Mike Mazurki

The boy ages. Dark wrinkles inlaid with soot crease his crackling olive skin. His robes carry the stench of mildewed mummies. He heads for our table and plops down three scrapbooks, sweeping his palm above them as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls, dug up from oblivion on his way to the club. "All time I work massage, I keep this book. This Doug Fairbanks. That James Dean. Jean Harlow say I got best hand in Hollywood." Abdullah pours clumsy fingers over crumbling toast colored glossies. "I tell Jack Warner about John Wayne--pretty good lookin' boy over in back lot, movin' round lotta piano." In one of the photographs Abdullah is wearing a sombrero. He holds a noose around Ronald Reagan's neck. "Where all these boy now I need him? What I'm going do these picture when I gone?"

Victor McLaglen could not have been less like Mike Mazurki than Carroll Baker. While Mike was guarding Mae, learning to talk in the movies and raising two children, Vic was scouring Skid Row for drunks to invite to parties he threw at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel--entire floors for days on end. But when McLaglen died, Mazurki took his place in John Ford's troupe. They made six pictures together, one of which is a classic, the last of Ford's Westerns, Cheyenne Autumn.