For fun…

Shakespeare’s Sister asked readers about their brushes with the famous and the comments are great.Go have some fun and check it out. Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences you can add there or here if you like.

Here’s a few from me. As a teenager while doing some civil rights work in Mississippi I heard Corretta Scott King speak at a little church. She was inspiring. With her was Ralph Abernathy. I remember Rev. Abernathy having been very nice. He sat on a porch and just talked with us for some time.

At about the same time of my youth Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden spoke at a house party. Afterwards Jane Fonda asked me where the bathroom was but as it was a house I did not know I stood there with my mouth agape not sure what to say…duh. She was also very nice.

As a grad student I worked at a hotel as a porter and driver. I met various famous folk and quite a few bands. One of the most memorable though was John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band who did the music for the film Eddie and the Cruisers. After their concert they asked me to take them to Lambeau Field because as kids they had been NY Giants fans whose team lost a few games to our vaunted 60’s Packers. Being late at night I wasn’t sure what I could show them but just driving into the parking lot these guys geeked out and in hushed tones repeatedly uttered…”This is hallowed ground.” They were supremely respectful and fun guys which made up for their stiffing me.

So hows about you???

39 thoughts on “For fun…

  1. Working as a stagehand, I have had many brushes with the famous. Vincent Price was a warm and gracious man. Stevie Ray Vaughn was a very nice man–he and his band were very friendly and ate with the crew instead of in their own private dining room as most bands did. The drummer with Muddy Waters’s band told me I was beautiful and wanted to take me on the road with them–he asked Muddy if that would be okay. Muddy was pretty trashed and couldn’t have cared less. (I did not go on the road with them, in case you’re wondering). Let’s see…oh, Imogene Coca had to practically be carried to her entrances when she came through town with Sugar Babies (?), but once on stage was amazing. Once she hit the wings,though, she appeared to be in the full stages of dementia. Once, while waiting for my luggage at the baggage carousel in JFK, I looked over and realized the other person there waiting with me was Tom Waits. I edged over to him and said “Tom Waits?” He edged away and warily said “yes?” and I just told him I enjoyed his music very much and walked away. He, relieved, thanked me and we went our separate ways. Guess those are the most notable run-ins I’ve had.

  2. I met George Clinton, ever so briefly, while walking into a bar while I was in college at Iowa State. I had already been drinking, so all I could say was, “You’re George mother fucking Clinton!” He stopped and shook my hand and said, “Yes, I mutha fuckin am.” It was pretty cool.
    The night I was to get engaged, I got a nice room in a nice, little hotel here in St. Louis. I was talking with some of the staff about setting things up when an old hippie guy rolled into the hotel and stopped next to me. I chatted with him for a bit, told him my situation and he and his wife/partner congratulated me. We talked a little while longer when I realized he was Arlo Guthrie. (To this day, I cannot believe I figured it out.)
    I saw John Edwards when he was in St. Louis during the presidential primaries. We were packed into the Duck Room, a concert venue that holds about 150 people, in the basement of Blueberry Hill, Chuck Berry’s restaurant. We were downstairs, so we didn’t get to see his entry, but apparently there were so many people outside, that the street was blocked off. He apparently got on top of a police cruiser and spoke for a few minutes with a megaphone, rock-star style. He came into the venue, and it felf like a rock concert. He gave a great speech…and I think he conceded to Kerry shortly thereafter. (I for one am a fan and would not mind him as the nominee in ’08.)
    I talked a little with J. Mascis and Mike Watt after concerts, but I don’t think that counts.

  3. I interviewed Sam Nunn (pompous jerk) and Rep. John Lewis (great guy and civil rights leader) when I was a reporter in Georgia; interviewed Bruce Jenner (pretty boy) when I worked for the high school paper and he came to our town as the new spokesperson for Tropicana Orange Juice (made in my hometown); gave a boat tour to Andy Garcia (nice, low-key guy in jeans, an old sweatshirt and a baseball cap) when I worked the Miami Boat Show for my uncle’s motoryacht company in college (he was looking for the Moppie, the smallest boat the company made at 32′); and got patted on the head by Danny Kaye when he came to our town to stump for Unicef when I was in second grade.
    But the most fun was when my brother, sister and I met Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap) and Gary Sandy (Andy Travis) at a Cincinnati Reds spring training game at Al Lang stadium in Tampa the spring after the first season of WKRP, which had become our favorite TV show. They were both wearing WKRP jackets but just hanging out in the stands watching the ball game with everybody else. Very nice, genuine guys who didn’t mind at all being bugged for autographs by just about every kid at that game; that was probably the only time they were asked to sign baseballs.

