Each of the last three days we’ve been following preparations for the hotel visit of a famous actress, her arrival, and the days subsequent.

This saga won’t go on forever, but neither is it over . . .

“The staff has begun to refer to Ms. Star as ‘Mommie Dearest,’ after Joan Crawford, who used to stay at the hotel during her heyday, behaving in a similar fashion but adding her own signature quirks (sending ahead a 10-page list of instructions, cleaning her own bathroom on arrival, ordering vast quantities of vodka, requesting mountains of towels and NO WIRE HANGERS, etc.).

“Fortunately, our staff and Ms. Star have come to somewhat of an understanding. They accept her abuse cheerfully, but in pairs. No one has the courage now to enter her suite alone.

“For example, this afternoon Ms. Star was having trouble with her OWN PERSONAL fax machine (she brought her own; we just installed the line for it). She told the concierge to report to her room in ’30 seconds.’ On the way to her suite, he grabbed the front desk manager — who’s known for his equanimity in the face of the most outrageous guest behavior — and persuaded him to accompany him to the lioness’s hot, humid den. They knocked on her door, trying to look composed even as their hearts were pumping wildly. She took her time answering the door, then made them stay in the hallway until she had made one last attempt to fix the fax machine herself. Frustrated, she told them to come inside and work on it.

“It turned out that the fax machine was in perfect working order — it was just that she was not familiar with sending faxes long distance (something her secretary usually handles for her, I guess). After they explained the problem and showed her the procedure, she berated them for failing to post the directions on her OWN PERSONAL fax machine. As the concierge opened his mouth to protest, the front desk manager poked him in the ribs. He, then, turned to Ms. Star and said with one of his most endearing smiles, ‘You’re absolutely right, Miss ———–. We should have done just that.’ She dismissed them, and the front desk manager told me later, ‘I think she might have said “thank you,” but I wouldn’t swear to it.’

“She is a difficult woman. One of our front desk clerks worked elsewhere for a summer. Ms. Star made an appearance there and pulled some similar stunts, including timing the delivery of her 7:00 a.m. newspaper. Apparently, when the poor bellman assigned to deliver it arrived at 7:05, she grabbed the paper from him and slammed the door in his face. Later, she called the front desk manager and gave him hell. ‘I’m very busy, and I MUST have my paper RIGHT AT SEVEN.’ OK. OK.

“Fortunately, this is not an issue with us. She sleeps until 11 a.m., as I’ve mentioned, and then leaves at four for the theater. I’ve been offered tickets to the show, but I’m afraid she might stop in mid-performance and shout something obscene at me across the footlights (who KNOWS what I might be guilty of).

“Yet, aside from all this, I understand from ALL who’ve seen the show that she is ABSOLUTELY THE BEST. No one can touch her riveting performance. Her fans adore her.”

Tomorrow: The Curtain Falls



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