When I heard that one of the Monkees had died Wednesday, it was one of those "Watch at 5 p.m." teases, but I got a chill. Then I thought, "Oh I'll bet it's Peter Tork," because he has had health problems in the past. When I learned it was Davy Jones, I just crumpled with grief.
Back in the sixties, David, never Davy, was very special to me. Long before he became the fantasy of every teenaged girl, David was my "un-boyfriend." My brother was in the Broadway musical Oliver! playing a workhouse boy and attending the Professional Children's School in Manhattan. My grandmother used to drive him in every morning in her little 1964 white Mustang. As a show business family, this wasn't at all strange to us. Sometimes, I would go along, and that's how I met David.
He came into the coffee shop at the old Paramount Hotel, where all of us, including Heather Taylor, Jimi Hendrix's gorgeous "Foxy Lady" and Roger Daltry's wife of 40-plus years, would hang out. David was playing the Artful Dodger and of course, all of the girls were crazy about him, even then. He wasn't tall, and had been a jockey back in Britain. But what he lacked in height, he more than made up for in charm, English cool, and talent. We were all besotted.
I came to know him and I found that he was actually very nice and normal, and eventually he asked me out. I was so excited, I couldn't breathe or eat for days. David took me to Sardi's with another couple, Bernie Cornfeld, a music executive, and his fiancee. I even remember what I ordered, a crab salad with no dressing. I recall asking the waiter if I could have it without dressing and he informed me "At Sardi's all things are possible!" as if I was some teenager who knew nothing, oh wait, I was! After the evening show, we went to a place called Harold's Show Spot, where they all had after dinner drinks and I had plain bitter lemon, I was underage.
Then, David walked me to a cab and took me to my girlfriend's apartment where he gave me a really nice smooch that I'll never forget. He was wearing fur shoes. Amazingly, they fit me and he promised to give them to me when he tired of them. We stayed friends.
When the show closed and went on the road, David went too, joining the National Company, while my brother, grandmother and I, playing "Charlotte the Undertaker's Daughter," joined the Bus and Truck. I became besties with David's dear and lifelong friend, Cris Andrews, our "Artful Dodger" who later went on to join the seminal rock band Les Fleur de Lys, back home in Britain. Cris has remained David's dearest friend to this day and is still my bestie. David, in his kindness, was instrumental in reuniting us after we lost touch for many years.
Towards the end of the tour, we took advantage of a break in performances to visit David in Chicago. We had fun like only teenagers can have. The Sunday morning we were rejoining our show, David was leaving his, to perform the part of "Sam Weller" in the musical Pickwick in Los Angeles.
David had told us that a man named Ward Sylvester was going to create a TV show around him. Of course, we were thrilled and as actors will be, a little jealous. Then the time arrived when Sylvester came for David, and we watched him drive off to a stardom bigger than we could have imagined. I remember how cold it was, and how bright the sun shone on that day. I remember we all cried.
I never saw David again, but I am sitting here, looking at the fur shoes he promised me. I have had them for 46 years. I remember so perfectly how he danced and sang in them outside the stage door on 46th Street, well before the fame, the screaming girls, the Monkees and the hit records.
On a beautiful summer night when we were younger than we ever were again and laughter was all we knew. When I was kissed by a boy who was magic. Goodnight, beautiful David, how we loved you. How we will always love you.