Tuesday, June 26, 2001.
10:10am. Arrive in Westwood for Carroll O’Connor’s Mass of the Resurrection with two of my best friends who I met while working on All In The Family.
10:15am. Find amazing parking space after moving two trash cans in funeral wear.
10:20am. Arrive at the church steps, sign in the guest book and watch the big celebrities brace themselves and face the massive press line. Wonder what is must be like to have a camera in your face during a moment of shock and grief. Ponder the price of fame.
10:30am. Decide to have a cigarette away from the growing crowd because Carroll would have liked that. Will quit again tomorrow.
10:45am. Share favorite Carroll stories with my two friends. Realize that with this great and funny, kind and super-smart man, an era of style and grace in television was about to be buried. Begin to feel enormous sadness at the passing of a soul whose kindness to the hardest working little people will never be equaled. By anyone. Ever.
10:50am. Go in the church and sit behind, Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner. Realize that in the ‘70’s, the stars were old and the supporting cast was young. Come to grips with the 2000’s, where the executives are stem cells, the stars are young and the supporting cast is 30 something and the cameos are old or on ‘Touched By an Angel.’ Listen to the beautiful music and feel deeply sorry for Nancy, Carroll’s beloved wife and soul mate.
11:00am. Listen to the service led by Cardinal Roger Mahony. It is elegant, humble and spiritual just like Carroll was in his life. Weep quietly during the Offertory Hymn. “On Eagles Wings” and the lone, mournful violin rendition of “Oh Danny Boy.”
1:00pm. Drive to the Regency Club for a massive luncheon in Carroll’s honor.
2:30pm. Sit at a table where 9 of us eat salmon and drink wine and Jason Wingreen eats veal and has a scotch. Decide that Carroll would have loved that. Realize that “All In the Family” was the veal and scotch of its day. Politically incorrect, tastier than anything else around, substantial and a little intoxicating.
3:00pm. Pay our respects to Nancy who rubs my friend John’s stylishly shaved head and says “Ah. Now your brains can show!” Realized that Carroll would have said that. Missed him terribly.
Friday, June 29th.
8:00am. Realize that the week is over and Carroll is gone, and with him and the 76 doves that were released on the steps of the church, went an era of work in television where the script was called the play, the network did not attend wardrobe fittings, and the young respected the old. Those were the days.