Monday, August 18, 2008

Brunch With One Of My Heroes

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of catching up with my good friend, daytime acting icon A Martinez. We met for lunch to celebrate his eagerly-anticipated return to the soaps, with a new recurring role on ABC’s “One Life to Live.”

A 40-year showbiz veteran, A (short for Adolpho) is best known for his Emmy-winning portrayal of Cruz Castillo on NBC’s “Santa Barbara.” That’s how I became a fan of his, meeting him for the first time at the age of 14 when I attended the Daytime Emmys. I remember being so starstruck that I burst into tears upon seeing A. I never imagined that this memorable encounter would lead to a cherished friendship with one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known.

A and Me at the Daytime Emmy Awards, June 1989

A has a well-deserved reputation for being gracious, down-to-earth and exceedingly kind. Over the course of twenty years and many delightful meals together, I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing his generous spirit first hand.

A devoted father of three who adores his children and his lovely wife Leslie, A speaks with boundless pride about his family. The ties that bind were among the many subjects we covered over brunch at CafĂ© Luxembourg on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Our affable waiter was solicitous yet unobtrusive about letting us linger, and linger we did for four hours. A and I were all smiles as we shared a sublimely decadent chocolate gateau with a dollop of whipped cream and cherry compote.

Catching up at Cafe Luxembourg, August 2008

In between bites, we talked about the marvels of New Mexico, the catharsis to be found in artistic expression (he’s also a talented musician and writer), and the emotional trajectory that inevitably follows a breakup.

Speaking of the latter, I last caught up with A in Santa Monica, immediately following a weekend with Mark, my on-again/off-again California love. Reeling once again from the realization that it would never work out between us, I found great comfort in A’s reassuring words.
“We don’t get a lot of soul mates in this life,” he said, “But we definitely get more than one.”
A knows what he’s talking about -- he’s been happily married to his beautiful wife for 27 years. His wisdom and understanding are just two of many reasons why I feel so fortunate to know him.

It is a rare thing to be given the opportunity to meet one of your real-life heroes. Rarer still is when you connect as friends. Twenty years after meeting A for the first time, I’m still starstruck.

I’m tickled pink that A will be gracing the small screen again. If you haven’t experienced his talent, do yourself a favor and check out “One Life to Live” beginning September 12th. You can also catch A this week on the Lifetime Movie Network flick, “Little Girl Lost.”

No comments: