In truth, I thought Roddy McDowall's photographs of Elizabeth Taylor were pedestrian, but I told him I thought he'd taken some of the best shots ever of his good friend because I knew he would love to hear that. He looked up from signing my book—his book—to thank me, and seemed pleased that I was a cute college kid.
I'd come to see him in Chicago because I knew, had heard, he was gay. That was the attraction, not his movies, his sexual orientation. He was someone I knew to be secretly gay. I was also secretly gay, at least, I was secretly gay in Chicago. A bunch of my Michigan friends knew, but my Chicago friends hadn't gotten an official press release just yet.
Well, I got him to sign that book and he signed a postcard of one of his Elizabeth Taylor portraits (to my mom because I'd mentioned we used to say she looked like La Liz), but I didn't have the courage to engage him further. Wish I had. He died less than 10 years later.