Main Blog Page

DECEMBER 6, 2017: THE DEATH OF A “FOX”; MY FRIEND JUAN LUIS BUÑUEL

On November 9, 1934 a very gentle, yet funny human being was born in Paris, France to a French mother and a Spanish father. His name was Juan Luis Buñuel. He was a college friend and former boyfriend of my mother Gwen from Oberlin, and by 1998 he was introduced to me, and my father Roy when we were in Paris together for a few days due to my Dad having some business meetings.

I will never ever forget this first meeting. My Dad had called him and we then made a plan to meet up at some local Restaurant not far from his home at the time on rue Didot.

img046

Juan Luis Bunuel and my father – Paris, France 1998

By the time we sat at this table, as Buñuel sat down to face my father and me one of the first things out of his mouth was a comment that went something to the effect of this: “You know, he {as he points to me…} looks just like Gwen”! And my Dad said; “Yes, I know he does”. Now, I know we all love our parents, and without doubt, I certainly do love my mom, but this does not necessarily mean that I wish to ‘look like my mother’, but yes we do look like each other. I quickly wanted to get off that topic and fast!

Then as we were beginning our lunch both my Dad and Buñuel were slowly becoming more at ease with getting to know each other. How do I mean? Well, for example, Dad would every so often talk about all that interests him; International Business and such and things like ‘why’ he was in Paris in the first place, and ‘who’ he came to have meetings with: Hendricks, Khashoggi, and others. And then Buñuel would, of course, talk about himself and all that he has been doing and all that he would be working on. Most of which often had something to do with traveling to Spain, or Mexico, sometimes other parts of Europe as well both for work and family; where he often made many of his films.

Since  Buñuel is truly a ‘liberal’ &  ‘artist’, perhaps this is where the term of “liberal arts” school came from; {I’m being silly, when I say that..} he spoke about his specific travels to Spain, where his father was from, the very well to do and popular International Film Director Luis Buñuel! And he was making a documentary about the history of this one area of Spain where his dad, the very famous international movie creator was from.

Luis-Bunuel-800x800px-800x445

Luis Buñuel, the father of Juan Luis: in younger years

 

 

luis bunuel catherine d

Luis Bunuel and French Sex Kitten Catherine Deneuve

 

 

48102-catherine-deneuve-et-juan-luis-bunuel-637x0-1ppppp

Years later, Juan Luis with his friend as well, former *Sex kitten* Catherine Deneuve

 

 

In fact, I remember in the above picture of my father & Buñuel;  the waiter at one point then pulled me aside and said to me in his broken English: “Monsieur Buñuel is very famous! He is the son of famous Internationally known movie maker, all the world knows him” as the honored waiter felt so ‘obviously’ lucky to be serving this wonderful, spunky, fun loving man, let alone our entire table.

Looking at this picture of him from years ago with French movie star actress Catherine Deneuve, I remember him telling me how he knew all the “Hot Babes/Actresses” of Europe; Bridget Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Sofia Loren, he knew them all! Specifically, I remember quite well he told me how Bridget Bardot, and in turn all these beauties, despite being ‘sex kittens’ to their male fans, they were often very lonely women, and actually alone most of their time in life! I remember him telling me how these famous actresses amongst their private times together, they actually shared these personal depressing information with him.  Thus, no wonder they shared such private pain.  He was a wonderful, sensitive person, and a genuine one as well.

Regarding our lunch together; indeed, it was a fun time. As Buñuel had his ‘usual’ Spanish plate with rice and Dad and I had something simple, of course, we were all pleased to finally be spending time together. The reason why this was such a fun meal, is because Buñuel would often write poste mail lettres to my mother, and she would often write back using her mouth-stick. {My mom is handicap} So, there had been a lot of ‘news, gossip’ that had been spread to us all, all thanks to Buñuel and Mom. If anything, I can honestly say that this close connection via poste mail only made our time together even better.  This gathering was a big hit for all of us! And I might add, one that lasted many years for me personally, with regards to my personal friendship with him, ever since this 1998 lunch meeting with my Dad.

Dad’s opinion on Buñuel was that he thought he was interesting and fun!  In fact, I remember quite clearly how as we left, Dad then said to me: “You know, your mother used to date him when she was at Oberlin College with him in the late 1950s”!  I smile now, as I re-think about this.  And no, dad was not jealous!

By the time Dad and I had to head back home, I will never forget quite well, how Dad then was saying to me: “You should be coming here on your own and when you do, you will know people and you will feel more comfortable by having good friends here for you, and I’m sure he would help you out too, when you are here alone”.  My dad was right on this.

Later on, in 2003, it was now 2 years since the passing of my Dad, from his Malignant Melanoma. (The deadliest form of Skin Cancer) I did finally make it to Paris myself, and thankfully I was able to make many round trips over the years as I was working hard trying to make a life for myself there.  I guess in one sense, having ‘friends’ in a ‘new environment’ is always a positive and well, Buñuel and I did become quite good friends. And it is this reason, why his death is so painful to me.

