Friday, August 23, 2013

"Bill Reed's Wil Haygood"

I tend to let old war injuries heal fast, treating them like nothing so much as mere flesh wounds. That is certainly the case for the dagger---of sorts--- through my back inflicted, a while ago, by Washington Post writer Wil Haygood, author of the news story on which the current hit film Lee Daniel's The Butler is based. His face and name are everywhere on the net and in the news at the moment, so it's a bit hard for me to forget said Haygood betrayal right now. It's backkkkk!

To wit: At least a dozen-or-so years ago, Haygood (a first-rate writer btw) contacted me out of the blue to see if I could lend him some assistance on a Sammy Davis, Jr. bio on which he was working. I had included a chapter on Davis in my book Hot from Harlem and Haygood sussed out that I might be a good person to know. I WAS. Eventually Wil came out from the east and we not only bonded in seeming friendship, but there was  no end to the assistance I leant him on the book. Not just naming names, supplying phone numbers, lending rare recordings & videos, etc. but also acting as a chauffeur schlepping him back and forth across the the entirety of SoCal for interviews, LAX, etc. Did he ever even buy me lunch?

All during the time this was going on, periodically Wil would say (or write) to me, "You simply won't believe the acknowledgement I'm going to give you when the book comes out." SANTA BARANZA, WAS HE EVER RIGHT! I didn't believe it. For when the book was finally published, my name was nowhere to be found in the dedications/thanks/acknowlegements. Serena Williams' was. (Serena Williams!?!? On the subject of Sammy Davis, Jr.?). (Maybe he was punishing me for introducing him to Buddy Bregman?) True. . .I was mentioned in the bibliography.

I'm not sure I ever hear heard from Wil after that. Except for one more time. About eight years ago, he phoned me up sobbing, saying that he needed a telephonic shoulder to cry on. Any shoulder. And could he use mine? Something about a love gone wrong.  So he mewled and cried for a few minutes, then abruptly, somewhat chiripily said THANKS (bit of a Cloris Leachman "take"), rang off, and that's the last I ever heard from OR thought of him. Till now. Do you suppose he might thank me Oscar night? That would be nice!

I didn't even receive a comp copy of the book. Did I hear someone
say. . ."Bitter"?

(What. . .and give up show biz?)


Anonymous said...

...How did you come to know Mr Bregman, Bill ?



Bill Reed said...

I'm quite serious. . .doesn't every one in town know him? Bill

Anonymous said...


I had some issues with him after self-producing (and for that read entirely self-funding) what was to be my debut pop/jazz vox album and his "Swan-Song" to the U.S music industry, at Westlake Studios L.A 2006...He happened to tell me that Wil Haygood couldn't have written the 'Sammy' book without him! B.

Bill Reed said...

That's OUR Buddy!