“We met in Robert Mitchum’s bedroom in 1981 or 1982.”
That’s Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer Paul Williams, describing his first — and disastrous — encounter with comedy writer Tracey Jackson, the co-author of his new book, Gratitude & Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life.
“I was drunk,” admits Williams, “and Tracey walked into the bedroom where Mitchum and I were getting high. (I’m 24 years sober now, but in those days I would never pass up a little herb, and Bob Mitchum alwayshad a little herb.) Tracey said the kindest thing — ‘I’ve always loved your music’ — but my response was sexist, arrogant and shallow. I said something really, really rude.
“She spun on her heels and walked out of that room a huge Neil Diamond fan.”
The next time they met, Williams was clean and sober — and the encounter was considerably less fraught: “Tracey came to see me perform in 2001 at Feinstein’s [in San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko] with her husband, Glenn,” recalls Williams, “and we became great friends.”