my neighbor james mitchell
when i was makin' mini i had to spend alotta time in bed and often entertained myself watchin' the comins' 'n goins' o' the neighbor residin' directly across the street, a handsome guy named rob lowe. this was before he was a husband, daddy and employer o' big mouth nannies 'n cooks and apparently prior to havin' any knowledge of window coverings.
rob's house was pretty much a fishbowl...from my prone pregnant position i had visual access to almost every room plus the pool 'n the garage....just about everything but the afternoon hot spot for rob's pack - a full sized basketball court in the backyard. and while i couldn't see the action that took place on the court, i did look forward to seeing who would arrive to walk the concrete carpet and was often kept awake by voices familiar via the screen - both large 'n small - and a thumpin' ball long after midnight.
rob was kind enough to stay put until i gave birth to mini but shortly after fell in love and moved away. while i would miss rob and the entertainment he provided, i couldn't wait to see who my next neighbor would be.
as soon as i saw boxes began to arrive i headed over and knocked on the door to introduce myself. i was shocked when i saw who opened the door.
my new neighbor was someone i already knew. he was a mean man...a vindictive man...a man who had been married at lest seven times and spent his life gleefully plottin' 'n plannin' 'n pittin' people against each other. this man, my new neighbor, had already been entertainin' me for decades as i peered into his life every monday through friday. how could i possibly live across the street from this man....this villain...and what did he need rob lowe's discarded house for anyway? he had a perfectly good home some place else...it was located at 25 white oaks drive in pine valley and it even had a name...it was called cortlandt manor.
as my new neighbor introduced himself and his partner to me, his gentle handshake shook me back to reality. the handsome man replacin' the handsome rob was actually james mitchell - who just pretended to be the villain palmer cortlandt each weekday on the long runnin' soap opera "all my children".
in real life james mitchell was nothin' like palmer cortlandt - in fact it was difficult to believe that such a wonderful person could be so convincin' while pretendin' to be so creepy.
since james and his partner, albert wolsky, had the knowledge o' window coverings that rob had lacked, they didn't provide as much visual entertainment and unfortunately, they weren't around that much. james lived in new york during the week and albert, bein' an academy award winning costume designer, was away much of the time. but when they were home they were wonderful neighbors.
as i got to know james i discovered he had spent time as an actor and dancer on broadway and in touring companies and had been in many films. in one he had even danced with cyd charisse. he had taught at drake and yale and had even been awarded an honorary doctorate. durin' his time on "all my children" he was nominated for seven Daytime Emmy Awards.
james died a couple of months ago at cedars-sinai here in los angleles at the age of 89. i'm sorry that he is gone and know that he will be missed by albert and everyone who knew him personally.... and of course by those who only knew him only as the mean ol' self-made millionaire via the television but loved him any way.
blogged by mo