What happens to very successful people? I think they go a little crazy. I was watching the actor Wesley Snipes after he had been sentenced to a term of three years in prison for failing to file a tax return and non- payment of taxes. Apparently he failed to file over an elongated period. Like the next man I fully understand anyone’s desire to minimize the amount of tax they will legitimately pay, but who but an egomaniac or just a simple maniac, would think they could simply decide not to pay tax?
I was once traveling in a helicopter, being piloted by a singer from a world famous rock band when he, looking down at the traffic jams on the road below us from his Olympian height, asked me, without irony, “I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t have one of these do you?”
Have you noticed that the super rich and pampered amongst our number seem to have a smooth shine to their faces as if nothing worries them? This is sheen beyond Botox. I think it comes from believing that you’re inherently superior to anyone else. Of course this is spectacularly obvious in Beverly Hills, where I am currently situated. Even the pet dogs are richer than most mere mortals like you and me. I don’t think that I’m imagining that they even bark posh.
People who were edgy and interesting, like J.K. Rowling become smoother than the finest cashmere, and they also lose something, call it reality. I was once quite friendly with a very well known novelist, Wilbur Smith. My late father produced two of his books into films, and I worked on them. Wilbur was a lot of fun, and quite a character. After he became a giant success he appeared to grow a carapace that I’m confident he would view as simple self-protection. I am concerned that it’s nearer to Wilbur sharing the belief of the super successful that his pooh no longer smells. Rest assured Wilbur, it does.
Another who seems to suffer from an inflated, misplaced sense of self worth is Roger Moore. I worked on the same two films, Gold and Shout at the Devil, with Roger that were based on Wilbur Smith books. Roger was a lot of fun when he still had a real sense of his place in the world. Perhaps his then wife, Luisa, who never took Roger or herself too seriously, helped this. The more money and fame that Roger accumulated the less likeable he became. Now he has a great deal of fame and money you can guess at the result. I’m sure that Roger genuinely means well in his commendable work for UNESCO but that doesn’t make someone a saint.
This is not always the result and generally it isn’t when the person concerned is secure in themselves and their ability. It also helps when the famous person is intelligent. That is not always the case. Roger Moore would do well to study and emulate his good friend, Michael Caine, who never becomes a caricature of himself. But witty anecdotes aside, Roger couldn’t grow a bigger brain, however hard he might try.