Tuesday, November 05, 2013

A Centennial Remembrance of a Fine Actor

I first saw Gig Young in Teachers Pet (1958).  He was playing his signature 2nd lead man role to lead man Clark Gable.  It was Gable who led me to see the movie...it was Gig that warmed my heart.  Handsome, debonair and projecting an aura of immense likeability ... what was there not to like.  I also enjoyed him in The Desk Set (1957)  and That Touch of Mink (1962), his character losing out to Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, respectively.  On television he was a co-star on The Rogues (1964-65),  playing - no surprise here - Tony Fleming, a handsome, debonair and lighthearted rogue.

                Byron Ellsworth Barr, Nov. 4, 1913 to Oct. 19, 1978

Gig's downfall was alcoholism, slowly destroying his career, his marriages and his life.  Broadway performer Elaine Stritch, also an alcoholic, describes their destructive relationship in her one-woman show, Elaine Stritch at Liberty (2002).  (The DVD is available to rent on Netflix.  Do try it out, Stritch is a wonderful entertainer.)

It was after their breakup that Gig becomes involved with Elizabeth Montgomery.  [Plot alert, more sadness and heartbreak ahead!]  Dad Bob, not surprisingly, was strongly opposed to his 23-year-old daughter marrying a 43-year-old alcoholic who was only nine years his junior.  Not approving of the marriage, Bob did not attend the wedding.  Of course Dad was right, the troubled marriage lasts officially for six years. 

It has been written that Liz was attracted to Gig as a father figure.  Let's see, handsome, debonair, a great sense of humor ... yeah, I can see that. 

In memory, lets raise a toast to the troubled Mr. Young who brought smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts.  May he rest in peace. 

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