Memories

Did you know Lawrence Tierney?

Did you ever have a chance run-in with Larry?

A fight? A funny moment? A drink?

Did you work with Lawrence Tierney?

Are you a movie fan that would like to share your stories or memories of Lawrence and his career?

Please share your Lawrence Tierney stories and memories in the comments section below.

52 thoughts on “Memories

  1. Wow, a great tribute site to the film industrys greatest boozer / brawler and most feared man in Hollywood, Lawrnce Tierney. I had the good fortune of running into Mr. T. on two occasions. After brother Scott Brady died, me and a friend were driving down Sunset Boulevard one night around ten o’clock. As we passed the funeral home where Mr Brady was laid ut, we spotted brother Lawrence standing in the parking lot talking to a few folks. My friend recently had had a run in with the man in a book store, which I’ll tell you about later. We walked up to him and said hello.
    He was in his late 70s, early 80s, but looked pretty good. We told him we were sorry about Scott. Larry said he had pulled off his tie, put it around Scott’s neck and said, “Your on your own, now”. I then called him sir. He
    punched me in the arm, (and continued doing so until we left), and said
    “I ain’t sir. My mother wasn’t fuckin’ knighted by no ucking queen”. I swear he punched like a young boxer, leaving my shoulder sore and bruised. He was tough, but he was decent. I also met him at Hollywood Forever Cemetery at the Tyrone Power Memorial. He was there as spokesman for the film industry. He was sober and spoke from the heart about Power and Errol Flynn. One day, shortly before meeting him at Brady’s funeral, he walked into my friend’s bookstore in Burbank and headed toward the back. My friend was talking to customers when the silence my shattered by Tierney tearing up photos of Howard Duff and yelling that Duff was a no good wife beatin’ SOB.
    I hope that someday someone will write a great book on Tierney’s arrests and films.
    Bob

  2. Lawrence iwas a great actor. I been around show business and I know talent. The studio,s did not do Tierney right. When an actor plays a certain role too much -it effects the mind. hE EVEN SAID -he did not like like having to do what he did in the stories.. My favorite movie of Tierney was STEP BY STEP. He showed a gentle side and humor and look like he enjoyed the part. . The movie BACK TO BAATAN -he had a small role but he stood out-even up against John Wayne.. I wish someone had help him with drinking problem . Find the reason as I have seen with others. Lot of actors and actress,s had a problem with the bottle. Today there is more help. We have miss out on some great performances from Tierney-what a shame I would like to have met him and talk with him. I hope his spirit knows that he is not forgotten.
    A big fan Thanks for post comment

  3. in 1996 i was in a really bad way. my dad had died that year, and i was grieving hard. i took a gig offered me working as a nanny, and lived between places in venice and the palisades. one day, after taking the kiddo to school, i dropped in to abbotts habit. there was this man sitting at a table solo, and i sat down with him, because it was crowded and he was alone at a 4 top. the owner cautioned me to introduce myself first, so i did. hi, i’m mara. hi yourself. i’m larry. and that was it. we were friends from that moment on. like other people here, i spent time at the place on lincoln. i took him to various places in hollywood, and we would talk about our lives, and things we missed, people, places. he was a mean so and so, but, i had a grandpa who was the same gruff way, so it never ruffled me (much). once, after an especially grueling day, i called him to vent and he stopped me, mid sentence, and said, ‘mara, honey, why do you do this to yourself? why do you work this job that makes you mad and sad? you didn’t do anything to deserve that. quit this stinking job, and get the hell out of l.a. willya? what do you have here? really? just go!’ and you know what? i left. well, not quite that quickly, it took a few weeks, but i took his advice. sadly, i didn’t keep my promise to keep in touch, as i got pregnant and had my first child 18 months later. but, when i heard that larry had passed, i sat down and cried. i cried because he’d sat with me, while i mourned my dead father, sitting on the beach off the pch, watching the waves out the windshield of my car. because he’d tell me silly stories about his life (including a doozy about his first wife) to make me laugh. because he’d told me the truth, and been very blunt with me. because, he had given me what no one else in my life had been strong enough to offer. he stated the obvious, and meant it. and just flat out said his peace. larry was a lot of things. he could be awful, in fact. but, at the root of it all, at the root, there was this man who genuinely gave a shit. i miss my friend. even though he drove me up a wall, i loved him. and i will always remember his gruff voice on the phone, calling me to check in, or yell at me for not calling more, or for forgetting a coffee date. or just calling to say hi. because, like all of us, he had his lonelinesses. his days where he just wanted someone to see him. to just see him. and i did. so, again, i miss my friend larry. and i know they broke the mold when they made him. goddamn, did they ever.

