Rob Reiner’s three children from his second marriage have the most gorgeous, perfectly-sized teeth. They filed along the red carpet at Lincoln Center’s 41st Charlie Chaplin Award Gala tribute on Monday night. Their father was the night’s honoree. Have you guys seen your dad’s entire oeuvre? Jake, Rob’s oldest son and a television reporter in Salinas, California, flashed a waxing crescent, then stared blankly.
The Transom tried again. Maybe it’s our French. His movies? “Oh, yeah,” they tittered in unison. “Except the scary ones.” Scary ones? “You know, like ‘Misery.’” So, ‘The Princess Bride’? Heads nod. ‘When Harry Met Sally’? Silence. “Oh my god,” his doe-eyed daughter pleaded. “Don’t tell anyone this.”
Reiner’s wife, Michele, hovered outside the bunch. Would she be interested in chatting? Her publicist leans in, whispering in her ear. She shakes her head like a cat flinging off water. “I am not…. articulate,” she said, scampering away. The apocryphal story is that during her early courtship with Mr. Reiner, he chided her about her smoking. “And you shouldn’t be so fucking fat,” she shot back. The couple is celebrating twenty-five years together in May.
For nearly thirty years, Mr. Reiner has been following archetypal love stories as they wind through all kinds of Fire Swamps. He gave us circumstances that were just flawed enough to believe, art hoping to imitate life in the Golden Age of the Rom-Com.
Catherine Zeta Jones traipsed by, hand in hand with Michael Douglas. He stars in Mr. Reiner’s upcoming project, ‘And So It Goes,’ as a self-centered real estate agent who learns to love a woman his own age. Speaking of archetypal romances, Mr. Douglas recently played an older gay gentleman who literally rearranges the face of a young lover in his own likeness.
“Don’t ask Billy about the Clippers,” a flack sporting a headset warned as Mr. Crystal approached, referring to the nonsensical Forbes story that the Clipper’s most famous fan should round up some folks and buy the team from its scandal-ridden owner. We asked him about fairy tale romances instead. “Finding the right one is hard,” Mr. Crystal said. “But sometimes they’re right in front of you. Like now.” Enticing offer! What the Transom didn’t have was Mr. Crystal’s secret to on-screen chemistry with Carol Kane, his romantic counterpart in ‘The Princess Bride’: “Five pounds of make-up.”
Meg Ryan, wrapped in a sharp, white, peplumed dress surprised the crowd later on stage with Crystal. “I had about 30 or 40 orgasms that day,” she said of shooting her infamous turn as Sally.
Later, she materialized in Mr. Reiner’s opera box, perched stage right. They traded mini-waves while James Caan lamented his lax rehearsal habits on the ‘Misery’ set. “She got the Oscar,” he said of co-star Kathy Bates, dryly. Others were teleported in via video. Tom Cruise. Morgan Freeman. Mr. Reiner’s father, Carl. Mandy “Inigo Montoya” Patinkin outlined the abdominal injury he sustained as a result of trying to contain laughter while Crystal cracked a variety of “13th-century period jokes.” Mr. Reiner once said, “I could win the Nobel Prize and they’d write, ‘Meathead wins the Nobel Prize.’” But, Mr. Patinkin said, his humility covers his most subtle gift as a director: “He is one of the greatest listeners of all time.”