My most interesting interview was with Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine’s friend named ‘Sasha’

2 months ago 58

Bad luck to cross black cats

Every reporter asks, “What’s your most interesting interview?”

So: Once dwelt Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine. His wife Tova owned a cosmetics company. At one of her events her place card next to me read “Sasha.” No last name. Tova: “She won’t be boring.”

People scuffling. Chains rattling. A sleek brunette. But TOO sleek. Eight feet LONG not tall. Yellow eyes, electrolysis-like whiskers. Sasha — full-size, full-grown, full-length, full-fur black panther.

My greeting? Holy s - - t. What’s her main dish? The busboy?

This logo of Tova’s skin care op traveled with handlers. In a cage. On a truck. Going upstairs the elevator man required resuscitation. Tova’d gotten a Beverly Hills city license, multimillion-dollar liability insurance policy and million-dollar City Council rider.

On a short leash

Uncaged, on a tight chain like on a battleship anchor, Sasha bared her teeth. She pooed on the hot pink wall-to-wall rug. I talked to her and said: “I don’t discriminate. I’m just as crazy about a panther as the next guy.” I reached to pet her. She growled. I stopped petting.

One trainer — both hands on the chain near Sasha’s neck — said, “Do not look to cradle her head. Stand, sit slowly. No sudden moves. Walk, do not bolt or she’ll think you’re prey. Keep quiet. Don’t yell or scream. Anything scares her she might become aggressive.” WE’RE scaring HER?!

Tova: “Sasha’s done movies. Sasha has an agent. Exotic Paws. However, she does not audition. She’s already got the part.

“No amateur, she’s posed for Elle with models, done TV with Dolly Parton, a layout with Cyndi Lauper, she’s earned a fortune.” (Her agent beats mine.)

Feline’s fête

The waiter poured coffee. Slowly. Very slowly. Sasha’d taken to lying flat out in the center of the room.

Trainer: “Not sure how long she’ll stay. If she suddenly decides she doesn’t like somebody we have to take her out of here.” So how to tell when she doesn’t like you? Trainer, softly: “She’ll let you know.

“Reverse problem is if she gets turned on by you. Certain colognes affect them. They’ll pant. Maybe even rub against you and drool.”

Just an average night out when writing a column.

Take comfort in creatures

CONSIDERING we’re into creatures: In Deshnoke, India’s Karni Mata Temple rats are worshipped, fed fabulous meals, pampered. Ask why? In the 14th century Karni Mata’s son (no idea who he was) drowned. She reincarnated him. Also decreed that no other in her family would ever die. Instead, her loved ones would return in the form of rats.

Don’t pick on me. I’m sharing my vast intellectual knowledge. I mean, where else would you get such information? 

FRIDAY, when the whole world turned wet, I was due at Chelsea Piers’ New York State Broadcasters Assoc. lunch. John Catsimatidis’ WABC radio station had won eight awards. Me, I’d won Outstanding Feature — my interview with Andrew Cuomo right after he became ex gov. What’ll happen to him, I don’t know. What happened to me, I know: I never collected my award because I couldn’t get out of the house.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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