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Movies, Television and Broadway

Ocean's Eleven

Frank called me one day and said that he and his pack were doing a picture in Las Vegas and they wanted me to play a bit part of an inebriated New Year's Eve celebrant. The abbreviated part would pay no money, and I would have no billing… but they would give me a new car for less than five minutes of work.

I was making The Apartment for Billy Wilder at the time. So I took a brief break, long enough to fly to Vegas to do the cameo, not for the car, but to be with old friends, Frank, Dean and Sammy. It was also a chance to catch their ongoing show at the Sands Hotel. This was always the hottest show in town and it changed every night because they were all masters of improvisation. Not only did they improvise their stage show night after night, but they also daily improvised most of the filming script.

Their energy and stamina was uncanny. While shooting Ocean's Eleven, they were also doing two shows a night at the Sands and partying and playing gin. How they managed all of this is still a mystery to me, even though I was a part of it and could keep up with their hectic pace. These great talents thrived and manifested all that intense creativity with only a few hours of sleep. This schedule continued during the entire filming of Ocean's Eleven. Their work ethics were honorable and dedicated and - somehow - they pulled it off, not only the film but the Las Vegas shows as well. The excitement and fun came off the set… but that's another story.

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