Open Thread: Tell Us About Your Run In With A Celebrity!

ILoveLucyTitleScreen

We tend to put celebrities on a pedestal, but it’s easy to forget that they are people with the same hopes, dreams, and failings as the rest of us (albeit with a lot more wealth and fame). Sometimes in life you may encounter someone who is famous and they are an absolute delight — exactly how you imagined they would be. For example, my grandfather was a taxi driver who once had Lucille Ball as a passenger. She was warm and hilariously funny, and it was a cherished memory that he kept with him for the remainder of her life. And that’s the most interesting thing about encounters with celebrities, what is just a blip in their everyday life becomes something another person takes with them to their grave. The down side of this goes hand in hand with the old adage that you should never meet your heroes, because if they don’t live up to your lofty (and probably inaccurate) ideas of who they are you are bound to be disappointed. This is doubly true if they are outright rude with you. For this weekend’s Open Thread, we want to hear all about your run ins with celebrities. Give us the good, the bad, the surprising. Spare no detail. How did meeting a celebrity change your life, if at all? And did your encounter alter the way you view stardom and those who possess it?

  • http://themidnitedrive-in.blogspot.com Quiggy

    In 1988 or 1989 I attended a benefit concert for impoverished R&B musicians at an intimate venue in Austin. Margot Kidder (of Lois Lane fame in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies) was the emcee. I greeted her and shook her hand. That was the only time I ever met any celebrity of any depth of fame.

  • Richard Finn

    It was 1962, I was spending my 2nd summer in Berkley, CA working in Public Health. Just as the year berfore, we made a weekend trip to Reno Nevada. On the way we stopped at the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe. One half was in Nevada for gambling, and the other in California for dining. I was playing the penny craps table. As I was about to shoot the dice, Jack benny walks up to the other end of the table and places his bet. My mouth fell open as I gaped at the famous entertainer. Mr. Benny looked at me and said, “Throw the dice!” I crapped out. He wasn’t pleased.

  • richardpeck

    It was 1981 and I was working for the public affairs department at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Part of my job was to make sure that visiting press got their stories. On one particular day we had several TV reporters and personalities visiting the hospital floor and, at one point, I saw one chubby little black woman surrounded by patients seemingly drawn to her as if by a magnet. I asked one of my colleagues, “Who is that little teddy bear over there?” “Why,” she said, “that’s Oprah Winfrey.” She was an anchorperson and host on local Baltimore TV and, at the time, had a reputation for somewhat strange behavior on-air. Once she had a large sub sandwich for lunch during the noon news broadcast. Another time she co-hosted a show that had flamboyant exercise guru Richard Simmons as a guest. Oprah sat leaning back in her chair, feet splayed, as if overwhelmed by this strange creature. My wife and I laughed: “That’s Oprah.” Five years later, out of nowhere, she’s a superstar and remained one for a quarter century. Who knew?

  • speedle24

    Sometime around 1975 I was calling on a local media company in Dallas and as was in the waiting area I noticed a man sitting across from me silently staring at the wall. I soon realized it was one of my favorite cowboy actors from the fifties and a genuine movie and television star. He was Guy Madison (Wild Bill Hickock of TV) and many many western movies. I was taken aback by how small and frail he looked, but there was no mistaking who he was. He looked very sad. I didn’t even say hello.

    • NJ Lady

      Yes, speedie24, how sad! Many of us from the 1950s remember “Wild Bill Hickock” aka Guy Madison. I live in the part of NJ that’s directly across from Manhattan. I find that greeting celebs in NYC goes more smoothly than when in vacation places, for example.

  • Dudleydooright

    My wife and I were sitting in the concourse at the airport in Salt Lake City.
    I got up to go to the concession stand and when I got back, sitting
    directly across from us was Andie MacDowell. She was dressed stylishly comfortable
    and is every bit as pretty in person as on screen. We had a nice chat. She asked
    where we were flying and we told her O’Hare. In fact we live near Woodstock,IL
    where Ground Hog Day was filmed. She said it was such a nice place and so were the people.
    She said, “Even after all these years people from there still send me Christmas cards”.
    She’s just like the sweet person you see in the movies, the real deal.

