Remembering My Friend, The Beautiful Yvette Vickers
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When word came on April 27, 2011, that the world had lost this beloved lady (whose physical remains were found in her home by a neighbor, many months after her passing from heart disease), I froze in utter disbelief. That feeling was only intensified and accompanied by tremendous sadness once the circumstances of her passing became fully known. All these months later, it is still painful for me to know that someone whom I had known for nearly a decade, and had great affection for, left the world in such a lonely and solitary way.
I am sure that everyone who ever met her will agree that Yvette Vickers was an absolute joy to know. Her speaking voice exuded warmth and nurturing, and it came from a place deep within her that was solid and true. Yvette never hesitated to let me know that she cared about our friendship, and she often told me that she believed both in me personally, and in my potential as a writer. That, simply, meant the world to me.
A few interesting facts: Yvette had a strong, independent spirit, and she was keenly concerned about the world around her. She watched the news channels CNN and MSNBC religiously, and was not at all shy about sharing her (sometimes scathing) opinions about our national government. She was a longtime fan of professional tennis (Andy Roddick was a personal favorite), and she and I often spent hours on the phone talking about nutritional supplements, health food, and especially about our love for our companion animals. Yvette was also very knowledgeable when it came to contemporary music. In fact, we shared a similar interest in the bands Santana (she loved their hit song, “Smooth”)…and Guns N’ Roses! The Yvette Vickers I knew was a very young septuagenarian.
Yvette absolutely cherished her fans. She told me once that although she knew her career had never received the kind of push that was necessary to bring her widespread attention from the industry, she didn’t care, as she felt perfectly content knowing that the public had enjoyed and appreciated what she was able to accomplish. Yvette meditated a lot, and for several years, she regularly attended a spiritual center in the Pacific Palisades called The Lake Shrine at the Self-Realization Fellowship. One only had to see how deftly she handled some of the problematic situations that she sometimes had to contend with in her life to know that Yvette talked the talk and walked the walk of everything she had learned at the Shrine.
In the time since her passing, I have listened to several interview tapes that Yvette recorded for me when we worked together in the early and mid 2000s, and hearing her voice again is always a comfort to me, albeit a bittersweet one. Recently, I also found a sizable collection of handwritten cards, letters and faxes she sent me, and rereading them all are aiding my emotional healing, as well. They are all potent reminders to me of how utterly unique and loving Yvette was. When given and accepted, her friendship truly was a priceless gift.
If I had the chance to have one last conversation with Yvette (whom, it has been reported, had increasingly isolated herself for several months prior to her passing), I would like to say to her, “Let me help you, Yvette. What can I do to help you? For so many years, you devoted a huge part of your life to the industry, and especially to your fans. Now, let me and all the other people who know you, and care about you, back inside your life, so we can assist you in whatever you need. Let us do whatever it takes to see that you remain safe and healthy…and with us.”
When I think of all the things I admired and respected about Yvette––her tremendous sense of humor, her unfailing honesty (which she sometimes displayed by taking me to task if and when she deemed it necessary), her wonderful acting talent, and her overall compassion for people and animals––I realize that it is her incredible warmth that I loved (and now miss) the most. In this age of over-inflated egos and people seemingly trying to outdo each other at every turn, it is always a comfort to talk to a person devoid of tomfoolery and pretense, and believe me, that was Yvette Vickers. She was a sweet lady…a splendid lady.
I want to thank Yvette for allowing me to be one of several writers she collaborated with over the years to document her life story. Mostly, though, I want to thank her for the friendship she gave me…I enjoyed every part of it. What follows is one of three interview projects she and I did together in the early-to-mid 2000s (this one being our last collaborative effort). I hope you enjoy it.
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