An overworked friend, who works on one of those ghastly afternoon talk shows, called me on Sunday from his job and asked me if I might appear on “Dr….” to speak about Bruce Beresford-Redman.
I will not. I will only write a few words here.
The story, as many know it, involves the murder of Bruce’s wife on a family vacation down in Cancun.
Monica and Bruce were unhappily married and then she was unspeakably dead.
Even when you know someone for over 30 years, as I know Bruce, one cannot see into every recess of his mind. One can only appraise actions, and impressions, and various highlights that come to mind…….
Bruce is very smart. Sarcastic, witty, well read, arrogant and quiet. He is tall and strong, with those squinty eyes, broad shoulders and a hyphenated name that inspire others to attribute masculine qualities and unspoken wisdom to him.
Bruce was my brother’s friend and business associate, and brought out to Hollywood and pushed into the lowest and least artful side of the television business. Like a log floating down a river of gold, Bruce sailed into some good paying jobs, working on idiotic reality shows with long hours and zero art.
As far as I know, Bruce had no love or passion for entertainment. He merely worked hard and got into a certain line of work. He hated executives. He hated bullshit. He hated Hollywood. He never socialized. He didn’t drop names. He wasn’t impressed with Bel Air or the back lot. He had no great dream of producing something of substance. He just went along and pitched and hoped he might make a buck. He had no goals but somehow he achieved them.
And he met his wife the same way. She may have gotten him excited, early on, but mostly they were miserable and he was stuck. Passive, lazy, unfullfilling, desperate were his days of matrimony. He may have had a way out of his storyline, but he lacked a writing partner.
In his dealings with my family, he was stalwart, loyal, supportive, kind, sweet, strong and respectful. Nobody that knows him ever saw him lose his temper. He never was arrested. He never swung his fists. He had no tattoos on his body. He didn’t take drugs. He hardly drank.
He seems to have slept with women other than his wife. I have no statistics to verify but that must be a very rare condition and certainly worthy of worldwide condemnation.
If there was any aesthetic side to Bruce, I never saw it. He dressed like a slob with sartorial indifference. His wedding invitations were sent out by email. He hung out with big smelly dogs and he wore big smelly shoes.
He bought an ugly house in treeless, flat Gardena whose backyard was paved with concrete and entombed with cinder block walls. He bought another house in Marina Del Rey, a vertical McMansion along a busy siren plagued street across from a sewage filled lake. He sold the Marina house and moved with Monica and their two children to a foggy, lifeless retirement type housing estate in Rancho Palos Verdes, 45 minutes from LA, where every home looked like every other. He was only in his mid-30s, but he had thrown in the towel.
Marooned on a peninsula, living in perpetual fog, surrounded by silent neighbors, haunted by low clouds grazing the top of his 5,000 square foot ranch house, he spent his free time with his kids in a small yard with big plastic toys.
He traveled to partying and celebratory Brazil and rumor had it that he didn’t socialize with his wife’s boisterous family and friends. He camped out in a room by himself.
His great moves and loves and purchases were all consumed without passion. Drolly and languorously and amorphously he worked, married, procreated, mortgaged, philandered, vacationed and perhaps, killed.
I am reminded in Bruce’s entropy and vacuous achievement of Mr. Sheldrake, the cheating boss, played by Fred MacMurray in Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment”. He explains his infidelity to Fran (Shirley MacLaine):
But just ask yourself — why does a
man run around with a lot of girls?
Because he’s unhappy at home —
because he’s lonely, that’s why –