Sunday, November 9, 2014

Belinda And Morgan Mason: Love At Third Sight AKA Every Queen Of Yuppie Rock Needs A King

No one goes Yuppie alone. No, even the most determined of us need some kind of push, some outside source of momentum. It comes when we least expect it, and in the form of the most unlikely vessels. For Belinda Carlisle, that vessel was a man named Morgan Mason.

It must have seemed like a far-fetched proposition in 1984. This was one '80s wild child who couldn't be tamed. Belinda was forever destined to tumble from man to man, leaving a trail of white dust and Solid Gold appearances in her wake. But alas, 'twas not to be. It turns out that all this godless heathen needed was the right preacher to show her the Yuppie light. From Lips Unsealed:
I went on a few dates and for some odd reason received a flurry of calls from political types, guys with Washington, DC, connections. One guy was the son of a senator. Another was a lawyer who remarked that he had been part of a congressional hearing that was covered on the news and asked if I had seen him. Uh, no, I hadn't. I didn't know how my name got on those politicos' list - who knows, maybe it was date-a-rock-star month in DC - but I thought it was funny.

Then, in early December, with 1984 coming to a close, my DJ friend Rodney Bingenheimer called out of the blue and said a guy with whom he was peripherally acquainted had contacted him about being set up with me. His name was Morgan Mason, and as Rodney explained, he came with an impressive pedigree and resume. He was the oldest of two children of actor James Mason and his socialite wife, Pamela. As a child, he had appeared in several movies, including The Sandpiper with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He had worked in Ronald Reagan's White House as deputy chief of protocol and special assistant to the president for political affairs. In 1982, he had left the White House and signed on as a vice president of the international PR firm Rogers & Cowan. He had also dated Joan Collins.

Being the son of famous parents didn't impress me. In Hollywood, "children of" were a dime a dozen and often the last people I would have wanted to date. His White House connection didn't impress me either, as I barely knew who Ronald Reagan was.
Uhhhhh ... he was the president? You know, of the United States? Seriously, Belinda? I'd like to think she's exaggerating here, but I have my suspicions. I mean, he'd already been president for four years. Oh man, what would her intensely political L.A. punk contemporaries have said?
I found the last bit about him having dated Joan Collins funny.

"Oh, I'm never going to get along with someone who went out with Joan Collins," I said. "Forget it."

"But he really wants to meet you," Rodney said ... I agreed to meet him at a party for a new Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills ... He was probably a nice guy, which didn't appeal to me at all. How could I possibly get along with anybody who had worked in Washington and dated Joan Collins?
I wasn't there long before one of the junior publicists grabbed my arm and took me to meet Morgan. He was outfitted from head to toe in Brooks Brothers. He looked very straitlaced and unlike anyone I had ever dated. When we were introduced, he was utterly, almost rudely dismissive and totally uninterested in me. Wasn't he the one who wanted to meet me? Yet he wasn't nice. I didn't get it.

I asked him for a cigarette and he nonchalantly tossed one at me. "Here," he said, before turning his back and disappearing into the crowd. I thought, How dare he! It was like a scene from a 1940s movie.

A couple of days later, [my friend] Diane and I were having a girlfriends' lunch at La Scala Boutique ... I spotted Morgan at one of the black booths ... a few minutes later, he got up and came over to our table. He was in another beautiful suit, with his hair perfect. He was extremely dapper and self-confident. He asked, "What's going on?" and dropped his business card on the table. I shrugged. "Nothing." He smiled and said, "Well, if anything is going on, you have my card."

As soon as he was gone, I turned to Diane and made a face as if I had just tasted sour milk.

"Ewwwww!" I said. "He's just so arrogant."
"Like, omigod! He's just so ... grody. He's worse than like, breaking a nail."
But I guess, at least in retrospect, Morgan knew what he was doing, because I couldn't stop thinking about him. I had tickets to a Hall and Oates concert on December 21 at the Forum and wanted to invite him ... two nights later, Morgan picked me up in a limo. I was still living in the hideous condo left over from my Mike Marshall debacle and felt like I had to explain why I lived there when it wasn't really me. But within seconds the long black chariot was whisking us to the Forum and the two of us were talking as if we had been friends for years. We got along ridiculously well. It was instantaneous and one of the biggest surprises of my life.
I guess Hall & Oates really knew the M.E.T.H.O.D. of Modern Love, eh?
We had a blast at the show, which was great, and then flashed our VIP passes to get into the after-party at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant Spago. After five minutes, Morgan suggested grabbing dinner on our own and he spirited me away to a cozy corner booth at Trader Vic's, a landmark Beverly Hills hideaway, where we ordered giant Scorpion drinks and pretty much decided we wanted to get married and spend the rest of our lives with each other.
Well, why be picky? Laugh if you must; their friends certainly did, but those cautionary chortles quickly turned into sad sighs of envy. They have remained married to this very day.

Of course, Morgan Mason probably thought he'd scored the catch of a lifetime. But little did he know, his beautiful new bride wasn't quite the perfect all-American pop princess she appeared to be. For those of you thinking that Morgan hit the '80s pop jackpot, well, in the words of those wise philosophers Poison, "Every rose has its thorn." Yes, he got to marry Belinda Carlisle. But let your little schadenfreude hearts be warmed by this thought: he also had to put up with years of 1) out-of-control drug abuse, 2) eating disorders, 3) rampant low self-esteem, 4) various degrees of dishonesty, 5) mood swings, 6) career stagnation, and 7) absentee parenting - and not necessarily in that order. In other words, good luck, Morgan: you're gonna need it.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Whomever wrote this is a moron

Me said...

Whomever wrote this is a moron