Recognize these legs? They belong to actress Linda Gray, not Anne Bancroft. The 72-year-old Dallas actress revealed Tuesday that she was Bancroft’s body double in the 1967 film The Graduate. Although Gray’s stems were featured on the movie poster, and helped the film gross over $104 million domestically, she barely earned enough for good bikini wax. “I was paid $25 for one leg,” she told Anderson Cooper this week. If there’s anything to be learned from her loss, it’s that legs can’t be undersold.
There was a heroin junkie I once knew who told me that even though he hadn’t shot up in a decade he was still addicted. The feeling never left him, the craving never stopped and he said there was never one moment of one day he didn’t miss it. The high he got on heroin was his god, his wife, his lover and nothing in the life he lived today could ever match it. He had spent a couple of years in a hellish prison and went through a weird inner debate as to if he would try to quit heroin or go ahead and quit life. He decided to live but he told me he regretted it. The life he was living looked ordinary enough but to the former junkie it was a one act play in which he pretended to be the man he was but deep down inside he still craved the needle.
He still dreamed of it. He still woke up in the middle of the night and felt that feeling again, the high, the cocoon, the buzz, and the envelopment of all time and space and sense of self with the warm glow. He would wake up and realize he was straight and sober and it was all he could do to keep from sobbing that it was gone.
It’s unfair, he told me, that I could write all I wanted to and that was my thing. I could have that. People who drank could drink themselves silly and they could have that, and in fact, there were bars and clubs and stores with all sorts of alcohol in them. People celebrated with alcohol, gave it away as gift, launched ships with it and only those hardened drinkers who killed people with cars or lay in a coma in the gutters were condemned.
He had left his wife, kids, his friend and his job for his habit, and he had betrayed ever trust for it. He stole money from everyone he knew. There was a woman he had teamed up with and they stole from stores, stole from their neighbors, stole from each other and in the end, it was her death that really affected him the most. Not out of loss, mind you, because he was more than willing to deal with the loss of anything and everything. It wasn’t the degradation that came with the habit, for he had sold his woman for money, watched as she was taken in front of him, and was happy that she could be a source of income for the habit.
There was a night he traded her for a fix and she went along with it for a fix, and he sat with the zombie feeling coming over him as he watched some stranger with drugs have sex with his girlfriend. A mouse ran over her arm, which was stretched out over her head and she looked over at him and they shared that moment like two lovers would share a sunrise at dawn.
She died of an overdose and he always thought she did it because the drug wasn’t having the same effect and they had to shoot more and more. She opted out because their god was dying faster than they were. He wanted to follow her, and would have, but then it would be gone forever, and he wanted to live, not to start over with life or to get clean, no.
He lived because as long as he lived there was a chance he could have it again, that the one thing he wanted might one day be found in some form that wouldn’t kill him, and he could have it until he did die.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit