Hilton Tales #3
reception staff at the Hilton were talking
excitedly about the famous comedian Charlie
Callas who was appearing on British TV as a guest
of the Welsh singer Tom Jones. He would be
staying, of course, at the Park Lane Hilton hotel.
I had never heard of the Greek American comedian
but apparently he was a good friend of Tom Jones.
Eventually during the day he wandered over to my
desk to 'chat me up' and invited me for dinner in
the upstairs restaurant. He was a charmer and I
had no special plans after I finished at 20.00 so
I gladly accepted.
I recall I was wearing a sexy maxi purple dress
with a little slit up the front so that my black
lacy tights showed. I had never seen his American
TV shows nor his famous 'telephone call' comedy
Over dinner he spoke about how he was discovered
as a drummer which somehow got him on TV after a
wild performance one night. He spoke about his
Greek heritage having the same name as Maria
Callas the world famous opera singer. He asked
about my life and my background. Charlie, with
his prominent Greek nose and irregular features,
was a very seductive man and I fell for his
charms. He told me he had f.... hundreds and
hundreds of women and loved sex!
Bedtime came quite early around 22.00 and we got
into the lift which accidentally went down to the
ground floor to let people out. When the doors
opened there was the bitchy General Manager who
saw Charlie with me and knew we were heading to
About an hour later while we were making love,
the manager pounded on the bedroom door shouting
that he knew I was inside and that I had to go.
No discrete phone call just traumatic knocking on
the door! I was so scared I fled into the
bathroom. Charlie was furious, opened the door
and told him to go to hell and that he would be
checking out in the morning. I was crying with
shame. The atmosphere had been broken. He dressed
and accompanied me downstairs and bundled me into
a waiting taxi at the back entrance of the hotel.
I was distraught and crying. The 70s was a time
of sexual freedom and experimentation. I was
somewhat of a libertine in those days long ago
and far away.
The next day Charlie rang to say he had checked
into the Inn on the Park next door to the
Hiltonand could I come over that evening. I told
him I had lost my job and didn't want another
repeat performance and suggested he came to my
room at Warwick Mansions in Hampstead. It was a
cozy intimate room with a large single bed. I
recall I wanted to take his photo but he refused.
How was I to know he was famous? To me he was
lovely Charlie and I had fallen for him in a big
way. He was so relaxed and open unlike the
English. In fact I find the comedians I have
subsequently met are very serious people.
The next morning the horrible General Manager
sent for me hen I got in to work at 14.00. I had
had very little contact with him: just glares. He
would see me sometimes sitting outside my
circular desk by the bar in the comfy chairs or
sofas in the centre of the lobby and would
reprimand me for sitting there. Of course the
seats were for clients not Trader Travel staff.
Now decades later I fully understand but thought
him at the time a young fuddy duddy. He formally
informed me I could no longer work at the
Hilton. The rules were that staff could not enter
guests' bedrooms. I pointed out I was not Hilton
staff and that I was an employee of Trader Travel
not the Hilton. He would not accept that
and demanded I left by the end of the week making
any excuse to my boss.
I was so upset because first the shame of being 'fired'
and also I loved meeting prominent Americans and
Internationals some of whom asked me to dine with
them. I had booked a holiday in Tunisia the
following week. I lied to my manager that I had
to leave London to go to Liverpool as my father
was seriously ill and I had to help and console
my mother. Trader Travel never paid me for my
week's holiday to Sousse. The week's holiday was
in lieu of my notice so they got out of paying me.
I recall calling Charlie from London airport. He
had had all his calls screened but I got through.
Through my tears I told him how much I missed his
company and how I longed to be with him again. He
was very sweet and understanding on the phone
knowing that I had lost my job because of my
evening with him.
Was he worth it? Yes! I never saw him again but
when my friend Anna Mae went to Vegas some years
later, she saw his show and went back stage to
meet him having heard about my fling with him. He
remembered me amongst all his conquests. I forgot
all about him of course until recently when I saw
the King of American Comedy had died aged 83 and
began to look at the You Tube references like
Roasting Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. I
had no idea how wacky and formidable he was.
Young Jilliana was so innocent in 1972 but she
learned fast. C'est la vie.
at Casa de los Bates, Motril, Spain 11/2/17.
High Anxiety - Mel Brooks 1977 - as a dog
You Tube - 'phone call' sketch
You Tube Charlie Callas roasts Frank Sinatra
You Tube Carson Tonight Show 1976
You Tube Charlie Callas stand up routine - The
You Tube a touch of Callasness
You Tube spinning plates
You Tube Charlie Callas (drumming) on Merv
Griffin show 1978
You Tube Charlie Callas in performance 1978
Google - Charlie Callas photos and obituary