  4. living in NYC I had a lot of brushes w/ celebrity.
    At a performance of the Hard Nut by Mark Morris dance company at the Brooklyn Music Theatre, my ex and friends and I were sitting right behind John Kennedy Jr and Darryl Hannah. As if that wasn’t enough, they were joined by Annie Liebovitz and Susan Sontag. Needless to say, we didn’t introduce ourselves. Not that it’s news to anybody, but John Kennedy Jr was a very beatiful man. (hey, I’m gay, not blind)
    Once at a play (I’ve forgotten which one), during intermission, I was looking at the Lancome ad in the Playbill, struck by just how ineffably gorgeous Isabelli Rosselini was. I was distracted by people entering the row from the aisle and turning, I looked up from the picture — directly into the face of Isabella Rosselini who was sitting three seats down from me. I think I must have gasped – she giggled at me a little.
    Once in Austin, Melissa Ethridge and her then girlfriend visited my housemate and sat on our freshly cat-peed-upon sofa. She was on tour and the housemate and she had a close mutual friend so she came by for a visit. The whole thing was supposedly on the down-low but every dyke in Austin showed up at the house w/in minutes.

  5. Oh, yeah, and all the members of Twisted Sister were really, really nice. They hung out after their show and signed autographs for everyone who lined up and then even helped push a few cases up the ramp. I guess since they abused their audience while onstage, they could then be nice offstage.
    Joe Jackson was very odd. The theatre I worked in had dressing rooms off the green room and a door closing off the corridor to those dressing rooms. Joe didn’t want ANYONE walking through the green room, even though his dressing room door and that door to the cooridor were closed. A few times I had to pass through the green room and each time, the door to the corridor would open a crack and there would be Joe’s face peeking out. Straaaaange.

  6. I had dinner once with Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. He was in town to do some spoken word piece on stage at the local (and ever-so-wonderful) Community Festival (aka ComFest) in Columbus, Ohio.
    My wife, friends and I were eating at a restaurant near the park where ComFest takes place. The place was packed and Jello came in with his girlfriend. Apparently no one else recognized him, and since a couple of my friends were just leaving, we invited them over to sit with us. He was really hungry apparently, so he did..
    Not much to say past that. We chatted (mainly with his girlfriend, who was wonderful), while Jello did his best impersonation of an elderly curmudgeon. That isn’t to say that he wasn’t nice (he was), but comments basically revolved around how unhealthy the food was and questions about whether or not we hated our jobs as he sat hunched over wolfing down his food.
    I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
    -Pope Impious XXIII, ULC, RSVP, EIEIO

  7. She’s not VERY famous, but I once ate dinner with (not former surgeon general) Dr. Joycelyn Elders (of the masturbation comment fame).
    She was amazing, career air force doctor and a force to reckon with. She taught me one important thing. When it came time to sit down (group of 16, 4 tables) she asked me if I wanted to sit with her, and I replied yes, but I’m not the one organizing the dinner, not sure if i should, etc…
    her reply, noting that places were not assigned: “You should just sit down. That way, if no-one tells you to move, well, you got away with it, didn’t you?” Dinner was good, conversation was better.
    Used sparingly, those are words to live by.

  8. Met Kirk Douglas once. Our lawfirm represented a Hollywood production company, and he came to be a witness.
    Short feller. Shorter than me. But he looked like Kirk Douglas. Also looked like he owned the world. Nice guy, but definitely in charge.

  9. J. Mascis does not count at all.
    My friends and I used to throw snowballs at him whenever we’d see him around town in Northampton and Amherst, back in college. He hated it, but we weren’t really trying to hit him, just give him sh**, and he knew it was the act of fans.

  10. I was working w/ Ken Nordine when he won the Chicago Grammy’s Hero Award. He got to choose his own presenter, Studs Turkel. So I got to eat dinner with Ken Nordine and Studs Turkel. Best dinner ever.

