For nearly sixty years I used to think that I was the only Warren Adler in the world. In school, from elementary to college, in the United States Army where I served and in my career as a writer. Up to then I had never met or even heard about another Warren Adler.
It made me believe that my parents had given me a name so unique that it couldn’t be replicated. I was told I was named after a great grandfather whose name was “Wolf” and my Hebrew name is Zev, which means Wolf.
I have a feeling, although never admitted by my parents, that the name Warren was suggested by the President Warren Harding, who died in office four years before my parents were married.
As a youngster I felt a strange kinship with people named Warren and could usually relate to movie stars named Warren, like the slick moustached slightly sleazy Warren Williams or the wacky rubber faced sidekick named Warren Hymer. Actually I was rather disappointed in the definition of Warren, which is usually defined as a place that houses rabbits…as in rabbit warren.
Throughout my early life I can’t remember ever personally meeting anyone named Warren, although in my middle years I did come across numerous last named Warrens like the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren and I once met a girl from Warren, Ohio, which gave me my opening line to make her acquaintance.
Once while waiting for an airliner in a crowded airport, I heard Warren Adler being called, but when someone else answered I thought I had misheard the name.
It was when I first arrived in Los Angeles that my bubble of uniqueness was shattered. It was in the summer of 1985. I was invited to attend a movie at the Directors Guild. By then, I had published about a dozen novels and the movie industry had taken some notice by optioning or purchasing outright a few of my books, among which was The War of the Roses and Random Hearts, both of which were destined to be made into movies.
I pulled my car into the parking lot behind the Directors Guild building prior to the screening. Suddenly I had what might be called a heart stopping experience. Painted on the asphalt was a reserved spot for Warren Adler. I couldn’t believe it. This was somebody’s idea of a joke, I reasoned,after rejecting the absurd idea that this was the way people were welcomed to tinsel land.
It turned out, of course, that the spot belonged to the Warren Adler who was then, I believe, counsel to the Directors Guild. Soon after, I decided to call the other Warren Adler in the hope that it might be amusing to trade experiences or simply get acquainted. I left a message and for some reason he never answered my call.
Years later a mutual friend who knew him told me that he might have felt skittish about confronting someone with his name on so many books. Perhaps our mutual name was more of an annoyance to him. Indeed, this blog is prompted by the fact that a story in Variety has announced that Warren Adler is retiring from the Directors Guild after a distinguished career as a respected executive of the Guild. I wish him luck.
Since that time, the Internet explosion has revealed that there are a number of Warren Adlers in the world. It may not have the popularity of a Smith or a Jones but it has humbled the opinion of my uniqueness.
It goes to show that we are all connected in some mysterious way and, as the poet says, no man is an island.
Will the real Warren Adler please stand?