To say that Richard Griffiths dislikes autograph collectors is an understatement. In fact, the week I went to ask him to sign my sketch at the Savoy Theatre he was quoted in a newspaper interview saying that autograph hunters were a pet hate and “the scourge of my life for 35 years.” Ironically his signature is one of the nicest from any celebrity – a calligraphic classic!
In contrast, Danny Devito is very relaxed and obliging… when you can find him. He was staying at the Savoy Apartments, adjacent to the theatre with the Hotel’s plush forecourt inbetween. During THE SUNSHINE BOYS season he used all available entrances and exits… and then some, with varying times. No pattern emerged. It was clear that this was going to be at least a 2 night operation.
The mission went as expected. I got Richard first try and it took four attempts to get Danny. Richard was straight forward – out the back stage door, into a waiting car, using the path of least resistance. He was about to get into his car when I asked him if he could please sign the sketch. He mumbled a few inaudible things, but duly obliged, then he looked at me and said ‘nice work’. Nice ‘graph I replied, then he sped off.
After waiting three nights till last train for Danny, I grugingly went again – bingo. He popped out at 10 through the theatre side door (we had a tip off). Signed for about 15 people, including the sketch. He didn’t say anything, but his PA (I think it was his son) said “that’s fantastic – it looks just like Danny!” “That’s the general idea,” I replied. Mission accomplished – a little sunshine boys into my life.