I was on-assignment in New York City, broadcasting live from the Grand Princess, Cruise Ship. At the time of its christening the ship was the largest cruise ship in the world.
My job was to do our show live from the ship, and interview a bunch of stars and celebs. I talk about this in my book “It Just Wasn’t Perfect for Me, My 50 Years in Television and Radio Broadcasting.”
But there is so much I had to leave out of the book. Including this story about the Captain’s Formal Dinner aboard the GrandPrincess.
It was black tie, the dining room was loaded with real celebrities. As I walked in with Photographer Ken Thorp, Maury from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Captain Stubing from “the Love Boat,” Gavin MacLeod said, “Hi Rick!” The Coal Miner’s Daughter Loretta Lynn shook my hand! I was in awe!
So the Maitre D seats me and Ken at this big round table, and the place card in front of my dish read: Joe Bologna! The one in front of Ken’s read Rene Taylor!
So I called the Maitre D back to the table and said, “there must be some mistake, I’m not Joe Bologna, and he, pointing to Ken the Photographer, certainly is not Rene Taylor! The Maitre D responded, “they’re not coming, you can sit there!”
So now, I’m thinking, what if they decide on the last minute to show up, and I’m removed for squatting in Joe Bologna’s seat!
Also sitting at the table was a middle aged woman who was a Television/Entertainer Columnist from the Philadelphia Inquirer. She said, “Joe can you please pass the rolls?” She was looking at me! I said, “I’m not Joe Bologna, I’m Rick D’Amico. All night long everyone at the table, except Ken of course, kept calling me Joe. The next day too!
“Joe Bologna” has over the years become my go to name for anyone who would ask me, “Who was that on the phone? Joe Bologna!” “Who’s that guy standing there talking to that movie star? Joe Bologna!” “Where we going dad? To Joe Bologna’s house!”
When I signed on to my computer this morning, Joe Bologna’s picture showed up on my screen, he had passed away.
Joe Bologna, was an outstanding actor, whom I’ve admired for years, especially for his performance in, “My Favorite Year.” He was just my kind of guy kind of rough around the edges, tough guy from the streets of Brooklyn, but sensitive and real.
You can read more about Joe Bologna’s career here at AZ Central.Com
I loved Joe Bologna.