Flashback Friday: the day Anthony LaPaglia yelled (and yelled) at me

Remember Anthony LaPaglia, the Aussie actor who made it big in the US with a starring role in the TV series Without A Trace?

More recently – aside from appearing in in the political thriller Balibo back in 2009 – he’s been better known as The Slap and Underbelly star Jonathan LaPaglia’s older brother.

That’s Hollywood for you. Cold. Brutal.

But 10 years ago he was HOT, stalked by the paparazzi whenever he came home for a visit. And it used to drive him CRAZY.

So, during my time as editor of Woman’s Day, I bought a set of photos of him playing  a friendly game of soccer in the suburbs with some mates. He was taking his shirt off in one of them and … let’s just say he looked like he’d been over-indulging in the spaghetti carbonara.

One of the sub-editors at Woman’s Day thought it would be a lark to call him Anthony LaPudgier in the caption accompanying the pic. And I didn’t notice when I was checking the page proofs.

But someone did. Anthony’s mum.

Anthony’s mum was really dirty about it. Couldn’t hold her head up in Adelaide because of the shame we’d brought on her family. So she rang Anthony in Los Angeles (he’d returned home by then) and expressed her concern that his name had been besmirched in her favourite magazine.


So Anthony rang me to have a go.

In those good old days I had a PA. I can’t tell you how much I loved having a PA. Especially one that understood the difference between phone calls I wanted to receive and ones I didn’t. The divine Di tried talking Anthony off the ledge for about 45 minutes before finally admitting defeat and advising me he wasn’t going to give up, so I’d better take the call.

And then Anthony proceeded to yell at me for another 45 minutes while I repeatedly apologised. In the background I could hear his wife, Gia Carides, giving it a red hot go too, loudly screeching her displeasure, offering creative suggestions on new ways he should castigate me.

In the end he turned and told her to SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH. Or words to that effect.

Slice of life, let me tell you.

Eventually he tired of yelling at me and asked to be put through to my boss so he could have a go at some fresh meat higher up the food chain. Ninety minutes of displeasure had not cooled his ire in the slightest.

The divine Di put him through to my boss’s PA, who was so dazzled to have Anthony LaPaglia on the phone that she put him straight through to my boss without checking, and he proceeded to yell at her for 45 minutes …

He was very, very, very cross that we’d dissed the gut and shamed his mama. Very, very cross.

More than two hours cross. I hate to think what his phone bill looked like.

My boss was a whizz with the charm and she eventually soothed his terribly wounded ego and offered a donation to his favourite charity to seal the deal.

And he finally hung up, appeased.

At the time and all these years later I still can’t quite believe a grown man could yell for that long at four women because aspersions had been cast on his manly girth.

But he did.

Ah, those were the days.

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