  4. I met Larry with my Father one day in a bar on West 58th Street near the NY Coliseum. My Father knew Larry but my Uncle Auggie knew him really well he was in the Operating Engineers and lived near Tierney in Brooklyn. Some of the the better stories remain untold with reason.

  5. From Dead As Dillinger facebook page:

    Anyone who was ever in any of Larry’s various apartments in the 80′s (and I think I hit them all), knows that it always looked like (as my Mom would say) a hurricane had hit it. Once I was sorting through a stack of bills at the kitchen table, and came across a large envelope of fan mail. Larry was usually quite good about answering letters and signing photos, but this bunch had been sent over by SAG, and had been sitting around for a while. I opened it up, and told Larry we should get on it.

    LARRY – I will, I will. You’re like a fish-wife, nagging me. Let’s go to Canter’s for some pie.
    ME – That sounds great, but let’s take care of this first.

    Larry pointed out that those letters all wanted photos, and he didn’t have any to spare, and needed to have some made-up. That was great of him, but I thought it was kind of bad form of the fans not to send something of their own – and then the brainstorm. Most of the letters were from RESERVOIR DOGS fans, and alot had included their phone numbers. So we started calling. It always went something like this:

    LARRY – Is this Norman from Witchita? Shut-up Norman, we got a problem. Mr. Purple just crapped out on the job, and I need a new Mr. Purple! You got the guts for that kid?

    The screams and squeals on the other end of the phone were priceless – one guy made Larry threaten his girlfriend – and Larry spent the next few hours making the calls, and giving those fans something they’ll treasure more than an old publicity shot. And then we went to Canter’s.

    • from Dead as Dillnger facebook page:

      Wow, Court. You just brought back the memory of my favorite dining experience EVER! You, me, and I can’t picture the other folks, were at The Ivy with Larry. It went something like this:

      The Very Effiminate Waiter came over and passed out the menus:

      VEW: Hello everyone. My name is Derek and I’ll be your waiter for the evening.
      LARRY: Yeah? What’re you waitin’ for? A bus?
      VEW: Well…uh…no…I…uh
      LARRY: What’s good here?
      VEW: Everything is meticulously prepared.
      LARRY: I’m sure it is. Come over here and sit down while I look at the menu.
      VEW: I’m sorry, sir. I can’t sit down.
      LARRY: What’sa matter? You got a boil on your ass?

      Larry said it just loud enough for everyone but the parking valet outside to hear it. We order and eventually Derek returns with our food.

      LARRY: So, Derek. Where you from?
      VEW: New York.
      LARRY: Yeah? Me too? What are you doing out here?
      VEW: I’m an actor.
      LARRY: An actah, huh? Let me see you act.
      VEW: Well, I really don’t have anything prepared.
      LARRY: Yeah?

      With that, Larry picks up the foil wrapped object on his plate and thrusts it at Derek.

      LARRY: Here’s a baked potato. Act like a fuckin’ baked potato.

      Derek excuses himself, saying he has other tables to take care of and we commence to eating. Moments pass and Larry says he has to go to the bathroom. Ten minutes later he’s still not come back. We eventually found him yucking it up with the Mexican dishwashers and bus boys back in the kitchen. Can’t remember what I ate but it didn’t matter. Larry was the one who dominantly flavored the evening.

  6. In 1997, it was around midnight at The Novel Cafe (now 212 Pier) in Santa Monica, Ca. I’m finishing up a call on the payphone because I noticed an older gentleman standing behind me (figuring he’s waiting to use the phone), so I turn around and say to the gentleman, “The phone is all yours buddy”, the guy replies “I’m not waiting on the fucking phone, you’re driving me home!” Naturally, I’m a little taken back by this, but I go with it and ask him where he lives. It turns out, he lives just a few blocks from me in Venice Beach.

    We get in the car and he tells me how he used have the same car years ago (1965 Buick Special) and he wanted a ride home in it. Small talk leads to who he is, Lawrence Tierney of Reservoir Dogs (one of my favorite movies) and now I’m completely blown away but a little wary too since I’ve heard a lot of crazy shit about this guy. We swing by my place so Larry can use the bathroom (not sure why I couldn’t just take him home) and my brother is home. We walk in and I say to my brother (watching TV) “The dude from Reservoir Dogs needs to use the can!” Larry uses the bathroom and walks by my brother and says “Ya need more toilet paper!” The whole time my brother has not said one word…he’s just astonished.

    We finally get to Larry’s house at Lincoln & Venice Blvd., and he invited me up to his place to show me some of the old black & white movies he was in, back in the day. About 10 minutes into the movie, he’s snoring in the chair. I walk out and before I close the door, look back and see the young Lawrence Tierney on the television screen in the movie “Dillinger”.