The title of this article as you see is about his death, of which occurred on December 6, 2017. I’m stunned!  I had not been aware of this, until now.  Actually, when I look back to that exact date, December 6, I was in Montréal for a meeting myself.  And during that time, the big news all over Montréal and in effect France was that the popular “French King of Rock” Johnny Halliday had just passed as well from Cancer. He apparently died on December 5, 2017. Come to think of it, we often had discussions about Halliday as well, one of the topics was how bad of a chain smoker Halliday was, let alone boozer as well.   We often talked about a wide variety of things, whatever may have been the ‘current event’ at the time, no matter what Juan Luis always had an opinion!

In fact, we were so close, that he felt comfortable enough to tease me about many things and I was able to tease him and or poke fun at him as well.  Little did I ever think, but we became and were much closer friends from there on in –  From 2003-2010 for the years that I was actually in France at more set times compared to today.

There are some other funny stories about Buñuel, that my mom was able to fill me in on.  For example, during their Oberlin College years, Buñuel was on the football team, that’s American Football.  And mom was a cheerleader.  The funny thing about this was my mom had told me that for all the years he played football and mom the cheerleader, they didn’t win, I repeat they did NOT win any games, or possibly if they ‘won’, it may have been only one game!

But the other interesting and amusing part of this funny person whose name was Buñuel, was that he did not believe in ‘God’. In fact, he was so determined that he knew for a fact that there was no god, that he actually wrote on his football helmet: “THERE IS NO GOD”! 

Trust me ‘that’ part of Buñuel also stayed with him for his entire life. I even remember walking around Paris with him, and he told me how he read the bible numerous times word for word.  Now, why on earth would someone who does not believe in god, read the bible?  Answer:  As he said; “know your enemy”!  My friend Heather Downing can certainly appreciate such religious silliness! And come to think of it, just like Heather often joked around how she felt that ‘going to church’ was a form of ‘brainwashing’, well, Heather often would say to me;  “They should burn churches unless they were pretty looking”. I kid you not, he felt the same! How ironic.

Speaking of religion and God, there is another part to both my mom and my dear friend Buñuel, that is quite amusing. Well, the word is out, that my mom, Buñuel, and other close friends of theirs would do the re-enactment of Jesus Christ on the cross and his crucifixion! I know it sounds a little ‘screwball-ish’ but that was him!

I kid you not.  My mom played ‘Mary’, and this was coming from someone who had a real minister as a father.  That’s right!  My grandfather, who I called Grandpy, Allen Judd, was a Protestant minister.  Yet, my mom loved doing these sorts of silly things with him.

The fact that my Mom and Buñuel would be as if the Bonnie and Clyde kind of duo, is only one part of their close friendship.  Well, they even had nicknames for each other.

Mom’s nickname was Turtle.

 

turtle

Gwen

 

Buñuel’s nickname was Fox.

 

fox

Juan Luis Buñuel

 

And these nicknames lasted their entire relationship, even during those years or actuality decades they didn’t see each other in person, but kept close in writing lettres across the Atlantic Ocean.

Here is a funny true story that happened when I was spending time with Fox. I will never forget a time when Fox and I went out to dinner in Paris for Chinese food. As we sat at our small table, this petite Chinese woman was walking towards us wearing some sort of protective gloves as she was dragging this cart alongside her, of which happens to be extremely hot towels. She eventually comes to our table, uses these utensils called ‘thongs’ holding this scalding hot towel with steam spewing up in the air.  She was standing almost as if she were annoyed at something.  Fox then turns to me, and says:  “Grab it!  Take it, that’s for you”! My mouth dropped to the floor, as I was looking at Fox as if he was a nut. “YOU WANT ME TO GRAB THAT TOWEL, YET, SHE DOESN’T EVEN WANT TO TOUCH IT”! As I burst out laughing, as this now seems like some hysterical scene of the American TV show; Threes Company, then Fox quickly grabs this scalding hot towel and then throws it on my lap! Again, this is one way of understanding how our close relationship was –  and it’s one I will treasure and miss for a lifetime.

Below are some private, personal, yet often at times amusing moments captured on film/video, all filmed by yours truly.  What’s even funnier is, how as you will see, when you watch these videos, Fox was getting annoyed at my ‘carefree’ way of filming, and nowhere nearly as professional as for how he filmed, and yet,  this was only one part of how our times together were often amusing…

Below, this first clip, is when I arrived at his place for dinner….its well worth to watch the entire videos, of all of them…I promise, they will make you both smile and yet, also see another ‘version’ of someone who was famous, more so due to his father, but, you will be able to see the ‘genuine’ person, behind the ‘famous name’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I forget the year this occurred, but just about all the times I was in Paris, I always made sure to spend time with Fox and or do things with him…

Be sure to watch all these videos pertaining to Fox….they will be entertaining and fun, and bring a smile if not even make you laugh a little..

Fox…..I am very sorry that I was not able to see you before you left us…both mom and I cried a bit when we found out only  a day ago or so –  I know, you passed on December 6, 2017, and ironically enough, you passed the day after the ‘French Elvis’ Johnny Halliday died on December 5, 2017…you went along with some good company my dear friend.

Fox…you will be missed….forever…

 

The Turtle sends you drooly kisses……..and remember…

 

THERE IS NO GOD! 

 

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements