Hobnobbing with the Famous – A Pictorial History
I have posted stories, blogs, and photos both on social media and on this site about meeting some famous people in my long history. I know some people, like me, are fascinated with celebrities; and I was like that until ten or fifteen years ago. When I stopped knowing who all the people featured in People magazine were, and when news on celebrities focused on people I did not know or care about – thank you Reality Television and the like – I just lost interest. (Honey Boo Boo and Kardashians I am talking about YOU.)
Not that I would turn down a meeting with any of my idols that I haven’t met yet – Paul McCartney, or Bruce Springsteen to name two.
But the point here is that I kind of have been there and done that, met lots of famous people, some nice and some not so nice, and it just doesn’t have the allure it used to have for me. Now I get more excited when someone nearly famous or famous reads something I wrote. Now THAT is a rush! Thanks Gene Simmons of KISS!!!!
As several of my long associated friends tell me, I have led a very varied and interesting life, and due to several jobs, I got to meet a fair share of celebrities. On many occasions, I was able to get photos of, or me with celebrities, but not always.
My first brush with celebrities was through my job doing promotions for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team through college and graduate school from 1976 through 1981. I met just about every sports superstar that came through Philly in those years and had my photo taken with many of them. Of course all of the Phillies superstars were among the athletes I met, such as Tug McGraw and Mike Schmidt, but I also met a huge amount of visiting athletes and the athletes on the other Philadelphia teams – basketball, football and hockey. I even dated a hockey player on the Flyers for a bit.
My second stint with celebrities was while writing for our Houston Jewish newspaper. I covered entertainment for quite a while and got to meet and interview loads of celebrities, not all of them Jewish, who came to town for shows and the like.
My third brush with celebrity involved my volunteering at our Jewish Book Fair in Houston. We had some big names come through for appearances, and I got to pose with lots of them.
I once took a Princess cruise out of Florida that the cruise line decided to make an honorary “Love Boat.” They did a bunch of promotional things like having Gavin MacLeod and other celebrities on that cruise. Of course I met them and had my photo taken of them.
Lastly, I became close friends with an Olympic silver medalist figure skater who lived in Houston. I traveled on her ice skating show tour with her and met tons of big names in the skating world and have photos with Scott Hamilton, Kristy Yamaguchi, Nancy Kerrigan and just about every other big name skater from the 80’s on.
All of the above as you can see, provided loads of opportunity to rub elbows with famous people.
Other than my beloved Davy Jones, of blessed memory, who I spent a memorable day with, and who was one of the very nicest celebrities I ever encountered, I would have to say that Sally Struthers and Steven Spielberg were the absolute warmest and genuine. Sally told me she wanted to be my best friend, but sadly, after her show ended, we went our separate ways despite being together on three occasions.
Steven Spielberg was warm, and kind. I interviewed him when he came to town with private showings of Shindler’s List for students to learn about the Holocaust. He had a press conference and I was invited as a member of the press, and I got to do a short interview with him, give him a Texas welcome, and even gave him a few parting gifts. The Book Fair people gave me a bag of goodies for him so he would consider doing our Film Festival or Book Fair one day, and I gave him a Shalom Y’All refrigerator magnet. He absolutely loved the magnet and said it was going right on his refrigerator at home.
Also very sweet was Jan Berry of the Jan and Dean surfer singing Duo – Surf City, Little Old Lady from Pasadena, etc. He was badly brain damaged but rehabilitated enough to perform again in oldies concerts and I met him in Las Vegas as I elaborated in this blog.
He sang to me and posed for a great photo with me. He was so sweet.
The most unpleasant of all – and wait until you hear this one – was Shari Lewis, the famed Lambchop puppeteer. She was a diva and a head case. and I did not have an enjoyable interview or meeting with her at all.
So that’s my story, and that’s why I have so many celebrity photos. Most of them are downloaded into my computer files, but the athlete ones are not – they are in older albums that I have not gotten to yet, and now they are packed up for my move.
Here are some photos to enjoy. NOTE: These do not comprise ALL of my photos, I have many more to post some other time and there are others in the blogs linked.
Davy Jones – one of many photos
Mickey Dolenz – he actually tried to pick me up!
The wonderful Sally Struthers
Gavin MacLeod – Love Boat Captain
Nancy Allen of Blow Out and RoboCop fame
One of the very best baseball players of his era, Mike Schmidt
Below is Maury Povich
Jan Berry of Jan and Dean – read my whole blog on this topic above in text!
Gold Medalist Kristy Yamaguchi – Nancy Kerrigan in background to right.
Silver Medalists Kitty and Peter Carruthers
Rita Coolidge – singer
Barbara Bush, back when she was first lady.
The late Gene Siskel, of Siskel and Ebert fame