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Eddie: Yeah, the screening was "Born to Kill" (1947). Robert Wise directed it born to killand he was the guest.

Five-O: Anyone else?

Eddie: No, it was just Wise, and the uninvited Lawrence Tierney. What transpired was – Dennis and I are in the lobby. I look out the windows, and I see this old guy being helped down the promenade with a person on either side, coming toward the theater. And the guy, you know, had the old, crushed fishing hat on and the whole bit. And I looked and said, ‘Oh, man! That’s Tierney! That’s Lawrence Tierney!'

Frankly Dennis was concerned (laughs). Apparently, you know, they’d had previous experience with Tierney when the Cinematheque was over at the Raleigh Studios. And Tierney showed up and was trying to tear the posters off the walls and take them home or something. I think they had a "Born to Kill" one sheet on display, and Tierney just said, ‘THAT’S MY FUCKIN’ MOVIE!’, and he tore it off the wall, a poster that can go for $500. So there was a prior incident, you know?

Anyway, Tierney probably said, ‘I’M GOING TO THE THEATER, FER CHRISSAKES. HELP ME GET DOWN THERE,’ you know. Whoever these guys were that helped him get there, they looked like they knew him, but they left him there and there he's sitting. So Dennis and I went out, and started talking to him, and introduced ourselves. And the very first thing Tierney said was, ‘PULL MY FUCKING ARM!’

That was the first thing he said, because he wanted to get up. I mean, this was Tierney. This is the paradox: he wanted to be a gentleman because he wanted to stand up, because he was meeting people, right? But he couldn’t stand up without help, so the first words out of his mouth were, ‘PULL MY FUCKING ARM!’

So he’s on his feet, and then we do the introduction and all that shit. And eventually we just went inside and we got him a folding chair, and I sat with him. He’d always talk about how, you know, ‘AH, I’M OLD NOW,’ you know. And ‘I AINT LIKE I USED TO BE.' I was aware of the fact that he had had a stroke at some point, and now he was like recovering. He couldn’t walk well, but he still had huge upper body strength. I mean, when we shook hands it was like, fuck, this guy’s trying to break my hand.

And then we sat inside talking and I gotta tell you, it was a wide-ranging conversation. He tried to get Gwen [from the Cinematheque staff] to sit in his lap, and he spoke fluent French to Gwen, which was quite impressive. And we talked about philosophers and poets. He was big on John Donne. We talked about his family, and his brother Ed he was quite fond of. He didn’t seem to be too thrilled with, you know, Scott Brady.

Five-O: Really?

Eddie: Well, he just didn’t talk about him much. I think, I think he – I can’t speak for the guy, but it struck me that he may have been a little jealous of the fact that Scott Brady went on to have such a long career, and then Tierney self-destructed in a sense. Before the Renaissance.

Five-O: Right.

Eddie: And at a certain point in this wide-ranging chat, he took a swing at me while we were sitting there. That was just out of the blue. And apparently I merited this because I was gesturing too close to his face. We were sitting on these folding chairs in the lobby, and you know, a lot of people were kind of – you know, Tierney had this whole thing where people would gawk. It was like they were looking at a wild animal at the zoo or something. And it was a little uncomfortable, because no one had the nerve to come up and go, ‘Mr. Tierney…’ But they would kind of lurk around and it was uncomfortable for him. So I had said to Dennis that I would stay with Tierney. Because clearly, you know, the guy was a loose cannon. And Dennis would take care of the guest of honor, right?

We briefly discussed the wisdom of having Tierney being part of the show. Actually Tierney sort of answered the question himself. Because he didn’t even want to go down and sit down in the front of the theater where they have the VIP section: ‘AH, FUCK IT, IT’S TOO FAR TO WALK.’ He wanted to sit at the back of the theater for reasons that would become obvious in short order.

