All posts by jmmaggio963

Requiem for an Actress – Kenny DelVecchio

In the early 2000’s, we met Kenny DelVecchio, a young man of many talents. He was an attorney and a published author of books on law. He also had a theatrical bent and was producing independent films of which he had written the scripts. He  was directing and appearing in the films also.

He asked Barbara if she would be interested in appearing in his films. She was interested and did appear in three of them: The Drum Beats Twice, Kinky Killers and Tinsel Town.

By then, I had been coaxed into getting my head shots and had appeared in several pilot episodes for potential TV shows. Kenny persuaded me to appear in one of his films and I did. I appeared with Barbara in Kinky Killers.

I am including a photo of our scene together and one in which we are being instructed on how to play the scene by Kenny (on the left).

Kinky Killers Scene

In our scene, we are strolling down this back street in a city (actually, Hoboken, NJ) when we come upon a dead body. I was given my only line in film or TV, “Holy s—t, a body.”

Kinky Killers Set

Requiem for an Actress – James Gandolfini

In or about 2003, Barbara received a call to appear in a “Sopranos” episode.

It was at the filming set that Barbara renewed her friendship with Vincent Pastore although they had seen each other sporadically at actor functions over the years since they appeared together in the movie “It Could Happen To You”.

I accompanied Barbara to the filming set and sat in the holding area while she was being filmed.

The filming was being done in a large building in New Jersey) because the holding area was typical of a high school cafeteria with tables and chairs.

When the filming broke for lunch, Barbara came over to me and once the film crew and the actors had filled their plates at the ‘craft table’, we proceeded to get some food.

While we were seated at a table, Vincent Pastore brought Gandolfini over to meet us. Evidently, Vincent had told James about our movie “Third Man in the Ring”.

He also told him that we had once expressed that James would be a good fit to play Teddy Martin, Barbara’s father and the third man in the ring (the prizefight referee).

James was very cordial and was receptive to our movie idea, but he was taken aback when Barbara said to him, “I’d like you to play my father”.

Now, in 2003, Barbara was in her 60’s, and, though she still looked years younger, James was probably thinking, “My God, do I look that old”. James was probably in his late 30s or early 40s at that time.

We all had a good laugh at his reaction and explained that we meant for him to play Barbara’s father in the movie and not reflecting on his current appearance.

That served to ease his mind. James was all for the idea of playing Teddy, if only we had been able to raise the financing.

James bore an uncanny resemblance to Teddy Martin both facially and in his physique. I am including photos of both men.

(Photo by Mark Large – Pool/Getty Images)
Teddy Martin

Requiem for an Actress – Jack Klugman

Sometime in the 1990s, Barbara was called to appear in an episode of the TV show “Law and Order”. She appeared in several episodes of the show.

In the three episodes that I remember, she played a victim, a waitress, and an executive, but I do not remember the episode in which this story took place.

Do you realize “Law and Order” had a twenty-year run, from 1990 to 2010? An incredible run.

For those of you who have noticed that I have skipped the 1980s in my stories, I applaud your attentiveness.

The 1980s were pretty much taken up with Barbara’s first battle with breast cancer.

In the one episode, that I am now writing about, the production and filming broke for lunch. I do not know what Barbara was having for lunch, but suddenly a man sat next to her eating a sandwich. I think it was a pastrami sandwich.

He was courteous and offered Barbara the uneaten half of his sandwich.

Unfortunately, this man was dressed as a bum which affected Barbara adversely.

He struck up a conversation and asked her questions about her acting career.

Barbara was feeling very uncomfortable sitting next to him. Towards the end of the lunch break, he asked her for her contact information saying he probably could help further her career.

I do not know whether she gave him her card or not, probably not. But I’m sure she couldn’t wait for the production to resume to get rid of him.

Anyway, when I returned from work, Barbara was home preparing dinner.

As we were eating, she told me all about how this “bum” was so pushy asking for her contact information. I commiserated saying it’s amazing how pushy some people can be.

It was a week or two later, the two of us were in midtown Manhattan walking down a street, to where or for what purpose, I do not remember.

Suddenly, Barbara gave me a shove and points to a man across the street, walking in the opposite direction and exclaims, “There he is. There’s the bum I told you about”.

Believe it or not, the “bum” was Jack Klugman. I recognized him immediately, but it was too late to run up to him and say, “Do you remember me”?

She had given him the brushoff when they worked together in that “Law and Order” episode.

Would he have helped her career or was he hitting on her?

We will never know.

This was not the first time that Barbara did not recognize important people that she interfaced with. It was a failing on her part not to have a memory for faces.

Obviously, she would not have made a very good detective.

For those of you who do not remember Jack Klugman, I am including a photo of him (not dressed as a bum, as you well can see).

