Warning: in_array() expects parameter 2 to be array, string given in /nfs/c09/h02/mnt/137028/domains/kerganedwards-stout.com/html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-mobile-pack/frontend/sections/show-rel.php on line 25

Gary Kalkin

As a young actor, trying to make it in Hollywood, I had the great fortune to become acquainted with producer Laurence Mark and his one-time partner Gary Kalkin. They’d been together for years, however, at the point I met them, they had split, but remained the best of friends. They still lived together in a beautiful home where I enjoyed some special dinner parties with guests you might know the names of…

Gary was the senior vice president of domestic marketing for Buena Vista Pictures (Disney.) As such, he oversaw the creation of the marketing campaigns for “Aladdin,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Pretty Woman” and “The Lion King.” I’m not sure why Gary took such a liking to me, but he put me on the Disney sneak preview list, inviting me to every screening of every movie they released during his tenure. As a starving actor, it was a wonderful gift to receive. I can still vividly recall the magical movie premiere for the animated “Beauty and the Beast,” at the then-newly restored El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, preceded by an elaborate stage show.

One of the best nights of my life–EVER–happened in February 1993 and also involved Gary. I have been a fan of Stephen Sondheim for as long as I can remember, so when I heard they were doing a one-night-only, 20th anniversary original cast reunion performance of “Company” at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, I immediately bought two tickets. My good friend at the time, Cheryl Dolins, was also a Sondheim fan, and we couldn’t wait to go.

Gary called shortly after we’d bought the tickets, and invited me to the Disney Golden Globes after-party; I was crushed at the conflict. He said to stop by afterward, if we could, and at least say hello.

Cheryl and I loved the performance of “Company,” and–completely exhilarated–we rushed back to LA for the after-party. Walking up the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton, there were a few photographers straggling about, trying to figure out if we were “someone” and, to us, we felt as if we were.

When we got to the check-in desk, the woman helping us apologized, saying the party was just about over, but if we wanted to go in for a quick drink, we could. Dejected to have gotten there so late, we still went it, looking about for Gary. Imagine our shock, walking in, to find that there were only about 12 people in the entire ballroom. But aside from Gary, those people included Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Al Pacino, and Rodney Dangerfield. Cheryl and I were completely beside ourselves, hovering with the others around the few platters of food left, acting as if hanging out with this particular crowd was an everyday occurrence.

Two years later, Gary would be dead of AIDS. He’ll never know just what a remarkable impact his simple generosity had on me. He was directly responsible for some of my best “life moments.” In a town not known for kind acts without the expectation of something in return, Gary’s sweet gift of access to film to this young actor provided me with endless opportunities to soak up the movie business, for which I’m eternally grateful. I missed him then, and I miss him now. RIP, handsome Gary.

My thanks to Stuart at The AIDS Memorial on Instagram for my daily remembrances of the countless souls lost to AIDS. They are emotional to read, but I try to reach each and every one, despite the tears they bring.

Gary Kalkin

One Response

  1. arcadian48

    Excellent post, Kergan. Thank you for sharing this.

    Bob Groves

    May 25, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Leave a Reply