I wrote a fan letter!

I wrote a fan letter to Tony Shalhoub. I’ll post back if he answers.

It all started because I read an interview of Ian Holm wherein he stated how surprised and pleased he was because he received fan mail as a result of his role as Bilbo Baggins. This floored me, because I think Ian Holm is one of the finest actors around. Artists of his caliber should receive more fan mail!

So I thought I should get busy and write to one of my favorite actors - Tony Shalhoub. I told him he had that weird, indefinable ability to completely upstage other actors in a piece, without getting flashy and hammy. I know that whenever he’s in a frame, I watch no one else. I thought his portrayal of Freddie Riedenschneider in The Man Who Wasn’t There was brilliant! I like the fact that he’s rather, but not altogether, a character actor.

Next artist to write to: Derek Jacobi. Now I know he must get a lot of fan mail! Shouldn’t he?

I’ve written lots of fan letters. In high school, when everyone else was writing to Burt Reynolds and Ann-Margret, I was writing to Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Joan Crawford . . .

Now I write to authors. I love getting fan mail myself (and have become close friends with some of my fans), and–like Joan Crawford–I answer every piece. I figure other authors like getting fan mail as much as I do, so I send them out every time I enjoy a new book.

I’ve written two fan letters, both with good results (the primary goal being to know that the person read and appreciated your remarks, of course, but if you get a substantive response, so much the better).

One was to Billy Joel, and as a result he played my favorite song in concert (which I had not asked for).

The other was to Jean Merrill, author of The Pushcart War, a children’s book that means a lot to Mr. S and me. She very graciously adorned our copy with a very sweet and amusing inscription, and returned it to us with a charming two-page letter that we framed and hung in our living room.

We adore Tony Shalhoub too – good luck!