Robert Goulet has left us, too soon, too soon. He was waiting for a lung transplant that never came ... but he retained his humor until the end, asking doctors who entubated him to please avoid his vocal cords.
I first saw Goulet on Broadway, in “Camelot.” I was thirteen, maybe younger.
Many years later, in 1991, my Chicago writer pal Bill Zehme and I collaborated on “The Bob Book: A Celebration of the Ultimate Okay Guy,” (that would be Bob). Just in case you're wondering why two guys named David and Bill wrote about Bob it's because we realized that unlike men with any other name, Bobs were basically alike, and they were everywhere. My epiphany came when I pulled into a roadside eatery's parking lot off Highway 5 near Sacramento and looked up to see a red neon sign that read "SmorgaBob's." Bill's dad is named Bob. Anyway, we put some ads in various magazines soliciting Bobs everywhere to send for the Bob Survey. Thousands did. (These were the days before tacky-back stamps. Our dedication to Bob took a licking but never flagged.) We also sent our Bob Survey to famous and semi-famous Bobs far and wide. Among the respondents: Bob Barker, Buffalo Bob Smith, Bob Costas, Bob Cummings, Bob Denver, Bob Dole, Bob Dylan, Bob Eiger, Bob Elliot, Bob Eubanks, Bob Evans (not Hollywood Bob Evans), Bob Feller, Bob Guccione Jr., Bob Hope, Bob Kane (Batman), Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan, Bob Mackie, Bob Newhart, Bob Saget, Bob Vila, Bob Balaban, Bob Schieffer – and Robert Goulet.
Robert Goulet was one of the rare Robert "Bobs". While we strongly emphasized the point that Bobs were not Roberts, Robs, Robbs, Robbys, Bobbys, or otherwise, we did reveal how some Bobs had to go by Robert for professional reasons. Robert Redford (who sent us a nice note signed, “Just another Bob”), Robert/Bob/Bobby De Niro, and Robert “Bob” Urich are just some examples.
For some reason, after the book came out – and became an instant and best-selling classic, I might add – Robert Goulet sent us a Seasons Greetings card EVERY YEAR, featuring a picture of him and his wife Vera. What a gentleman.
Here in honored memoriam, are Goulet’s entry in The Bob Book, and his answers to The Bob Survey.
Robert “Bob” Goulet is a classic Robert “Bob.” He has an extremely deep voice that would be missed if ever Bob should leave us.
WHAT BEING BOB MEANS: A helluva lot more than Bubba.
MY GREAT WEEKEND: To be somewhere on a cliff overlooking the sea with a bottle of good wine, some excellent food, my loved one by my side, and plenty of “Gomer Pyle” tapes.
BAD BOBS I’VE KNOWN: None yet!
I’M HANDY AT: Opening the refrigerator door.
BEHAVIOR I DISKLIKE: Stuffy, or that of those who think too much of themselves.
MY HELL ON EARTH: A bad marriage.
WHO I TRUST AND DISTRUST: My wife. Oh Lord, I used to trust everyone, but after a few personal and monetary loses I’m much more wary.
MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT WOMEN: You never really know. But all you need to know is to love and respect them.
ON MY NIGHTSTAND: Magazines, books, a TV clicker, and a cup of coffee.
TIME ON MY HAIR/MY LOOK: Very little. I just try to keep it out of my eyes.
COMFORTWEAR: Blue jeans, cotton sweaters, running shoes.
BOYHOOD DREAM: To be a gynecologist.
FREE ADVICE: Do everything in moderation except when it comes to showing your love to your fellow man.
Book: Poems of T.S. Eliot
Movie: On the Waterfront
Magazine: World Press Review
Cereal: All Bran
Song: The Star Spangled Banner
After Shave: Sea Breeze
Sandwich: Tuna Fish
Drink: Iced tea
News Anchor: All three
Smoke: A good cigar.