At one point during our sister publication The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actor Roundtable discussion, the topic of most embarrassing professional moments was raised.
For Rob Lowe, this meant revisiting his participation in the opening musical number of the 1989 Oscars, held at the Shrine Auditorium. He remembers that the first problem was the median age of the target audience. Then came his on-stage partner’s panic at the sight of the seated A-listers, prompting Snow White to jump an octave range. And finally, this:
”It’s the year Rain Man won everything, and I’m in the middle of singing, and I think I’m actually kinda killin’ it, and I look out, and Barry Levinson, the director of Rain Man, is doing this: [Mouth hanging open]. (Laughter.) He turns to the person next to him and goes [mouths, ‘What the f—?’].”
“I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ So I finish, and I go into the green room, and this redheaded older woman says [growling voice]: ‘Young man, I had no idea you were such a good singer.’ It was Lucille Ball. She says, ‘Come sit with me.’ She grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let it go, and we watched the Oscars for 20 minutes, just the two of us. And then she said, ‘Darling, I have a splitting headache, could you get me some aspirin?’ So I went and got Lucy what I thought was an aspirin… [Editor’s note: Ball died four weeks later of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.]”
Wow. If you’re hankering for more about this rancid bunch of musical coconuts, THR a few years ago published Snow White’s side of the same story. Hi whoa, hi whoa…
Screen grab via: YouTube