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"Hey, Sailor..." Eddie Sherman Introduces His Book

Eddie Sherman and Marlon Brando on the set of Brando's movie, "One-Eyed Jacks." Eddie Sherman and Marlon Brando on the set of Brando's movie, "One-Eyed Jacks."

We are saddened by the loss of one of our most charismatic authors, Eddie Sherman. At age 88, Eddie passed away on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife, Patty, to whom he dedicated his memoir, calling her "my inspiration and the love of my life."

Eddie always had the best stories, and it was great fun to hear him tell them. We can still hear his raspy voice reading aloud from his memoir, Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me: Adventures in Paradise with the Celebrity Set. Here's a taste, the introduction to his memoir relating his own introduction to the celebrity scene he spent decades chronicling. And wouldn't you know it, it involves him holding a beautiful movie star.

"Hey, Sailor..."

Do you remember the first time you met an honest-to-goodness, larger-than-life celebrity? Some people may have a story like that to tell. Maybe it involved bumping into an inebriated Hollywood star at a Los Angeles nightclub or getting a basketball legend’s autograph at a book signing.

I’ll have to wager, though, that my first encounter with a celebrity was more intimate than most. After all, it’s not every day that you get to hold the derrière of a ravishing major Hollywood actress.

I guess I’d better explain.

The year was 1942 and I had just been given an honorable medical discharge from the U.S Coast Guard. I dislocated my left shoulder during basic training in Algiers, Louisiana. The Coast Guard refused to operate because I had a history of previous shoulder dislocations and, in fact, I had surgery on my shoulder before entering the service. I argued that since they examined and accepted me, why shouldn’t they be responsible for fixing my shoulder? But my efforts fell on deaf ears.

Here I was, just seventeen years old, and my dream of serving in the military was already dashed to pieces. I hopped on a bus back to Boston, my hometown, with no job prospects and only a few dollars in my pocket. At least I had permission to wear the Coast Guard uniform for a couple months.

On my way home, I decided to stop in New York for a day or two. I had never been there in my life. All alone in the Big Apple! I felt like just a tiny grain of sand on the huge beach of mammoth Manhattan.

Most people in New York have this in common: they walk. A lot. Everybody does it, and so did I. It was exhilarating! The sights, sounds, smells and feel of New York—everything was just throbbing with excitement.

While I was strolling along in the Times Square area, a car suddenly pulled up to the curb. A man leaned out the window and yelled, “Hey, sailor. Would you come over here for a minute?”

So I did. “What’s up?” I asked.

Eddie Sherman and his mother, Bessie, who infamously had Marlon Brando change her kitchen garbage bag! Eddie Sherman and his mother, Bessie, who infamously had Marlon Brando change her kitchen garbage bag!

The gentleman told me he was a publicity man for a motion picture company. A major film star was arriving at Grand Central Station, he said, and he was trying to round up as many military folks as possible for a photo session with her. He gave me a few dollars for a taxi and told me exactly what track the train was coming in on. Then the car sped off.

I had nothing better to do, so off I went to meet a movie star. The greeting party was easy to find—it was quite a crowd—and all branches of the services were represented.

There were about thirty of us in all.

And suddenly there she was: Merle Oberon, stepping off the train—beautifully dressed, oozing glamour and sophistication.

She was one of the major screen stars of that era. I had seen some of her films and was a big fan. I especially enjoyed her in Wuthering Heights. She was so sultry and exotic looking. I had never before seen a famous film star in person. This was exciting!

Before Oberon got off the train, the man who asked me to come to the station came over and selected a soldier and myself to be the ones to make a “seat” for Oberon. I’d like to think it was my chiseled good looks that landed me this opportunity, but more likely it was because I was one of the smaller guys in the group.

The soldier and I locked wrists. As Miss Oberon was brought to us, we lowered our hands and she sat on our little “seat.” She put her arms on our shoulders and smiled broadly as we lifted her up.

She smelled like flowers. So delicate and dainty! Camera flashbulbs went off like fireflies.

“It’s a real pleasure to be holding you, Miss Oberon,” I said.

“I have enjoyed your movies.”

“Thank you,” she replied, smiling sweetly.

And then, just like that, it was over. Oberon was quickly escorted out of the station to a waiting limo.

I never got to meet Merle Oberon again. As fate would have it, however, this chance encounter was just a preview of things to come. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d someday cross paths with the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Rocky Marciano. I never imagined that I would someday go sailing with Albert Finney, and become buddies with guys like Sammy Davis, Jr., and Marlon Brando.

But it all happened. These stories, and many more, are all here in this book.

Enjoy!

Eddie Sherman

Eddie, it's been a real pleasure knowing you. We have enjoyed your stories.

Now available in e-reader format:
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Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me - Eddie Sherman