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.
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.
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.