My Surreal Encounter With Carroll Baker


My “good/bad” movie club has one rule, which is, “If any of us ever runs into anyone from one of the movies we’ve seen, you must approach them and ask them about it.”

This has led to lively dialogues between myself and esoteric stars like Lynn Redgrave, Leslie Uggams, and Tatum O’Neal about some projects they might have wanted to forget, but which I find indelibly entertaining.

So when I spotted Hollywood icon Carroll Baker at a screening not long ago, I couldn’t help but breathlessly run up to her and introduce myself.

Carroll brightened right away and was super nice.

I gushily told her, “I’ve gotten so much enjoyment out of repeatedly watching …”

Carroll continued beaming, no doubt expecting me to say Baby Doll or Giant.

“… A Quiet Place to Kill,” I shot out unapologetically, as the room hushed.

It’s a glossy 1970 Italian film of multiple double-crossing, with Carroll sauntering around Majorca in sleek outfits as a race-car driver being framed for murder (though Lord knows she’s attempted it repeatedly anyway).

I’ve watched it maybe 12 times, thrilling to the droll acting, plot twists, and drop earrings.

But Carroll’s enthusiasm suddenly waned.

“Oh,” she said, her voice dropping an octave.


I couldn’t tell if she was horrified or maybe she didn’t recognize the title (that movie went by several names), but I moved on with a smile, at least knowing I hadn’t broken the rule.