The Obsession of Greatness:


An exclusive interview with Paramount's A.C. Lyles

By Bruce Edwin

As a driver drops me off at the legendary gates of Paramount, I announce to the guard who I am here to see. ‘A.C. Lyles?’ Really? He confirms. ‘Boy, you sure are! A.C., he’s sure quite a guy.’ The guard confirms to me his studio and film history knowledge, and respect. ‘He sure is. I agree. He’s the best.’ The guard continues, ‘A bit of trivia for you,’ he warns slyly, as he hands me my pass and points me in the right direction, ‘you are about to go to what is said to be the most haunted of all buildings on lot at Paramount.’ Lisa Williams pops in to my head, as I wonder if A.C. read my interview with her and is messing with me, as chills shiver down my spine beneath the cool Hollywood wind. I grin and laugh and walk on to interview the most well connected film producer of all time.

As I enter the basement level, I use the men’s room momentarily, and believe I see in the circular metal piping, the reflections of two or more shadowy reflections, yet I am alone in the room. I get lost momentarily in the apparitions, think of Bella Lagosi, and wander quietly up the many stairs to the upper level. A partially open door is marked in gold lettering: A.C. Lyles. I knock and say hello to Mr. Lyles assistant, and she welcomes me in the first room.

As I enter, A.C. Lyles walks out of his office and is with two other gentlemen. The secretary of Abdullah bin, King of Jordan, and his majesty the Kings son, the royal Prince. A.C. graciously shakes my hand firmly, making eye contact, introduces me to the Kings court, and has his assistant usher me in to his office as he shows the royals some more photos. The assistant pops in a tape for me on A.C.’s VCR, and Ronald Reagan comes on the screen, stating how his best friend A.C. Lyles is the finest American he knows, that embodies the greatness of Hollywood and our country. Clips of President Carter, Ford, and even Bush Sr.concur. Talk about references. I remember how his friend Reagan returned favors of helping getting him elected, by appointing him his own office in the White House which he had for 8 years, often jetting around with his friend on Air Force One, as America’s Ambassador of Hollywood around the world.

Hundreds of photos of A.C. line the wall, in which he is photographed with legends including Clint Eastwood, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Wayne, and countless more. My head spins, and then suddenly, a force of nature whooshes in the room in a gusto. A.C. Lyles.

"I’m sorry about the wait. Can I get you get anything? Would you like something to drink? A coffee? Water?" He asks humbly. I tell him the apology is not necessary, the pleasure is all mine, and say yes to a water. In a matter of seconds, an assistant has a water in my hand, and is gone before I can even blink. THE TAPE ROLLS. The legend speaks. 'This is A.C. Lyles, Paramount Pictures, in Hollywood, California.'


©The Hollywood Sentinel