  7. In the mid 70′s Tierney came to visit Kenny Schwartz on the 11th floor of the Film Center Building at 630 9th Ave in New York. As Tierney approached me in a hallway, he punched me, unprovoked. He kept going. I went to get a bat. Before I could get to Tierney with bat in hand, Kenny explained that Larry was drunk and asked that I, “Just let it go.” For a few days I regretted listening to Kenny. Now I’m glad I did, otherwise Tierney would never have been in Reservoir Dogs.

  8. I love old movies. I go to Wikipedia and skip around, reading up on all of the classic actors in Hollywood. When I saw Lawrence Tierney’s name, I thought he might be related to Gene Tierney. So I clicked and discovered someone I had never seen before. Except that he is a carbon copy of his brother, Scott Brady, in voice and face (face a little softer than Scott’s, but the core features are like he is his twin). It was amazing. I just saw 4 of his movies on Youtube. I am sorry he had such a difficult time with his temper when younger. I think he had what it took to be a better known actor than he was. He was really a great tough guy. After reading what I could find, I wonder how much of the character of Alton Benes was really how he was. Mitchell, it is very kind of you to make sure he is never forgotten. Maybe you could start a website for Scott Brady?

  9. While I didn’t know Larry personally, my father, Edward Fitzgerald, would get calls from Hollywood in the middle of the night from his brother, Roddy – Gerard (aka Scott Brady) to bail him out…again!

  10. Does anyone know why Lawrence Tierney didnt serve in WWII? I see where he was quite the athlete in high school and college. Was he ever injured. First remember seeing him on Adventures in Paradise in 1961. In all his other films there was just something about him. He wasn’t a great actor but he was a great Lawrence Tierney. Years later on “Seinfeld” he was perfect as Elaines father Alton Benes.

    • From what I understand, Larry was chasing one of his brothers around and there was an accident, cutting tendons in Larry’s hand and he could not pass the medical exam to get into the service. I don’t think he was very happy having to sit on the sidelines, and felt this made him look bad in public.

  11. I was 17 year-old acting “student” from L.A.. Tierney, one of my favorite film noir stars, was sitting alone in a disheveIed dark suit. It was the winter of ’57/’58 at a Greenwich Village coffee house called The Couch. He looked so grim I was afraid to approach him — and maybe add to whatever seemed to be bugging him. He was drinking espresso.

  12. I met Larry in NY in the 70′s though a film producer named JG Tiger. I was a teenager trying to get in the film biz. I ended up spending a lot of time with Larry for a number of years. I learned pretty quickly that he didn’t suffer fools gladly, and was occasionally beligerent for no good reason. There were times I would just stay out of arms reach. We spent lot of time playing Chess, he was nearly unbeatable! I won once, but I think he let me win. I was better at Backgammon, though. He only played for money…just a penny a point. We would also complete doing crosswords, where he edged me out, but not by much. I remember him being very entertaining to be around, most of the time.

    I remember asking him why he didn’t go back to Hollywood, and he implied there was some reason he couldn’t or wouldn’t go back. I knew he had offended a lot of people there, he was clear about that. But there were a lot of folks he pissed off in NY, too. When I asked him about Scott Brady, his brother, he became uncharacteristally discommunicative. It seemed more than coincidence to me that he moved back West after Brady passed away. I suspect there was some connection, but I never knew what. Maybe he stayed away so as not to embarass his brother.

    Tiger told me that the girl who jumped was a young hooker that Larry had taken under his wing and was thrown from the window by her pimp. Larry played dumb to the cops and hunted down the pimp himself. Could easily have happened that way, but Larry never spoke about it.

    Larry was an unrepentant punster, and we would try to top each other. I remember his, “It was dinnertime in Moscov, so ve et” as a particular example. I was glad to hear he gave up drinking. He through away more than seven careers with that stuff. He lost the role of Joe to Peter Boyle after urinating on the escalator at Macy’s during a costuming junket. There probably others, he was always on the edge of a comeback and doing something self-destructive.

    Rest in Peace, Larry

  13. I met Larry in Madrid Spain in 1966. I asked him if he was Scott Brady. He said ”No, that’s my brother.” During a period of about six/seven months I got to know him pretty well. He got kicked out of France for torching a dry christmas tree at a hotel. Kicked out of Italy for flooding his bathroom. In Madrid they would just throw him in jail a few days when drunk. He was talented and forget about winning in gin rummy. He said ”Get a pen and paper and give me a row of six numbers.” ”Six more!” ,Six more, six more ,six more,six more.” ”How do you want them back?” ”Vertically? horozontally? backwards?” Any way…and he did it. The guy really made his presence felt.Too much to write about him. Tough guy with a kind heart.

