Paramount’s Longest Employee A.C. Lyles Celebrates 95th Birthday With Mickey Rooney, Buzz Aldrin

Paramount's Longest Employee .C. Lyles Celebrates
Araya Diaz/Getty Images

Rooney, Withers, Aldrin, Fleming attend

“Every day is A.C. Lyles Day,” asserted Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge to a well-attended 95th birthday lunch Friday for the Paramount exec at Musso and Frank’s in Hollywood.

LaBonge, who reps the Hollywood area, presented Lyles with a City Council proclamation, adding, “It’s the only thing we did unanimously all week.”

The event drew five dozen friends, family and leading lights of old Hollywood including Mickey Rooney, Jane Withers, Ann Jeffries, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Rhonda Fleming.

Lyles cracked up the gathering by saying that Fleming told that she wanted him to give her eulogy, he responded by saying, “Let me get my date book.”

Paramount CFO Frederick Huntsberry presented a framed photo of the administration building, where Lyles has worked as a producer and studio ambassador since the 195os and still has an office on the fourth floor. Lyles started out at Paramount working for Adolph Zukor more than 80 years ago.

Fox exec James Pappas, who organized the event with LaBonge, spoke warmly of how much he enjoyed working for Lyles for a decade on the Paramount.

“He once said, ‘Hey kid, get in here’ and there was Charlton Heston talking on the speaker phone with Ronald Reagan,” Pappas recalled. “I thought, ‘I’m either in Hollywood or at the Republican National Convention.”

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  1. Katie West says:

    Hi Buzz… A. C. Lyles was a very good and long time friend to me also… Always dressed to the “9’s”!

  2. Michael F.Dixon Sr. says:

    Many happy returns of the day A.C. The Deadwood Dirty Dozen greet you with warmest regards.
    You were with us almost every day on the lot for three years and we got to know you as you got to know us very well. We are proud of our association with you over the years. Have the Happiest Birthday ever and see you real soon.

    Best wishes
    Michael F. Dixon Sr.

  3. Judi Frazier says:

    A.C. — Best wishes on your 95th Birthday from Jacksonville, Florida..where it all started!! You have an open invitation here in Jax from Jess Harper’s nieces and nephews any time you can visit. (Ladybugjf@aol.com). Would love to see you and hear more stories. Where is that book?
    Warmest regard,
    Judi Watson Frazier

  4. Robert Masters says:

    In 1999 we were visiting Paramount on a tour and having lunch at the cafeteria. We met Mr. Lyles and noticing his cufflinks (US Presidential Seal) and began a conversation. Maybe amongst the sole 5 Republicans in LA, or SoCal, for that matter. He couldn’t have been more welcoming or gracious and we were invited to his office were we chatted for 2 hours. I swear he looks no older than in 1999, and wish I could say the same. Happy birthday, Mr. Lyles.

  5. avietar says:

    I don’t know why everybody’s making such a big deal about A.C.’s 95th birthday — luncheon attendee Betty Lasky, daughter of Paramount’s co-founder, Jesse Lasky, was walking, talking and skipping rope for almost six years before A.C. first saw the light of day. She turns 101 in October.

    But, really, it’s always been a pleasure to be in A.C. Lyles’s company, and impossible to think of Paramount without him (though, as we all know, the studio owes its existence to Norma Desmond, as I heard her tell Joe Gillis just the other day…).

  6. Patrick T. says:

    A.C. is 95 and still has the drive and determination to still go to work (I hear he drives himself to work in a convertible) and after learning of Rooney being single again, he clearly believes in not taking s**t from people….at any age. We can learn a lot from these old guys.

  7. Jennifer O. says:

    A.C. Lyles said he fell recently and was hoping to get back to the office soon. Janie Withers was as cute and smiley as ever and Mickey Rooney seemed like the old Mickey rather than old. He was happy, talking to everyone, posing for pictures and the life of the party. The single life seems to agree with him. He spent quite a bit of time arm in arm in a private conversation with the birthday boy. I guess they’ve been friends for a long time. Happy birthday A.C. It was an honor to celebrate with you.

  8. David Kirkland says:

    A.C. was there with his wife, Rooney admitted to the demise of number 8 but not anxious to talk about it and Buzz was buzzing with joy over a very recent divorce which he said was the best thing that ever happened to him. I wonder how many wives they’ve had between them. Whatever their individual situations they were all in great spirits.

  9. Brittany Havenhurst says:

    Happy 95th birthday A.C. From the mailroom to 80 years at Paramount. What an accomplishment.

  10. Jonathan Hagan says:

    It’s incredible that Mr. Lyles has worked at Paramount for 80 years. He had some fascinating stories to tell along with a short film clip. Mr. Rooney looked like he was having a great time. I had a brief talk with his son Mark, who is a musician, and he said Mickey actually works out twice a week. I wish I knew what the secret is. These guys are doing something right!

  11. Lloyd Atkinson says:

    How great to see Jimmy Cagney’s old pal, A.C. Lyles doing so well these days. I have never met the splendid gentleman but feel I know him from his appearances years ago in A&E biographies and numerous documentaries. In fact, I think I have him commenting on the late actress, Linda Darnell on a DVD extra somewhere nearby.She made a film for Lyles not long before her tragic death in a fire.Lyles is a treasure —a fact appreciated by many Hollywood historians.

  12. Franklin Post says:

    Mickey Rooney was very friendly, talkative and in great spirits. He mentioned that he was legally separated from his 8th and living with his stepson Mark and his wife in the Hollywood Hills. They all seemed very close and happy. I’m glad things are working out for him. Single life seems to agree with him. A.C. and Mickey also mentioned they were once married to the same woman years ago. I think it was Martha Vickers. Wild. Buzz also mentioned he was newly divorced about a month ago.

  13. Dennis Mitchell says:

    A.C. Lyles made the rounds visiting with each table. His memory was incredibly sharp and he warmly welcomed everyone in attendance. I hope he enjoyed it as much as the guests. Happy Birthday A.C. and many more.

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