Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rest In Peace, Danny Steinmann

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Last night came the news that Danny Steinmann, the writer/director of Friday The 13th : A New Beginning, passed away.  Don't have anything profound to say here, but I do want to share a personal little story about Steinmann, since I had the pleasure of meeting him at a convention back in 2009.

I never actually approached Steinmann at his table, when he was signing autographs, because he honestly looked pretty miserable, like he didn't want to be there.  I was afraid of having a bad experience, so I decided to just avoid the situation altogether.  Cut to Saturday night, and I find myself at the bar, trying to get the bartender's attention.  There was a man next to me who was sipping on a drink, by himself, and I glanced over at him and realized it was Danny Steinmann.  Not wanting the opportunity for a little drunken bonding to escape me, I offered to buy Danny a shot of his choosing, playing it cool while visions of pounding back liquor with the director of Friday 5 danced in my head.

Danny told me that he didn't like the taste of alcohol, so he turned down my offer.  A few minutes later, the fruity mixed drink he had been drinking ran dry, and I noticed he was trying to get the attention of the bartender, to no avail.  Never an easy thing to do, at these conventions.  I figured that was my chance to strike, so I waved over the bartender, who knows me since I'm always at these things, and I told her to take Danny's order, and that it was on me.  He ordered another drink, and the two of us sat there at the bar for another 10 minutes or so, neither of us saying a word to each other.  Both sipping our drinks.  I really didn't want to bother him, since he seemed fairly uninterested in talking, but it was a thrill enough for me to be sitting there next to a guy who directed a movie I've seen so many times throughout my life.  Words were really not even needed.

When Danny got up to leave, he tapped me on the shoulder and thanked me for buying him the drink.  Though I of course wish we had chatted more, that little drink we shared has always stuck with me over the years as one of my favorite convention memories, and it certainly crossed my mind as soon as I heard the news of Danny's passing.  Did I know him at all, on any sort of personal level?  Absolutely not.  But whenever we lose one of our own here in the horror community, who has given us films we cherish and love, I feel a great sense of sadness, almost as if I did know the person.  Definitely feeling that way right about now.

Whenever you've got some free time, I strongly recommend you check out a very extensive and incredibly fascinating interview with Danny Steinmann over on the blog Stone Cold Crazy, which was posted back in 2009.  Unhappy with the fact that no information is really out there about Steinmann's life and career, the guy who runs that site tracked him down, and conducted a mega sized eight part interview with him, which is packed with more information about Steinmann than you'll find anywhere else on the net.  The interview is biographical in scope, and in it Steinmann talks candidly about everything from his start in Hollywood as a young actor to his troubles later in life that resulted in Friday 5 being his last film.  He also delves heavily into the shooting of that film, which is very interesting to read.  If you're looking for a way to pay tribute to Steinmann, I can't think of a better way than to delve in, and get to know him.

I'll be watching A New Beginning in your honor tonight Danny, with a fruity cocktail by my side.  Truth be told, I don't like the taste of hard alcohol either.  Rest In Peace, sir.

2 comments:

NJtree said...

I met twice both times at (2) different monster mania's. He was a really nice guy. I had him sign my New Beginning poster and then Crystal Lake Mem. poster. We chatted a little bit about his friday the 13th as there wasn't a line for him at all. He was a good guy to meet and I know alot of people didn't meet him at the cons. He will be missed. I will throw that movie in sometime this weekend.

Jeff said...

Thank, you Johnny, for the reflection back on the Danny and referencing my interview. Here is my tribute to Danny that I wrote this week: http://jeffcramer.blogspot.com/2012/12/chapter-vii-afterword-written-after.html