    • I met Larry in 1966 in Madrid at the Cerveceria Alemana, and shared a room with him at a pension for a couple of days after he’d been released from jail for getting into a fight (he showed off his chipped tooth and complained about Spanish dentists…) and had no place else to stay. He had been working sporadically dubbing Spanish movies into English. I remember him rushing out onto the balcony one morning around eight or nine, and yelling at everyone in the downton-Madrid street to be quiet. He was a legend among the ex-pats. And with the guardia civil.

  14. after watching many Seinfeld repeats all these years I finally looked up the actor who was Elaine’s father in one episode which was one of my favorites. It was Lawrence Tierney .. who apparently was very similar to his character ….. funny .. tough, scary yet a likable guy.

    • Never met larry personally in the sense that I had the chance to sit down and converse with him. But larry was around town in the late 40′s and early 50′s
      { town being Hollywood) I was an operative with a P.I. firm which long ago closed down. I knew Audie Murphy very well, and through Audie was able to pick up a lot of domestic work…divorce cheating spouses…which I might add was like breathing air in good old Hollywood.Anyway I was on assigment and through Audie was invitied to a party that I believe was hosted by Rhonda Fleming at which the person who I was investigating who was a well known producer was attending. Audie was pure aces to have as a friend. anyway there was a lot of drinking going on that night of which I am sure Mr.Tierney had more then a cap full, for some reason Tierney started riding Audie and appeared to be looking for a fight, Audie was a real gentleman and at first just tried to let it roll off his back….but Tierney kept pushing until he pushed too far. I grabbed Audie and I believe Bill Hopper and someone else hustled Tierney out of there. Had they not and I can say this with 100% certainity
      Tierney would have never seen another sunrise..Audie was pound for pound one of the toughest guys in or out of Hollywood, and from his years in the war knew how to send someone into the shadows permanetly. Scared the hell out of all of us there, I took Audie outside for a smoke and he turned to me and said ” Bob I would have gladly killed him”….sent a chill up my spine….Audie would and could have done it.Tierney later through the grapevine I heard realized how close he came to hearing “taps”. From that point on he gave a wide berth to Audie

      • No doubt. My uncle served in WW ll and became friends with Murphy after the war. They would frequent Hollywood Park during the racing season. My uncle said Murphy always carried a pistol.

  15. Larry you and I went to see a double classic feature at the Nuart, I think, and one was ON THE WATERFRONT with Brando and during the movie he was growling like a lion, after sometime of this I asked Larry if he was ok and told me that he did a version of STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE in my home town of Santa Fe in the 50′s or 60′s and that he was considered a much better Stanley Kuwolski than Brando. His growl was his disdain or envy of Brando. Who would disagree when his hands are 12″ from your balls.

    • it appears to be a family trait – occasionally grouchy lol. I love reading these stories. Larry was related to my dad. 2nd cousin. I never met him or Scott. I will be turning my siblings on to this site. Cheers -

  16. Here’s another quick Larry story. One night, around ’94 or ’95, Larry and I decided to join a director friend of his for dinner at Canter’s Deli. The other guy drove, with Larry shotgun and me in the back seat. For whatever reason he did not like me leaning forward in that space between the driver and passenger so I could participate in the conversation. He kept telling me to sit back and I apparently didn’t. He got frustrated and whirled around and socked me in the jaw.

    He was pretty old by then and didn’t get a lot on the punch based on our positions, but I still felt it. He was immediately was apologetic but was insistent that I was in the wrong for not sitting back when he told me to do so repeatedly. I stewed for a few minutes, but by the time we got there it was largely forgotten. I think I made him pay for my dinner, though.

  17. One time when Larry and I were walking down the street in Venice on our way to a restaurant he said he liked… they saw him coming and shut the door and put the “CLOSED” sign in the window –just like it was a scene from a comedy film.

    • hey timmy hows it going its eddie leahys son…remember u came by the house and showed us the tatoo of the black panther lol hahahahaha

  18. I stood behind L.T. at the 99-Cents store on Wilshire Blvd. when he was buying a bunch of rolls of paper towels (he had a young man with him, maybe somebody taking care of him)? I was ecstatic — he’s one of my favorite actors. I wasn’t at the Egyptian Theater that time when he relieved himself in a Lion King soda cup, but that’s one of my favorite stories.

  19. There’s something absolutely addictive about THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE….Back in 1980 or thereabouts, the day after it was shown on a Milwaukee TV station at 2 in the morning, literally everyone I met told me that they’d stayed up to watch it all the way to the end!

  20. Just heard from Jeff, who has worked at Larry Edmunds Bookshop in L.A. for a number of years. Here is his little Larry story: “He used to be around Hollywood a bit and be seen once in awhile. Big, growly voice and totally cool to the store. On one afternoon he stood outside and invited people to come inside and visit our store, rather boldly. Think intimidating used car salesman. He was quite the character.” I can picture this!!

