An actor, Rudolph Laubscher, who was in my film and TV repertory company was possessed of the most eccentric and interesting personality signature I've ever encountered. He was from South Africa but had an English rather than Dutch accent and the driest sense of humor I've ever had the pleasure to experience. He starred in a movie my company produced titled Garage Sale that was written and directed by Kathi Carey, a long-time friend and associate. In the film, he played a landlord who was killing off tenants when they fell behind in their rent and would sell their belongings at weekly garage sales. After the movie was completed, Rudolph wanted to direct a film and we decided on How the Vest Was Worn--a piece he had written based very loosely on the epic film How the West Was Won.
Rudolph wrote the screenplay in no time at all and we organized a reading one afternoon for an investor/distributor. One of the 'actors' reading the roles that day was film director Richard Rush (Freebie and the Bean, The Stuntman) whose son Tony appeared in one of my movies. The reading was successful and shortly thereafter Rudolph and I were invited to lunch at the Malibu home of David Hemmings who had become interested in the project. I remembered David's landmark performance in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up and his association with John Daly in their Hemdale film venture.
Lunch on the patio was a very casual affair. David's wife graciously offered wine in spite of the fact that her husband's celebrated drinking days were behind him. David, by this point in his life and career, had seen and done just about all there was to see and do in the film business and yet he took an interest in Rudolph and the project. Though Rudolph was an unknown, no one ever forgot him after meeting him or seeing his work. We parted that day with a reasonable expectation of launching a production that would include Rudolph and David. A good day in 'Hollywood', one might say.
It was not to be, however. A short time later, Rudolph fell ill and his health deteriorated rapidly. He passed away before we could grasp the reality of what was happening. As for the project, we had an icon in David Hemmings but without the remarkable Rudolph, there was no project to which we could attach the star.
Life is nothing if not ironic.
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