Friday, February 8, 2008

Still can't believe I met him: the Funhouse interview with Peter Ustinov

I first encountered the multi-talented Peter Ustinov on a show Steve Allen did in the late '70s called Laugh Back, where he showed clips from his 1950s series. I became obsessed with the gent's work, as he embodied something I've always been fascinated with: intelligence tempered with extreme silliness. He was a renaissance man who is now sadly sort of forgotten, although he wrote several hit plays, was a magnificent character actor, directed at least one classic movie (Billy Budd), wrote scads of books, and was an exceptionally funny raconteur (how many raconteurs do we really have these days?).

I was very pleased to meet the gent back in 1999 when he was in NYC promoting the Merchant-Ivory send-up, Stiff Upper Lips. We went off in all kinds of directions in our conversation, which shouldn't've surprised me, but still did.

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