Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Tribute to Cleo Baldon Melchior

Spending time with Cleo Melchior at the Melchior residence in July 2012. This photo was taken the night before I left Los Angeles.

This morning I woke up to some of the worst I've read in years, via classic horror writer Tom Weaver. Cleo Baldon Melchior, the wife of writer-director Ib Melchior (Reptilicus, The Angry Red Planet), passed away on October 12 of a stroke. No other details seem to be available at the moment, but I know that I'll always cherish the time I was honored to spend in this wonderful lady's company.

Born on June 1, 1927, Cleo worked as a landscape architect who specialized in designing swimming pools. She had several celebrity clients, some of whom she told me about over many dinners we would have together.

I first met Mrs. Melchior in September 2009 when I traveled to Los Angeles to visit some friends. This was shortly after I relocated to Rancho Mirage, CA, after a four-year stay in North Dakota. In 2008, I interviewed Ib Melchior for G-FAN magazine about his monster movies, and shortly thereafter I also reviewed his book Melchior A La Carte for the magazine. When I moved back to California, Ib kindly invited me to stay at his home if I wanted to come to L.A. Of course, I readily accepted the invitation.

I spent the night at Ib and Cleo's house and was privileged to get to know them. But that was only the beginning. Over the next year and a half, I would visit the Melchiors several times, staying at their home when I would come to the L.A. area.

With Cleo and Ib Melchior at a book signing for Ib's book Six Cult Films from the Sixties in June 2010.

The last time I Cleo was when I stayed at their home in July 2012 when I was visiting the U.S. from Japan. I stayed at their home for about a week and gave the Melchiors several gifts from Japan, including a Japanese-style teapot that Cleo seemed to enjoy very much. During this time, their regular caregiver was on vacation, and in many ways I was able to step in and offer my assistance. For example, a friend of the Melchiors was hosting a party, so I drove the Melchiors to the area and assisted them at the event.

Thoughts of my last moments at the Melchiors' home has been running through my mind ever since I read the heart-breaking news. Cleo Melchior was like a grandmother to me, and I'll always remember her warmth, kindness, and humor. She and Ib were a great couple, and I'm so glad they were able to find each other. If you didn't believe in the concept of soulmates before meeting the Melchiors, you would have afterward. They were a perfect pair.

As much as I could go on about Cleo, words seem so futile to me now. Those of us who knew and loved Cleo mourn her loss, and we send our condolences to Ib.

1 comment:

  1. Alas, poking into this reminisence, it was my turn to learn
    the sad news. Somehow, the it missed the cornfields where, after living many years in California, I replanted myself some years ago. Cleo was so important in my life. She and Ib opened Los Angeles for me and I luckily visited them in the shadow of the Chateau Marmont every time I was there scouting material for American Home.I considered her my second sister. What a remarkable woman and what happiness she and Ib found together. I'm saddened. Nancy Hewitt