Usually, when securing talent for the magazine, you have to go through layers upon layers of press people, media relations, then personal assistants before you finally get the green light for a cover. But that wasn’t the case with actor Burt Young. The first time I called to pitch a potential cover, the phone was picked up almost immediately. And I recognized the rough-and-tough voice on the other end anywhere. It was Burt Young.
So I did what any seasoned journalist would do.
I hung up.
Immediately, I regretted my decision. I called back right away, and again, Burt Young picked up the phone. I apologized for the disconnect and blamed it on poor cell service (sorry T Mobile). I asked him if he’d like to be in the magazine, and he said, “Sure.” Then, before I could find out who I needed to send a formal pitch to, he said, “So….when are you coming?”
And so began one of the coolest cover shoots we’ve done for Celebrity Parents Magazine. We met Burt at his home in Port Washington, NY. He opened the door and gave us big bear hugs that were at once warm, welcoming, (and kind of crushing, TBH). His space is filled with paintings that portray different aspects of his life, each with their own story. It was like seeing a visual representation of everything that Burt has gone through.
Then, it was time to shoot. Burt had a punching bag in a room, and he started throwing jabs at it. The bag went flying, almost taking out some of our strobes with it. You could almost hear the chorus from “Hearts On Fire” playing as Burt bobbed and weaved.
When we sat down for the interview, Burt’s gravely, gruff voice was barely a whisper. It forces you to lean in, face-to-face, and hang on to every single word, because every sentence packs a punch (literally). An hour and a half later, time seemed to have stood still. That’s the kind of effect that Burt Young has on you; he brings you into his world and the only thing you can focus on are the stories, the life lessons, the tales of love and loss, and it’s far too magical to ever want to leave.
But leave is what we eventually had to do, but not before Burt offered us some snacks to take home. And when we stepped back out into the blinding light of day, all I wanted to do was throw my hands up in the air and yell, “Dragoooooo!!!”