Jack Klugman

Requiem for an Actress – Telly Savalas

Sometime in the winter of the mid-1970s, Barbara received a call to appear in an episode of Kojak featuring Telly Savalas. Savalas played a lollipop-sucking detective righteously fighting crime in New York City.

It was a very cold day in the city and Barbara was required to sit or stand in a holding area while awaiting her cue to appear in her scene. It was cold in the holding area, and Barbara was wearing her long rabbit-fur coat giving off a regal appearance.

Suddenly, a door burst open and who should appear in the doorway but the star himself, a lollipop in his mouth, very much in character, followed by his entourage.

Evidently, Savalas had to pass through the holding area to get to his dressing room.

He spotted Barbara, went over to her, grabbed her hand, knelt before her, kissed her hand, and proceeded to his dressing room without saying a word.

For those who have no idea of what Telly Savales looked like, I am including a promo-photo of the Kojak show.

Telly Savalas

Needless to say, Barbara was taken aback, but she and the other actors in the holding area had a lot to talk about.

Requiem for an Actress – Jon Voight

Barbara appeared in a scene with Jon Voight while filming “Midnight Cowboy” in Manhattan in the late 1960’s. I believe the scene takes place in an Automat or a similar type of restaurant where Jon is pouring Ketchup on his food.

Barbara and Jon struck up a friendship during the filming of that scene, and Jon made an effort to introduce Barbara to John Schlesinger, the director of the movie. Barbara, unfortunately, could not make the introduction for personal reasons.

Barbara and Jon in Movie Scene

After that day, they parted ways, Jon back to California and Barbara back to New Jersey. But they kept in touch with an occasional phone call.

In the mid-to-late 1970’s, Barbara flew to California to pitch an idea she and I had for a TV show. She had managed to get an appointment to pitch the idea to an NBC-TV executive.

Our TV show idea dealt with a restaurant or bar that was populated with whacky oddball characters for which we had written a book full of ideas for TV episodes.

When Barbara arrived in California, she stayed at the Beverly Hilton. No piker, she. She called Jon Voight and he agreed to visit her. When he arrived at the hotel, he did not call to tell her of his arrival.

Instead, he went to her room, found a hotel cleaning woman working the rooms on that floor, borrowed her outfit and cart and wrapped a scarf on his head as a babushka. He then pounded on Barbara’s door announcing “she” was ready to clean the room.

Of course, Barbara tried to shoo “her” away telling “her” she was expecting a guest. But Jon insisted by continuing to knock on the door.

Barbara finally opened the door prepared to let “her” have it. Jon just barged into the room backwards, cart and all. Barbara was immensely angry until Jon revealed himself. Of course, it all ended in laughter.

Jon may have had a crush on Barbara, but I’m also sure he may have been involved with marital problems of his own at the time. I inadvertently put a kibosh on their relationship.

One summer weekend, we were entertaining guests on our poolside deck when he called. Barbara answered and their conversation was running into half an hour leading our guests to question her absence.

To show equal concern, I entered our kitchen by opening a sliding door. The door was tied into our alarm system and sounded three beeps even though the alarm system was turned off.

Jon accused Barbara of taping their conversation and ended the call abruptly. Barbara was very angry with me and accused me of entering on purpose.

I denied it and, truth be told, I only entered as a result of our guests questioning her absence. I was not even aware of who had called. I said Jon was just being paranoid.

To further prove my innocence, I told her time and time again to call him back and explain what really happened. She never did.

But Jon never forgot Barbara. Only some ten years ago, a casting director friend of ours met Jon on a plane, and, as part of their conversation, he asked about Barbara.

 Who knows what might have happened had I not entered the kitchen that day so long ago?

But can you imagine Barbara as Angelina Jolie’s stepmother?

Requiem for an Actress – Vincent Pastore and Jerry Orbach

VINCENT PASTORE

In the early 1990s, Barbara received a call to appear in a film titled “It Could Happen to You”. The film starred Nicholas Cage and Bridgit Fonda.

Cage plays a New York City cop who after having lunch in a diner realizes he doesn’t have enough money to tip Fonda and offers to split his lottery winnings with her if his ticket wins. Sure enough, his ticket wins $4 million.

But he was not the only winner, a bowling team, of which Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy of “The Sopranos”) is a member, also won $4 million. Barbara plays Vincent’s wife in the movie.

Her big scene occurs when the winners are celebrating and are being interviewed. The filming of the celebration took place on Malcolm Forbes’ yacht that was docked along the lower Manhattan side of the East River at the South Street Seaport

Barbara was decked out in a $5,000 gown. The other wives were equally dolled up. The four men of the bowling team were dressed in flashy gold tuxedo jackets. Barbara said it took forever for the director to get the interview scene exactly what he wanted.

Bowling Team

In fact, she worked on the film for a month at all hours of the day and night. One night, there was a down-pour and the deck of the yacht was flooded. So much water that Barbara had to take off her high heels and walk gingerly around cables all over the deck.

