Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CELEBRITY ENCOUNTERS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I heard an interesting story last year from a lovely young lady named Sarah. Sarah's story took place about 16 years ago when she was at home, pregnant, and her husband called her from the Sears where he worked, whispering, Come down here right away. Bill Murray is in the paint department.

By the time Sarah arrived, a few people had gathered to take a look at Bill Murray, but it wasn't a crowd. Sarah approached and politely asked, Mr. Murray, will you please let me have my picture taken with you and will you autograph it for my baby?


Sarah said Bill Murray launched into a tirade about how he wasn't there to be funny and entertain people. He just wanted to look at paint with his friends so go away and leave him alone. But it went on a lot longer than that. In fact, it went on so long that if he had simply agreed to the photo and the autograph, it all would have been over and done with in less time than his tantrum required.

Sarah said, To this day I can't stand Bill Murray and I have never and will never spend a singly penny to see one of his movies.

On the other hand, Sarah had quite a love for Sonny Bono, who, of course, was not talented in the way Bill Murray is, but he had something better going for him: He was kind to Sarah.

When Sarah was a senior in high school, her class had their senior prom at Sonny Bono's restaurant. Sarah and a friend arrived to decorate before the prom and Sonny Bono came out to greet the girls personally. I believe he was the mayor of Palm Springs at the time. Mr. Bono also showed the girls to his private office and bathroom, where he said they could change into their prom dresses after they finished decorating. Then he apologized for leaving, but said he had to take care of some city business.


Sarah couldn't say enough good things about Sonny Bono and how kind and polite he was. Sonny Bono might have seemed like kind of a doofus, but as Cher said in her eulogy when Sonny died, How can you be the butt of the joke when you created the joke?

I certainly do not approve of the way the paparazzi stalk some celebrities, chasing them, and even running them off the road. But these people who are famous are usually famous because they want it. They want the exposure and the money and the fame. So they have to take what comes with it. Bill Murray should have had his picture taken with Sarah and then signed the photo. It would have meant so much to her, and I suspect he could have spared two - three minutes out of his paint perusing time. Case closed.

But I'm wondering, even though this is not What? Monday, have you encountered any celebrities? If so, how did they treat you?

My ex-husband travels a great deal because of his work, and he seems to run into (not literally) celebrities all the time. He was in New York and happened to be in the right place at the right time because he saw Dan Akroyd, Mary Tyler Moore, and many other big deals arrive at NBC for the filming of Saturday Night Live's 25th Anniversary Special. He sat down for breakfast once in a restaurant and noticed that Magic Johnson and Alex English were at the next table. Walking through the lobby at the Disneyland hotel, he spotted Sigourney Weaver. His celeb encounter list is too long for me to remember everyone.

My only real celebrity encounter was with writer Pat Conroy (shhhh! The affair continues. We read poetry to each other. What a man.)

Infinities of love,

Lola

28 comments:

  1. When I wrote for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Teentime pages (Used to be in the back of their Showtime section every Friday, but is now no more), I went to a press junket for "The Fast & the Furious" that included other high school and college journalists. The only interview for us was Vin Diesel.

    Before he came in, I was talking with one of the others there and we got to talking about Vin Diesel's movies and I told him that Diesel had been the voice of the Iron Giant.
    We went back in, sat down, and not a few minutes after, Diesel entered the room and it felt like everything had froze. He looked imposing at first, but he was a really nice guy, chatty about all his movies, and that guy I had talked to started off his question with, "I just learned a few minutes ago that you were the voice of the Iron Giant."

    I mentioned to Diesel that he and John Malkovich had co-starred in "Knockaround Guys", and they were also in separate Spielberg films: Malkovich in "Empire of the Sun" and Diesel in "Saving Private Ryan." I asked him if he and Malkovich had talked about that distinction while they were shooting "Knockaround Guys," and Diesel said that they had. He also said that some nights, they went to a bar where the most prominent exclamation was always "Malkovich!" (Because of "Being John Malkovich")

    After the interview, I met Diesel's bodyguard, who was the spitting image of Sylvester Stallone and I asked him a few things about guarding Diesel and also asked him for his autograph. You don't meet often a huge-muscled security guard that looks exactly like Stallone.

    The article for that wasn't all that good. I loved the experience, but couldn't write about it well then.

    Before that, in 1999, I was at a press junket for the animated movie "Tarzan," in which I "interviewed" directors Kevin Lima and Chris Buck and producer Bonnie Arnold. I asked perfunctory questions about animation and directing, and it was the same with Glen Keane, the animator of Tarzan. I couldn't think of anything more substantial to ask. That was my first year writing for Teentime, and I certainly showed that I was new.

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  2. Here in Santa Clarita, 30 minutes north of Los Angeles, there was one year on my birthday when "NCIS" was filming at College of the Canyons, where I was attending classes. This was when Sasha Alexander was still part of the cast.

