In the Early 90's when I was focusing more on playwrighting than my art, I reconnected with an old Actor/Director Friend named Matt Conley. He was at the time an ex-college teacher and later a great mentor to me - one of the few I have had in my life - he was always excited about the theater and we used to chat and have dinners (my own little Tuesdays With Morrie, if you will) at a restaurant called Rachel's in Hell's Kitchen where we both lived at the time. He would get smashed and red faced and would snort with laughter at his own tales of chumming around with the likes of Tallulah Bankhead and other starlets. He was a class act and a masterful old-school thespian. We were close for a while there until I moved further uptown and eventually met my wife and I lost touch with him.
A few years ago I was told he might have passed away but no one was sure until today. I came across a website of the last film he acted in. A Indie piece called West Bank Brooklyn that has a notice of his passing on their news page. I don't know when he passed on exactly - after 2003 sometime based on the film's release - I can't find on-line his obituary or anything. There is no remembrance page dedicated to him either.
I phoned him one time when I happened to be at Rachel's, I was thinking about him and randomly called an old number I had for him in my phone -- to my surprise he actually answered! I was so excited to have him come by and meet my wife who was en route. He informed me that sadly he could not because had just had open heart surgery and maybe in a few weeks he could go out again. I told him I'd give him a ring then. A few weeks passed, then a few months -- then years. Now he is gone and I feel sad I never called him when I should have.
I'll miss the days I spent with him I'm sure...and now I always order his favorite dish when I go to Rachel's - the fish soup over linguine. Remember that, Matt? That was your favorite.