THE FIRST TIME Elizabeth Marvel saw Bill Camp, he was a college dropout, and she was a 15-year-old girl making drawings on the floor. It was the mid-’80s, and Beth (he calls her Beth) was a student at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. At this point, Bill had left the University of Vermont and been accepted at Juilliard, but before he went back to school, he and some buddies took a road trip out West to live in a tepee in Colorado. Along the way, they dropped in unannounced on an old pal from UVM who happened to be Beth’s teacher. She was struck by these 20-something guys, the way their long hair and camo shorts seemed like the height of cool. He barely noticed her.
The first time Bill Camp saw Elizabeth Marvel was a few years later. He was still at Juilliard, doing a work-study gig as an audition monitor, and she was one of the young actors hoping to be accepted. The place was crackling with nervous energy, but none of it was coming from Beth. She was sitting in the corner, smoking, without a care in the world. Bill was amazed by this self-assured girl in jeans, Wallabees, and an oxford shirt that was too big for her. He lit her cigarette and wanted to say something charming, but he got nervous and couldn’t find the words.
Beth did get in, and Bill was the one who gave her a tour on her first day. They talked for three hours afterward. But their first date wasn’t until after Bill had graduated. He came back to see a show on campus, and Beth was there, running around barefoot, working as an usher. He was still smitten, and at intermission he asked her out. They went to the Emerald Inn on Columbus, and when a bunch of Beth’s classmates walked in, they left immediately.
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