The mad Irish genius of purely poetic obsessions whose lyricism lifted the ingredients of Lawrence of Arabia from a crassly Messianic sadomasochism into one of the grandest cris de coeur for lost souls.
And never more powerfully inspiring than as Don Quixote!!!
Peter O’Toole as Cervantes’ greatest liberation!!!!!
Yet… only one star… a single *… that insulting award… is all that a rerun of Man of La
Mancha received in Canada’s Shaw television guide.
Hmm… oh, well… the British Commonwealth has always had some difficulty with Celtic
émigrés, even Irish-American ones.
The cast in the film of Man of La Mancha is so impressively international and so
obviously inspired by their wraith of a leading man, Maestro O’Toole, the poet with a
soul born of bottomless isolation, a voice torn from the throat of Dionysius himself and a
diction which places obsession with detail onto a whole new set of otherworldly heights.
I saw O’Toole live in London as Hamlet and it pained me to see him try and execute a
staging and choreography only Laurence Olivier could have triumphed in… and… of
course… the truth was… Olivier, as O’Toole’s director of Hamlet, had set those hurdles
for this abandoned Irish player. Peter O’Toole, a voraciously lyrical giant, should have
recited the entire play… all the roles… and all by himself… wandering… ad libido… round
a darkly haunted and echoing, empty stage.
Yes, periodic libations of one sort or another would, of course, prove to be precariously
inspirational… but… a select few in the audience would have experienced our divine
Man of the Theater’s utter and complete vision of the entire play, Ophelia and Gertrude
The romantic idealist… our very own, international Don Quixote, Peter O’Toole!
My heart was crying, “Don’t drop us back into the prison of some hypocritical
That was the point of the entire production, of course.
How a great artist, at his greatest height, can introduce us to an inner universe only he is
privileged to bask in and we are deprived of once its creator must come out from behind
Man of La Mancha?
One exquisite musical, I daresay; and one great actor of the past few centuries!!
It is so much nicer now to record great performances than to ever try and offer such
Whatever heights are reached, of course, remind the actor of what drab and dreary
realities await him offstage.
Ergo, the performer’s eternal battle with the bottle.
What have I, as a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous, to say on the subject of
acting and alcohol?
No “ism” in the world, from Communism to Buddhism, can so seduce you into drunken
abandon as The Romantic Pursuit of Ideals!
What dropped me off the wagon of familial lessons in the destructive power of the
grape and into my 10-year Odyssey and Voyage over the oceans of French, Italian and
California wines I admittedly drowned myself in?
My romantic ideals about life!
When you meet a real set of American villains and villainesses, the likes of William
Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno?
Well… if you’re a romantic idealist as I was… and still am… your hotel room at the time…
all of it… including the bedspread… points to that little refrigerator in the corner!
The one that houses the small splits of champagne!!
I knew at that moment in Washington, D.C., that if I started drinking after that
nightmare with the Clinton Administration I wouldn’t stop!
Possibly never stop drinking wine until I’m “food for worms”… or, in my future case,
food for fishes!!
That I’m alive and sober for eight years now is a miracle.
Today my agents in Rome received an inquiry about a film being shot in my very own
vicinity of Vancouver?!
I’m a much better drunk on film when I’m sober.
Not that this small offer of a role has anything to do with alcohol… but… I have a bit of
A “rep” to live down… with whatever years I have left at 71.
In addition, I’m so happily, contentedly and soberly retired that any role, short of an
Academy Award-worthy challenge, may not interest me enough to go through the
whole ritual of being someone other than myself.
I’m so ecstatic about being Michael Moriarty now that… well… I’m surprised I ever
enjoyed being anyone else but me?!
Despite my sobriety, I’m still a romantic idealist.
Why is that?
My faith in life as “Perfect”.
Within that link I’ve offered you is another link to a most inspiring evidence of why I stayed in the theater as long as I did.
Despite the comic cynicism in Voltaire’s Candide, Leonard Bernstein’s pièce de
résistance, his cri de l’âme, his most quintessentially ecstatic four minutes of music,
Make Our Garden Grow, this triumphantly choral masterpiece unveils the wine-loving
and Dionysian genius of our very own Romantic Idealist, our Man of La Mancha, our Don
Quixote, the very, very great and passionately loving Leonard Bernstein.
Did I ever meet Leonard Bernstein?
At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on an Easter Sunday.
He was bewildered by my reading of St. Francis of Assisi’s legendary prayer.
He questioned the pauses and breath marks.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
I had no explanation aside from, “I simply felt it that way.”
Later on, Mr. Bernstein was handed a recording of my Symphony for String Orchestra by
our mutual agent and friend, the late and great Robby Lantz.
While passing on that information to me, Robby also had another revelation to share!
“Michael,” he said, with an impeccably Viennese English that always made him in my
eyes and ears, the real Claude Rains, “who is the last great starlet of Hollywood?”
I thought and thought and, although she seemed a bit too mature at the time, I
said, “Faye Dunaway?”
Robby said, “No.”
I cannot see a photo of Robert Redford, let alone an entire film with him in it, that I
don’t recall that blazing exegesis of what was once described as acting’s “generous
Star or starlet, Robby would know.
No, Robert Redford is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a “Romantic Idealist.”
He’s a Hollywood Realist.
The greatest of Hollywood Realists until Clint Eastwood usurped that role.
Now that Eastwood publicly declared his disenchantment with the “empty chair” of
Barack Hussein Obama’s Presidency, proclaimed it ad libido to millions of Americans
watching the Republican National Convention, I have the feeling that, as they say, more
than a worm has turned.
“A New Page Has Turned” to reveal and reassert an old Truth.
“You can be charitable with other people’s money just so long.”
Sooner or later, even the most romantic of idealists wakes up.