Oh Danny Boy, We Came So Close....


The legendary character actor Danny Aiello loved the screenplay for "Shepherd Avenue," and that looked like the break we'd been praying for.

Danny was eager to play the role of the grandfather. His career was on fire, as he'd just been nominated for an Oscar for his role in Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing."

We met him at a restaurant on New York City's Upper West Side. The place was called Columbus and it was jammed with celebrities.

Danny was the kind of guy who attracted people to his table. Paul Sorvino and Ben Stiller dropped by to say hello. Everybody dropped by to say hello. Danny was hot, hot, HOT.

Producer Andrew Gaty, who wrote the screenplay with me, took me aside. "If Danny wins the Oscar, 'Shepherd Avenue' will get made!" he said with glee.

I was on a high when we left, and then Danny made the night even sweeter by driving me home to the Village.

"I think you'll enjoy this, Charlie," he said, popping a cassette into the tape deck. We rode downtown to the sounds of Danny Aiello singing show tunes.

I never cared for the Oscars much, but you'd better believe I was watching them with keen interest that year, especially when the nominees for Best Supporting Actor were announced.

And the winner was....Denzel Washington, for "Glory."

Well, that's show biz. You can't let it get you down. You've got to remember the good stuff.

Like cruising down Broadway late at night in a luxury car, with a movie star as your own personal chauffeur.

Believe me, that didn't suck.