GL: No offense, Tim, but did you ever drink a lot or use drugs?
TC: No, I’m a teetotaler. I never even smoked. People were always offering me grass or cocaine. I got my own cocaine – my own personality. I AM COCAINE. What do I need that stuff for?
GL: So, basically, you didn’t have any vices at all?
TC: Oh, yeah – I loved gambling and women. I used to live in Watts and go with black women all the time.
GL: All I have to go on is a list of your pictures and some wild stories I’ve heard around town. For instance, did you once tie up Otto Preminger in his office to get a role?
GL: … throw a snake into a closet where Ray Dennis Steckler was loading a camera, on the shoot of The World’s Greatest Sinner?
TC: Yeah, well, that’s what he claimed.
GL: And there’s this infamous screening of Sinner at Universal, where you stood by the door with a baseball bat and wouldn’t let the executives out.
TC: Naw, that’s one of the stories Cassavetes loved to tell, but we didn’t even screen the picture. We were up there to discuss a project of mine that John was promoting, a TV thing called “A.L.,” which is L.A. in reverse. But, no, I don’t use tactics like that. But my menace was my idea. I said, “When I work, nobody sits down and relaxes.” Cassavetes said it scared Ned Tannen. He and Danny Selznick were the ones who were there at the meeting.
- Grover Lewis, “Cracked Actor”, Film Comment Jan/Feb 2004; interview conducted in 1992
Timothy during the unfinished shoot of his own version of his script A.L., 1956