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She had stayed there only a day before discharging herself, against the advice of the doctors, and now she wanted me to go and see her.Since I didn't have a car, Joe and Jessie drove me the hour or so up the motorway, and I realised there was something seriously wrong the moment I got there.
I didn't know then that she had little money to spare. She wasn't wearing fancy clothes, just a T-shirt and jeans, and hardly any make-up. Dark glasses and stilettos added an extra touch of glamour, and I was dazzled by her style. 'Maybe I'll catch you later,' she said, putting her tongue against the roof of her mouth and throwing her hair back and to one side. It didn't feel like I was hanging out with a film star at all.
Each morning, as I passed through the hallway setting off to my 'between-acting jobs', I'd hear strange sounds coming from behind her door: 'Loo Poo Boo Moo. She always played a tart.'One morning, Gloria opened her door and found me hovering in the hall. That was the Grahame look — and it certainly worked on me. (She meant Euston, but never did get that one sorted out). Soon we were eating kebabs together at a nearby restaurant. We went on walks around London, saw plays at fringe theatres and, even though Gloria rarely drank alcohol, her favourite tipple being cold milk, she enjoyed spending evenings with me in the local pubs.
I was one of nine children and had grown up in a Liverpool council house.
She was the daughter of a determined Los Angeles stage mother who taught elocution and dance and had coached her relentlessly until she won a contract at MGM.
I wonder, though, what she'd have made of our relationship becoming the subject of its own Hollywood movie, released next month.
Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool is based on the book I wrote a few years after Gloria's death, and in it we are played by Annette Bening and Jamie Bell — of Billy Elliot fame — with Kenneth Cranham and Julie Walters as my parents. As the film relates, we met in 1978 when I was 26 and living in a small, rented room at the top of a theatrical boarding house near Regent's Park in London.
Each morning, as I passed through the hallway setting off to my 'between-acting jobs', I'd hear strange sounds coming from behind her door: 'Loo Poo Boo Moo. I was a struggling actor and Gloria, who was 55 and over here working on a play, was staying in the spacious ground-floor apartment.
I wondered why this celebrated actress I'd never heard of was not staying at the Ritz or somewhere equally fancy. 'In that case you can come in and help me practise the disco moves we're doing in my dance class.'As we danced in time to the music of Stayin' Alive, her movements were rhythmic and slick, her voice lending every word a seductive, breathy lisp.
Aged seven, I would accompany her there and, while she picked up discarded theatre tickets and sweet wrappers between shows, I'd go on the stage as it was being brushed and imagine I was an actor in a play.
During our time together, Gloria made several visits to Liverpool and met most of my siblings.
She adored them, especially my brother Joe and his wife Jessie, with whom we holidayed in a Welsh mountain cottage.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating