“Woody Allen needs a doctor. How quickly can you get here?” The caller was the concierge from the J.W. Marriott.
“Ten minutes,” I replied. The J.W. Marriott was in Century City, near Beverly Hills, a five minute drive.
“I don’t know….” She seemed doubtful. “I guess you should come.”
That sounded strange. How many doctors appear at your door ten minutes after you call…? I threw on my suit and raced to my car. Turning into the hotel entrance drive, I encountered a sight that made my heart sink: a paramedic ambulance.
“We couldn’t wait,” the concierge called out as I hurried past. There was still a chance. Most 911 calls are not emergencies. Long ago, paramedics declined to transport anyone who didn’t seem seriously ill. Sadly, they were burned in several well-publicized cases when someone died after they left. Thereafter, their refusal rate plummeted, but I never lost hope.
Leaving the elevator, I headed straight for the inevitable crowd. As I approached it parted, providing a fleeting glimpse of Woody Allen rolling past on a gurney. I returned home, disappointed and unpaid.
My experience with movie stars is that their screen personality owes much to reality, so I theorized that he had suffered an anxiety attack. Agitated guests make hotel employees nervous, so they’re quick to call paramedics, but this is overkill. I have a soothing manner, white hair, and a white beard (less white when I saw Woody Allen in 1993). Once I arrive and settle into a chair, I rarely fail to calm a panicky guest. Phoned in the middle of the night, I do the same without getting out of bed. Woody Allen should have waited for me.