David Garrison: A Stage Villain Gets His Portrait in Sardi's

David Garrison: A Stage Villain Gets His Portrait in Sardi's GLAD ABOUT THE BOOS :
It's ironic that the Sardi's accolade--a caricature for its hallowed walls--is finally coming to David Garrison now when he is in the midst of an unbroken line of hisses. "It's quite consistent, actually," he says of the boos that greet his bows in Titanic, "but I'm taking it as a left-handed compliment. If I didn't, I'd be in therapy for the rest of my life!"

GLAD ABOUT THE BOOS :
It's ironic that the Sardi's accolade--a caricature for its hallowed walls--is finally coming to David Garrison now when he is in the midst of an unbroken line of hisses. "It's quite consistent, actually," he says of the boos that greet his bows in Titanic, "but I'm taking it as a left-handed compliment. If I didn't, I'd be in therapy for the rest of my life!"

He plays that ill-fated liner's ruthless owner, J. Bruce Ismay, and does such a hatefully hard-nosed good job of it audiences can't resist spewing their disfavor for him, like clockwork, at his curtain call. He shrugs a sheepish "It's a living," and the crowd roars. "It's the best laugh in the show--a good tension release for the audience."

Prior to this voyage, Garrison always left 'em laughing, arriving on Broadway in that Christopher Durang cavalcade, A History of the American Film. "I was the song-and-dance man. I started out as a minstrel, and by the time we got to Technicolor, I was Gene Kelly. I did an 11 o'clock spot called 'Isn't It Fun To Be in the Movies?'" Seconding that motion, he next turned into a Tony-nominated Groucho for Tommy Tune's A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.

Garrison still remembers the night he opened in Hollywood/Ukraine, "walking into Sardi's and getting applause and thinking, 'Maybe some day I'll get my mug up on the wall.' Well, 17 years later, it happened." And, under a heading of Be Grateful for Small Favors, "I'm happy to say that the caricature looks like me and not Mr. Ismay. There's a gleam in the eye that Mr. Ismay doesn't have."

-- By Harry Haun