Spacey’s Stolen Invitation Helped Him To Land His Dream Role


Actor Kevin Spacey admitted he had stolen an invitation which helped him to land his dream role opposite the legendary Jack Lemmon at the beginning of his career.

The star was a young thespian at the time, working in a theatre production of Hurlyburly in New York in the mid-1980s. Then he heard director Jonathan Miller will be visiting the city to hold rehearsals for a planned version of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, starring Lemmon in the lead role.

The actor wanted to play the part of Lemmon’s son, but he reveals he actually had no way to land an audition. So he decided to steal an invite of an elderly guest.

He said,

“This is a true story, I don’t make this up – I was sitting in my seat, terrified, thinking, ‘How am I going to f**king meet him…?”
“There was an elderly woman sitting next to me… and she was sleeping. And I happened to look down, and sticking outside of her purse on the ground was an invitation to a cocktail reception in honour of Dr. Jonathan Miller. And I thought, ‘You know, she’s tired.’ So I leaned down, I took this invitation and I went to this cocktail reception…”

This gave Kevin the chance to introduce himself to Miller and he even managed to talk his way into an audition, which later led to performing in front of Lemmon.

He remembers,

“I’ll never forget, I did four scenes with Jack, this man who had meant so much to me, was a huge idol of mine, and he walked up to me… at the end of the audition… and he said, ‘You know, I never thought we’d find the rotten kid but you’re it, Jesus Christ, what the f**k was that?’ And I spent the next year of my life working with Jack.”

The two became good friends and have been working together on three projects, including a film adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross in 1992. Kevin now says he owes a lot of his career to the late Lemmon. He said,

“He became my friend, my mentor, my father figure.”

He said he learned a lot about life.  Speaking at Wednesday’s, April 9, Museum of the Moving Image event held in New York in his honour, he added,

“Jack had a philosophy… that he passed down to me… Jack used to say all the time, ‘If you’ve done well in the business you want to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down…’”

“So there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not enormously grateful for the people that believed in me and gave me a chance, and I know in my heart, that if we all just keep a little bit of the Lemmon clause in our hearts, we’re going to be OK.”

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