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THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017
The Rockaway Times
a.m., so he was free to go on
auditions.
While at an audition he came
up with an idea for another
short music video called “Love
Tap.” We shot that on a week-
end, working on it 72 hours
straight because he rented
the camera equipment and
could only afford three days.
On the second night, I left
to go to work in a restaurant
and had a terrible accident,
which landed me in the hos-
pital for a few days. Bill had
no idea what happened to me
when I didn’t show up to fin-
ish the filming.
Hestartedgettingmoreparts,
each one a little better than
the last. One thing about Bill
though, he never changed. He
loved my wife, Rita, and what
he saw in our relationship was
what he had wanted in his first
marriage. My friends became
his friends, and I got close with
his dad, the “Orange Cat” and
his brother, Bob-O.
Bill and his brother used to
come to Kelly Park in Brook-
lyn to watch my football games
when I played for the Federa-
tion. I remember he came to
my buddy, Bobby and Laura’s
wedding, and after-party in
Buckley’s in Marine Park.
He wasn’t much of a sports
fan. He knew from his child-
hood that he wanted to make
films, but he quickly be-
came fascinated with sports,
watching me and my friends.
He even had Rita teach him
some basics of basketball so
he wouldn’t look spastic for a
scene in “Lords of Discipline.”
They went to a park in Venice
Beach where she helped him
with his dribbling and shoot-
ing. In later years, when we
moved to Rockaway, he and I
went to the Raintower, a bar
that used to be above Healy’s,
to watch Game Seven of the
World Series. I think it was the
first time he ever watched a
baseball game, he was so en-
thralled by it.
When my kids went to Cal-
ifornia on vacation, he took
them to the Jay Leno show,
where he was appearing. Rita
and I would go with him to
Saturday Night Live when
he appeared as host. The af-
ter-parties were legendary. I
remember telling Will Ferrell
that he would never make it.
He took me seriously and was
upset. Hey, I was wrong, and
was just breaking his….
Over the decades we slowly
lost touch, and the day before
he passed I was thinking of
calling him, when I heard he
was playing a cop on the new
show, “Training Day.” Fun-
ny, since I played a cop for 20
years.
When I heard the tragic
news, I thought back to all
thesememories andmore, and
I was reminded of something I
said four years ago when Dylan
Smith died suddenly. Tell the
people that you love, you love
them. Drop a personal line of
friendship to an old friend.
As I write this, another great
man and friend, Brian Ward,
passed doing what he loved,
on his surfboard in Puerto
Rico. Rest In Peace.
John, Rita and Bill.
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FRIEND OF BILL
Continued from Page 28