I had lunch with my friend Bob Mandan today at his house along with two of Bob's other friends. It is his 85th birthday. Bob doesn't get out and about like he used to but he is still his charming self and still the perfect Chester Tate.
I repost this article I wrote about my friend from his birthday in 2012, preceded by this editors note written today.
There are friends, there are people you have worked with and then there is a person like Bob who is both. I recall so many fun times together when we roamed with a group of actor/publicists/writers called the "Terrible 10". We got that name because we were a terrible table of ten if you were sitting next to us at a restaurant. We laughed the entire time and were not quiet about it. If you were looking for a quiet evening's meal we were not the table you wanted to sit close to.
Happy Birthday Mr. Mandan. I cherish your friendship.
Nothing has changed in the way I feel about you since I wrote the blog below.
It's GroundHog Day
On my top ten list of movies "GroundHog" day is near the top. And here it is in real life, Groundhog day 2012. But I think the Punxsutawney rodent gets too much attention today. It is a special day for other reasons.
|Robert Mandan, Bob Campbell, Jay Johnson, Jay Sandrich|
Opening night of "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only"
It is also the birthday of my friend Robert Mandan: "Better Dressed!"
Only a true SOAPY will get that reference, but it is how I know my friend Mandan. He is better known to some as Chester Tate on SOAP.
I remember when I moved to Los Angeles I was with my vacationing folks having dinner at the Toulca Lake Marie Callendars. Although I didn't know his name at the time Robert Mandan was also waiting for a table. Mandan is one of those actors I had seen in many staring roles. Bob was my first "celebrity siting" in my new home town. Bob received the ultimate compliment my Father had for working actors when he whispered to me, "That guy has been in a gillion films." Indeed my friend has been in a "gillion" things. Take a look at his IMDB - Robert Mandan. That impressive list is only the film and television roles. There is an even more impressive list of stage productions that Bob has done, including an Ovation Award for "The CareTaker" and a critically acclaimed portrail of "King Lear", not to mention three Broadway shows.
I had no clue that soon I would be working with that "guy who has done a gillion films". We became friends almost immediately. For a time we had the same personal manager, the same publicist and hung out with the same group of television actors. We were known as the "terrible ten" because of fun we used to have at various Los Angeles restaurants. The members of the social group changed but Bob and I have remained friends all this time.
Bob and his wife Sherry have been impromptu godparents to both my sons. My oldest son will say, "How is Mandan?" even today.
|Robert Mandan in "Barney Miller"|
|Chester Tate and Benson|
Bob is an actors actor. He never stops studying and learning how to better deliver his gift. He is funny and smart and yes, as piss elegant as Chester Tate sometimes. If you're lucky a working relationship turns into a real friendship in this town of huge openings and quiet closings. I am grateful to have friends like Bob and Sherry in my life. On a day like GroundHogs day when the talk is about the weather, I will be thinking about my friend Bob Mandan, certainly not a "fair weather friend".
Note to Mandan: You are not getting older, like wine you are getting more valuable.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Mandan. We shall celebrate with a bottle of "HOOP DE HAH".
As you were,
|Bob Mandan on "Three's a Crowd"|
|Bob Mandan on "Star Trek,The Next Generation"|