Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Farewell Larry

Gloria Swanson with reporter Larry Quirk
LAWRENCE J. QUIRK 1923 - 2014

Larry Quirk was my best friend and longtime companion for 35 years. Larry had been an Army sergeant during the Korean War, a Hearst reporter covering the crime beat, a Hollywood columnist and publicity man, and the author of numerous books on movies and celebrities, such as the bestselling Fasten Your Seat Belts: The Passionate Life of Bette Davis and The Kennedys in Hollywood, to name just two. Larry and I collaborated on a few books as well.

It's fitting that of the two pictures I've chosen for this post -- one when Larry was relatively young, decades before I'd met him, and another when he was older -- the first features Gloria Swanson a year or two before she did Sunset Boulevard, a still from which graces this blog. After a solid body of books behind him, Larry began tendering "Quirk Awards" named for his uncle, James. R. Quirk, who edited and published Photoplay magazine back in the golden age. Therefore the second photo shows Larry giving Claudette Colbert an award in her dressing room when she was appearing on Broadway. Originally the awards were for films and actors, but when I began tendering them along with Larry we made them full-fledged performing arts awards, with venues ranging from the Roosevelt Townhouse to the 5 Oaks bar and Rose's Turn in the village, to St. Clement's Theatre on 46th street.

Larry with Claudette Colbert
There was nobody like Larry. He liked people and liked to help them, and while the "Quirk Awards" may not have had the prestige of other awards, they were given respectfully and sincerely to both talented newcomers and older people with a solid body of work behind them. Larry had a great sense of humor and enjoyed life to its fullest.

He was a true original, and I and others will miss him very much.

Rest easy, Larry.


angelman66 said...

William, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and collaborator!

As a lifetime lover of classic film, my own bookshelves are lined with many of Lawrence Quirk's titles...I loved reading his books; they contributed so much to my passion for movies!

His talent will be missed.

William said...

Thank you so much, Chris. Larry certainly loved the movies -- practically until his last day he was looking at one thing or another -- and if he ignited passion for film in readers he would have been very pleased to know it.

Thanks again!