VAN NUYS (CNS) — The coronavirus brought a sudden end to the 25-five-year-long romance of a Hollywood couple, who, in the words of widow Lynne Lerner, “lived for each other.”
She is an actress. Her husband was Larry Lerner, an assistant director, who died on April 1 of COVID-19 at the age of 71.
More than 25 years ago, Lynne Lerner walked onto the set of “China Beach,” an 80s TV show about medics in the Vietnam War, to check in for work as an extra. There, she met Larry Lerner, an assistant director on the show.
As a married couple … they loved to rescue pit bulls together, attended Emmy events and watched TV in their Van Nuys home. She acted in “General Hospital,” “Married with Children” and “Days of our Lives,” The Times reported, and he worked on shows that included “The Man in the High Castle,” “Ambitions” and “Drop Dead Diva.” Sometimes they worked together.
“We were best buddies,” Lynne Lerner, 67, told The Times. “We did everything together, everything. We were joined at the hip. I thought he’d be here forever.”
She said she and her husband got sick around the same time in mid-March, but they were never too worried. They were healthy, their symptoms didn’t match with the most severe cases of COVID-19 and they followed all the safety protocols to protect themselves.
He developed a low fever and a cough, but it wasn’t a dry cough. She was weak, but had no other symptoms. Their doctor told them to go to the hospital only if they reached a fever of over 102 degrees. They felt they could battle it out at home.
On the evening of March 22, she heard her husband bump into something in the living room. She found him on the floor. When the paramedics arrived, Larry’s fever was 104 degrees. He was admitted to the intensive care unit at Valley Presbyterian Hospital and put on a ventilator. Because she felt so weak, she was also hospitalized.
The following day, the couple called each other on FaceTime from their hospital beds.
“Hi, baby, everything’s fine,” she recalled her husband saying. “I’m fine. I love you.”
That was the last time she saw him. More than a week later, a doctor called Lynne, who had already returned home, to tell her that Larry had died.
On social media, friends from the Directors Guild of America remembered Larry Lerner as a kind man and talented assistant director. He was on several committees for the guild, and was always helpful to anyone who needed it, his wife said.
Now Lynne worries about who she’ll turn to for help now that her best friend is gone, and what she’ll do with the insurance bills that have piled up. She is still trying to get a refund for a European cruise booked for June.
It was supposed to have been the cruise of a lifetime and the celebration of their 25th anniversary.
“We lived for each other,” she said.