A couple of months ago, I was talking to a few of my friends about Norman Lloyd. It was November 8, and the man was turning 105 years old.
Lloyd’s big break came in 1942 with Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur, and he’s been working ever since. Younger generations may know him from Amy Schumer’s 2015 film, Trainwreck, but I know him best from the run-in I had with him last year after he attended the screening of the 1933 film, Blood Money. The film was shown during the Turner Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and guys-he attended the movie as a fan. He wasn’t a presenter or speaker, just a spectator. At the time, he was 104 and merely came for the love of old movies. How lovely is that?
I was standing in the mall area of the Chinese Multiplex after waiting for and meeting Jeff Goldblum. Okay, now before you say that I’m burying the lede of this story, keep in mind that Norman Lloyd is an absolute delight and in my opinion, a film lover’s treasure.
Lloyd breaks my heart as The Professor opposite Cameron Diaz in the romantic Comedy, In Her Shoes. Who doesn’t want a friend like him who encourages and builds them up? He was Mr. Nolan in Dead Poets Society; Sutro in M, Bodalink in Limelight; Finley in The Southerner and Mr. Garmes in Spellbound. He has seen it all and worked with some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, hello, Ingrid Bergman anyone?
So when my girlfriends and I were trying to overcome our meeting with Mr. Goldblum, we were doubly surprised when Mr. Norman Lloyd at 104 approached us from behind. He was making his way to an elevator bank with a few other people, and I believe that he thought he could roll on by us all incognito.
Not a chance with the group I was in. Erin said, ‘Norman Lloyd!’ We all stood with our mouths agape. I grabbed my phone and hit record so I could capture this moment to share with Brian. Norman Lloyd was right in front of us, and he was looking at all of us as we stood in a line just staring at him as if he were the last man on earth.
Erin yelled, “We love you, Mr. Lloyd.”
Mr. Lloyd, who was in a wheelchair then, took off his hat and tried to stand to bow at us. My heart, oh, be still my heart. We all clutched at our hearts and tried to keep the tears from pouring out of our eyes. He then waved us toward him and told us that we were the loveliest women he had seen.
This one was a charmer, and we were all fully invested in it. With grins a mile wide, we were all telling him how much we loved his work and how happy we were to see him. He looked great, and his spirits were high.
He told us to stay out of jail and have fun during the festival. We swooned as a bunch of young women would, you would have too if you were there. I promise.
He waved and was whisked away. All of us exchanged looks of disbelief, and someone asked, “Did anyone get that on their phone?” I was sure I did, but I was so enamored by it all that I never actually hit record and never took a photo. I was in the moment, and though they say that’s what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to live, I wish I would have gotten our giddy conversation with 104 Norman Lloyd on video that day because it was so surreal and unexpected. What a delightful human being he really is and such a force to be around.
Moments before that interaction, we had bumped into Jeff Goldblum. By bumped, I mean we knew he would be walking through that hall, so we went and waited hoping that he wouldn’t leave through some trap door to avoid the women who had cardboard cutouts of his face and shirts with scenes from his films on it.
Now, this was all pre-his Woody Allen comments, so we were still riding high on our Goldblum love.
This is what I can tell you about Goldblum; he smells excellent; his outfit choices are fantastic, and he is either goofy all the time or in character all the time because he was blowing us kisses, telling us he loved us and just being everything we wanted him to be.
They say ‘don’t meet your heroes’ because they’ll let you down, but this was an encounter that lived up to expectations. I’ve been a Jeff Goldblum fan for many years. I loved Independence Day, The Big Chill, his appearances on Portlandia, and The League. I was worried he wouldn’t live up to the hype, but he did, and having some of my best girlfriends there to share it with made it all the better.
Meeting two living legends in a span of twenty minutes was such a highlight of my year. Every few weeks my friends and I get on a message chain and say, “If you’re having a bad day, remember that Jeff Goldblum said he loves us and Norman Lloyd called us beautiful,”
If that’s all, I have to go on the rest of my life-It’s more than enough.
(Photo of Norman Lloyd in 2016 walking the red carpet at the TCMFF, by Nikki McKim)