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Celebrity Encounters: Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BarryR, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. BarryR

    BarryR Well-Known Member

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    Not sure where to place this, but I'll start here.

    This theme popped up in another thread, so it probably deserves a separate spot.

    I haven't had a particularly distinguished backstory meeting celebrities, but they've mostly been positive. Interacting with them is a whole lot different than merely seeing them in person, but here go a few memories anyway:

    As a kid I saw the legendary, aging Maurice Chevalier twice in person (my dad was a huge fan). The second time Chevalier had a bad cold, but he did his best despite choking on a few notes. The adoring audience forgave him. What I recall was how a real star can command a stage with just a spotlight.

    I once had a few phone conversations in the late '80s with Alice Faye. Very down to earth; I asked about Al Jolson, who was in one of her movies. She said she didn't care for him!

    I saw Desi Arnaz during a book tour around 1975--he apologized for being late to the long line of people waiting. Seemed like quite a nice person.

    However, the best encounter of all was in 1986 with a gentleman for the ages--Gregory Peck. He was also doing a tour (I think he had recorded some readings). Anyway, he was suppose to stay an hour, but he stayed three--not leaving until he had talked graciously to every single person who showed up. A security guard there said he never saw anything like it with a celebrity.
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Hey Barry!

    Great idea!

    I have moved the thread into the After Hours Lounge. Hopefully it will thrive there!
     
  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  4. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Well-Known Member

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    I encountered so many back in the 1960s and 1970s when I cared about such things.

    Let me just say that the rudest, far and away, no question of it, was Barbra Streisand. And I crossed her path twice with the same result. There was no doubt in my mind that she had (and probably still has) a very deep rooted contempt of people.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

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    The few celebrities I've met have been from the sports world. One person I met who was genuinely as nice as he seems was Arnold Palmer. I used to work as a volunteer at a PGA Senior Tour event that was held each year in Dearborn, Michigan, and got to meet a lot of the players. Arnie is a very classy gentleman.
     
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  6. Scott Merryfield

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    A friend who lives in Beaufort, SC and works as a tour guide there told us a great story about Ms. Streisand and her nasty attitude. She was renting a house in Beaufort while working on a film, and called the Marine air base at nearby Paris Island to complain about the airplanes that flew over her house. The base commander took care of the problem -- he had her house buzzed at 2am. :lol:
     
  7. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    My favorite was when I sold suits in downtown Indy for Lazarus. Indy 500 brought in a who's who.I have quite a few signatures from not acting all "wow".I actually asked Letterman when he was going to have an Indiana based musical act on his show, cause he hadn't had one in a while...
     
  8. BarryR

    BarryR Well-Known Member

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    Thanks!

    What I find interesting to read is consistency of behavior regarding a celebrity--does Streisand treat everyone outside her league badly--that is, us faceless drones? Anyone can have a bad day, and I sometimes read of wildly differing good/bad responses regarding a given person. Frankly, I'd be apprehensive being within Alec Baldwin's sight since he seems to be a magnet for hostile anecdotes, cameras or not (someone I know politely greeted him once, and all she got was a cold stare).

    Around 1998 I recall observing Charlton Heston in a bookstore, purposely signing a preferred item. Lines of people had other stuff related to his career, so for some it might have been awkward. However, the angelic presence in all this was his wife, who acted as catalyst between him and the crowd. She'd learn of requests ahead of time, then whisper to him. Moses would then shake his head no, or not. I actually got his autograph years earlier in 1971 when he was at a local premiere for a flop movie (THE HAWAIIANS--seems to have vanished from the planet) . He arrived in his limo, and I as a kid had the temerity to poke my head in and say "Hi, Ben Hur!" He sagely replied "hi" with half closed eyes. Antics like this are fine when one is a kid; I swore off autographs after my teen years. The only exception was at an event in Manhattan in 1999 when Bebe Neuwirth was there simply as a visitor. Everyone started asking her for an autograph so I figured I would too while she was in the mood! Haven't sought an autograph since, and I don't intend to!
     
  9. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Well-Known Member

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    Olympia Dukakis was the featured speaker at my college graduation about 20 years ago. She was very pleasant and kind, taking time to speak to many in attendance and allowing many of the graduates to take pictures with her.

    Lily Tomlin in Seattle about 10 years ago. Some friends and I were in the standby line to see if we could get tix for her one-woman show, "The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe." She came outside the theater before the show and thanked each person individually for standing in line even though we were not guaranteed to get tickets (we did...Yay!). I was very surprised. She spent probably 15-20 minutes talking to the group.
     
  10. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Well-Known Member

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    During World War 2 my father was stationed at the Palm Springs (CA) Army Airfield. He lived off the base with my mother and my brother was born there.

    The only people there in those days were the enlisted men and their families and movie stars.

    One day my mother was driving down the main boulevard when a car backed out of a driveway without looking and crashed into her, not badly, but bad enough.

    She and the other driver got out of their cars and the other driver was none other than Bob Hope.

    He apologized profusely. He said he just wasn't paying attention.

    My mother was almost as movie-star crazy as Lucy Ricardo, so she responded more favorably to him than she would have to a non-celebrity.

