|Charlie & Oona, Christmas 1962|
He always got very depressed at Christmas because we made it the big fiesta of the year. There were a lot of children and a big Christmas tree, and loads and loads of presents. He’d come down in the morning and see them, get pretty depressed and go into the library and say, “All I had was an orange when I was your age.” Then we’d come in and show him our presents and say, “You bought me this lovely dress!” And he’d say, “Oh!” and brighten up and be OK.
Then he managed to die on Christmas Day. He was never able to spoil Christmas for us because there were always so many presents. Finally he died on Christmas Day! All the presents were under the tree and someone came down and said, “Grandfather died.” The grandchildren said to Michael, “Does that mean we can’t open the presents?” So Michael took all the presents into the garage and they had a party there.
—Variety (Special Supplement), April 2003