Excerpted from an essay about famous people in normal circumstances

Miss Charlotte couldn’t get over it. She’d known me for most of my 25 years, but suddenly I took on a new aura. “Don actually goes to the bathroom with Freddie Bartholomew?” she asked my mother. “That’s what he said” my mom responded.

For those of a certain age, this was quite something. Freddie Bartholomew was to the movies of the 30’s what Macauley Culkin was to Hollywood in the 90’s. But just as young Macauley, once the highest paid child star in the world, grew out of his adorable adolescence, Freddie did too.

So it was that I often found myself in the men’s room with Freddie, or as he was perhaps best known, Little Lord Fauntleroy, his character in the 1936 movie so titled. That film solidified Freddie as the world’s biggest child star, bigger even than Mickey Rooney, a lesser player in the same film. Freddie made his fortune and reputation with roles such as Spencer Tracy’s spoiled brat charge in Captains Courageous (for which Freddie had top billing!), the waif David Copperfield, and many more. Sadly, as was the fate of many others, his fortune was squandered on family battles over his custody. But his reputation lived on (at least among people my parents age), as did his refined manners and impeccable style. Of these latter points, I know of what I speak. After all, we did share a bathroom on the 30th floor of a major New York advertising agency in the early ’70s.


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