So he took a swing at me. It didn’t connect (laughs). But then immediately after that he was like slapping me on the leg and, you know, ‘HELP ME TO THE HEAD. I GOTTA TAKE A LEAK BEFORE THE SHOW.' And so this other guy, he was there in a three piece suit, he was like a black John Steed of The Avengers TV show. I mean, he was wearing a three-piece suit and had a bumbershoot, you know? He was very dignified and very effeminate. And so, when Tierney said ‘HELP ME UP, I
, and then this guy takes his arm, Tierney looks at him and goes, ‘THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? YOU GONNA HOLD MY ARM OR AREN’T YA, YA FUCKIN’ FAGGOT?’

And, you know, most people would’ve fled in terror, you know? But this guy just like hung in there and held Tierney’s arm. You know, you really had to hold this guy. I mean, he was a big man and, you know, and it was like he had this immense upper body strength but just tottering on these weak legs, you know? So we ushered him into the bathroom. And clearly I didn’t want any kind of accident or anything or anything, and he really wasn’t that steady, so we had to take him over and prop him up at the urinal, you know? It’s an embarrassing thing and I was trying to make light of it, so I made a crack and I said, uh, ‘You know
Larry, I’ll help you into the bathroom but I’ll be damned if I hold it for you.’

And he thought that was really funny. So he let’s out this big Tierney laugh ‘HAAAAH!’, and then he grabs me around the neck and head-butts me! BONK! Oh, Jesus! I was seeing stars! I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What was that?' I guess that was a show of affection or something, I don’t know.

Tierney’s standing there pissing, and the bathroom starts to fill up with gawkers. And there’s this semi-circle forming around him at this urinal, you know? I have my back to the wall, and I’m looking at these people gesturing like ‘get away, the guy’s trying to take a leak!’

Like Tierney needed my help right? Because he turns around, zipping up his fly, and he sees all these people and just goes, ‘WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ALL, A BUNCH OF COCKSUCKERS?’

I mean, he's just not having it from anybody.

So then we were leaving the bathroom – and this, this is just outrageous – as we’re leaving the bathroom, we push the door open and who’s coming in but Bob Wise? He’s walking into the bathroom –

Five-O: The consummate gentleman –


Eddie: Exactly. He sees Tierney and Tierney just looks like a nightmare, you know? He’s got the crushed fishing hat and he just looks grizzled beyond belief. And he’s huge. And so Wise looks up and goes, ‘Oh Larry! Larry! So good to see you!’

And I kid you not, Tierney reaches out and grabs Wise – he’s wearing a little cravat, you know, like a little ascot? Tierney reaches at it and he grabs him by the throat, and swings him over against the wall and says, ‘FUCK YOU, BOB! I’M DIRECTING YOU NOW!’ That was his opening line to Wise. It was amazing! So, you know, we managed to extricate Robert Wise from this choke hold. Bob's like, ‘Oh, Larry! Oh Larry! Oh my gosh, oh ho ho ho! Gotta go to the bathroom, we’ll see you later!’

And so we go into the auditorium and that’s where I ask Tierney if he wants to go sit down in the VIP seats. And I’m kind of holding my breath thinking that over and he says, ‘NO, I WANNA SIT IN THE BACK.’ So we sat in the last row, right when you come in the main door and immediately to your right.

Dennis introduced the evening, "Born To Kill" and Special Guest Bob Wise. And then he did make mention of the fact that Tierney was in the house, which got a big ovation and people were chanting for Tierney, you know, to appear.

So we’re sitting in the back in the dark, and the movie fires up and it’s great. I mean, we go along for twenty, twenty-five minutes and it was – it truly was one of the great nights of the film noir festival.

Now Tierney wasn’t hesitant. He was communicating and he was so sharp about the movie and about his career and everything else – he wasn’t loud, but he would just lean over and say stuff to me you know, like ‘LOOK AT THIS. ESTHER HOWARD, SHE’S GREAT IN THIS SCENE. SHE STEALS THIS WHOLE MOVIE.’ And he’s talking about, you know, making pictures with Val Lewton when he made ‘Ghost Ship’ – 'AHH, LEWTON WAS A GENIUS.'