  • NAT COHEN

    I HAVE HAD A NUMBER OF ENCOUNTERS-
    I WAS A DELIVERY BOY , ON AN ELEVATOR= AND A SOLO RIDER WAS THERE WITH ME. HE ASKED ME HOW I WAS DOING. IT WAS ORSON WELLES. THIS WAS AFTER THE SO CALLED INVASION BY MARTIANS.
    FAY BAINTER SAT NEXT TO MY WIFE AND ME AND WE CHATTED THE ENTIRE FLIGHT
    A GROUP OF FELLOW SALESMEN, TRAVELED DOWN TO LAGUNA, ATE AT CHRISTIANS HUT, A DRUNK CAME IN , CURSING, VERY VILE, PUSHED THE WAITERS, CAUSING ONE TO DROP HIS TRAY. WE ASKED OUR WAITER WHO THAT WAS. HE REPLIED….THE OWNER, JOHN WAYNE [WHO CLAIMED HE WAS RELATED TO CHRISTIAN FLETCHER OF BOUNTY FAME ] LOST ALL RESPECT FOR HIM.
    WAS INTRODUCED TO JACK BENNY HAD 15 MINUTE TALK=
    HAD DINNER TWICE WITH MEL BLANC AND HIS WIFE IN A NEW YORK RESTAURANT. INTRODUCED BY MY BOSS. HE WAS SO LIVELY AND FUNNY

  • Tom

    On March 9, 1976, I was lucky enough to get invited to the reception part of the AFI tribute for William Wyler, and was casing the room, when my friend Elizabeth came rushing up and whispered, out in the hall, NOW – Audrey Hepburn!
    WELL! I dashed out and there she was………………………I dear Lord, I like ta died and gone to Heaven! In a stunning cerise column and matching very high heels, and of course, little white gloves.
    Alas, I fell apart and blathered like the insane fan I was. But she was so lovely, charming, etc. etc. etc.
    Do these stars know how happy they can mak people by just being…………………………sounds tupid, but only for Audrey!

  • Alan Harris

    I was walking up 3rd Avenue in Manhattan and was waiting to cross the street. A woman to my left looked familiar and was wondering if she was a,neighbor or a customer in my store. The light changed and I proceeded to walk. At the next streel I was once again waiting to cross the street. The same woman was standing to my left. She looked up at me and said “Hi.” I looked back and said, “OH my God ! You’re Shirley MacLaine.” I told her that when I first saw her I thought she was a neighbor or customer of mine. We continued to chat as we walked and discovered we were heading to adjoining movie theaters .We said our goodbyes and headed into our respective theaters.

  • Rebel Ed

    Back in my taxi days I drove Billy Gibbons, of ZZ Top, and four hangers-on, from a hotel, to a seafood place, in Oklahoma City. He never said a word to me, coming or going (…oh, well.) Years before, I got to meet and interview Huey Lewis (but not the News.) He is very friendly, very down to earth, and remembers what he’s doing is a job. It’s great to meet someone who is famous, but, people are people. You remember them when they are nice.

  • Gavin Anderson

    I met Chuck Connors in a hotel lobby in Park City, Utah, in the mid 70s. He was very friendly and personable. Also very tall – 6′ 5″ or so?

  • NJ Lady

    I live in the NYC general area and have seen a number of famous folk pass by. Most cordially return your greeting if it’s given in a respectful way. About 30 (40?) years ago, as Sophia Loren passed by in the NYC Lord & Taylor’s, I called out, “I love you!.” She stopped and kissed me on my left cheek. WOW!

  • chrijeff

    I remember back in the early 70s I was at one of the Star Trek CommitteeCons and DeForest Kelley was among the guests. Since “Bones” was my favorite of the Big Three, I of course went to hear him speak and take questions. Even in that big ballroom (and it was packed), you could just feel the warmth radiating off him; he loved being there, loved the interaction with the fans. John Denver was the same way, though I only ever got to see him in-person at a concert. I think the closest you’d come to ether of them now is to go to a Springsteen concert, guessing from what I’ve seen of his YouTube videos.