Friends, actors, and studio executives gathered at the Paramount Theater in Hollywood on June 9 to celebrate the 90th birthday of veteran producer A.C. Lyles.
Lyles started his career at age 10 as a theater usher and worked his way up to becoming a well-regarded producer at Paramount Hollywood Studios with credits that included “Short Cut to Hell,” and “Waco.” On loan to CBS, Lyles also produced television’s Rawhide, starring Clint Eastwood.
Lyles counted former President Ronald Reagan and actor James Cagney as his closest friends. Cagney directed “Short Cut to Hell” for Lyles, and Reagan appointed him to a number of presidential committees. He also hobnobbed with screen legends Mary Pickford, Shirley Temple and Charlie Chaplin.
Among those celebrating his 90th birthday were astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Academy Award winning actor Ernest Borgnine, and American film critic and historian Leonard Maltin who was followed for awhile by a crew from Entertainment Tonight.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s Ed Asner nibbled on mushroom and cheese quesadillas, while octogenarian actress Anne Jeffreys held court at a table with fellow veteran starlets Anne Rutherford, Rhonda Fleming and Jane Withers. While trying to snap a couple of pictures of Fleming and Jeffreys, the actresses got irked at the LA Weekly for inadvertently cutting off the tops of their heads when I showed them their pictures. The Weekly quickly remedied the situation, and the starlets seemed slightly happier although they still looked a tad miffed while posing for the second batch.
“This is living Hollywood history here,” said Los Angeles City Council member Eric Garcetti who presented Lyles with a proclamation from the city. Not to be outdone, Council Member Tom LaBonge congratulated Lyles and offered him a loaf of pumpkin bread made by neighborhood nuns. Like most recipients of LaBonge's bread, Lyles just stared and probably wondered what kind of bleeping gift is that.
Partygoers missed out on the famous pumpkin bread but did get to munch on savory chicken skewers, mini Spanakopitas, a variety of cheeses and fruits, and decadent vanilla cupcakes before they were whisked inside the theater to watch a screening of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
A.C. Lyles and Associated Press entertainment reporter Sandy Cohen.
Actress Anne Jeffreys appeared with her husband Robert Sterling in the 50's sitcom “Topper.” She also appeared in episodes of “L.A. Law” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Ed Asner starred as Lou Grant on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Anne Rutherford played Scarlett O'Hara's sister in the 1959 movie “Gone with the Wind.”
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin
Veteran 91-year-old actor Ernest Borgnine
Rhonda Fleming acted in more than forty films, mostly in the 1940's and 1950's, including Alfred Hitchcock's thriller “Spellbound.”
Jane Withers was one of the most popular child stars in the 1930's and 1940's. She co-starred with Shirley Temple in the 1934 film “Bright Eyes.”