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My dad, Billy Baldwin and Al Bevilacqua

WARNING: Excessive name-dropping follows

On Sunday — the same day I toured Shanghai’s Sex Expo — my dad, David E. Washburn, turned 67. He was also inducted into the Massapequa High School Hall of Fame on Sunday, in Long Island, New York, 49 years after he was a member of MHS’s first-ever graduating class. I’m still not clear what one must do to enter the Hall — it’s not just about sports, although my dad was quite the sports star in high school — but if any school requires a Hall of Fame, it is Massapequa. That place has produced more than its share of notable names. Here’s a rundown: Jerry Seinfeld, all of the Baldwin brothers, Steve Guttenberg (set to appear on Veronica Mars this fall), Peggy Noonan, Ron Kovic, Brian Setzer, Brian Baldinger, Timothy Van Patten (he’s directed episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street, Sex and the City, The Sopranos and The Wire … but he’ll always be “Salami” from The White Shadow to me) and, yes, Joey Buttafuoco and Jessica Hahn. Can we just go ahead and call that the cast of Surreal Life 6? I’ve thought and thought and thought, but I can’t come up with one famous person who graduated from Bloomsburg High School, my alma mater, and that place has been around for a lot more than 49 years. My college produced a girl who went on to appear on Survivor. Does that count?

Billy Baldwin — excuse me, William — appeared at the Hall of Fame ceremony because his mom, also a 2005 inductee, was unable to attend. My dad knew the Baldwins’ father, Alexander Baldwin, who was a social studies teacher at Massapequa. William hasn’t appeared in a movie with a name I recognize since the 1995 stinker Fair Game with Cindy Crawford. But don’t call him “Guttenberg” just yet. He’s getting great buzz for his portrayal of a hippie tennis pro in this fall’s The Squid and the Whale, a Sundance favorite written and directed by regular Wes Anderson collaborator Noah Baumbach, the man behind one of my favorite movies, Kicking and Screaming. Baldwin also has been tapped to star in a new series called Pros and Cons, created by J.J. Abrams of Alias and Lost fame. Talk about six degrees of Massapequa High School.

Anyway, as much as the Sexual Love Magic Ball amused me, I wish I could have been in Massapequa on Sunday (even though Chynna Phillips-Baldwin didn’t make the trip). Congratulations, dad. And happy birthday.

(Oh, and who is the other guy in the photo? The one on the left? None other than former Massapequa wrestling coach Al Bevilacqua, who was immortalized in the Seinfeld episode “The Race.”)

08.05.2005, 1:24 AM · Diary


  1. dan,

    glad to see i have yet to be relegated to lowly “steve guttenberg” status!

    when you father accepted his induction into the massapequa hall of fame he commented that MY father was one of the greatest influences during that young and impressionable crossroads in his life. your father accepted was great class and dignity. sorry it appears that these qualities have experienced a generational break in your case with you achieveing the lofty goals of commenting on the intelligence, talent, success, and fame of others. i’m sure your father is so proud of such smarmy endeavors.

    good luck to you and your book deal! can’t wait to read (wipe my ass with) that one. regards to your elegant father and enjoy squid!

    william baldwin

  2. dan,

    thank you for not relegating to lowly “steve guttenberg” status just yet.

    when your father accepted his induction into the massapequa high school hall of fame - he commented that my father was one of the most influential and impressive men that he had ever known - having made an enormous impression on him during that most vulnerable crossroads in his life. he accepted with tremendous class, grace and dignity.

    so sorry that these qualities have seemed to have experienced a generational skip in your case with you achieveing the lofty endeavors of a barnacle -making a living commenting on the intelligence, talent, success and fame of others.

    i’m sure your father must be so proud of such smarmy achievements. good luck with the book deal! can’t wait to (wipe my ass with) read that one. let me know if i can be of any assistance. have lots of contact in that arena. looks like you might need the help. regards to your father and enjoy squid!

    all the best,

    william baldwin

  3. This comment was previously posted under the name “Steve Guttenberg.” It’s (obviously) a fake. But we’re pretty sure the previous two comments are disturbingly real. Ed.

    Thanks for the free press guys!

    William, glad to see your status as a superstar doesn’t keep you from commenting on blog appearances. Also it was interesting seeing the two iterations of your ill-advised letter. A fascinating insight into the writing of a multifaceted talent. Obviously you have access to an excellent thesaurus.

    Best of luck with your future art/endeavors/goals.

    When you’re done wiping your ass with all those scripts you must be getting, feel free to pass them along.


  4. ill-advised letter? (obviously)a fake? disturbingly real? who’s ed? why isn’t anyone talking about the great al bev???


Shanghai Diaries is a website about Shanghai, China ... and lots of other stuff. Voted Best Mainland China Blog in the 2004 Asia Blog Awards.

Editor: Dan Washburn

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Dan is a freelance writer living in Shanghai. More about Dan.

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