Two days ago legendary Los Angeles movie-beat TV guy David Sheehan passed from cancer at age 82. Regrets and condolences for this one-time critic, interviewer, producer, man about town. Not the hippest cineaste I’ve ever spoken to but sharp and personable enough. Sheehan was hot stuff from the early ’70s to early aughts on KCBS, KNBC and then back to CBS.
In the spring of ’85 I was working for partnered publicists Bobby Zarem and Dick Delson, and their star client at the time was Sylvester Stallone. Delson and I were with Stallone out at KNBC studios in Burbank for a Tonight Show with Johnny Carson appearance. Delson and I were waiting in a large adjacent hallway while Stallone was attending to business.
All of a sudden Sheehan showed up with a camera and sound guy, wanting to speak with Stallone. Delson hadn’t approved this — it was a totally unscheduled, total guerilla ambush on Sheehan’s part.
Did Delson go up to Sheehan and say, “Look, if you want to do an interview let me talk to Sly, and if he’s agreeable we’ll figure something out.” No, and the reason was unclear. Either Delson didn’t personally like Sheehan or was extremely angry about the ambush and determined to rebuff all advances, or had he figured Stallone might not be amenable and didn’t want to risk angering him?
So Delson stood in the hallway and glared at Sheehan and sulked, and Sheehan and his camera guy just waited patiently for Stallone to appear.
Stallone emerged 10 or 15 minutes later, Sheehan pounced, they did a five-minute quickie…over and out.
Sheehan was obviously playing a kind of hardball game with Delson. He was basically saying “look, Stallone will be here in a few minutes and I work in this building so why can’t I just talk to him right now? Why do I have to play by your chickenshit rules when I don’t have to?”
He was clearly showing more balls in this situation than Delson was. Delson was giving him a deathray look, but Sheehan just chilled and kept his cool and did his job.