A.C. LYLES: Well, I’ve heard that. Meg
Ryan had the office down here beneath mine, and she had a
secretary there, and the head of her production company was a
man, and they claimed that the office was haunted, and as a
matter of fact (laughing), they even asked to be moved out of
that office. I’ve never seen that, and I’ve been here
all these years and right above, but never seen it. They say that
the Valentino building is haunted by Rudolph Valentino.
But actually, some times at night I’m here, and I’ll just walk around the lot, and think of all the great people that have been here, and look at all the dressing rooms and think of who was there, those names, and its almost is if like I can hear the organ playing, like in Phantom of the Opera, and all these things, and its easy to imagine, all these people who are so vivid in your imagination, that they’ve never left us. Like my friend Jimmy Cagney, he was so powerful, Duke Wayne is still, and I guess I’m blessed again by never losing them, and never feeling that they’re gone, they’ve always been with me. And certainly I can look around this office, and see probably 300 prominent names, and my picture is in all of them, and they’re all my friends, so every day, I look around and think, ‘these are all my friends.’
BRUCE EDWIN: (getting teary eyed) That’s great.
A.C. LYLES: (pointing to pictures on his wall) Here we have Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, and Shirley Temple and Ginger Rogers, Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, and Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Cagney, and Duke Wayne of course, and here we have Spencer Tracy, and Erenst Borgnine, and that’s Lucille Ball and Bob Hope, Elizabeth Taylor and Clint Eastwood, and Johnny Carson, and Bing Crosby, Clint Eastwood, and Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra and Gary Cooper and John Wayne and Barbara Stanwyck, and Charleton Heston, and Clark Cable, and Jimmy Stuart, its just every body that you can imagine in our business that’s up there on the wall, here’s Sophia Loren, so they’re all here, and I visit with them every day.
BRUCE EDWIN: (Laughs) That’s great. Well I hope you know, you should know, that you’re in the same league with all of them.
A.C. LYLES: Well, I thank you. Listen, that’s only because of longevity.
BRUCE EDWIN: Is there any secret to that?
A.C. LYLES: Well I don’t know… as I’ve said, I’m about 6-1, and I’ve never weighed more than about 148, and yet I just eat the ice cream, and eat every thing I’ve ever wanted . And I think its just metabolism. As I said (to you) earlier, I don’t exercise except for brushing my teeth, and I do that with an electric toothbrush.
BRUCE EDWIN: (Laughs)
A.C. LYLES: But you know, I’ve never started drinking. Never tried it, I never have. I never started smoking either. I don’t even drink coffee. I don’t like coffee. But I love milk. I drink probably a quart and a half of milk a day, like people drink water. But I’ve never abused myself with drugs, or drinking, or things like that. (…)
BRUCE EDWIN: I remember one time I called your office at around 9am, and then I called back at around 9pm intending to leave a message, and you were in both times still working. You seem to work non stop.
A.C. LYLES: Usually I go out about 3 nights a week, to dinners and things, and I speak at colleges, and I tell students, if I can do it, you sure as the devil can do it!
BRUCE EDWIN: (laughs)
A.C. LYLES: Yes, I come in to work here at Paramount every day. We used to be open on Saturdays, but we’re not now. But this studio, if they were open on Saturday and Sunday, I’d come in on Saturday and Sunday.