In LA I interviewed Peter Wolf, the singer with the J Geils Band, in his suite at the Continental Hyatt House, or the Riot House as it was renamed after Led Zep trashed it. Wolf’s girlfriend, the actress Faye Dunaway, sat in on the interview and, when it was over, asked me about England, about the royals, about our customs and why our policemen don’t carry guns. She was quite tiny, birdlike, and very beautiful, and she spoke to me in a word-perfect English accent. Maybe she was practising for a part.
That night the JGB played at Long Beach Arena and I watched from the side of the stage, as did Faye. Afterwards there was a party aboard the Queen Mary liner which was permanently docked nearby, and since Wolf had left her alone we continued our ‘English’ conversation there. To my surprise Faye invited me to take a stroll with her along the deck and as we did so we fell into an improvised dialogue, imagining ourselves as English aristocrats crossing the Atlantic at the turn of the century. Warming to our roles, we linked arms flirtatiously beneath the stars and the conversation went something like this:
“Tell me Lord Charles, how was the conversation at the Captain’s table tonight?”
“It was very agreeable, Lady Faye. The Countess of Avignon joined us and was most amusing. I see you dined with the Duke of Marlborough this evening. How are the Duke and Duchess? We shoot together in the Highlands, you know.”
“The Duke is very well but the Duchess has a touch of mal de mer.”
It was a hoot. I was thoroughly enjoying this, and I think she was too. We came to a ladder that took us to a higher level and I followed Faye up into a sort of look-out area where we continued our adlibbing. Then we heard Peter Wolf shouting from below. He sounded peeved, probably thinking something was going on between us (as if!). Faye excused herself and went back down to soothe him. When I finally made it back to the party they had both left.
Faye married Peter Wolf the following year but they were divorced in 1979. I never saw either of them again.