  21. Mr. Tierney is one of the greats in my book. In fact he actually came in one time to Andy’s Barber Shop(now Sweeneys) and got a scalp massage which I personally gave him. This was probably a couple of years before hois passing. I remember him getting a little ticked because I wasn’t going hard enough with massage but I thought I was going to cave his skull in!I wish that he had been a regular so that could hear some old Hollywood stories.I guess he kind of is in way though as I have a picture of him up in the shop.

  22. I met Larry once….

    It was back in the early eighties in Los Angeles. My friend, Chris Gore cast Larry in a short movie about the infamous “Red” tapes. I can’t remember why I met Larry but Chris and I were working in the same building at Cherokee and Hollywood Blvd and I remember meeting Larry across the street and he was wearing a white t-shirt, which had a stain on it from last night’s meal. I couldn’t believe this was the great Lawrence Tierney and I will never forget his voice….

  23. Tierney may have been a hellraiser back in his younger days, but I recall meeting him during the 1970s, and he was a very charming, soft-spoken man. I guess we all soften up when we get older.

  24. In the late 1980s when I was a bad alcoholic and down and out, I frequently drank with Lawrence Tierney (went by Larry) in sleazy Hollywood bars. I am 6’4″ and was a generation younger than Larry, who was bald. But he was still one tough guy and in good shape. He was not purposely picking fights like he did when younger, and age had sort of mellowed him. Larry, unlike Aldo Ray, also drunk at the bar, was not bitter about his Hollywood career. Larry was not broke, Aldo was pennyless. Last saw Larry about 1992. He didn’t talk much about old Hollywood, which interested me. He just shrugged when I said my favorite line out of one of his movies was, “If anyone here talks out of turn when the cops arrive, they are going to have a lead headache.”

  25. I never shared my Larry story! :O Met him 2-3 times during the 1980′s, once in Venice, CA, the other time at the Formosa and/or the old Coach and Horses on Sunset. He was absolutely polite and almost courtly in his manner toward me. That may disappoint some or may charm others, but my memories are of a tough, smart gentleman.

  26. Saw Tierney once in his later years at a celebration for Robert Wise at Cinematheque in Hollywood. He was dressed in dark clothes and scruffy in appearance with a 2-3 day whisker growth on his face.

    Wise had directed him in BORN TO KILL and some of the Q&A’s were obviously designed to get him to comment on what a jerk Tierney was to work with while filming the picture. Wise, a total professional and gentleman, did not offer any negative comments except to suggest that Tierney did walk to a different drummer. I like Tierney films simply because of his presence. He seemed to be the real deal on and off the screen. No phony baloney here. So hard as nails he dents the head of the hammer.

  27. Thanks so much for the add, Michael. Here’s another great story involving your uncle’s name, which you have probably heard: When Bob Mitchum was busted for possession of marijuana in the late 40′s, he was taken to the Hollywood jail. As Mitchum was being booked, one of the jailers said: “Don’t worry; we saved Lawrence Tierney’s cell for you.”

  28. George Rice

    Lawrence at Christmas Dinner

    I think it was 1970, give or take a year. Lawrence was working as an Iron-worker with my father in NYC. My father felt bad Lawrence had nowhere to go for Christmas and invited him to Christmas dinner with our family.
    My 10 year old brother got a football for Christmas and Lawrence had a catch with him in the middle of the Staten Island street where we lived. He greeted my eight year old brother with a loud “how you doin’ kid,” while giving him a big slap on the back. That wouldn’t have been so bad if my brother didn’t have a broken collar bone and his arm in a sling! Lawrence found a bottle of liquor at some point and finished it off. During dinner one of my brothers opined that he liked stuffing, and Lawrence said something like, “so you like stuffing, kid?” and proceeded to take the entire bowl of stuffing and dump it on my brother’s plate! I think my father couldn’t wait to get Lawrence on his way after dinner, knowing how Lawrence could be when he was drinking.
    My mother told me that she liked him. She related a story a few years ago that when she was mashing the potatoes for Christmas dinner, Lawrence confided in her that his mother used to let him mash the potatoes when he was a kid and offered to do the same for her, and of course, she let him. For many years, I always wondered why my mother’s potato pot was rounded on the bottom. I assumed that she had done that over the years by mashing the potatoes in it. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that it was probably Lawrence Tierney that rounded the bottom of that pot that Christmas day in 1970, a pot my mother continued to use for at least another 20 years.
    I was 11 at the time and kind of afraid of this movie star called Lawrence Tierney. And it wasn’t until recently that I finally got to see Dillinger.