I was loving it. It was the greatest, you know? Because he was so knowledgeable and so eager to talk about this stuff. And he knew the dialogue. He goes, 'NOW HERE COMES A GREAT LINE.' He knew his business.

He was a little disingenuous about certain things regarding his career. ‘WHY’D THEY ALWAYS MAKE ME PLAY THE MEAN ASSHOLE?’ That was one thing he said [laughs]. Okay, go figure that, Larry, I don’t know! The guy had a police record and more drunk and disorderlies than anyone in Hollywood plus he just assaulted the director of "The Sound of Music" at the bathroom door.

About twenty-five minutes into the picture he turns to me and he says, ‘DO ME A FAVOR, WILL YA? GO GET ME A CUP.’ And I say, ‘A cup? A cup of what?’ And he said, ‘JUST A CUP! JUST AN EMPTY CUP!’ So on the way to the snack bar, I’m thinking the worst, right? And he did not disappoint, because I came back with the big Prince of Egypt plastic cup, a big soda cup. They were souvenirs because the ‘Prince of Egypt’, of course, had premiered at the Egyptian.

So I walk back to the seat, I handed this cup to Tierney, I do not even get back in my seat when Tierney stands up, undoes his trousers, drops them to the floor and takes a monstrous piss in this cup.

I mean it was just unbelievable. Literally he just dropped trou and just let loose. And of course, it had to be a real quiet spot in the movie. So you could hear this, cupyou know, torrent out loud. I can’t say the whole theater heard it, but I’m gonna tell you the back half of the theater heard it. And I’m just sitting there like, ‘Oh, Jesus, this is unreal!’ And all I could think of was there was a woman sitting in front of him, and I just remembered thinking, ‘Come on, you know what that sound is. Please. Don’t turn around’. You don’t need visual confirmation, right? I mean, it was – it was a manly piss. This woman turns around. And like, she’s staring right at the danger zone, you know? And she’s just got these huge saucer eyes. And out loud, in full voice, full projection, Tierney says, ‘WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT? YA NEVER SEEN A COCK BEFORE?’

I’ve never witnessed anything like this. I thought it was – it was unbelievable! You know, I have to say I kind of agreed with him. He's an eighty-something year-old guy, he doesn’t want to walk all the way back to the bathroom, he’s taking a piss, he’s trying to be somewhat delicate about it – as much as you can be. Just let it go, you know? But she HAD to turn around! Or, you know, he wouldn’t have said anything!

And then, uh, he did it again. In fact, he did it twice more. And every time people would point and stare and everything, he would look around with the most intimidating look. He’d like, scan the audience while he’s pissing to see who’s looking at him. And when he sees somebody looking at him, he’d point at the screen and go, ‘THE MOVIE’S UP THERE, YOU MORONIC COCKSUCKER!’ (laughs). I remember that line clearly because I’d never heard anybody put ‘moronic’ and ‘cocksucker’ together before, and it stuck with me. What can I say? That would seem to be his favorite term of endearment. ‘Moronic cocksucker.’

Anyway – he was embarrassed. But that was his way when people looked at him, he just gave it back. Both barrels. But when people weren’t looking at him, he would like lean over to me and say, ‘I’M SORRY. I’M SO FUCKING SORRY. I’M SO – BUT WHAT CAN I DO?’ You know, ‘I’M OLD, I CAN’T - WHAT THE FUCK AM I GONNA DO? I APOLOGIZE,’ you know?

And he was very sincere, you know? And obsessed with where the cup was because he didn’t want it to spill. It was like, 'OH, YOU GOT IT? THE CUP’S OVER HERE, RIGHT? WE GOT THE CUP OVER HERE? IS THE CUP ALL RIGHT? WHERE’S THAT FUCKING CUP? I GOT THE CUP HERE, RIGHT?'

