Better Wed Than Dead


Norman Lloyd, 98, enjoyed perhaps the most successful and certainly the longest Hollywood marriage — 75 years. So when he mentioned at the pre-Telluride Film Festival dinner that he could marry people, we jumped at the chance. We’d been thinking of it anyway, and doing it while in Hollywood seemed a way to keep it simple, oddly enough, purely because very few people we knew would be around. As it turned out, most of the half-dozen people we knew in LA couldn’t make it, so it was just me, Fiona, Norman, and Randall William Cook as combined photographer/witness.

What started as a rather unromantic idea, to sort out our legal status and provide security in encroaching old age, became extremely romantic as one half of a genuine great love story gave us his blessing, after a wondrous tour through his gallery of memorabilia, which took in collaborations with Welles, Hitchcock, Renoir and Chaplin.


“I knew the Telluride Film Festival could do just about anything, but I never knew they could do this!”

Norman ended the ceremony, which he wrote himself, by saying something along the lines of “I think there’s a bit of mischief in both of you, and I think you’re going to cause a lot of trouble, and I hope you do.”

He also told us a story about his friend John Houseman, which wasn’t part of the actual ceremony but has stuck in my mind.

“He used to visit here and he was a great addict of the morning paper. And he used to sleep in just the top half of a pair of pajamas. When the paper was delivered he would run down the drive to collect it without stopping to dress, and would bend right over to pick it up. Drivers in the street would get a distracting sight. Finally I said, John, if you keep doing this, somebody’s going to mistake you for a tunnel. And you’ll get a Ford up your ass. But nothing could stop him.”


Norman in Hitchcock’s SABOTEUR.

Other business:

The ’68 Comeback Special continues at Apocalypse Now with THE CASTLE, a Kafka adaptation staring Maximilian Schell.

New limericks on HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN: One, Two, Three, Karloff’s beautiful dream of human-canine brain transplantation may be the best limerick subject ever conceive, but I take leave to doubt whether Charles Wagenheim’s strangulation has ever been celebrated in verse before. All the lims have editorial enhancements by Hilary Barta: this one is pure collaboration.

37 Responses to “Better Wed Than Dead”

  1. thefanwithnoname Says:

    …wow!!! How cool, unique, wonderful & romantic (in a very cinematic way!) – big congrats!!!


  2. Thanks! Norman’s stories about his own wonderful wife made us feel particularly blessed.

    “How long have we been married?” she asked him.
    “Seventy five years.”
    “Good. It should last.”

  3. Many congratulations!

  4. I hope you do too! Oh this has made me happy. Congratlations!

  5. Genuinely chuffed for you both!!! and such a groovy way to do it!

  6. Hannah McGill Says:

    Wonderful, David – many congratulations to both of you and what a great story to have. X Hannah

  7. Many congratulations to you both. Fiona, you look great, and the dress is lovely.

  8. Congratulations! What a wonderful way to wed. This is one ceremony that came off WITH a Hitch.

  9. Totally brilliant! Congratulations, guys!

  10. Perfect! Congratulations.

  11. How Fun! Congrats!

  12. Fiona is celebrating by coming down with a horrible airborne lurghi.

  13. La Faustin Says:

    BE THAT AS IT MAY — what blissful news! Congratulations and may all your troubles be short subjects.

  14. Thanks! And thanks for what turned out to be our wedding present! It was waiting for us as we hauled our weary carcasses home from three delayed flights and one missed connection.

  15. David Boxwell Says:

    I am getting all verklempt! Felicitations!

  16. Que vivan los novios!

  17. Congratulations! Is Norman available for rent parties?

  18. David, I could not be happier for you! I couldn’t be there to make an embarrassing toast and this is too perfect and lovely for words, so I do hope that this will suffice. You two deserve and shall receive all the happiness in the known universe. I feel I know you both, through your magnificently evocative writing, and I know how great you are for each other, and how hard won your happiness is. May your union outlast each and every living thing. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart!

  19. Hannah Robinson Says:

    Brilliantly done! Congratulations to you both xxh

  20. Aw, thanks everybody.

  21. I read this too late. But Congratulations! A truly beautiful story.

  22. …although it’s a shame you couldn’t convince him to perform the ceremony in the torch of the Statue of Liberty…

  23. I’m sure he wouldn’t have hesitated. But his home, which has an air of the chapel about it, made a fine substitute.

  24. This is so beautiful and romantic and just… stunning (Norman Lloyd!). I’m welling up a wee bit and I only know you through your wonderful blog.

  25. Aw! We’re all big softies here.

  26. Tony Williams Says:

    Congratulations. Fiona looks so beautiful.

  27. Many happy returns, and what a great way to get married!

  28. It’s the best there is! Also, it seems to be lasting.

  29. WordPress! Rejects my password, tells me the password’s too weak, now refuses to sign me in because I’ve exceeded login tries.

    Anyway, congratulations, but just my opinion you should change to a more user friendly platform.

  30. Thanks for the wishes and helpful advise! Hopefully now though you shouldn’t have any more problems, having had your first comment moderated.

  31. Steven Mc Says:

    Belated congratulations to you both! How utterly fantastic!
    Heres to at least 75 years you naughty little troublemakers.

  32. […] I believe you did rather well.” A reference not so much to my screening, but to my wedding, which was actually held in Glendale, LA, but you could say brokered via […]

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