Famous Folk I've Met (Never Known)

Discussion in 'People I Have Known' started by Jorge Ruiz, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Hey all.

    I'll kick this one off with this fond memory.

    When at university, Red Skelton was going to do a one-man show at our student union. As a special treat for the theatre department, he came early the day of his performance and spent a couple of hours with us.

    Because I had arranged Mr Skelton's visit with the department, I was responsible for being his host. At that time he was around 70 years old, full of piss and vinegar but still an older man. I ushered him into the packed auditorium of theatre majors, he went before me and I followed him. Naturally, the entire group of students began to applaud as he walked down the aisle.

    What I did not expect was that he would, as was his custom (which he later explained to us why), stop and applaud the group applauding him. I expected him to continue down the aisle and since he had stopped, I ran right into him, nearly knocking the seemingly frail actor over. He did not fall then, caught his balance and actually kept me from falling.

    Later he explained to us how to do a prat fall, though he could not demonstrate it because of his age. He could demonstrate how to walk like a drunk though. And he always applauded because his parents had shoved him onto a stage at the tender age of four of five and when the audience started applauding him and they would a cute kid, he was so terrified that he thought they expected him to applaud back. So he always applauded people who applauded him, though as an adult he did so in gratitude for their appreciation of his work.

    There's more famous people on my list, but I'll just leave this one to get the ball rolling.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I didn't know him well but, since we had a friend in common, and were both involved in the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s, I ran into Ira Einhorn several times, and was at his apartment a couple of times. He was widely acknowledged to have been one of the organizers of the original Earth Day event, although he has been largely stripped of this accomplishment since it was learned that killed his girlfriend, keeping her body in a trunk in his closet for more than a year. Because of this one minor indiscretion on his part, it became uncomfortable to acknowledge his involvement with Earth Day, since it would lead to inevitable jokes about composting, so the current story is that he had claimed to have been involved in the creation of Earth Day. After a long Wikipedia battle over this, I see that Wikipedia now says that he had "later claimed to have been instrumental in the creation of Earth Day and launching the event, but other event organizers dispute his account." Prior to the discovery of the body in his closet, there was no dispute over this.
     
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  3. Joss Brown

    Joss Brown New Member
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    I have many famous stars. I met Lucille Ball while I was working in a department store. She was in disguise. She really looked like a bum. No one paid her any attention until she said something. Her voice is so recognizable. As soon as she spoke, everyone in the China and Linen department turned to look at her.

    I have also met Dick Clark, Robert Alda, Robert Wagner and Michael Jackson among others.
     
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  4. Peter Remington

    Peter Remington Active Member
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    Famous people; hmmmm, let's see. Joanna Cassidy walked into the JCPenney store I was putting myself through grad school at and I got her autograph. Later, William Shatner and Heather Locklear were filming a T. J. Hooker episode at the same place. You couldn't get anywhere NEAR Shatner but, astoundingly, I was selected to 'guard' Ms. Locklear in her dressing room and, no I did NOT peek! Finally, I once ran across Forest J. Ackerman sitting by himself at a table at an obscure home and garden show in Long Beach, Ca.. I was so stunned that I simply stood and stared wordlessly for several long awkward moments as he calmly, and silently, returned the favor.
     
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  5. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    The only famous person that I have ever met (aside from seeing them at some performance) was W.Clement Stone.
    I sold life insurance for Combined Insurance of Amerca, and Mr. Stone was the founder of Combined Insurance. He also wrote several books on self-development and motivation. We always had motivational training as well as the insurance training at Combined. It was actually one of the jobs that I have enjoyed most in my life (but that is a different thread).
    When I met Mr. Stone, he was in his 80's and pretty much retired from active leadership in the company. I had earned a trip to Palm Springs and the award banquet, and he presided over the awards, came to our catered dinner, and also opened the dancing afterwards. He stayed long enough to dance with any of the ladies there who wanted to dance with him. I didn't dance; but did enjoy getting to meet him.
     
