Billy Strange - Musician, Composer, Arranger, Actor
It was at the 75th Birthday Bash and I was talking with Billy afterward. I told him how I lamented never having the courage to do anything of substance with my songs and maybe should just sell everything and find another hobby if I wasn't going to pursue music seriously. Billy looked me straight in the eye and said, " You do it because you have a passion to do it and that's enough. Believe me, I've had all the money and fame and I can tell you it's all bullsh*t. You do it because you have a passion to do it."
During the same conversation I mentioned that dispite all the important people he'd worked with and all he'd accomplished, that he still seemed like the guy next door. Again Billy looked me in the eye and said "I am the guy next door."
To all Billy's family, especially Jeanne, from me...You are in my prayers. I'll end this the way Billy always did on his emails to me over the years...
Love ya Pal,
Hello Steve and thank you for writing,
I am on my daughter's computer but when I get back to wherever home is, I will be a regular here.
I'd like to say hello to everyone else also. I don't know who will keep up the Billy message board and address but I think I need to see it keep on going strong for the time being..
I am lost temporarily I fear, but I know it will take some time to keep this message board moving along as Billy wished it
to do, so lets all try together...
I have loved our guy since since I was 17 and joined the cast of a television show in Southern Calif .."Ciffie Stone's Hometown Jamboree" ... and Billy was not yet 25 and I was 17 and we found it very convenient to leave the stage to dance the after the TV show was over, and the next 5 hours were filled with the cast just standing onstage and giving the audience an impromptu show beginning about 8:30 PM . The remote control guys from Channel KTLA in LA had us going within 30 minutes after they packed up their cameras etc., and left to go back to the Studio while the rest of us hung around and did 4 or 5 hours of an impromptu stage show - while the crowd below the stage danced or just stood up close ... watching.
Late in the evening Billy and I would slip offstage and dance in the crowd,and Iate one night he said to me:"I hate to dance!" and I replied lazily, "oh is THAT what we're doing? and he replied "No, I'm just holding you"...
Oh yeah, we were romantically involved way back then when I was 18 and he was 25 and it was ever thus, except when we each decided to marry someone else, for several reason (one being my parents).
During that same time period he began doing a daily live radio show in Hollywood with another cast of performers and when my sister began working in Cliffie Stone's office just up the street on Sunset Blvd, it was very convenient for me to drive over to her office when my show was over, and then walk a block south where I found myself in front of the NBC radio Studios.
The show woul be in progress, and I gently opened the studio door and walked inside where I stood for a moment, But! he saw me... he always saw me wherever I happened to be :...
After the show ended we had a few hours to bum around the streets of Hollywood together until Joy was finished work, and we'd wait for her out in the parking lot behind his office's and enjoying each others company - with no interruptions-
We figured we had a perfectly good thing going on and so I never bothered to enlighten my parents that we had found the perfect opportunity to neck while we waited in the car,,, ha ha ha... sneaky huh? BUT! It was really true, that what they did not know ,did not hurt them!
Sometimes there was even enough time to drive out to his house in the Valley - before needing to get back to the office in time to transport" the sister back home -anything to just spend some time alone and be together- and no! nothing else happened ,except a bit more kissing was involved (excuse my smile)! You remember the old saying about what you don't know doesn't hurt you? THAT was our reasoning and it gave us time together with no worried parents having to know. :-)
I will miss him every day of the years I have yet before me. He was so special and so smart. We had dozens of wonderful conversations and I love his favorite term of endearment to me "I love you more than anything Red!"
Sweet, don't you agree? It was many, many, years later that we were able to marry. We had other lives and families and life to attend to but each of us was always holding a special place for the other, in our hearts. They were good years and life has been good to both of us but the 10 or so years that we have been married have been so veryspecial to both of us.
Thank you and all of the others who seemed to love our guy, and keep on keepin on and even telling people about this wonderful and special man (oh Yes, and I might add, one so very, very talented)...
Sent to you with love from Billy's Red...
What a lovely note to, and about about Billy (and you of course). We will keep things going online in memory of Billy as well as the ongoing current conversations involving of "you". ;)
Thank you Josh for all that you did to honor your stepfather and that is how he saw you, as a father- only you can leave out the step part :-}. He really did consider all 6 of my children and their spouses as His, in addition to his own.
Right Jonmark? You were an eager young man who stumbled into the opportunity to work with, and to be of service to our guy and he LOVED YOU like you were every bit as much his, as were the others.
I know what he saw in you also, and it has been such a pleasure to become so close to you as YOU alone continued to pal around and run errands and support the man age he aged.
I thank you so very much for the love and concern and loyalty of that friendship, and I know how hard the future will be for you with only your memories. We have to thank the Lord for those wonderful memories of such a special and wonderful man.... See that? He just just smiled ......
Thank you, Jeanne. I will look forward to keeping Billy's memory through this message board and enjoying your wonderful reminiscing of the good old days of music and entertainment.
Keep your chin up kid. We'll keep the flame going. And every now and then, I'll come visit and bring you a cucumber shake.
My love to you Red.
Cucumber? uh, lets rethink that one ok?
I will be flying or driving home in a few days, only so far I haven't found anyone who wants to do the drive,
and I have my sweet new car to make the trip!
How could I ever stay away from this forum? I always love reading your posts Jeanne. Please keep on doing so. Billy will forever be in our hearts, and I think he will win over new hearts as well as more discover this man. Just yesterday, a younger guy at work who knows I love music, asked me if I ever heard of the band The Wrecking Crew. I smiled as he started to tell me what he had learned on the radio about this new book about the "band" The Wrecking Crew" I politely listened and then started talking about our Guy Billy. I know this will be A Little More Conversation.
Love You Jeanne!
Thank you so much Mark..
Wonderful words. We will always love Billy.
May I share a special moment with you?
At Billy's bedside as he lay in the hospital, I couldn't tear myself away and so I walked a couple of steps closer to him and rubbed his forehead which he always liked.
He looked at me as I bent toward him and kissed him and it was a real kiss. As that kiss was tapering off and I stepped back he gently closed his eyes and was gone.
Do you know how important it is to me to remember that moment? I picture it daily..... My Billy .... what a guy and I will admit that we were both totally infatuated with each other from the very begining, and I really do look forward to the time I will join him in the life hereafter.
That is the stuff movies are made of. Actually, your whole romance should be made into a movie. There wouldn't be a dry eye in the theater with that fitting end. Thank you so much for sharing that most private, important and intimate story with us.
I love you all, sweet loyal fans and admirers...
I am leaving for home in the morning and since I've been visiting some of my kids in Calif. it will be my pleasure, only my man won't be there...He was so easy to love, and so I cry and cry and remember all that we shared....