It was 8:30 in the morning and she was drinking a vodka and tonic when the studio’s new, young press agent knocked on her dressing room door. “Come in,” she said to the nervous novice praiser.
He nervously announced to Ann Sheridan, “They want to make you ‘Queen of St.Valentine’s Day.'” She stared at the flustered flack and shouted: “What do you want me to do, kid — stick my ass through a paper heart!!!?”
He was so taken aback; he tripped over the waste basket filled with empty vodka bottles, fell down the three steps of the dressing room and blacked out. He came to with the redheaded vision — with bad breath — hovering over him, asking “Are you okay, kid?” When he assured her he was, she phoned the studio’s publicity head and said she wanted “the kid” to handle the publicity on her new film, “Nora Prentiss.”
The publicist was/is Frank Liberman and I told this story from his upcoming book at his 90th birthday party, May 29 at Lawry’s longtime (69 years) La Cienega Blvd. eatery. We all agreed Ann Sheridan wasn’t the first femme star to have juiced-up in the early morning. And we sagely predicted that Lindsay Lohan, plastered over all media, won’t be the last soused celebrity.
The celebrants at Liberman’s birthday bash included fellow praisers, some who had gone on to work for him, newsmen, including yours truly he had “planted,” fotogs, studio and network exex, agents and friends dating back to his days at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
His daughters, casting director-producer Meg L. and talent manager Kay L., hosted the party which also included grandchildren Sam and Abigail.
Frank Liberman represented Bob Hope for 41 years, Phyllis Diller for 33, David Janssen for 16. Also Nat King Cole, Steve Allen, Peggy Lee, Henry Fonda, Jose Ferrer, Dorothy Lamour, Marcel Marceau, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy. And the list goes on to include June Allyson, Steve Allen, Edward Asner, Lauren Bacall, Charles Bronson, Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, Dennis Hopper, Florence Henderson, and three-time Oscar winners Ray Evans and Jay Livingston.
Liberman, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences since 1946 is a resident of the Motion Picture and Television Country House.