The Young and the Restless and New York
One day the telephone rang and it was my agent calling with what I hoped would be an audition. Instead, she told me an actor who had seen me at Jan Natarno’s wanted her to give me his telephone number so I could call him if I so chose. Disappointed, I wrote down the number and thought, “No way am I calling. This is the last thing I need.” I couldn’t even remember which one he was. Then, as I sat on my bed looking out over the pool and view, I remember thinking as clearly as if it were yesterday, “Why not call? It’s not as if it’s going to change my life.” Wrong again.
His name was Steve Hirsch and we arranged to meet. I don’t remember where we met the first time but when I saw him I had a vague memory of seeing him in Jan’s waiting room. He was tall with dark hair and was from New York, just the type I was staying away from these days. But I was needy and desperate and, since no offers had been made yet on the house, was facing eviction, and Steve made it clear he was very much interested. Best of all, Erika liked him and we had fun together. Steve was an actor who also drove a limo but he had big dreams and was certain he would achieve great success in the business. One day he drove me to the top of a hill near Bel Air and pointed to a mansion across the valley. “I’m going to live in a house like that one day” he said with total conviction. And like I had with Kevin, I believed him.
Other men I had dated had made their intentions clear in the past few months; they wanted to marry me and take care of us, and it was always so tempting to say yes and let somebody take over my life and relieve me of all my worries. But even though I had that “C” complex down pat, I needed to be attracted to a man to be with him and have at least the beginnings of what could turn into love. With Steve, I finally felt that possibility.
One day Steve told me we had been invited to a brunch at his friend, Stephen Macht’s house. They had just worked in a movie together. So we accepted and drove into Beverly Hills where Stephen lived with his family, including young son, Gabriel, who would grow up to star in the television show Suits. The Machts had a beautiful house in Beverly Hills south of Wilshire and the party was outside in the garden. I was seated by myself, quietly watching everyone eating and talking when I saw a man come walking up the driveway with a woman who was extremely plain and had teeth missing. My first – admittedly shallow – reaction was, “Why on earth is he with her?” Then I concluded that he must be a really nice guy for being willing to escort this woman to a Hollywood party and not worry at all about what people thought. Sensing that he and I were like-minded people, we drifted together and spent at least an hour talking to each other. It turned out that he was a musician and sang with a band, Billy and the Beaters, and his name was Billy Vera. I could not imagine this gentle, quiet man singing with a rock band. When he told me he was playing at a club and invited me to come see them perform I figured that would be a disappointment that I’d rather avoid. Stephen, however, overheard and told me I had to come with him and his friends when they went to see the Beaters in a couple weeks and I would be shocked at how good Billy was. I had my doubts about that but said I would and went into the house to go to the bathroom. Steve followed me, angry and consumed with jealousy, and started hissing at me in an angry whisper because I was spending so much time with Billy. I was so embarrassed, I grabbed my things and headed for the car. I knew at that moment I would never see Steve again. I had a million things to worry about and I didn’t need this kind of ugliness in my life. All I wanted was to get home and get away from him. But paying attention to red flags has never been my long suit.
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