  11. Living in NY, it’s the same for me, too. Over the years, I’ve spotted over 100 celebs of all sorts and interacted with a few of them. Marty Tyler Moore was clearly uncomfortable about being seen in a restaurant bathroom. And it was also a little weird for me, going into the stall she had just vacated!
    Also met Bill and Hill at a fundraiser (for her) a few years ago … she was charming and he was more reserved than I expected.
    And I also saw “The Hard Nut” at BAM! What a riot! John Jr. almost ran me over with his bicycle on Sixth Avenue. And yes, he was beautiful. Today is the 43rd anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, btw …

  12. Recently Bob Woodward as part of his book tour. Surprisingly nice, unassuming and down to earth guy.
    Met Carrottop at a Kmart I worked at during college. He was, no joke, replacing a broken prop for the show he was doing that night. I didn’t really talk to him, but he was a very nice guy to the clerks, even though he was obviously in a big rush.
    Saw Jackie Mason on the MGM monorail in Vegas. Total sourpuss — I assume because he had to take the free monorail instead of a limo.

  13. Met Jane Goodall once. Had a brain freeze when thinking of stuff to ask her. Ended up with a picture instead.
    Thor Heyerdahl

  14. BAM! not the Brooklyn Music Theatre! Thanks. Damn, I lived right down the street from it for 8 years-I can’t believe I got the name wrong!
    My best friend met Hillary once at some public function. Said she was like an automaton or cyborg, probably because she’d shaken about 750 hands that day.
    It was funny in NY- I very seldom saw celebrities I was actually interested in or wanted to meet, but like you, saw lots of recognizable people. Because everyone is jammed up together and out on the street a lot. I saw Phillip Glass in a subway car, Harvey Keitel in the 42nd street subway station, dressed to the nines, and once at about 2 in the morning, coming back from a party way the hell out in south Brooklyn, we saw Julia Sweeney (SNL) on the D train. By herself.
    I used to work in a building where Mary Travers (of Peter Paul and Mary) lived- I probably saw that woman every morning for three years-she spent a lot of time in the lobby smoking and gossiping with the doorman, so everyone in the building was on speaking terms with her.
    Also used to see John Tuturro a lot – he lived around the corner from us in Park Slope.

  15. Lyle Lovett, at a music club in Johnson City Tennessee, while he was stilled married to Julia Roberts. Funny and relaxed to the nth degree. I told him if Julia didn’t treat him right she’d have to answer to me! He just chuckled.

  16. Living in Los Angeles, I’ve had many celeb sightings – Nicholson, Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Wilt Chamberlain, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner, his dad Carl Reiner, shook hands with Mayor Tom Bradley, Bill Clinton, and Al Jarreau; I parked Jimmy Stewart’s car at a party (I was a guest, but I was doing the hosts a favor) – But my all time favorite happened on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (!) in 1984.
    I was still fairly new to LA, so as I pulled into LAX to pick up a friend from school, who was coming for a visit (and I was running late), I realized I didn’t know which terminal United Airlines was in (it’s a BIG place, eight terminals). So I parked quickly and ran into the nearest terminal. Amazingly, the place was absolutelt deserted, except for two people way down at the very far end of the place. So I hustled down to where they were standing.
    As I drew closer, I saw that the man was an airline employee, and that the woman was Margot Kidder, who had just starred as Lois Lane to Christopher Reeve’s “Superman”. A bit breathlessly, I said “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt.” Ms. Kidder looked at me and sighed, rolling her eyes a bit, thinking I’m sure, “Oh boy. Here comes another one.”
    I turned to the man and said “Which terminal is United in?” He said “Number 6”. I said “Thanks.”, turned heel, and walked quickly away.
    – robertearle

  17. I played air hockey next to Hall-of-Fame 3B Mike Schmidt in an arcade at Disneyworld at age 13. I once had a beer with Sleepy LaBeef, the last touring Sun Records artist. I also had a beer with Tyler Fire, a fire eater at the Coney Island side show. Schmidt seems like a mellow dad, LaBeef and Fire were both very pleasant.

  18. It is unsettling for me to read “Dead Kennedys” forty-three years to the day, the hour that JFK died…I know it’s the name of a band, but still…

  19. In the mid 70’s my dad took me and my sister to dinner at Howard Johnson’s in Dublin, California. Coming down the hall at the entrance was the boxer George Forman with another dude. George must have been imposing because all I remember is staring at his huge frame…I didn’t say anything, as I was just a kid at the time.
    I was eating brunch a couple years ago at a diner on Castro Street in San Francisco, An asian woman with three little dogs in a dog carrier was sitting at the table nearby. Her dogs nipped at the waiter. As a dog person, I was intrigued and smiled at the dogs and her. It was the author Amy Tan, although I did not know that until after I smiled at her dogs. She probably thought I was smiling at her…but no!
    Once I saw a “local” celebrity jewelry salesman who had these obnoxious TV commercials: “Hi!!! I’m Paul from the Diamond Center!!!! He came into our law firm to meet with someone. I saw him down the hall and couldn’t resist saying “Hey! It’s PAUL from the Diamond Center!”