  29. larry- he told me to call him larry. he spoke at the beverly theater when they screened a newly found print of “born to kill”. a lot of folks talked about resevoir dogs… late ’93- early ’94(earthquake!!) …my memory is very foggy about this part. but i was much more alert when, a few weeks later, i went to see the whitaker-chavez fight, closed circuit on the big screen in a santa monica sports bar. i’m watching the undercard, a tim witherspoon fight, when i turn around i see some large fella having words with the door security. apparenly it’s an older man with a kind of innapropriately younger boy, if you get my drift, and the kid doesn’t have any i.d. well, i think nothing of it until the older man raises his voice, and it’s inmistakeably larry. “the kid’s with me. what’s the problem? I’M old enough, ain’t i?” he’s bellowing above all the crowd noise. then: “whaddaya want? whaddaya want? jesus christ!!! ya wanna see it? what, ya wanna see it?” and proceeds to unbuckle his pants and pull his pants down. the door guy never lost it, i must say, just kept saying, “sir… SIR… that’s not neccesary… sir, that won’t help, you’ll have to leave… alright, you have to leave” and threatened larry with the cops. i said to him, “wow, do you know who that was?” he says “i don’t care who that was, he’s never coming in here”…
    weeks later i run into him on wilcox. i introduce myself. he says, “eddie… is that edward or edwin?” i say, “uhh… edwin.” he says “hmph. i got a brudder edward.”
    we went to bob’s frolic room for drinks…

  30. Larry wasn’t such a mean guy… at least not in his later years. He did always like to drink, and often behaved badly… actually, a sweetheart.

  31. Larry was living on the Left Bank in 1966. I was an American soldier stationed nearby. He asked me to go to the post exchange near Versailles and get him some shoes. A Parisienne had gotten “under my skin…deep in the heart of me” and I wasn’t thinking straight. Only regret in my long life is I didn’t go to the p.x. Next time someone asks me for shoes, they’re getting ‘em, ok LT? Thanx QT for your brilliance in making “Resevoir Dogs” and casting him.

  32. I met him in New York Hospital in 1983, where he was in for some kind of annual workup and he was my roommate for one night of his stay while waiting for a neuro consult and with no private rooms available, he wound up with me on a cardio floor where he was to be seen my a well known cardiologist Steve Sheith. He was a huge hulking man with arms like Popeye, and you could tell he had no affinity for Hospitals or the medical profession in general. I was only shy of 18 and he must have been in his early 60’s. He was on the phone a lot, and he politely ordered and shouted at many nurses and staff, made odd requests for food and snacks. My father knew who he was and told me. My Dad was in his early 50’s and was a young teenager when the Dillinger picture came out, and was a fan, he motioned, to us that he hated doing those roles. They his it off, and spent about 2 hours discussing the best restaurants and bar in NYC, with an emphasis on Brooklyn, the North Bronx and Riverdale. He went through a line of pubs from Hells Kitchen, up the West Side to as far North as Woodlawn where he knew people. He later mentioned to his visitors and friends on the that there was an Italian kid form Westchester behind the sheet, which was correct. We watched Hill Street Blues and he mentioned he was back and working occasionally again in Hollywood after a 1/4 century hiatus. When the show was over, he gave me a run down on icons in Americana from Dutch Schultz to Mickey Rooney and Jimmy Hoffa. He asked me if I smoked or drank and I said on occasion, which at that point was not really the case. However, I felt that it was likely the best answer. He was out of the room after we had breakfast the following morning. I was 17 and never had met a man who seemed to have lived so large and was so intimidating. Then out of the blue 10 years later in Yonkers, much to my shock he had sent flowers to my Mother’s funeral. My parents long separated when my Mom had fallen ill with Leukemia had keep tabs to some extent on me and my condition. I now 30 years after the fact suspect this was accomplished through his cronies at the bars he had recommended to my Father. My Dad actually became a regular at some of these watering holes in the 1980’s during his tenure with John Jay. So I guess you cant Judge a book by its cover. Its funny, the Seinfeld episode, “The Jacket” is on in syndication quite often and that portrayal really identifies with how a 1st encounter might have gone with anyone who had met the guy. He kind of stole those scenes. Well I came upon this by chance and just wanted to share it.

  33. Larry used to frequent “The Cock “n” Bull, a bar/restaurant on the Sunset Strip that was one of my favorite “watering holes”, as well as that of many actors and other show business types.

    On many occasions at The Cock ‘n” Bull. Larry would approach me, and ask that my agency represent him. I always declined, as Larry had a reputation for being both a drinker, a tough guy, and extremely difficult to deal with. One day, a couple of days after my Mother passed away, Larry approached me while I was sitting at that same bar having a drink. I thought he was going to again start asking me to represent him, but instead, he just handed me an envelope, turned around, and walked out the door. Confused, I opened the envelope and found that it contained a Mass Card from Blessed Sacrament Church on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, ordering Ten Masses to be read for my Mom. How do you refuse the request of someone who does something as nice as that? As a result, I represented Larry for a couple of years until my retirement in 1998, and learned that beneath his gruff, hard nosed exterior, he was a pretty decent and sensitive guy.

