By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
His third wife, Nancy, was a dancer; they lived together for several years, were married for six and, though they've been apart for 20 years, she still speaks longingly of him. Long after they divorced, because she couldn't think of anyone else to call, she asked Geordie to help her bring her dying father home from the hospital; Geordie physically carried the man to and from the car. "If one of his children cries, he cries," she says of Geordie. She remembers that when Gina was 3 or 4 and left her favorite blanket on an airplane, Geordie dropped everything to retrieve it for her. Geordie in his 60s is silver and shaggy. Geordie in his 30s, Nancy says, "was an extraordinarily handsome man, like a leading man, gorgeous. And he had a speaking voice like black velvet." Though he has gotten older, his lovers have not. "My father likes young women," his daughter Gina says matter-of-factly. "He loves women," Lisa Lyon says. "Some men say they love women, but are really womanizers. Geordie is accessible to women."
And, apparently, they love him. He has a generosity that transcends money, a boyish playfulness, that shows up in the tales his children tell. Gina recalls that when she and John flew to Los Angeles to visit him as children, he would flow through the airport in purple bell-bottoms and fringed jackets as everyone turned to stare, that he would leave $100 tips for waitresses in truck stops. Gina moved to Phoenix to be near him; John lives in Geordie's Los Angeles home. Julie studies art in Los Angeles, and although she has a different mother, she is close to her half-sister, Gina.
The children are devoted, but in the end, the wives fell victim to Geordie's eccentricities and temperament, the same qualities that had charmed them in the first place. Boyishness, after all, is really restlessness.
"My mother just wanted him and he wanted his people around him," says John, the son of Geordie's second wife, Mary Lou.
"He wanted to be in the music business, and I wanted to be the Waltons," says Geordie's third wife, Nancy.
After his divorce from Nancy, Geordie went into virtual seclusion and spent a year freebasing cocaine, writing and recording Frank Zappa-esque songs in his home studio. He would paste a paper mustache on the TV screen and then wait patiently until it covered the appropriate spot on someone's face, then take a Polaroid snapshot. He claims he spent so many sleepless hours standing up that his feet swelled black with blood, so much that he couldn't get shoes on, and then he broke his toes walking around barefoot. His legs are still discolored from the knees down, and he walks with difficulty.
"I suppose I was trying to kill myself," he reflects, but he pulled out of his stupor after his oldest granddaughter looked smilingly up at him and earnestly asked, "What was it like when you were alive, Grandpa?"
@body:Late one morning, Jamie's in jammies at the big kitchen table, quaffing coffee from a mug. She's a slender wisp of a woman--the seat of her pajama bottoms hangs well below her own as she pads across the kitchen. There's a hint of Southern California in her voice, but she has a businesslike handshake, and a serious cast to her eyes, dark and burning beneath a thick mane of auburn hair. She looks younger in person than in the photographs that appear on the society pages of the dailies--Jamie in a strapless, Cinderella-style gown at the Heart Ball, for instance. She'd never had occasion to wear such a dress before. The Hormel family photographs of the same event show Jamie and Geordie and Geordie's two grown daughters, Gina, 34, and Julie, 23, along with other friends, comically posed with bogus jewels pasted on their foreheads.
Jamie studied advertising in college, but decided she didn't like it, and took a job as a sales clerk at a Bullock's department store in Beverly Hills. She met Geordie while visiting a friend who lived at his Los Angeles mansion, which had its own collection of stray people, much like the McCune mansion. They married in June 1991, unannounced, at a graduation party for one of her cousins. Near the end of the party, a woman demanded the attention of all the remaining guests, announced that she was a circuit-court judge and that she had come to perform a wedding. Jaws dropped.
"I was skeptical at first, but she signed all the necessary papers," says Geordie's son, John, who admits it was a shock "seeing Jamie, who's ten years younger than me, with the Gold Card." He thinks a minute and concludes, "He's happier and more together than he's been in years."
Geordie shuffles into the kitchen, appearing, as always, as silently and as suddenly as a ghost. He sits down; Jamie leans against him, and their contours match seamlessly in the way of people who know each other well.
She wants to go back to an antique store she'd shopped in yesterday to take another look at some things they considered buying.