Odd Couple: Hollywood version

April 16th, 2017 by John Morris

Neil Simon wrote a play about two men badly matched but still great friends.  He called it the Odd Couple.  So popular was the play, movie and TV shows bearing this name, the title became a descriptive for any oddly matched twosome.

I read about a real life Odd Couple who were opposite types:  Actors Marlon Brando and Wally Cox.  Something about their strange friendship worked.   Brando was rugged, sex appeal mixed with raw anger, and Cox was Hollywood’s career Mr. Milquetoast.  Brando was a gifted method actor while Cox was doomed to play weak, but usually intelligent, male doormats.

The way they met was classic.  Cox was being pummeled by local school yard bullies.  Brando interrupted the beat down; threw an arm around the much smaller boy – Cox - and said, “I’m your new best friend”.  They were so close that Wally Cox became the only person who could correct Brando in a way the great actor would tolerate.

Brando once said, “I wished Wally Cox were a woman so I could marry him.”  When together they were comfortable and secure.  They stayed close friends until Wally died in 1973.  Marlon secured Cox’s ashes so the two men could have their ashes scattered together.  This was accomplished 31 years later.  During the time between, Brando would dine with Cox’s urn of ashes and use his gift for mimicry to voice his role and his friend’s.

I am slightly attracted to this story because of the wide differences in the two men, but more so because it tells a story about how a single act of kindness can be the start of a lifelong friendship.

Mr. Peepers and Stanley Kowalski?  Who would have figured that?


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.