    P.S. Forgot to mention that in view of the fact that Larry didn’t know, and/or had even met my Mom, I don’t even know how he learned that she had passed away.

  34. Here’s a good story that epitomizes what a tough guy he was in real life. He was about 75 at the time and living in Venice, on Rose Ave., about a half block from the boardwalk. He had been living on the lower level (or the lower level in the building next door) but was now on the second floor of a small apartment building (4 units). There was a fairly narrow staircase leading up to both upstairs apartments. I was Larry’s attorney for a lawsuit he had filed but I was also a friend, and as those who knew Larry realize, at times his friends were also his errand boys (“Hey kid, come over and drive me to the supermarket”). I had met him through my friend Frank, who lived at the corner of Rose and the Boardwalk. I think Frank had met Larry when Larry crawled in his apartment through a window after talking for a minute of so through the open window. He didn’t want to inconvenience Frank by having him let him in the door.

    I got a call one morning (or afternoon as I slept quite late those days) from Frank telling me that Larry was in trouble and that he though he’d had a stroke. Larry had been able to call Frank for help and he called me before heading to Larry’s apartment. I lived about 3 miles away and headed right over.

    It was a fairly mild stroke as he was still conscious with his wits about him, but he couldn’t talk very well and couldn’t move much/walk. While he couldn’t talk much, he had no problem making his feelings known when we wanted to call an ambulance. He wanted no part of it. I guess he thought only someone weak would need an ambulance. We tried to convince him that an ambulance was best and he became very agitated, so we agreed to do it his way. Frank and I were both in our 20s and were intimidated by a 75 year-old who’d just had a stroke!

    He insisted that Frank and I carry him down the stairs, which was not an easy task as he was north of 250 lbs. and Frank and I were both big guys too. We got him up and threw his arms around our shoulders and somehow managed to get him down that staircase. Frank had a nice convertible, while I had a shitbox, cramped ’71 VW bug. It was a no-brainer that Frank should take him. Of course, he saw it otherwise and pointedly insisted that I drive him there. I suppose I should be touched that he trusted me so much. I drove him to the hospital right by my house and they took it from there. Definitely an experience I will long remember.

  35. Yes, I have many Lawrence Tierney stories. I cast him in a play I wrote and performed a coupla times (one in Venice, one in Hollywood.) I wound up directing one of the productions and have continued to work on the play at the Actor’s Studio Playwrights/Director’s Unit here in L.os Angeles. The play is called “Ain’t No Coyotes in Poughkeepsie”. I got the title from a director who wanted to set the play in the desert and use coyotes howling in the background rather than songs I had written. The place I wrote was not set in the middle of a godamn desert. It was set in a trailer in a trailer park in Poughkeepsie, NY. So I said to him “Hey! Ain’t no coyote’s in Poughkeepsie, man!” Thus, the story of the play’s title. Larry was cast as the father, a tough Irish guy who lived by the code of “in my day we drank, we fought, we drove fast, worked hard, busted our butts”. That American dream that the 50′s promised was delivered (not so in my generation or the generations that have followed.) Larry was spot-on perfect for the father (Mack) and his acting was so intuitive, nuanced, and powerful. But he’d wander away sometimes in the middle of rehearsals and wouldn’t come back so we had to cast somebody else for the part … There was another time I picked him up from his house there in Hollywood on Gardner to go to the movies (I think we saw a movie called “Affliction.”) He had suffered a stroke a coupla months before that and had trouble walking. He wouldn’t let me help him to my car so I kept close to him as he staggered like a punch-drunk boxer holding onto to the ropes, to whatever he could to stop himself from falling. Somehow, we made it into the movie theatre and sat down in the back of the house. He did’t like it back there so he got up and staggered down to the front row grumbling like a bear coming out of hibernation. After the flick was over, I picked him up in front of the theatre and he crashed back into my car. On the way back, he started giving me a lotta hostile lip and he wouldn’t let up. Finally, I gave it back to him. Let’s just say I returned serve in the Irish tradition. He didn’t like it one bit. He bolted outta the car into the middle of La Cienega nearly getting run over before he made it to the sidewalk holding on to a streetpost lamp for dear life. I yelled for him to get back in the car but he wanted nothin’ to do with me. So I drove off. That was last I saw of Lawrence Tierney. (I don’t know how the hell he ever made it home.) What amazed me that day was the will he had to stay on his feet, to get into and out of that car and into that movie theatre on his own two feet. I spent other times with him and my friend John Stipe. We’d bring him stuff from the store and sit around his place tellin’ stories. He was one of a kind. I wish he woulda been able to do the part of my father in the play I wrote. He woulda aced it like nobody else. He was gettin’ older by then and couldn’t committ, I guess. He always did what he wanted to do. He had a great pride and had all the qualites of being a larger-than-life figure. Nobody could tell him nothin’. He was a proud man, not an easy man to get along with. But he was true. He was true to himself, to his nature, to his own code that came, I guess, from his past, from that New York Irish thing, from the character of his soul… I was sorry to hear of his passing. He was a tough son of a bitfch. For better or worse, he could not help but make an impression on you. The kinna impression you can never forget. Thanks, Kevin Kelly http://www.thekevinkellyshow.com

