death of horror movie actor Christopher Lee this week brought to mind an evening in September 1974 when our paths crossed—sort
I was in England for a two-week vacation with my then-wife.
We spent the first week in London and the second week touring the countryside in a rental car. During that two weeks, we attended
three theater productions: Agatha Christie’s long-running play, “The Mousetrap,” and George Bernard Shaw’s
“Pygmalion,” both of which we saw in London, and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,”
which we saw at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
“Pygmalion” starred Diana Rigg as Eliza Doolittle.
She was famous in America for having played the lusciously
beautiful, jumpsuit-clad Emma Peel in “The Avengers” TV series in the 1960s. Truth be told, she was the reason
I wanted to see the play.
came out of the Albery Theatre after the evening performance of “Pygmalion,” we we headed for an Underground station
to take the “tube” back to Swiss Cottage, the neighborhood where our hotel was located. As we were walking,
a Rolls Royce slowly glided up in the street beside us. I turned to look, and there—unmistakably—was Christopher
Lee in the backseat, staring straight ahead. The Rolls paused for a moment in the traffic and then moved ahead and disappeared.
That instant of recognition is frozen in my memory. If only Christopher
Lee had turned his head. Maybe he would have seen me looking and smiled at a star-struck passerby. I think I could have easily
imagined he was wearing his Dracula fangs.