Jimmy Elidrissi, Waldorf Bellhop for Five Decades, Dies at 74
“He loved theater and music, but knew that it would be difficult for him to have a career path as an immigrant in the 60s,” Rajaa Elidrissi said of his father. “He also had to send funds to his family in Morocco. He asked for help from a Catholic charity, and they helped him find the Waldorf.
He was hired at the hotel on April 21, 1966, at $ 1.23 an hour (about $ 10.50 in today’s money) and began rotating various jobs. He requested a try as a hunter. “Almost 50 years later, I’m staying here,” he said in 2015.
He was so present at the Waldorf, his daughter said, that he played a bellboy as an extra – no rehearsal necessary – in several films, including “The Out-of-Towners” (1970), starring Jack Lemmon; “Scent of a Woman” (1992), with Al Pacino; and “Analyze This” (1999), with Robert De Niro.
After his retirement, Mr. Elidrissi intended to write a revealing book. He had to include, he said, his thoughts, however brief, on every president he had met, from Lyndon B. Johnson to Barack Obama. “He started writing stories and I was transcribing them, but we couldn’t finish,” his daughter Rajaa said. He had plenty to talk about.
Like when Lucille Ball asked for breakfast at 5 a.m., or when Eddie Fisher ordered 40 sandwiches for friends after a late-night supper club, or when Jerry Lewis arrived at 3 a.m. and s ‘is strolled through a hallway ringing the room bells as he passed.
He remembered meeting Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential campaign against Jimmy Carter.
“There you go, Mr. President,” he remembers saying, greeting the candidate, “and he said:“ No, no, don’t call me that yet! So I said, “Listen, Mr. President, you are going to win and when you win, send me something for my son.” Later that year he sent a signed photo to my son.
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