  20. Oh! That reminds me of sitting right behind Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward at a Pilobolus performance at The Joyce Theater in NYC. They were both gorgeous, polite and very into the performance. I think it was shortly after Newman’s 70th birthday. What a god.

  21. A bunch…
    i worked for the company that provided security for a lot of rock shows in all sorts of venues in Pittsburgh through the seventies. I was stationed either on the sound mixng platform or on the main dressing room door. So, in no particular order… Keith Richards losing a case of Jack Daiels, one at a time, tossing a frisbee with Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie (in very high heels), David Bowie, and many many more.
    Also, once in a dressing room at THE Saks Fifth Avenue, hearing a decidedly familair British male voice and a decidedly familiar female Japanese/ American voice, both coming from the adjacent changing room. Yes, it was.

  22. i chauffered the doobie brothers in syracuse in the late 70’s. at least one of them was tripping on acid after the show- the long-haird guy that sings “Black Water”. He was so high he had me pull over and let him out halfway through the six block drive from the War Memorial to their hotel. I remember Mike Mc Donald getting excited that there was a White Tower or White Castle in town… It was a fast food joint named one or the other, I forget.

  23. Don’t know how “famous” Tony Kushner is (author of “Angels in America,” Caroline or Change,” “Homebody Kabul,” and other plays)…but he was a high school teacher of mine.
    On my first trip to New York City, he hosted myself and several other folks. It was then that he first told me he was/is gay–and was quite worried that I’d freak out, or otherwise be put off…which is not the case at all…I didn’t know the expression “I’m straight but not narrow” at the time, but I guess that was and is my attitude.
    Later, when Tony was a distinguised speaker at University of Wisconsin, Madison, he personally escorted myself and several other non-invitees to the post-talk reception…there he spent LOTS of time discussing theater matters with younger students, as opposed to rubbing elbows with the bigwigs…which speaks volumes as to the sort of person he is.
    On occasion, I’ll still drop him an email now and then, and he’s always got time to reply.
    When I was younger, I thought very highly of Tony, and am pleased he’s been such a success both in his field AND generally.

  24. I once was in the presence of pure evil. I stood directly behind Robert Novak at a Clinton Rally in Pittsburgh during the 1992 campaign.

  25. Worked as a stagehand in the early 80’s. Played chess with William Windom who just toyed with me, checkmating in 2 moves when he had his ‘2 minute warning’ – very nice guy. PDQ Bach invited the stage crew to dinner – then decided to split the ticket evenly amongst the group – a**hole. Neil Young was polite but aloof. SRV was gregarious with everyone.

  26. Obviously, I never go anywhere or do anything. :
    Memo to me-Get a Life
    Al Gore helped me with research on a term paper when I was in High School. We never actually met, but I sent him a copy and he replied that it should have received a higher grade. I took his reply to my Comp teacher who just rolled his eyes.
    -left rev who needs a life

  27. I was an actress for years, so I’ve met/worked with a ton of people. But my best sightings were when I wasn’t at work:
    –I saw Groucho Marx at a movie theatre, apologized for the intrusion first, and then told him that I just loved him. He told me, “I love you, too” and kissed me flat out on the mouth.
    –a Fred Astaire sighting in Beverly Hills had me reeling for a week. He was beautifully dressed and looked just like you’d want him to.
    –I was at a performance at the Schubert in L.A., I think, that starred Dudley Moore and Peter Cooke, his then-partner. Someone was heckling them (at the Schubert!). It turned out to be a drunk Ringo Starr.
    –Tony Curtis stopped and talked to me at UCLA. I was an art major and he was visiting one of our renowned painting teachers.
    –George Segal came to my wedding. He got divorced a couple of years later.
    –I currently write for Dick Van Dyke. He’s my hero and I’m still pinching myself. Nicest guy you could ever meet.
    –I did improv for a couple of years with Robin Williams and Garry Shandling. (I actually was at a seder with Robin, who politely remained solemn until one of us made a joke…after that there was no stopping him). One of our guest improv-ers was John Ritter. He asked me out, I was floored, and then our director whispered to me that he was married. Damn.
    –I used to see Jay Leno at the Comedy Store on the Strip when I did stand-up there. My then-b.f. whispered to me, “He’s a lifer” meaning that he’d never go further than his regular gigs at the Store. WRONG.
    –I lived next door to Sally Field growing up. She and Mike Milken went to my high school. Jerry Mathers (The Beaver) lived nearby and I used to watch him drive by when I was waiting for the school bus.
    There are so many more. I’ll stop now. I mentioned the older days, but it’s been like that my whole life. I never ever get tired of it.

