Living with Rodney Dangerfield
The Christmas season may be over, but last December held special significance for Joan Dangerfield who married comedian Rodney Dangerfield 25 years ago on December 26. The pair had dated for 10 years following a chance meeting in 1983 when Rodney strolled passed Joan’s Santa Monica flower shop.
“Being a diehard fan, I recognized Rodney immediately,” Joan recalled from her West Hollywood home. “I was 16 when I first saw him on ‘The Tonight Show’ and suddenly there he was, 14 years later, walking towards me, the funniest man in the world. For me, it was love at first sight, the holy grail of encounters. He was fascinating and had those soulful azure-blue eyes, the color of the sky on a clear day. I couldn’t look at him without smiling.”
The bug-eyed, tie-fidgeting, comedian who cracked up audiences for decades with his often self-deprecating ‘no respect’ style of rapid fire one-liners began dropping by each morning to watch Joan arrange flowers. Despite their clearly different backgrounds – Joan was raised in a Utah Mormon family – the two hit it off immediately.
“I felt like the luckiest person in the world,” she said. “To have your own personal comedian constantly surprising you, I couldn’t wait to wake up each day.”
Joan remembers Dangerfield working hard at his craft, writing his own standup material often taking months to perfect a joke. He would dash off to local comedy clubs in the evenings, sometimes two or three a night, to try out a new joke and experiment with its delivery and placement within a routine.