Sunday, October 09, 2005

My Life in Hollywood by Dex Baxter (as told to Pax Romano)

I have a friend at work, and she and I often agree that we are in the wrong place. She is a saucy blond with a fashionable flair and a somewhat dramatic demeanor. Often the two of us say that in our “Other Lives” we live in Beverly Hills, just next door to each other...

adbMy friend's name is Diana Luxemburg (recent picture on the left) who made a fortune, and invested wisely, as a starlet back in the 60’s and 70’s. Today, retired from the movies, she has a string of ex-husbands who pay her alimony, and under an alias, writes the most scandalous gossip column for Variety. Diana has a young actor living with her who she claims that she is mentoring .

dbMy name is Dex Baxter, and I came out to L.A. late in the summer of ’78 and met Diana on the set of her film, “Memory, Sweet Memory” (her most acclaimed and Academy Award nominated performance) where I was hired as an extra. As luck would have it, I hit it off with La Luxemburg and was instantly given an “in” in the biz. Thanks to my friendship with Diana, I appeared in a string of profitable, albeit, forgettable films from 1979 through the early 80’s including, “Dance Down Hollywood Blvd” (where I played Ronnie Howard’s brother), “The Night The Lights Went Down on Broadway” (appearing as Janet Leigh’s love interest in this May/December tear jerker), “No Time For Bleeding” (playing Richard Gere’s buddy in this World War II epic), and of course, “Blame It On Buenos Aires” (where I starred opposite Carrie Fisher as her ner'-do-well husband, Jake – Carrie and I became great friends on the set of this film, and we both de-toxed at Betty Ford a few months later!).

DN1After I cleaned up, I did one more film, the dreadful musical, “Disco Nation”, a movie so awful that most of the people associated with it have denied any involvement. The film critic for Time Magazine really put me through the ringer over this one when he wrote, “Dex Baxter, best known for playing cads and Lotharios, is so out of his element in this tone-deaf musical that one wonders if he should go back on the booze and pills again!” (click on the poster for a full version of the color ad).

That’s all I needed to say goodbye to Hollywood.

But just as I was down on my luck, fate smiled when Carrie Fisher rang me up and offered me a job as an un-credited script doctor on a little thing she was involved with called, “When Harry Met Sally” (not to toot my own horn, but do you think that fake orgasm in the deli scene just wrote itself??). I got a hefty pay out from that venture and soon things were looking up and I was being sought out by screen writers and directors all over town.

While my fortunes were being made, I remained clean and sober, but I enjoyed the pickings that were available courtesy of all the young up and coming wanna-be’s. Yes, it’s true, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Antonio Banderas; I had them all at one time or the other – and I repaid their favors (the ones that were any good) by putting in a word with the studio heads; yes I know it’s tacky to be a name dropper, but if you knew what I knew about the men in this town (you know there are more "beards" in Hollywood than at an Amish Barn Raising).

But over time I grew bored with the life of a gay playboy in the Hollywood Hills…

cdbIn the summer of 1995 I bought my current mansion just off Mulholland drive (that's my home on the left). Diana had told me that the house once belonged to Groucho Marx, and that was enough for me.

fdbAround this same time I met Hank Azaria, what can I say? It was love at first sight. As soon as he dumped Helen Hunt he moved in with me, and we’ve been together ever since. Hank’s a great guy, he’s always employed, smart, and funny and he gets video tapes of upcoming Simpson episodes before anyone! If that aint love, what is? (That's Mr. Man there on the right).

These days, I am still working on scripts and writing one of my own.

About the only hobby I have these days is “blogging”.

Blogging is fun, it affords one the chance to dream up a life they don’t have, write about people they don’t know and make up things that never happen to them. I pretend I am this social worker from New Jersey and blog about all of the wacky things that happen to me and my friends and my fictional boyfriend…

…my computer is in my office and it faces a huge window that affords me this wonderful view of the canyon and the glittering lights of Hollywood below; my world, a fantasy place that I call home.

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