    However, Hope didn't offer to pay to fix the dent in her car! My mother also said she saw his jacket on the front seat and it had a hole in it. It seems that at least around 1943 or 1944 Bob Hope was something of a cheapskate.
     
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  11. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Well-Known Member

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    I've spoken to several celebrities on the phone, and every one of them has been very friendly towards me. Samantha Fox, Julie Michaels, Jewel Shepard (all of whom I did phone interviews with), Nina Blackwood (who I had spoken to on the phone in an interview attempt, but unfortunately, I lacked handwriting skills and didn't have a recorder at the time) and Stacey "Stacey Q" Swain (one of my first social networking celebrity friends) are all terrific and amazing people.

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    I also have autographs of Ms. Michaels, Ms. Shepard, Ms. Blackwood and Ms. Swain as well. Great people all of them...
     
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  12. JoelA

    JoelA Well-Known Member

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    "What I find interesting to read is consistency of behavior regarding a celebrity--does Streisand treat everyone outside her league badly--that is, us faceless drones? Anyone can have a bad day, and I sometimes read of wildly differing good/bad responses regarding a given person."

    Barry, Fun topic. I never had an encounter with Streisand, but a friend of mine did and it is consistent with the other stories shared here. During the holiday season about 12 years ago or so, Bergdorf Goodman after closing hours allowed Streisand and her husband James Brolin to shop for the holidays. My friend who was a Manager there said that he was walking along and all of a sudden there is Barbra walking toward him. He thought, "what do I do? look the other way? or say something?" He decided on the latter and only said "good evening" to which Ms. Streisand grunted a disinterested, "uh-h-h".
     
  13. BarryR

    BarryR Well-Known Member

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  14. BarryR

    BarryR Well-Known Member

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    Borgnine was always known as a good guy--there's an obscure "documentary" (on Youtube, I think), that shows him driving through small towns in an RV, trying out local restaurants and chatting amiably with the delighted residents.
     
  15. KPmusmag

    KPmusmag Well-Known Member

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    I have had some nice celebrity encounters over the years, but I think the nicest was Dick Van Dyke. In 1998 I worked on a production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" in Southern California, and DVD attended one night. After the show, he spent at least an hour in the green room, talking about Birdie and signing autographs. It was odd in the sense that, having grown up with Mary Poppins, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, etc., I felt like I already knew him. A very nice man, down to earth and as warm in person as he is on the screen.

    Another that comes to mind was an encounter with the behind-the-scenes crew of STAR!; Robert Wise, Saul Chaplin and Michael Kidd, at the release party for the laserdisc of STAR! in 1993 at Virgin Records in West Hollywood. They signed everything I brought with me, laserdiscs of West Side Story, 7 Brides, etc., and Michael Kidd remarked, "You have good taste in movies!" They were all nice as could be, answered a million questions. Saul Chaplin and I had a long talk about the Gershwin show "Oh, Kay!". I felt in the presence of royalty. May they all RIP.
     
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  16. BarryR

    BarryR Well-Known Member

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    What wonderful memories!

    Dick Van Dyke seems deservedly beloved by all, and that Birdie story is charming. He's one of the few celebrities that, if I ever met him, I too would feel like I already know him as a friend. And maybe he wouldn't mind! That's a very rare quality to find in someone famous, living in the realm of the famous!

    :D

    I always heard Robert Wise was quite a nice person--I idolize him just for THE HAUNTING!

    Another down to the earth type was, of all people, Ed Sullivan. I encountered him on the street after the Christmas show at Radio City in 1967. My dad loaned his pen for an autograph, and when Sullivan used it to sign for others, my dad waited and politely asked for the pen back, which Sullivan did!

    That reminds me--while on tour of the MGM backlot, also in 1967, the tram stopped to talk to Shelley Winters, who was filming WILD IN THE STREETS. She couldn't have been more affable, sharing her woe about the diet she had to stick to during production.
     
  17. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Well-Known Member

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    I know this doesn't mean anything, but I have a compulsion to type it.

    I never heard of any of these people.

    I wouldn't know them if I tripped over them in the dark.

    I Googled them.

    All I can say is, why shouldn't they be friendly, terrific and amazing, like all the rest of us?

    OK, my compulsion is now relieved.

    Well, not quite.

    There's this:

    amazing, adj. causing great surprise or wonder, astonishing.

    What's amazing about them? Have they figured out the secrets of the Universe or something?

    I admit I'm in a bad mood.
     
  18. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if it's true, but it probably is, that in the long ago days when she was a movie star she had it in her contract that no one was to make eye contact with her.

    It's possible she's terribly insecure and shy, but I'm sticking with my theory that she hates people. She was probably made fun of a lot as a child. If you've seen pictures of her as a child, you'd understand. It's really very sad.
     
  19. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Well-Known Member

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    The only celebrity that I have met was Dorothy Lamour. It was back in the early '90's and she was promoting Boscov's department store at the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey which had just opened. She had a Q&A with the small crowd and she handed out autographed pictures of her older self. She sincerely apologized that she couldn't sign individual items but insisted that she signed every one of the pics she was handing out.
     
  20. BarryR

    BarryR Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I'll 'fess up--I never heard of 'em either. But that's okay. But I learned some new names.

    ;)
     

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