  36. When I first learned I had an Uncle Larry
    When I was a kid I knew that my dad had a brother named Ed who was a building contractor who spoke German and played chess at tournaments. We would often get together with Uncle Ed and his family and I liked them a lot. Then one day when I was about ten years old (~1978) a call came to the house that made my dad very angry, saying “Dammit, I told Eddie to stay away from him!” I asked what happened and dad said “Your cousin Michael was kidnapped.” I was dumbfounded. “Who did this? ” I asked. His response shocked me further: “Your Uncle Larry.” “What? You have another brother?!” I said. My dad replied: “He’s crazy… terrible. I told Ed not to call him when he went back to New York but he didn’t listen and Larry took off with Michael and didn’t bring him back for days and anything could’ve happened.” My dad was almost shaking he was so angry. My mother nodded her agreement. I was left with the impression that Larry was a man horrible beyond words, one who had to be kept far at bay from my home, one whose name could not even be spoken aloud, someone who would tear me to pieces if not for my dad protecting me. I would not meet him until five years later (1983) when he came out for my uncle Ed’s funeral. [THE END] Addendum: I once recounted this story to my cousin Steve, who declared it to not have been a kidnapping at all, so I will like forward to Michael setting the record straight on that. Perhaps the call to my dad came from a 3rd-party who got the facts wrong. Regardless, it does show what the relationship was like between my dad and Larry.

    • Lawrence Tierney and Scott Brady were my dad’s 2nd cousins.So we are related. 4th cousins I guess? He saw them a few times in childhood. Had other maternal relative whose husband worked with Scott in Destry on Broadway.I never met either. Watching him now in Born to Kill.

  37. I met Larry when I managed the Vine Theatre in Hollywood in 1992, I had just seen “The Devil thumbs a Ride” on AMC and even after all those years I recognized him, we just started talking and he came by more and more and gradually we became friends. This led to him acting in my short Super-8 film “The Route” and he helped me get a Union voucher to join S.A.G. on an Amy Fisher Television movie. Larry was my first friend in Hollywood that was also a living legend and the memories of that time are something that I cherish to this day. I’ve met many other personalities since then but Larry was a TRUE original and his sincerity and kindness are traits that are solely lacking in and out of Hollywood today. I want to thank Michael for this opportunity to express what a great actor and man his Uncle was/is.

  38. For all of my adventures with Larry – and there were many – the one that comes to mind this time of year was when Larry and I attended a convention in North Hollywood. It was a small event, and not at the Beverly Garland, but there were a number of dealers there with 16mm films. I was collecting then, and looking at all the treasures, when I found a new, scope print of Robert Altman’s THE LONG GOODBYE.
    Larry noticed and said, “I knew Altman in New York. They talked to me about that one.”
    “It’s one of my favorites.”
    The price was high, and I moved on to other tables, looking at mounds of movie paper and geeky treasures, when Larry put a hand on my shoulder and presented me with the print, “Here ya go, kid. Just invite me over to watch it with you.”
    And I did.
    That was the year that Larry Tierney was my Santa Claus.

  39. I worked with larry in the Ironworkers local 197 back in the 80s we called him larry the actor . we would tell him to stick to acting because he sucked at Ironworking.[we were only kidding].he was a good guy.

  40. Larry was a great friend for many years. If you were going to be close to Larry, you’d better be ready to go all the way, because that’s how he returned friendship. In ten-plus years, we had some real battles, that’s for sure, but he was one of the most loyal people I ever knew. He gave me the generous nod for bringing him to the attention of some filmaking friends, and some great work was the result. To know Larry was to know someone with amazing smarts, incredible demons, courtly manners, a bad temper, great humor, and a soft heart. I never heard him make an excuse for himself, and God knows, his life was a hell of a ride. Warts and all, he was my pal and I miss him.

  41. Pingback: Did you know Lawrence Tierney? | Lawrence Tierney

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