By DAVID PIEL
Many years ago, a bunch of us, including Paul Sorvino and Fritz Weaver, were sitting around one of the long communal tables in the Grill, drinking and telling stories. (And isn’t that what The Players is all about?) Paul Sorvino was chatting us up about being a “recognizable” actor but not being an A-list one like Redford and Newman then (Clooney and Pitt now) and about the goofy things that happen when someone knows you look familiar but still isn’t quite sure who you are. All character actors have these tales to tell and Paul regaled us with a few of his, usually being mistaken for someone else, when Fritz topped him with this one: Fritz flew back from a shoot in L.A. and was taking a cab from JFK to his pied-à-terre in Manhattan (he lived in Connecticut). The cabbie was staring at him in the rear-view mirror and said: “I know you. You’re an actor, right?” Fritz said: “That’s right.” The cabbie said, “Yeah. Don’t tell me, don’t tell me. I know you. Let me think. I’ve seen you in lots of stuff. In fact my wife and I were watching Marathon Man on TV the other night. You’re in that, right?” Fritz said, “Yes, I am. Right again.” The cabbie said: “Damn, it’s on the tip of my tongue ... hold on ... hold on ... I’ll get it ... Fritz Weaver!!! You’re Fritz Weaver!! Am I right!!??" Fritz was surprised and delighted and said that was absolutely correct, to which the cabbie replied: “Yeah, I knew I’d get it! I’m real good at trivia!”
An actor and stage manager for fifty years, David Piel is the holder of a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Stage Managers' Association. He is a 43-year member of The Players.