..and his friends followed suit…Ensuring you know about the life of a behind the scenes, brilliant talent..
JIMMY RICH, RIP.
Assistants to top flight personnel are like the central nervous and immune systems of a successful production. You, as a viewer do not know they have done great work. Because, like all the best productivity in the universe, it’s about the result. If what is up there, on screen, made its deadline, met its budget and entertains you seamlessly as you much popcorn?
Then doff a cap to the assistants: they ensured the star got to work, stayed organised, remained calm and balanced.
They take a large burden away from the set and the team entrusted with the honing of the movie. They are part of a team within a team that extends to production co-ordinators, location managers and scouts, costume wranglers, script editors and so on. I could list them all but hey, even I cannot spend all day typing stuff about film, much as I would genuinely love to do so.
It has been something of a habit though and point of principle to look out on the credits for ‘assistant to so and so’. Dunno where that started, but I do it, anytime I watch even parts of an end credit run.
Point is clear, anyway. These are the unsung heroes onscreen. Ironically enough: their initial invisibility is a great tribute to the work undertaken. At least, until, one is lost from the ranks in tragic circumstances. And it is in that very spirit that ROBERT DOWNEY JUNIOR took the time and the decency to share tributes to his assistant, JIMMY RICH.
Downey’s words were a measure of the man and the comrade lost. By doing this personal turn, it brought home the importance of the assistant’s job. Sheer class: as in, valuing the person based on their character and work; probity, decency and honour. You can then see, in further tributes paid by fellow Avengers, that art mirrors life.
The team banded together and comforted Downey. Hemsworth! Ruffalo! Pratt! Paltrow! And at the same time? All reminding us that film, at its best, is still a community of equals. And it is that ideal, that philosophical and pastoral bond, which ensures the art-form lasts forever, in whichever platform or format prevails. It transcends class, war, (or class war), sex, race, creed and colour and engenders the very best in human resilience and compassion.
If you want a cinematic image counterpart relative to the Marvel idiom? This is a ‘his name was PHIL’ moment. Bittersweet but no less beautiful and moving for it.
So, yes, a very sad loss to all who knew Jimmy. But what a legacy of love and work and inspiration. Read Downey’s tribute here.
Thoughts to all concerned at this sad time; I do hope comfort is found in the celebration of a life well lived and ongoing tributes being paid.