    They were filming a protest scene in front of the student center (which includes the bookstore, the cafeteria, the health office, restrooms, COC performing arts ticket office, and a small arcade), protesting the Iraq war, and I managed to sneak to the side of the building where crafts services had laid out a breakfast spread of yogurt, fruit, donuts, and other breakfasty things.

    I grabbed a yogurt and just hung out. And soon, Sasha Alexander and Michael Weatherly took a break there and I chatted with them. I wasn't a fan of "NCIS", in fact I hadn't even watched "NCIS." I asked them about performing these roles consistently, how long their break was for filming after season shooting wrapped, and just about their careers in general.

    I don't get starstruck. These people are actors. I'm a writer. It's what we do.

    During the first season of "Weeds", which filmed often at College of the Canyons, I didn't see Mary-Louise Parker or the rest of the cast, but I did see the end result of the filming of an elementary school graduation ceremony. I got close to the posters that were hung up for it and was impressed by the detail, that someone drew this to be shown on camera.

    And Patricia Heaton had a kid at my dad's school, demanded to talk to him once, asking why her kid's grades couldn't be raised, and had an attitude from the start, asking, "Do you know who I am?" This was when "Everybody Loves Raymond" was still on the air. I was disgusted at what Dad described, but I do like her on "The Middle."

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  3. I haven't encountered any, but my grandparents met a ton of them. They had this amazing house in Sundance, Utah. Barbara Streisand and a bunch of other celebrities rented it for different months at a time. I guess my uncle picked Streisand up from the airport and drove her nearly an hour and a half to the house. She tipped him $5 LOL!

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  4. Nope never met a one. But yeah Bill Murray is nothing but an egotistical asshole. He always has been, just look at his history, he let fame go to his head. The moron has the nerve to make fun of the rest of the cast for wanting a Ghostbusters 3 but he made 2 friggin Garfield movies, hate him.

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  5. I met Woody Harrelson in Albuquerque at a night club (somewhere in a box I have a photo). It was in the mid 1990's, right after Cheers signed off. I didn't really get to talk to him. There was a crowd...but he was nice enough to pose for pictures with anyone who wanted one.
    My mom saw Julia Roberts at a wool store in Taos, but she never went up to her (not her style). She said that she was even prettier in person than she is in movies.

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  6. I always suspected Murray of being a grouch, I wonder what colour paint he bought? I saw John Peel once on a side street in London. You americans probably don't know who he was but he was the only truly great radio DJ who actually knew about music. I said 'Hello Mr Peel' as I walked past. 'Hello there' he said. Not exactly thrilling but I still remember him fondly and was genuinely saddened when he died a few years ago. His was a voice that a lot of us Brits grew up listening to.

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  7. i haven't seen that many international celebs. local ones yes. internationals ones are paula abdul, black eyes peas, that yummy ex-husband of halle berry, F1 driver Jarno Trulli (rude ass).

    i would love, LOVE to see robert downey jr some day.
    hmmm.

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  8. I stopped approaching celebrities years ago. They always ask for my autograph when they learn my name is David Lynch.

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  9. The closest thing to a celebrity encounter was watching Prince Harry from the bushes as he was attending a wedding at St. Andrews Old Course Hotel. No, I wasn't stalking him but I was working for a fireworks company, dressed in multiple layers of clothing all covered by a giant cookie monster blue boiler suit, and not a stitch of makeup on. I was too embarrassed to be seen by him but Branden got to meet him and has a photo of him on his phone. He was nice...but he was also drunk.

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  10. Once I met Julio Cesar Chavez at a parking lot. :)

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  11. I've had a couple, but they are names that will mean nothing to anyone who is not English - apart maybe from James Morrison (youtube him) - I have a picture with him.

    However I am VERY jealous of Rory...VIN DIESEL ?? Oh my. Now there's someone I'd love to meet. Naked.

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  12. Rory, Very interesting. I have heard the name Vin Diesel but have no idea who he is. I'm glad he was nice to you. I'd like to meet Malkovich! I never watched I Love Raymond or Weeds or NCIS. I'm really out of it.

    Elisa, I've heard that Streisand is notoriously cheap. I think I'd laugh and give it back if she handed me five bucks. I'd love to go to the Sundance Film Festival. One of my sisters is desperately in love with Robert Redford and has been for a long, long time.

    Pat, Sarah would love you.

    Stephanie, Woody seems like a fun guy -- somebody who would be high all the time. And oh my goodness Julia Roberts. The Pretty Woman herself, who made us all think we could get rich being whores. Well, I thought I could get rich being a whore. It didn't work. I don't look like Julia Roberts. That must be the reason.

    Tony, Don't know Bill's choice of paint. I think Sarah left before the purchase, but maybe he was painting his house black to signify that he's a grump. I'm afraid I've never heard of John Peel, but I'm glad he didn't just ignore you.