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  6. Betty Johnstone

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    You will probably all laugh at me but when I was about 11 I met the original Batman from the television series, Batman and Robin. Adam West came to the television station my dad worked at , and my brother and I got our picture taken with Adam. Unfortunately he didn't have the batman costume on. And that is my claim to fame..haha
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    I won't name of the elected officials from Maine who I know fairly well, and have had to my house, because that's not such a big deal in Maine, where the population is small enough that anyone running for state-wide office gets to know pretty much anyone who is likely to be active in the elections. In Maine, when you call your US Congressman or Senator, they call you back personally. I was once a Republican, and even ran for a state house seat in 2006, but am no longer involved in such things, for reasons that this newspaper article will explain. Although we didn't vote for our current Governor Paul LePage either time that he ran, my wife and I were invited to his inauguration each time. In fact, my wife was a staffer for his opponent in the primary the first time he ran, and we had both left the party before the last inauguration. Our former governor and now US Senator Angus King is someone I know well, although I seldom agree with him and don't vote for him. We've had lunch with our new US Congressman Bruce Poliquin a couple of times, and he replaced former Congressman Mike Michaud, when Michaud lost a bid for Paul LePage's gubernatorial seat. Mike Michaud isn't the brightest bulb, but he was in Congress for a long while, and is from East Millinocket, a few miles from me.

    Our ambulance company was chosen, twice, to be in the procession and provide EMS coverage, when President Clinton came to McAllen, Texas. Given my past involvement in anti-war protests, I wasn't sure that I'd pass a Secret Service investigation though, two other of our medics were involved in that, and I never me the man.

    On the subject of anti-war protests, I met Abbie Hoffman (of Chicago Seven fame) are few times during planning meetings of the War Resisters League, prior to the 1971 Mayday demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and once when he came to Northern Michigan University while I was a student there. My opinion, each time, was that he was an egotistical jerk. He committed suicide in 1989.
     
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  8. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Hey all.

    Well, before I get down to the nitty-gritty of my list of famous people (which will be understood when I do start it!), I thought I'd add this one.

    My mother was a big fan of the Jerry Lewis Telethons (was it Multiple Sclerosis? Too lazy to Google it....). Besides the show itself, she was always impressed with his generosity in lending both his fame and his personal time to the cause (did he have a child with the disease? again, being lazy). Anyway, though the first few years I agreed with her, I became jaded and began, as a young adult, to think that at least part of the entire charity thing was image-building.

    That changed for me one day on an avenue in New York City. I was walking to work, waiting at a light to cross the street, when a long, black limo pulled up to the curb and stopped. A man slipped out of the back, walked briskly over to a homeless guy, slipped him a big-looking bill (a 20? a 50?, who knows) into his hand, and turned back to the limo, got in and went on his way.

    That man was Jerry Lewis. Without anyone to see him, he took the time to stop on the way to wherever he was headed to help out the guy on the street. I decided then that perhaps all that telethon stuff was legit.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  9. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Okay, nitty-gritty time.

    My second job in New York City was almost glamorous. I was hired as receptionist and assistant office manager at the most important Costume Construction company for Broadway and Film (second in size and earnings to the company that made costumes for La Scala in Italy). I had the little black book with the names and numbers of lots of famous people, locked away of course from prying eyes, it was part of my job to set up and confirm fittings with the famous. That said, let me share some anecdotes about some of those famous people who passed through our doors.

    I wish I could remember who the first one was. I do remember that my boss gave me strict instructions about how to treat the famous. I was from the Midwest and he was sure that I would probably react badly. I was required to address the famous as Miss or Mr Lastname only. I had to take them to a dressing room (with a comfortable sofa) or ask them to have a seat in one of the theatre seats that lined the reception area if the dressing room was occupied. There were several dressing rooms, but there was only one for the really famous people. I had to offer them a soft drink or coffee. Some of the really famous were invited to champagne by my boss in the really exclusive fitting room in the back.

    So, since I don't remember who the first was, I'll choose one at random. How about Sissy Spacek? I don't know what film she was making that we were constructing the costumes for. She was an incredibly small woman, hardly reached my 5'11" shoulders. She was accompanied by a female "aide", and that was probably best, as she seemed totally spaced out. She did not speak to anyone, kind of entered the reception, stood there while her aide confirmed the appointment, she was then met by the head seamstress (the boss of the company as well) who whisked her off to the star dressing room. When her fitting was over, her aide guided her to the door, holding her elbow as one would see with someone helping an elderly woman. Kind of weird, that experience.

    There's dozens more to come.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  10. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    And one more before I hit the hay....

