The Artful Lodger


Here’s the thing about going through your third midlife crisis: If you are going to do it, do it while living at the home of Carrie Fisher. On the eve of my scheduled return from Los Angeles to New York—which I had escaped in January in order to:

A) Completely avoid the winter weather, and
B) Deal with Midlife Crisis #3—I paid a visit to Carrie.

As always, I was met with a warm greeting, and we sat on the bed chatting, catching up, and catching fire. The rumors had just begun to swirl about the original Star Wars “Dream Team” reuniting for a new trilogy helmed by J. J. Abrams. The possible return to Alderaan put the midlife crisis conversation on the back burner because, well, with all due respect to me, what topic of conversation is more interesting?

“Guess who might be Princess Leia… again?”
“When were you not?”
“You should move into the pool house while you sort yourself out.”
“Aren’t you a little old to live in New York City?”


You’ve got to love someone who is that generous—and princess-like. Carrie being cast as Princess Leia was not by happenstance. Coming from Hollywood royalty—namely Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher with a dash of Elizabeth Taylor—set the tone for how Carrie would live her life. Speaking of Debbie Reynolds, her home butts up against Carrie’s, so there is plenty of cavorting with one of the reigning Queens of Hollywood. Debbie’s and my dogs have daily play dates, and we’ve decided that we both want to come back as dogs in our next lives. For Christmas, I bought Debbie the book “Posh Pups: Dogs Who Live Better Than You Do”, and together we imagine having been Elizabeth Taylor’s pooch.

Carrie’s digs, Casa Ladera, are equally fit for silver screen aristocracy—perfect for planning our respective New Year’s reinventions. The house was built in 1913 by actor Robert Armstrong, best known for the iconic last line of the film King Kong, “’Twas beauty killed the beast.” Speaking of icons, besides the obvious (Princess Leia), it might interest you to know that Bette Davis and Edith Head have also called Casa Ladera home. Carrie and I found a box of pictures that Edith Head left behind of fittings that were held there for stars such as Grace Kelly. There’s this great photo of Bette Davis, in tennis whites, circa 1937, from The Hollywood Reporter, skipping down the stone stairs to the pool house—my new home. One of these days I must take a photo of myself in the exact same spot and tweet out “@imeanwhat: Who Wore The House Better? Me or #BetteDavis?” Whether or not Princess Leia rides again is secondary to the fact that we both took to working out more and eating well, in spite of the fact that Carrie has become an avid baker. Yes, between aerobic and acerbic workouts, there are countless soufflés, carrot cakes, and banana breads popping out of the oven that Carrie makes everyone else eat… or else.

Never mind. There is something to be said about getting ready for your close-up while your friend sheds the deadweight of a midlife crisis—third  or otherwise. Or as Carrie would say, “Good anecdote, bad reality.”  Cheers!

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