On a Seattle summer day in 1992, I survived through my third call back for the role of Jay in the film- Sleepless In Seattle. I began to have that feeling that I always fought against in my acting days, I wanted the part, really wanted the part. I could taste it. By the third callback I was dizzy with the possibility. Jay was a small, but showy, well written role & very funny. I had been able to keep Writer/Director Nora Ephron, the casting director & assorted producers laughing with each read.
Leaving callback #3, I found myself passing Rob Reiner in a hallway. After I tossed an “I love your work” to Reiner, I thought to myself: “I really admire Rob Reiner. I wonder what his connection is with Sleepless? Hmmm… he would be so cool to chat with. Maybe he will notice me as Jay & use me in a project!”
My agent, Carol James, called me & let me know that Ephron & company thought I was “splendid & waggish”, & thanked me for the auditions, but the news was Rob Reiner was cast as Jay in Sleepless In Seattle.
Ephron is my #1 writing inspiration, but I didn't much like Sleepless In Seattle years later, viewed on VHS, on a boat floating on Lake Union not far from the films' location. Not being charmed by the film had little to do with my not being cast (how was I supposed to compete against Rob Reiner?), but I found it treacly & I felt that the filmmakers got Seattle all wrong. Everyone else loves it, maybe I should watch it again.
Reiner is an admirable man. He created an iconic TV character- Michael "Meathead" Stivic, son-in-law of Archie & Edith Bunker, on All In The Family. He won 2 Emmys for the role. His list of films as a director &/or writer: This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, Throw Mama From The Train.
Reiner is one of the founders of the American Foundation For Equal Rights, which formed to challenge Proposition 8 in the courts.
A year ago, Reiner presented the star-studded West Coast premiere of “8”, a play by Dustin Lance Black about the 2010 federal court fight against Proposition 8, the gay-marriage ban that California voters approved in 2008. The piece starred Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, George Takei, John C. Reilly, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison & Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Directed by my nemesis Rob Reiner, it raised more than $2 million for marriage equality.
Quite a guy, Rob Reiner. He is one cuddly Daddy Bear of a Left Coast Liberal Elitist! Here's wishing him the best & a thank you on today, his 66th birthday.