It was here that she struck up a friendship with Vincent Pastore who learned that Barbara had written a memoir. Although the memoir was still in manuscript form, Vincent asked for a synopsis which I had written. He learned that we hoped to produce a film based on the memoir.

When he read the synopsis, he was hot to be in the film and offered to take the synopsis to show to movie people to get financing. In fact, he put us in touch with a screenwriter, John Andrew Gallagher, who wrote the first script based on Barbara’s memoir.

JERRY ORBACH

I do not know how Barbara got to meet Jerry Orbach. I have checked the cast for the film “It Could Happen To You” and I have not seen Jerry listed.

But in my eyes, Jerry is a real mensch (Yiddish for a real man). On this particular day, Barbara was filming into the early morning hours on the yacht, and our routine was that she would call me at home when she finished filming.

Then, I would hop in our car and drive into Manhattan to pick her up. The problem was that she would be standing on a street corner alone on the Lower East Side at 2 or 3 AM for at least a half hour. Not a location or time for a woman to be alone.

Anyway, Jerry offered to accompany her when they left the yacht and wait with her on that street corner until I arrived. I could not thank him enough for offering his protection when I arrived.

Like I said, a real mensch, or perhaps, a guardian angel.

Requiem for an Actress – Don Johnson

Barbara appeared in the movie “The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart” (1970). She did get terrific exposure in this movie. In fact, she opened and closed the film.

Her role, at the opening of the film, was to exit an apartment at street level, walk to a newsstand and purchase reading material, and, at the close of the film walk back to her apartment giving the impression that the entire movie takes place in that time interval.

The movie deals with a confused college student, Don Johnson (DJ), and his exposure to sex, relationships and drugs. This was DJ’s first movie role.

Barbara shared a dressing room with him. She wore a bright red outfit, slacks and low-cut top with a bare midriff.

Barbara in Opening Scene

In the movie, DJ, high on drugs, is required to streak across a college campus (I think it was Columbia University’s campus) naked. The movie was filmed during the streaking craze.

When Barbara entered the dressing room, there was DJ wearing only a raincoat.

And yes, he flashed her. Evidently, DJ was undressed waiting for his cue to streak.

One other incident occurred during this shoot that made it very memorable. The shoot occurred on Broadway near 92nd Street on Manhattan’s Upper Westside.

I was in attendance standing amongst film crew members. The director wanted to do several takes of Barbara’s scene.

During one of the takes, everyone froze as a tall, husky black man totally stoned on drugs walked through the crowd and into the scene. To make the matter more tense, he was carrying a knife.

I don’t know who, it may have been the director, but someone shouted, “Don’t anyone move.” And nobody moved.

We just watched this fellow walk through the scene and on his way oblivious to what was going on. But everyone was ready to pounce on him had he made a threatening gesture. Barbara was really frightened. Who knows whether we would be able to stop him before he injured her?

Luckily, the filming resumed once he left the scene. Did I tell you that moviemaking is just a lot of fun?

Requiem for an Actress – Her Theatrical Career

BARBARA’S FILM CAREER

1963 – Come Blow Your Horn

1969 – Midnight Cowboy

1970 = The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart

1970 – Funny about Love

1991 – Regarding Henry

1991 – Married To It

1991 – Out For Justice

1994 – It Could Happen To You

1995 – Die Hard III

2005 – Tinsel Town

2007 – Kinky Killers

2008 – Drum Beats Twice

BARBARA’S TELEVISION CAREER– Several Episodes in Each Show

The Sopranos

Law and Order – Special Victim’s Unit

Law and Order

Kojak

The Defenders

Naked City

Sesame Street – Mathnet

Requiem for an Actress – Why Now?

Barbara Stolfi Maggio is the subject actress. I am Jim Maggio her husband for almost 57 years.

When Barbara passed away on May 15, 2020, I was asked by friends at the condo we were living at whether I was going to have a memorial for her. I said, no, I was not.

Why did I say no?

Well, shortly after we had moved to Florida in 2011, Barbara’s second bout with cancer kicked in so there was little opportunity for her (us) to develop strong friendship with our neighbors.

That meant there would be very few attendees at the memorial able to speak about Barbara with any depth of feeling.

So, that would mean that any speech in praise of Barbara would have to fall on my shoulders.

And truthfully, there would have been no way I could get through any sort of eulogy without choking up and probably crying at that time.

Not only would it have been physically and emotionally impossible for me then, I think it would be equally difficult for me now.

Besides, even if I was able to speak for 15 minutes without breaking down, no talk of that duration would do justice to her (our) life experience.

And that, dear friends is why I have chosen the blogging path to pay tribute to Barbara’s life.

Mainly, to relate the colorful, and sometimes very difficult, life she had, and, also partially, to alleviate my sense of guilt for not having had a memorial for her.

This is Barbara’s memorial.

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