|Meeting Lee Tergesen: SEVENTEEN
By Anne (firstname.lastname@example.org)
June 8, 2019
This is the account of the 17th
time I met Lee Tergesen and, coincidentally, it’s been 17 years
since the first time!
I am still giddy and deep in the
throes of Post-Lee Tergesen Syndrom (PLTS) after the fun trip to see
him in a play called "Long Lost" at the New York City Center on June
Before the show, I met up with @SueSpur,
@VanillaLime88 (and her hubby, Ron), @DSMilti and @JessicaR_NY at
Rosie O’Grady’s. This restaurant just happened to be where Lee took
me in 2005 after I saw "The Foreigner" for the second time. (When I
asked Lee if he remembered, he said he didn’t even recall ever being
in that restaurant. Hmph.)
Dinner was a chance to catch up
with Milti, Wendy & Ron, and to finally meet Sue after years of
online interaction. It was also a chance for everyone to meet
Jessica, who has been to past Oz/Lee events but hadn’t quite gotten
the courage up to talk to him. I totally get that feeling.
Jessica had drawn a lovely
portrait of Lee and his daughter based on a photo that Tom Fontana
had posted on his Instagram a few years back. She said she waiting
way too long to get started and had to spend a few almost sleepless
nights to finish it in time for the meet-up. ALL the peeps agreed
that the portrait was gorgeous, and I was excited for her to share
it with Lee. I KNEW he would love it.
After dinner, we walked to the
theater and sat down with just a few minutes to spare. In the play,
Lee plays the eldest of two brothers, Billy, who is an addict and a
bit of a con man. He arrives at the office of his younger brother,
David (played by Kelly AuCoin, who plays Dollar Bill on "Billions").
David is a successful consultant with a beautiful wife (Annie
Parisse) and college-age son (Alex Wolff).
Lots of bad history between the
brothers makes David cautious about letting Billy back into life.
Billy wants to stay with David, but David says no. Billy works his
manipulative charm and voila, he’s back in much to the chagrin of
David’s wife, Molly. Billy immediately wreaks havoc on the
household. The play features lots of good drama and ABSOLUTELY
AMAZING PERFORMANCES from the entire cast.
I also must give a huge amount of
credit to set designer John Lee Beatty. The set was a series of
rotating rooms that included an office, a living room, a bedroom and
a hospital. They each blended in so well and the changes were
The play itself certainly has
potential to be great, but the playwright seemed to lose his way.
Some of the dialogue was awkward and I got the impression he
couldn’t quite decide what he ultimately wanted to say. Still, the
actors took the material and ran with it, which was quite
After the show, we waited outside
for Lee. When he came upstairs, he walked in our direction, but was
cut off by a couple who wanted to give him a little praise. (Well
deserved, I say.) When he got over to us, we got hugs and I
introduced him to Sue and Jessica. Jessica then showed him her gift.
As he started to open it, another couple of fans interrupted. He
asked them to give him a minute. He opened the gift and was pretty
stunned and awed by what he saw. He got a little verklempt
and profusely thanked Jessica. He got a little nostalgic because his
daughter is only about 2 in the drawing but is now 6 years old.
Since he rode his bike and didn’t
want to damage the drawing, he put it in his dressing room and took
pictures to show Lily and Yuko.
We headed off to the bar at the
Sheraton, just a few blocks away. He walked his bike and locked it
up but took the seat inside with him (this is an important detail
for later). As we walked, I told him he was amazing in the TV series
"Gone." He said, “You think that about everything I do.” I said,
“You're always amazing, but you blew me away in 'Gone.'" I told him
I was truly impressed with the last episode, in which his character
(a kidnapper and child abuser) is confronted by one of his victims,
who is one of the lead characters. He started to tell us a story
about filming it but we arrived and settled in, placing orders etc.
Then he told us that the day he
filmed that confrontation scene, the producer (or maybe the
director) told him that until filming, he wanted Lee to have no
contact with Leven Rambin, the actress who played Kick Lannigan, his
former victim. He said he thought it was stupid since he’d already
met her but said fine. He later found it that it was Rambin who
asked for the arrangement.
When Leven walked into the room to
film the scene, she fell apart and broke down in tears and couldn’t
film the scene. Lee said he was annoyed because “Kick would never
have fallen apart like that. She is tough as nails.” I would have to
agree with that assessment. Well, whenever it was filmed, it was
magnificent. Other than maybe the guy he played in "Monster," I
don’t think I’ve felt more trepidation toward a character that Lee
has played. He absolutely nailed it.
He showed us some pictures and
videos of the kids, including one where Lily was walking very slowly
on purpose. And there was another of Kai (age 2) bouncing into Lily
to try and interrupt her slow walk. I think they both inherited the
At some point, he asked me when he
and I met. “We’ve known each other for what, 19 years?” I said, “17.
We met on March 19, 2002 at the Oz DVD signing.” Then I remarked
that he probably didn’t remember that meeting considering he met
about 1,000 other folks that day. The first meeting he remembers was
May 19, 2002, when he hosted the GLAAD bruncheon in Washington, DC.
He said, “Oh. ONLY 17.”
I think he then asked Jessica
about how she created the portrait and she told him about finding
the picture on Tom’s Instagram and all of the hours she spent on it
in a very short time. Suddenly, quiet Jessica was lit up and
couldn’t stop talking. It was adorable. She talked about her art and
her work as a social worker.
