Remembering what it was like to barely have enough money to eat every
day -- driving through McDonalds or Carl's Jr. Scraping up change
abandoned by my family to get a hamburger. I was in desperate need
of money. A friend of mine was telling me about an agent, Hal Gathu. An
honest man with a heart of gold -- a legend in his own right, and if he
likes you -- he'll help you like no other.
I can still feel those emotions today -- young, shy, and scared, I
drove around searching for a number I had on a piece of paper. Hmmm,
this must be it. No windows, just an address -- 7428 Santa Monica.
I knocked on the door and Hal, an older man in great shape with glasses,
greets me. I'll never forget -- "Hi Hon!! Oh, this is Max,"
(chuckling) "he won't hurt you! (A huge bird -- red and blue, never
ever left Hal's side) "Really Hal, birds scare me!"
"That's what he's trying to do -- intimidate you. Honest, hon -- he
won't hurt you -- he loves to draw on polaroids."
Another thing that Hal was great at -- taking polaroids. The
directors love to see what the girls look like when they are natural in
polaroids. (Did I ever tell you how much I loathe polaroids?) "Come
on" (as he guides you to the studio in the back). "Hon --
change into a bathing suit or lingerie and stand over there" --
snap. "Yuck! These are the worst pictures I've ever seen of
myself." "No hon, they'll love you -- honestly."
There I was, in a huge photo album -- one among many. One face among
thousands of blondes, brunettes, red heads, dark, light, bleach, asian
-- everyone seemed to be in Hal's books. But, what would make me
different? Why would I stand out? Beautiful girls everywhere, yet with
Hal's help and encouragement, I was constantly getting calls day after
day and job after job. Working with David Lynch, little parts in movies,
lingerie ads, music videos -- on and on and on -- the list is endless.
I'll never forget the phone calls -- "Hi hon, it's Hal --
there's a producer here and he wants to book you." No porn
and he was proud of that fact (that would be XXX, for those who don't
know) and always watching out for his girls' safety. That was Hal.
This was the beginning of my career -- these are memories that are
untouchable, priceless, and gratitude that can't be matched. This is the
person I have to thank -- sadly, I never had the chance because Hal's
life ended Sunday
-- with Max, his beautiful and long time companion... He made dreams come true, built legends -- a simple
non-pretentious man. I am left (as many others) with pain, sorrow, and
feelings that can't be written about nor described. It's hard to imagine Hal anywhere else, but
still sitting behind his desk with Max and his photo albums and all his
girls. Yep -- I bet he's in heaven -- writing it all down. Goodbye Hal
-- thank you for everything -- I wouldn't be Ashley if I never met you.