Freddy in Hollywood

Like most American folk heroes, Freddy the Beard always ended up at the right place at the right time, and often crossed paths with other celebrities. In the mid/late sixties this was in Hollywood, where he showed up broke and out of stroke and looking for a second chance. The short lived, Playboy Bunny wife had just left him for his best friend, and the two of them had ran off to Vegas. In LA, th...e Beard showed up dressed like a mobster in alligator shoes and a silk shirt. His posse of New York pals - tough Jewish guys from Queens - including one Academy award winning actor and part time pool hustler, James "Jimmy" Caan (who I met on the set of the film "Thief") warned him that no girls would talk to him looking like that, so they took him shopping and dressed him up as a Hippie. Jimmy Caan said women loved him in Hollywood "because he was straight." "Chicago Freddie" now became "Hippie Freddie" - "the Beard" wasn't born until the 70s. They played pool every night at the famous and upscale Ye Billard Den with starlets like Goldie Hawn and gangsters, which strangely enough always ties back to Chicago. There was even a Chicago Style hot dog/beef stand across the street. Geri McGee used to hang out there with her boyfriend(that nobody liked) and watch, enthralled at my father playing pool. My Dad could sleep anywhere(he said the service taught him this) and often crashed at peoples' houses while hustling. Geri, a few years older than my Dad but stunningly gorgeous, let my father stay at her place - and, as he always proudly emphasized - sleep in her bed. My father claims she slept on the couch. Hollywood was a magical time for the Beard, who "got his groove - and more importantly, his "stroke" back." He dated Sal Mineo's secretary and went to Hollywood parties where he said he often took cat naps on their floors or sofas while the party continued on. He was invited to a Swinger's party which took place every week in the Hollywood Hills which had two hundred beds and he said was unreal and even he "couldn't go for." He had to work his way up from the bottom - pool-wise - in LA - and his backer told him to start small - which he did, beating guys in the Valley, before he was going to get staked in Hollywood again. The irony of "Hippie Freddie" is that it was all an act to get laid, or at least to have access to more people. Yes, he meditated and did yoga, and believed in a magical universe, but he believed in all of that years before "Flower Power." And he was also an ardent patriot - his father fought in both World Wars, his brother lit the fires on the beaches in Normandy, and he himself served in Germany in the 1950s. The Beard wasn't really a Hippie - he was a gunslinger - til the day he died - just an "enlightened one." I mean, Captain America was his favorite Super Hero! My father always said, "these people don't know just how dangerous I really am, okay?" and burst out laughing. Here's Sharon Stone who won the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Geri McGee in Martin Scorsese's "Casino."