If you have been out and about in the Hamptons, chances are you have run into Alec Baldwin. He is easily “The Hamptons’ Mr. Everywhere Man!” I truly believe he may be the most enthusiastic all things Hamptons celebrity there has ever been. He is genuine Long Island, as he often loves to tell “growing up in Massapequa” stories. He also is quite the movie historian and the king of telling short funny Hollywood anecdotes that are filled with wit, wisdom, and comedy. Case in point I remember while hosting the showing of the classic movie, The Orient Express, he launched into a story of his flying from L.A. to N.Y. in the First-Class Section with the discussion among he and a few other actors being, “Should the plane crash, who would get the top billing in the news story? Which one of them would be mentioned first in the tragic news story?” I believe at the time they settled on Julie Andrews, who was not in on the conversation, but was on board the plane a few seats up.
If you are of conservative politics, most likely you are not an Alec Baldwin fan. There is no doubt what side of the political aisle his politics lie, however no one who ever covered/wrote/reported on the Hamptons over the last twenty years on a week to week basis can name another celebrity who has volunteered to MC/support/attend as many varied events as Alec Baldwin. He seems to appear at every one of them somehow. Many times on the same day – like a few years back when it was the Authors-Writers Softball Game in the afternoon and then the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night, followed by the Authors Night‘s dinners. Alec can flash world class charm and occasionally he can be direct, but most of the time he seems to be performing as “Alec, a guy genuinely in love with his life.”
In the last decade I have been able to witness his very public and very touching ever-blossoming love of his wife and mother of his four young children Hilaria Thomas. I can recall the earliest days of his dating Hilaria and watching the process of their family growing. Many times a very pregnant Hilaria would be by Alec’s side at so many Guild Hall events, or everywhere else he’d be in support of a cause, such as the East Hampton Library, Group for the East End, most Hamptons International Film Festival events, along with his live play productions and special cause events. He also writes large checks for these best causes; he is not just a lip-service type celebrity.
I enjoy his talent whether it be acting live onstage at Guild Hall in plays like Equus or All My Sons, or talking films at the Film Festival. I have seen him be Dr. Ryan in the movie Search for Red October, a movie I have watched uncountable times on my TV. Of course, in recent years his portrayal of Donald Trump on SNL has been epic.
The New York Post has made a habit of not portraying Alec in his best light, and even he would be the first to admit he made some bad choices behavior wise, but I have watched him, witnessed him, bantering charmingly with old ladies, making little children laugh at Atlantic Beach, taking photos with hundreds of East Hampton locals or visitors, making small talk with folks like me and my wife and best of all being Alec Baldwin. I can assure you from personal observations and interactions (no doubt he has no clue who I am)…he is well read, well informed, phenomenally well connected, interesting, interested, funny, thoughtful and has the energy you would expect from a guy who had lots of brothers and a dad who was a coach and was a teacher.
Once when I complimented him on his getting back in shape he deadpanned, “Working on it.” Through the last 15 years I have had to ask questions for articles or promotional pieces and he has always been extremely quotable. He loves to help little guys like the so many media people on the East End do their jobs, get their quotes, and get the story right.
I have also seen times when he’s been walking his dog on the beach in the evening during the off-season, he gets into conversations with other dog walking locals about issues only locals care about. Yet, he has a home in Connecticut, L.A. and an apartment in NYC besides his beautiful spread in Amagansett. For trivia folks, his Amagansett home lies below a hill where Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller summered. Marilyn Monroe used to smoke cigarettes leaning against the big trees on a hill above Baldwin’s house. She would talk to the local pre-teen-girls there about her dreams their dreams and even laugh with them.
Everyone in East Hampton has an Alec Baldwin story, some when he was at his best perhaps others when he was not. But in closing I love to tell this one. Late one evening I was in East Hampton Village catching up with friends outside the Blue Parrot when out of the darkness of a narrow alley Alec and Hilaria emerged going to their car. It was late and they held hands, like a guy and his prom date do. They passed nodded, smiled and walked into the misty rather empty village parking lot. Then when they were almost completely out of sight, they stopped and did a long affectionate kiss before climbing into a big black Mercedes and very slowly drove away.