That's how he made it through the film. When the lights came on and they introduced Wise, dillingerhe wasn’t done. Dennis started interviewing Wise, the most self-effacing, gentlest, nicest man in Hollywood probably. And Wise was giving an answer about his approach to the material. And you know, it made perfect sense. So Tierney hears this, and he turns to me and he goes, ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS HE TALKING ABOUT? IT WAS ALL IN THE SCRIPT. IT’S ALL IN THE FUCKING SCRIPT. THEY NEVER GIVE THE WRITERS ANY CREDIT!’ And then he just bellows out, again, I mean he just hollers, ‘HEY BOB! WHO WROTE THE FUCKING SCRIPT?’ All the way from the back of the theater.

And that’s when the audience really started getting into it, ya know? ‘Let Larry talk! Let Larry talk!’ It was wild. I said, ‘Man, they want you.’ He goes, ‘AW, FUCK ‘EM!’ Once people knew that he was there, as soon as the interview with Wise was over, a whole bunch of people came flying up the aisle at him.

So one of them [a Cinematheque nuisance blackballed in 2002 for stampeding Jack Palance] comes over and goes, [hammy English accent] ‘Larry! Larry! So good to see you! You’ll recall we worked together!’ And Larry looks and him and goes, ‘GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY WAY, COCKSUCKER!’

It was really kind of unpleasant in the end because people were really kind of swarming. And, and he seemed like this rhinocerous that was just being consumed with these gnats. Eventually there were people there who did know him. Half a dozen guys who were regulars in Hollywood who saw to it that he got home. I do not have any idea what happened to the cup.

Five-O: A night at the theatre.

Eddie: I get a lot of mileage out of telling this story, and people think I’m having fun at Lawrence Tierney’s expense. But, if you read the story on my website (), you know, at the end I make it abundantly clear that I am with Tierney, you know? That I am on his side in this. I do not think he’s just an animal or something, I just think that he’s a guy who had a very special place in movie history. And he’s very aware of it. He’s also very aware of the fact that he lost it. And it meant a lot for him to go to that theater and see — I mean there was a big crowd — and to see that, you know, is vindication for him.

I’ll be goddamned, if I was eighty years old and couldn’t control my bladder, I’d say go get me a cup too! I’m not missing a second of this! Go get me a cup! I’m just gonna piss right here in my seat! You know, it’s egregious and it’s outrageous behavior, but so what, you know? What’s the alternative? Stay home? I can’t go out, I might pee. You know, what’s he gonna do, wear a diaper? No, he says 'fuck it, I’ll piss when I have to piss,' you know? If I’m stuck in the theater, get me a cup! That’s what he did! So, you know, we should all be so brazen.

Issue One
Previously on Five-O
Evel Knievel & more!
hitman elvis
Dark Elvis
Compelled to Kill
by the King!
swingtime strippers
Swingtime Strippers
Babes Ahoy!
isaac hayes
Isaac Hayes
Shaft vs. South Park
at the Hollywood Bowl
jason priestley
Jason Priestley
Man of Action!
The Five-O Salute
mexican wrestling
¡Viva el Santo!
L.A.'s Lucha Libre
Cinema Slam
stanley rubin
Ace Producer Stanley Rubin
With the RKO
Studio Scoop!
 werner herzog
Werner Herzog
Plotted to Kill Kinski!
Condemns Psychoanalysis!
Five-O July/Aug
Evel Knievel & more!
jeter girl
Jeter Girl
Kristielee Wilcox
From Box Seats
to the Bronx Jail!
lawrence tierney
Lawrence Tierney
Noir Superpower
The Five-O Farewell
burning man
Burning Man
Pagans Take Nevada
Five-O Undercover
40 Years
August/September 1962
Playboy Magazine
jermaine jackson
30 Years
Jermaine Jackson
Debut Album
20 Years
william shatner
10 Years
William Shatner
National Lampoon's
Loaded Weapon
my bloody valentine
10 Years
My Bloody Valentine
U.S. Tour 1992
theron productions