Thursday, July 02, 2009

R.I.P.: Harve Presnell (1933-2009)

My immense ego expanded several centimeters a few years back when Harve Presnell -- out of the blue, apparently prompted by a mutual acquaintance -- phoned me to ask how he might do a bit more to promote an indie movie in which he played a key role. To be honest, I don't remember much else about the conversation -- indeed, I'm not entirely sure the movie was Escanaba in da Moonlight, although I think it was -- but I do recall being ineffably thrilled while listening to the booming voice at the other end of the line. (Very early in the conversation, he told me -- warned me, actually -- not to refer to him as Mr. Presnell, so I didn't.) It was the mellifluous baritone of Rotten Luck Willie from Paint Your Wagon -- the dude who knew all about the wind called Mariah -- and Johnny Brown, who promised he'd never say no to The Unsinkable Molly Brown. And, yes, it was the authoritative tone of Wade Gustafson, the wealthy businessman who made the big mistake of trusting his weaselly son-in-law in Fargo. I treasure memories like that. And I salute those who give me -- who give all of us, really -- so many movie moments to remember.

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