The day I fell at Faye Dunaway’s feet | Phill Langhorne

Jobbing actor Phill Langhorne remembers a closer than intended encounter with the diminutive star

As a jobbing actor I’ve had to do a myriad of “in between jobs” to pay the bills. Every clichéd job you can imagine an actor doing, I’ve done. In 2007 I was asked to work on the British Comedy Awards thanks to a friend of mine who was producing the show.

After arriving, ready for an evening of pointing people in the direction of the toilets, I was ushered away to see my friend, who asked if I’d like to present an award.

“Yes!” I thought. “That episode of Hotel Babylon I did must have really made an impression.”

Sadly, it turned out that artist Mark Wallinger, who had collected the Turner Prize that year as a bear, had declined an invitation to present at these awards, meaning that some poor idiot had to dress up as a bear in his place – that poor idiot being me.

So we rehearsed. Me and Fern Britton walking on stage and greeting host Jonathan Ross. The award we were presenting was early on in the evening so I happily resigned myself to the fact that I’d be in the green room bar by at least 8pm.

But alas that wasn’t to be: Jonathan had other ideas. Giving the moment a Shakespearian twist, he wanted me to chase him and the final presenter off the stage. Exit pursued by bear and all that.

This is when I discovered that the final presenter was to be Faye Dunaway – a woman whose face I see on a daily basis because of the two huge framed posters of both Chinatown and Bonnie and Clyde I have hanging in my home. She was Hollywood royalty to me and I was nervous. I was also dressed as a bear, which was not how I envisioned us meeting.

We rehearsed the final exit of the night and up I ran towards the stage and Jonathan and Faye. Unfortunately the bear’s head was ill-fitting and I had trouble – especially at speed – seeing out of the eye holes. As I arrived on the stage my left paw became entangled in some loose cables which sent me flying in the direction of Ms Dunaway, narrowly missing the diminutive actor.

As I landed on the floor my head came off exposing my embarrassed face to everyone. It was then I heard the words: “You OK, hon?”

I turned to see Faye smiling down at me – not offering to help me up, admittedly, but smiling and looking concerned all the same. This made the whole incident a lot easier.

Later, the evening went off with no problems and thankfully there were no repeats of the rehearsal.

As I was leaving the stage, a well-known actor saw me, bear head under my arm and asked with a smile: “Three years at drama school?” I sighed and nodded: “Yes, three years at drama school.”

Phill Langhorne

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The afternoon I spent with the Goons' Harry Secombe
It’s 1995, Peter Sellers is dead, Michael Bentine is dying, Spike Milligan says no but one Goon steps into the breach, recalls Roy Bainton

Roy Bainton

22, Oct, 2017 @5:00 AM

Article image
The night Sharleen Spiteri got to hang out with Harry Dean Stanton
It was 1989 and a 22-year-old singer from Glasgow was fronting up her band Texas, when she spotted her idol standing at the side of the stage…

Sharleen Spiteri

09, Apr, 2017 @5:00 AM

Article image
The day Alfred Hitchcock spoke one deeply enigmatic word to me
It’s summer 1966 in Cambridge, and Christopher Frayling’s Q&A with the great director takes an enigmatic twist

Christopher Frayling

07, Jan, 2018 @6:00 AM

Article image
The day I met John Wayne on a rusty old industrial estate in Middlesex
It’s July 1974, and the Duke is in town to shoot a film, suffering from lung cancer, effing and blinding and cheerfully laying into everything and everyone. By Quentin Falk

Quentin Falk

07, May, 2017 @5:00 AM

Article image
The night Peter O’Toole took me disco dancing
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 1974, and Herta Feely stalks her favourite actor, in town to shoot Man Friday

Herta Feely

16, Oct, 2016 @9:30 AM

Article image
The day Richard Harris, in a bathrobe, told me stories over bellinis
Having captivated TV producer Michael Tuft with his storytelling at the Savoy’s American Bar, the next day Richard Harris did a recording of WB Yeats poems for him

Michael Tuft

22, May, 2016 @5:00 AM

Article image
The day Grace Jones told me she 'loved the smell' of my film
It’s 2002, London, the first showing of a film about Grace Jones’s brother, and someone exciting walks in and sits down at the front, recalls Sophie Fiennes

Sophie Fiennes

26, Nov, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
The day John Cleese asked me in for tea, sympathy and careers advice
It’s 1986, and Tom Connolly, a directionless, drunk 19-year-old writes to his comic hero suggesting they co-write a film. To his amazement he receives a reply, containing an invitation

Tom Connolly

02, Jul, 2017 @5:00 AM

Article image
The day Michael Jackson complimented me on my cat song
It’s the mid-1980s, LA Coliseum, the Stray Cats’ drummer Slim Jim Phantom is at a Bruce Springsteen when someone extraordinary walks in…

Slim Jim Phantom

01, Jan, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
The day I learned about Charlie Chaplin's bizarre directing style with Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren
It’s 1967, and Tippi Hedren joins Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren on the set of A Countess from Hong Kong

Tippi Hedren

27, Nov, 2016 @10:30 AM