Wendy told him that she had taken
over the Lee Tergesen Twitter account from Diane and was posting all
the updates. He nodded and said that sounded good. She encouraged
him to let her know about any updates he might want to be posted
Then she decided she had to ask
Lee about this crazy internet rumor about a mysterious Season 7 of
Oz that was partially filmed but never shown. She had quite a lot of
detail and the whole time she was telling, Lee was looking at her
with the most incredulous look on his face. It was rather amusing to
watch him as she gave more and more details. It’s like he couldn’t
fathom how anyone had created such an elaborate lie. He confirmed
that it was completely untrue.
Then he said, “Except there was a
season 7 and it was filmed,” and paused. We all looked at him in
surprise and anticipation. Then he said that technically Season 4
was two seasons so Season 6 was really Season 7. Cheeky Lee.
Sue told Lee that he started
following her on Twitter but she had no idea why. Then he asked what
she posted the day he followed her. She said she posted her dream
about Meloni. He said, “That's why. You knew that’s why I followed
you, you Minx.” He actually used the word minx. LOL
Jessica also told Lee the stories
of the three times she came to see him but never actually spoke to
him. Then she showed him a picture from "Godfather IV" (aka MobFest)
where she’s in the background of a picture of Lee and it looks like
she is leaning against his forehead. He teased her about that, then
asked how long ago it was taken. 2010, we all said. He looked
surprised that it was actually nine years ago. He made a
self-deprecating comment about looking old. Um, I don’t think so.
I asked him if he enjoyed working with Kelly AuCoin. He said he
loved working with Kelly. I think it shows because they have great
We also got to talking about the
new Showtime series "City on a Hill" and I asked how many episodes
he was on. He said three and they had already been filmed.
At some point, I brought up
birding because, well, that’s what I do. I think it might have been
when Jessica talked about stress relief. I suggested birding. Then
Wendy asked if I still liked butterflies. I do but I don’t chase
them anymore. But that reminded me of a story that I’m rather
surprised I told.
Five years ago, I was in Vermont
for my high school reunion. My best friend from high school, Laurie,
is a medium. She has been her whole life but hid it when she was a
kid. She even wrote a couple of books about her experiences and
those books are published and you can get them through
I only see Laurie once in awhile
and we rarely talk on the phone, but it’s like no time has passed
when we are in the same room. I had just read her first book and was
asking her about what it was like being a medium. She offered to
give me a reading. I had no idea what to expect. When we started,
she said, “I’m seeing a black and yellow butterfly. Does that mean
anything to you?” I told her I loved butterflies and going to see
them was my main way to de-stress (I didn’t discover birding until
2015). I told her that the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was black and
yellow, and it was one of my favorites. Then she said, “Your father
is sending them to you. He knows you like them.” My Dad passed in
2011, so hearing that made me break down into tears. When I told the
story on Saturday, I didn’t expect to start crying but I did. Lee is
one of the few people (specifically men) with whom I can allow
myself to be vulnerable.
When there was a quiet moment, Lee
turned to me and said, “I did this play for you." I was confused for
a moment and said, “What?” He told me he decided to do this play
because it had been awhile, and he knew that I needed to come and
see him again. Wow. I think that might the sweetest thing he’s ever
said to me. I was incredibly touched to hear this. I told him I
really appreciated it because I really did need to see him again.
Before we knew it, midnight
arrived and he said he needed to leave because he had to get up with
the kids at 8 am. I asked if he walked Lily to school. He said he
walked them both to school. I would love a picture of that!
He got up to pay the bill and left
his phone on the table. We joked about how he could trust us with
his phone. I remarked it's probably locked. I flipped it over, but
it wasn't locked, so put it back face down. When he came back,
Jessica teased that she put all of our phone numbers in there 10
times and that he might be surprised who he was following on Twitter
We all took turns taking pictures and got lots of hugs. Then Lee
need to use bathroom so Jessica offered to hold his bike seat. He
said he didn't want to hold us up and seemed reluctant to leave the
seat with us. As if we'd mind waiting for him! Come on! I’d wait as
long as he wanted, right?
While he was gone, we posed for a
silly picture with the seat. We walked outside and said more
good-byes and got more hugs from Lee. He headed off to get his bike
and I said good-bye to all the ladies (and Ron, who is a very cool
I walked toward my hotel and Lee was still putting his bike
together. He asked about my sons and we chatted for a couple
minutes. He told me he's been thinking about his Mom a lot lately
because she died at age 54 and he's turning 54 next month. Wow. I
also told him about my new job and got one final hug. I thanked him
again for coming out with us and making us laugh. He is the best!
When I got back to the hotel, I kept checking Twitter to see if
anyone had posted any pics or comments about the evening. I was deep
into my PLTS and I needed more! More! Finally turned everything off
at 1:30am and set my alarm for 6:30am so I could get up to go
birding in Central Park!
Some final notes: Thanks to
Jessica, who refreshed my memory on a few things:
Lee told us that when Yuko was pregnant with Lily, she told him he
really needed to clean up his language and not swear. Lee says he
was very diligent and stopped swearing at home. He said one day when
they were all in the car, Yuko realized she forgot something and
said, “Shit!” Lily repeated her. Lee had us all laughing as he told
Lee also told the story of when JK
Simmons won the Oscar, Lee sent him a text: "I’ve licked the boots
of an Oscar winner." JK replied something to the effect that Lee
also defecated in his face.
March 19, 2002
May 19, 2002
October 7, 2002
December 7, 2002
January 28, 2003
August 31, 2003
November 13, 2004
January 7, 2005
May 31, 2008
May 2, 2010
Dec. 4, 2010
Nov. 23, 2011
June 9, 2012
Aug. 17, 2013
June 14, 2015
October 15, 2017
June 8, 2019