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A NAME TO RECKON WITH
Rene Auberjonois has made a name for himself (albeit difficult to pronounce) in the hit musical City of Angels.

[[image - black & white photograph of Auberjonois sitting at a busy desk wearing a suit. Black and White]]
[[photographer credit]] MARTHA SWOPE
[[caption]] Auberjonois as movie mogul Buddy Fidler in City of Angels [[/caption]]

He was born with a long, complicated name that bewilders practically everybody. Most people won't even attempt to pronounce it. But nothing stays Rene Auberjonois from hit to miss television and now the hit musical City of Angels, the season's high flyer, haloed by six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. He strides the stage in the character Buddy Fidler, the classic Hollywood dunce producer: blustering, unenlightened and comic. "You can tell a writer every time," he rants, "words, words, words."

Larry Gelbart wrote this witty remembrance of Hollywood in the forties; Cy Coleman is the composer. "Larry has given me some of the most wonderful words in the show," the actor says. Director Micheal Blakemore wanted him from the start. "I admire Micheal, but I thought the part wasn't for me. I could imagine Don Rickles in ti. I've played Richard III, Lear, Moliére, some different roles, but I had so much trouble with this part."

And then: Eureka! A door opened! "The key was finding a way to get the audience to like the character although he is despicable. There are such people in Hollywood, and it's possible to be delighted and charmed by them. Buddy Fidler is like that. I only found the key five days before the opening. I do think the audience comes to like me a little" He got his fourth Tony Award in Coco with Katharine Hepburn.
 
Coco was his first Broadway musical. Hepburn's determination to sing, with a singing voice she wisely defined as a croak, encouraged him a similar resolve. "I learned a lot from Miss Hepburn. It takes nerve for me to sing. I sort of squawk my songs. Many people ask me what she's really like. The amazing thing is, she truly projects her personality. Many actors wear masks, but the audience sees clearly who she is and is and in full dimension."

When City of Angels (originally Double Exposure) summoned, Auberjonois was in Kafka's Metamorphosis, which turned Mikhail Baryshnikov from man and superstar to cockroach, skittering on hands and feet, for a limited four-month engagement. "I played his father. I got along wonderfully with Misha. He's a very, very private man, and I saw that very early in rehearsals. I think there was a deep mutual respect for each other. We had a good working relationship--and fun backstage. I treasure the experience."

The Musical Big River--he as the Duke--had a long run and an armful of Tonys. "I thought it would be a hit when I read it; it had tremendous charm and Roger

by Rebecca Morehouse
8

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[[caption]] Sandy Milne waxing poetic [[/caption]]

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[[caption]] The Glenlivet. The Father of All Scotch.[[/caption]]

[[image - a drawing of the Glenlivet logo]]
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