Hilton tales #4
My social life seemed to revolve around the Park Lane Hilton. I once went out for dinner with a sophisticated French hotelier who confessed he was only a French millionaire not an American one! He had a hotel in Cap d'Antibes but was devastated when his wife became lesbian and went off to live with her French lover. He never got over the loss.
Then there was a very ugly American called Bernie Eisenberg who had a commanding personality. He seemed to have mentally hypnotised me with crazy tales of his African adventures. He was oh so ugly yet he mesmerised me with his seductive voice. He asked me to accompany him on a journey to Mali, probably because I spoke French and could be useful to him. I don't recall if I was supposed to be paid or not but I had to have the compulsory jabs a few days before we were due to go. I never really agreed to go, he just took it for granted that I would. I woke up one Saturday morning and said to myself, 'no, enough is enough' and broke the spell I am sure he had put on me. He fled when I gave him his bad news quickly moving out of the hotel before checkout time. I recall the bitchy General Manager telling the reception staff he had done a moonlight flit and not paid his bill!
I became very friendly with an adorable Tunisian boy called Ali Chelley who was about 24 from Sousse. He was on a hotel management course moving from department to department and was on the reception close to my Trader Travel desk. Oddly enough he and his blonde Swedish girlfriend lived in the dark humble basement flat at 164 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, the very house I would buy decades later. I recall being invited there for dinner and for the first time experienced North African cooking. Ali asked me to 'share' an English package holiday to Sousse from London in a double room only he would be staying with his mother in the Medina so I could have the room all to myself but I would be invited to meet all his family. I accepted of course but that's another story.
Finally I made the acquaintance of the show biz lawyer Tom Pollock, one of the owners of Pollock Rigrod and Bloom in Hollywood. We went out on his last day with my Bulgarian lover George Daskalow in his green Morgan sports car. He said if I ever came to LA I must get in touch. I did 3 years later, staying with him and his gorgeous Malamute dog in Laurel Canyon. By then he had invested in the George Stevens movie 'American Grifitti', not taking payment for his legal work. The rest is history!
I loved my time at the Hilton spending time in Mayfair after work but it all came to an abrupt tearful end in 1972 because of the comedian Charlie Callas.
Wikipedia - Tom Pollock