“To some good guy,” began the letter to Las Palmas Restaurant. “I hope you will answer this. I have never heard my orchestra. Would you do a cassette (I’ll be glad to pay whatever) so I know how I sound?”
The correspondent: 92-year-old Mildred Snitzer. The intended: the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, a jazz combo whose members--actors Jeff Goldblum and Peter Weller among them--play Monday nights at the Hollywood Boulevard eatery.
The whole Mildred affair started last year when Goldblum and his compatriots, poised to jam at the Playboy Jazz Festival, found themselves pressed for what to call themselves. Goldblum suggested the name of a family friend from his Pittsburgh childhood. So was born the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.
It’s a funny thing when your name goes off to live a life of its own. Snitzer, who has survived two husbands and is now dating an 88-year-old retired colonel, didn’t hear about the jazz band until a friend sent her a clipping from the San Jose Mercury News.
“I knew Jeff when he was 12 years old,” recalls Snitzer from her Palo Alto home. “He was playing the drums and piano, and he was going to be an actor. His father was my doctor, and he had a great, dynamic mother.”
Goldblum remembers Snitzer as a very handsome woman, with a lot of thick hair “and an upper lip sculpted in a lovely way,” he says.
Snitzer hoots, then admits, “Honey, my hair is the one thing I’ve got left.” She says Goldblum called her once, but didn’t leave a number. She doesn’t seem upset that her name has been usurped--just curious about how her other half lives. “I love Dixieland jazz, so I hope that’s what I’m doing.”