I know this blog over the past month has read a bit too much like the obituary ads. Nonetheless, I can't let the passing of my pal Dave Waldon go unmarked. A freelance entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Dave was as smart and as funny in writing about Hollywood as anybody I know. (Check out his book Snakes on a Plane: Guide to the Internet Ssssssensation or his amazingly eclectic blog, which he called 3Finger for reasons which apparently ranked above my security clearance.) A kind of walking, talking version of IMDB, he could spout names of old movies, TV shows and their casts like a volcano -- writing a story beside Dave in a press room, you never had to look anything up.
We shared some of the same oddball passions -- for the nutty B-movie princess Elvira, for instance, or our China Beach idol Dana Delany. (In the case of Delany, her attorney probably would have called it "obsession.") And one of the wonderful things about Dave was that he remembered his friends' passions even when he didn'tshare them. I once mentioned casually to him that I was a great admirer of Rosanna Arquette's portrayal of a suburban princess slumming on the wild side side of high school in the John Sayles film Baby It's You. A couple of years later, he tracked me down at crowded, chaotic ABC meet-and-greet party during the TV critics' gathering in Los Angeles to alertme that Arquette was sitting alone in a corner and would probably be happy to talk to me. As always, he was right.
In fact, the only time that Dave was ever wrong in my presence came at another of those network parties, this one sponsored by the Sci Fi Channel. This one was a barbecue on the vast back lawn of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena. Dave casually began talking to a pretty and talented actress -- to protect the guilty, I'm not naming any names, but you'd know her. Soon the conversation was anything but casual; they leaned toward one another, tuning out the rest of the party, and talked intensely for more than two hours. When she finally got up to go, she wrote her phone number on a scrap of paper and handed it to him.
"Wow, you guys really hit it off," I observed. Dave'seyes widened in surprise. "What do you mean?" he asked. "It was just party BS." I couldn't believe it. "Man, she gave you her PHONE NUMBER!" I exclaimed. "Does she have to come to your apartment and kick in your door?" But he never did call her. Dave never understood what a really interesting guy he was to talk to. I did, and I'm going to miss him a bunch.
UPDATE: I'm not the only one who misses Dave. Here's what Anne Bannon, who writes about family-friendly TV, had to say.