    Jaya, It sounds as if you've seen quite a few celebs. I think Robert Downey Jr. is an excellent actor and quite hot!

    Mr. Fox, That's funny!

    Princess, I suspect Prince Harry is drunk most of the time. My children are distant cousins to William and Harry and are Spencer gingers. I'm sure William and Harry don't know and don't care that they are related to my children.

    My 2 Pesos, Tell people you've met me, the idol of Slovenia.

    Interwebs, All righty then.

    dirtycowgirl, Perhaps you should get in touch with Rory and ask him to use his connections to arrange that meeting.

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  13. I've heard that Bill Murray likes to play jokes on people when he sees them in person... i guess he was in a bad mood that day.

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  14. Sub-Radar-Mike, What kind of jokes? I've heard he's always grouchy.

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  15. Sooo fun! If you ever come to the film festival, you'll have to visit me and Melynda. We live pretty close. :0)

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  16. However I am VERY jealous of Rory...VIN DIESEL ?? Oh my. Now there's someone I'd love to meet. Naked.

    He was built to the extent that you could probably tap on his pecs and hurt your finger. No doubt he still is.

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  17. Rory, Very interesting. I have heard the name Vin Diesel but have no idea who he is. I'm glad he was nice to you. I'd like to meet Malkovich! I never watched I Love Raymond or Weeds or NCIS. I'm really out of it.

    I want to meet Malkovich too, not only because he's one of my favorite actors, but to implore him to write a memoir. James Garner's memoir was released today (I ordered it back in March from Amazon and it shipped today), and a few weeks ago, I was thinking about whose acting life would make an interesting memior. Definitely Malkovich.

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  18. Elisa, I ain't goin' no place baby. Unless maybe William and Harry decide they want to do something for their American cousins.

    chrischaos, Welcome! I'm following you too.

    Rory, Yeah, Malkovich could write an interesting memoir. Why don't you send him a letter and tell him to do it NOW?

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  19. When I was a supervisor with The Atlanta Coca Cola Bottling Co. I had to meat and greet many celebrities who came to town for a Coke sponsored event. Some were nicer than others but only one, some fat, back opera singer (I can’t remember her name – because she didn’t sing country, I guess) was a total diva bitch and never said think you or anything. She was entitled, ya know.

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  20. At my job I've actually met quite a few celebrities (well, mostly A minuses, sinking into B list)
    And a middle aged man helpfully telling teenage girls to change in his office?
    Nobody? Nothing? Well, then maybe it's just me.

    Oh, and thanks for the subliminal messages, they made my week.

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  21. One time I won a trip off a radio station and met someone from the Disney channel, but that was like nine years ago. She was cool I guess.

    Other than that I haven't had any famous encounters, but that's cool that Sonny Bono was nice to her especially when he could've just bailed on the restaurant and not seen any students that night. The other guy sounds rude, maybe it was just a bad day who knows. But I agree, it would mean so much to someone to get an autograph or picture and it would only take a minute.

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  22. Oh and I didn't even meet her, but a girl from the Disney Channel went to my high school (she was in her 20's when this happened, not one of the tween actors) went to my high school and was supposed to come to our annual career day (which I always hated). It was Sabrina Bryan. She was supposed to be there for all three sessions but she showed up two hours late annd only made it to the last one. I admit, I went to her session haha. You weren't even allowed to ask her questions unless you asked one of the faculty members around her first to make sure your question was appropriate (which is stupid, because you could totally say something different when you asked her aloud). Basically, she acted like a diva. She was supposed to talk about the entertainment biz and just talked about how she was on Dancing with the Stars or whatever. Yawn.

    O and my grandma met Bing Crosby waaay back in the day and my mom met some famous people when working at Disneyland. She saw Michael Jackson there too but I can't remember if she talked to him or not.

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  23. Allen, It would have bothered me if Bono hadn't been leaving immediately. You're just thinking about what YOU would do, bad boy.

    20 Something, I've never heard of Sabrina, but yeah, she sounds boring. Judd Apatow produced a TV series a number of years ago called Freaks and Geeks. It was a great show that didn't last long. In an episode, President George Bush visited the high school (the older George Bush and he was never seen). The main character was chosen to ask the first question. Bush's staff said, No, you can't ask that. So she said o.k. and then she asked her question anyway. Made a liberal like me very happy.

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  24. Oh, and that reminds me, the band Kansas (Dust In The Wind) went to my high school, but they were much older than I was and I never saw them. The actress who played the mom on E.T. also went there. I don't remember her name and she was also much older.

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  25. The actress who played the mom on E.T. also went there. I don't remember her name and she was also much older.

    Dee Wallace.

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  26. Thank you Rory. I don't think I ever saw her in another movie. I read an article in which she said Spielberg wanted her to give up something - having her name first in the credits or some such crap -- and she wouldn't do it. She claimed he had her blackballed after that.

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