  28. I used to run into various people while I worked for some property management firms in NYC a few years back, and for the most part these meetings were not anything special. Face it when there is a billing question, alteration paperwork or such nonsense, folks pretty much act the same way.
    One night kind of sticks out however. I was asked to fill in as Santa for the manager of a building at thier annual x-mas party in the lobby. Duing this one night, Tony Randal asked me to give his then fiance a gift. Then John Stossels son grilled me (no joke, cops havent interviewed me with this intensity) on tranformers. But the finale was when John McEnroe came home from a ski trip near the end of the party and stood there, surrounded by kids, cursing out Santa Claus.

  29. Roger Staubach and the current president were on the stump tour for a local pol back in ’88.
    Roger Staubach is a classy guy.
    The current pres, back then, way not so much. Can’t remember if he had kids yet, but he had a bad-boy/pretty-boy rep — the Ector and Midland Co. SO and PD records for DUI stops around ’87-91 ought to be damned instructive to some reporter! IMNVHO, that much hasn’t changed. He looks more stoned nowadays though.
    The big noise on that political tour was Claytie Williams (of the “lay back and enjoy it” remark) during his run for governor, though. He was The Anointed One, and oil money loved him. Kinda ironic now that the guy lining up the Rotary Club rooms for that group (Susan Combs was running for Ag Com first time round back then and beat Jim Hightower) is in the White House.
    That local pol is still a Texas state senator, but he’s R-Breckenridge now instead of R-Big Spring. He beat a lady who could’ve been Ann Richards’ stunt double for his first state lege gig. She was a fine person and a dyed-in-the-wool old-style Democrat. He wanted to build more prisons … sigh. Texas politics. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, nothin’ ever gets any better.

  30. From what I remember – quite a few people have met George Mother Fucking Clinton (verbatim) at ISU’s M-Shop. 🙂 Or was it People’s?
    When were you at ISU?

  31. I used to work for a small town newspaper. I got to interview Tony Geary ( a very nice person ) , Stephen Wright (also very nice and funny in person) and John Houseman who was a real dick. Most of the people I interviewed were cool though.
    Worked in a nursery that catered to expensive homes nearby so met Peter Strauss ( an amazing plantsman and genuinly nice and handsome!), Christopher Lloyd (nice and funny) Heather Locklear (nice and of course beautiful) Micheal Douglas’ ex wife, Bonnie Bartlett ( the nicest woman ever and a good liberal) that guy from NYPD Blues and lots of others. After a while you only got excited when Dustin Hoffman sauntered down the street and across our door.
    There weren’t really many jerks. In fact, H.R. Haldeman’s wife was one of our customers and she was a doll. So nice, and the one time we talked about Watergate etc.. seemed like she was more hurt and confused about it all than the wife of pure evil.

  32. Ray Charles and his retinue jumped into line right in front of me boarding a plane once. I thought I could take him but decided to let it go, since they were pretty nice about it.
    I shared a long car ride to Youngstown with Lorna Luft. She was somewhat withdrawn, as she had every right to be, going to Youngstown of all places.
    I stood next to JCS Chair Meyers at the Starbucks next to the old EOB. His hair was perfect.
    I was having dinner at B. Smith’s when George Allen strolled through like he was King of the World. That was 2005. Now, maybe not. He looks much dumber in person. Actually I found his presence very creepy, much more than other politicians, except perhaps Jeff Sessions, who needs his own alien-lizard taxonomic phylum.

  33. “Actually I found his presence very creepy, much more than other politicians, except perhaps Jeff Sessions, who needs his own alien-lizard taxonomic phylum.”
    LOL. Well said.

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