print at the time of his death, and was worth $5 billion, I felt I was lucky to have been treated so well, and have the personal memories. For more on his interesting life and works, here's a link to the official Sidney Sheldon website.