Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The movie extra passes on

My piece about Odell Grant over at The Austin Chronicle begins like this:

Photo by Joe M. O'Connell

Nobody had a face like Odell Grant. The lines curlicued and dug deep like an etching of the totality of time. Then he’d break into a grin and his light eyes would ignite with mischief and reckless youth.

Odell only semi-jokingly called me his agent. I’d written a 2006 Austin Chronicle story about his life’s improbable last act as a film and television extra capable of stealing a scene, and he was convinced with my guidance he could become a story. Two years ago we met for lunch for the last time and he regaled me with tales from the set. “I was embalmed and buried in the low-budget film Elvis and Annabelle,” Odell says of the film in which he is featured as a dead coach. “I had my funeral. Nobody I know of has met their pallbearers.”

That was just a test run. Odell died for real Tuesday at age 79 surrounded by family and Jeanne, his wife of more than 50 years. The couple used to travel the state selling crafts at Sami shows, their daughter Lisa continuing the family tradition before she turned real estate agent.

Read the rest here.