YOU may not have heard of Dr Boyd Cooper but you would definitely know the names of some of his patients.
The doctor, who has just turned 95-years-old, is one of Hollywood’s most celebrated physicians.
In a career covering six decades he had an illustrious following including Liza Minelli, Karen Black and Beverly D’Angelo and despite becoming known as the “gynaecologist to the stars” he was also the personal physician to Marlon Brando, Michael Douglas and Mikhail Baryshnikov, who would fly in from all over the world to see him.
The late soul singer Barry White – known as the Walrus of Love – once said that together, his music and Dr Cooper had brought thousands of children into the world.
What an accolade!
During his practice in the 1970s he wrote a New York Times bestseller called Sex Without Tears which was translated into five languages and after he retired he wrote a memoir of his time as in Tinseltown called Hollywood Between the Stirrups.
As well as having Hollywood’s best known residents as his patients, Boyd also treated immigrants for free.
Born in Idaho, Boyd Cooper was a highly decorated lead navigator in the US Air Force during World War 2 and on his return home opened a drive-in serving french fries made with potatoes from his home state – which paid for him to go to medical school.
As I said, Boyd is now 95 but several years ago decided that his brain needed a bigger challenge, he began writing a poem every day and posting them on Facebook.
Now how do I know all this?
Well only because I read it in a post on Facebook by one of my friends, Susan Morgan Cooper, Boyd’s ex-wife.
Susan, who is the aunt of my two oldest friends Justine and Julia, paid tribute to her ex as he reached 95.
She herself, like him, also lives in the Hollywood Hills and after a brief career in front of the camera has since become an award-winning documentary film-maker and producer with her films covering subjects ranging from the actor Dennis Hopper to a documentary called an Unlikely Weapon about the war photographer Eddie Adams whose Saigon execution photograph was credited with helping end the Vietnam War.
Much of Susan’s work has focused on untold stories of human suffering such as a Croatian girl displaced by the Balkan War and Mulberry Child, a film that traces a present day mother and daughter’s emotional disconnect back to Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
Her latest film, To the Moon and Back, is is the story behind the Russian Adoption Ban and it’s impact on the lives of hundreds of American families and thousands of Russian orphans.
Huffington Post called the award-winning film a “highly evocative exposé”.
After her marriage to Boyd ended, Susan had relationships with Hollywood stars Keifer Sutherland and Jack Palance – pretty good for the daughter of an electrician from Swansea who arrived in America via Mexico.
I said her career in front of the camera was brief, but it was certainly memorable.
She had a role in the Clint Eastwood film The Eiger Sanction.
In the credits for the film she is listed as ‘Buns’ but I’m not sure if that was her first name or surname.
When the film came out in 1975 my parents went with Susan’s brother John and his wife Janice to watch it.
After his sister’s brief appearance, John, a physically imposing, athletic and charismatic Welshman, leapt to his feet to applaud.
I don’t think other cinema goers at the Derby ABC quite understood what was going on.
FAREWELL George H W Bush, 41st President of the United States.
Bush probably won’t be remembered as the greatest occupant of the White House but he was one of the most impressive men to hold the office.
His service as a pilot in the Second World War clearly shaped his approach to the world and he governed with a humanity, humility and warmth that I don’t see any shred of in the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
I saw former President George Bush speak at the Yorkshire International Business Convention in Harrogate some years ago.
The same evening I was invited to a black tie dinner at Harewood House where YIBC founder Mike Firth had brought together the event speakers and sponsors.
George Bush gave a speech and while I can’t recall much of what he said, I do remember him coming across as a highly principled, intelligent man whose adult life had bridged many of the biggest events of the 20th century.
He told the audience he would be joined by his wife Barbara the following day when they would fly to the Greek Islands for a holiday.
I don’t know why I remembered that bit of his speech but I bet they had a lovely holiday.
I KNOW I railed against Christmas parties being held too early but I’ve been happy to attend a couple of good ones this week.
KPMG kicked off Christmas with a drinks event at their Leeds office.
What I like about the approach of Chris Hearld, the Leeds office senior partner and his team is that they make sure the event isn’t just about KPMG.
They always look to recognise and celebrate the community they work in and in the past have marked the success of the Leeds Rhinos, Welcome to Yorkshire and its cycling success and this year they chose to celebrate the recent announcement that Channel 4 is moving its headquarters to Leeds from London.
The leader of Leeds City Council, Judith Blake and chief executive Tom Riordan both spoke and many of their colleagues were there.
KPMG partnering with the council works well because their are certain elements of the local media and electorate who kick-off if they think the local authority has bought even a sausage roll for corporate entertaining, never mind a glass of fizz.
I have to agree with the assertion of Judith, Tom and Chris that Leeds is making progress and rather than a swagger, has a certain inner self-confidence that is proving attractive to those looking to base themselves in and around the city.
MY friends Nathan and Zoe Lane, who run the unheralded but very effective Campfire PR firm, have created something of a Christmas tradition over the last few years.
They hire out the small private cinema at The Everyman Cinema in the Leeds Trinity centre and play a festive film for their clients and friends.
Proceeded by hot dogs, pizza and mince pies – as well as a couple of drinks – it makes for a nice way of easing yourself into the festivities.
Speculation is always rife about which film they will choose each year and they always keep it a closely guarded secret until the opening titles start to roll.
Previous years movies have included Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Trading Places.
Last night we watching Home Alone, which I realised I had never seen.
Probably because the only film I tend to watch each Christmas is It’s A Wonderful Life.
I was getting concerned that they might run out of ideas for Christmas films, but given Channel 5 has been playing them every day since October, I don’t think there will be a shortage.
They used to say that films that weren’t very good went “straight to video” but I think they now just flog them to Channel 5.
CHEESE on toast and champagne.
It’s the future.
I’d never consumed that combination before last week.
At about 2.30am last Friday morning I was sitting in the wine cellar of Yorebridge House, the beautiful boutique hotel in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales sipping champagne when a tray of cheese on toast arrived courtesy of our host, David Reilly, who runs the hotel in Wensleydale with his wife Charlotte.
Now I know I didn’t order the cheese on toast and I know that Welcome to Yorkshire’s Sir Gary Verity can’t have because he observes a diet similar to an Olympic athlete, so it must have been someone else.
Earlier that evening around 60 guests who are part of Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y30 corporate membership had enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at Yorebridge accompanied by wines supplied by Bon Coeur Fine Wines.
The Big V gave his usual entertaining speech and made some interesting comments on the Yorkshire devolution debate.
“Don’t put that in your blog, Parky,” he said with a smile.
Another exclusive I’ve missed out on.
Have a great weekend.