. . . and if you don’t think I am going to casually work *that *into every conversation, including at the dry cleaner’s and the deli . . .
I was staying in Montmartre with friends last week, and on Thursday Olivia de Havilland invited me over for demi-tasse and *macarons *at her home on the rue Benouville, a residential district (no shops, my dear). Livvy was charming and funny and gracious, and looks lovely: same voice, same smile, perfectly coiffed white hair, flawless complexion (she is 95!). She was wearing a white silk blouse, black skirt, big pearl necklace and earrings. She was eager to hear about my John Gilbert book—or at last she feigned interest, which is the definition of graciousness.
She had some wonderful stories: though, sadly, she gave up on her memoirs, as her eyes cannot stand computer-screen glare anymore. I warned her that if she doesn’t write her own book, others will write horrible lies about her, and she said “they already have—have you read that *dreadful *Charles Higham?” I’ll bet his recent death tickled her. I mentioned the hilarious Captain Blood publicity photo of her I’d sent her years ago, in a sexy girl pirate outfit, and she laughed, “well, you had to do whatever they told you when you were starting off! Once they had me pose with an alligator—you know, ‘eccentric starlet Olivia de Havilland has a pet alligator.’ They told me to pat it on the nose and warned me, ‘don’t worry about its mouth, but look out for the tail—that’s what they use to sweep you into their mouth.’”
The subject of Edward Everett Horton came up (I mean, doesn’t it always?) and she told us how she was staying at the Zanucks’ [I am mentally fainting about now] and Edward Everett Horton was so sweet and funny and charming, he would bring everyone breakfast in bed, pretending he was a valet.
I had only planned to stay 15 minutes—that’s what one should do when “paying calls”—but I was there for 45, and I finally said, “well, I do not want to overstay my welcome,” and her “girl” Megan showed me out. I waited till I got half a block away before jumping up and down and squealing “omigod I just had lunch with Olivia de Havilland!”
Oh, yeah, the rest of Paris was nice, too.