Sunday, November 18, 2007

For More Than Just Your Money


A moment of silence, please, for Michael Blodgett, who died last week at the age of 67. Blodgett appeared in such films as Roger Corman’s THE TRIP and Blake Edwards’s THE CAREY TREATMENT. He was also a novelist as well as a screenwriter, with credits that included THE HERO AND THE TERROR and TURNER & HOOCH. But it was his role in Russ Meyer’s BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS as gigolo Lance Rocke, “Greek God and part-time actor” which earned him his place in cinema history. A hateful character, yes, but like everyone in the movie I think of him with fondness. And he got Kelly McNamara into bed with relatively little effort. Maybe he didn’t deserve what he got in the end but, hey, he accepted that invitation to Z-Man’s house. And, as the narration tells us, “Those who only take must be prepared to pay the highest price of all.” Blodgett was by all accounts involved with co-star Cynthia Myers at the time and, though they don’t interact much at all in the film, the couple can be seen full-on making out in the legendary “photo shoot” trailer which can be found on the DVD.

I crossed paths very briefly with Blodgett about a decade ago when he was married to Meredith Baxter, but we never actually met (one of several extremely uninteresting stories I have of encounters with BVD personnel). Even in that tiny encounter it was hard not to look at him and think that this was what Lance Rocke would look like many years down the line. Even when I met his daughter Heather at a party back in 2001 I kept on thinking, “It’s Lance Rocke’s daughter…”

Naming my favorite line for the “blue-eyed soul brother” in the screenplay written by Roger Ebert would be a pretty tough competition, but “Since the last time I saw you, you won the Heavyweight Championship. Congratulations!” definitely ranks way up there. A guy I knew used to say that the reason you keep on going out to parties in L.A. is the hope that one day you’ll wind up at Z-Man’s. Blodgett’s performance as Lance Rocke is one of the things that makes BVD so unforgettable and one of the reasons we want to find our way to one of those parties at Z-Man’s. Done deal, Lance. Please raise a glass of “sauce” tonight in memory of Michael Blodgett.

“And how’s she getting home?”

“It’s her car.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi!
Could you please tell me when Michael Blodgett passed away?
I can't find any information on him. Was he ill? I would appreciate some kind of answer.
Nothing was mentioned on when he passed away, and/or what he died of.
Thank you.

Mr. Peel said...

I can't find any official obit out there on him yet, hopefully that will occur within the next few days. The news has been picked up on several blogs, possibly originating from Bright Lights After Dark. Here's the link:

http://brightlightsfilm.blogspot.com/2007/11/michael-blodgett-1940-2007.html