    I was working at that costume shop when Sunday in the Park with George was in rehearsal and we were building the costumes, so I got to meet the entire cast of the OBP of that show.

    Bernadette Peters was sweet but very distant. I was probably one of the first non-cast members to hear her sing "Well there are worse things that posing for a picture on a Sunday....", she was trying out the mechanical dress (watch it here) and wanted to see if it would bother her singing.

    Mandy Patinkin well, he was more or less an asshole (forgive my french, no other word for it). Stuck up and full of himself, not at all cordial. I had to let him know that he had a phone call (years before everyone had a phone in their back pocket!) and he growled at me that he didn't care and to tell whoever it was that he'd already left the fitting.

    The only other actor from that show I really remember was Barbara Bryne. Don't remember her? She played Mozart's mother-in-law in Amadeus. You can see a bit of her performance in Sunday here. I think, no, I'm sure, that she was the famous person who helped me get over that silly feeling of "awe" we normal mortals feel when we meet someone we've only seen on the screen, stage or TV in flesh and blood. She arrived early for her fitting, had to wait almost half an hour, and we had a lovely chat together about day-to-day things. She made me realize (and fortunately, it was early on in my time working at that shop) that the famous are actually working people too, normal people who have to do the shopping (in most cases), use the toilet, run errands and show up for their job (which was either rehearsal or performance) and then go home and do whatever any of us do at home. After her visit, I began to see the famous for what they were, perhaps talented people with a "special" job, but still working folk like me.

    One exception was Liza Minelli, but she deserves a post all her own....

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  11. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens Active Member
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    One that stands out for me was running into Whoopi Goldberg in a stationery shop in a local mall years ago. That may not sound particularly special except for the fact that I live in South Africa and I wasn't even aware that she was filming here at the time. I got her autograph but she showed no inclination to chat.

    I was also at the mall on a day when Nelson Mandela visited that same shop. He was still president of South Africa then and was surrounded by bodyguards. The shop closed its door while he did his shopping but, knowing he was inside I waited around until he came out and managed to catch a glimpse of the great man. I always carry a camera with me and would have loved to get a photo of him, but I was unable to get into a suitable position in front of his group as they were walking so fast. I've always felt sad about that missed opportunity.
     
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  12. Richard Lee

    Richard Lee Member
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    Met Lenny Henry in my 20s when I volunteered to answer phones on the Telephone (first one in the UK) back in the late 80s I think - maybe early 90s. Also Spit the dog same event - and Esther Ransome.

    I live in Thailand now and I call it the place old music stars come to reminisce and die. I have several friends who were pop stars in their time, and used to frequent a great little bar (sadly gone) called The Guitarman which attracted many such old timers - and a few holidaying younger versions too. The owner himself was an old British rocker (I am not saying any names here intentionally I am afraid as I just don't know if they would be happy about it - and I still know several of them). My sister's ex husband was cousin to Nicholas Lyndhurst, but I never met him.

    My other sister was saved and went out for dinner with footballer (soccer star) Diego Maradona - she was young and went backtracking with her boyfriend at the time in Spain I think (might have been Italy/Greece) and they had a falling out and this guy started laying into her - Maradona, all 5 foot 5 of him stepped in (her boyfriend was a mountaineering instructor and a big guy) and frightened away the bully. This was before the "Hand of God" put England out of the world cup and my sister had no idea who is was - they went to dinner together and spend much of the day together and never knew more than the fact that he was a footballer and his name - until she got home and we enlightened her - he gained a bad name in the UK after that HoG incident, but I always had to stick up for him out of loyalty.

    Oh my cousin went to the wedding of Posh and Becks - can' t give too much away, but they played football together (Becks and my cousin - not Posh).

    I had a client in Baker Street (M&S) and went to their building one day. Near the building, just over the road was a bed shop. As I walked past the bed shop and dark green rolls pulled up and out got Dickie Attenbrough (RIP - died last year). I froze like a rabit in headlamps - he didnt even notice me he was laughing and talking to someone as they went into the bed shop.

    Have more - but that's all for now :)
     
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  13. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Elevator stories, then.

    The costume shop was on the fifth floor of the building. The only security in the building was the elevator man, you couldn't get anywhere without him taking you there and if he didn't want to take you there then you wouldn't go there. Pleasant Jamaican man, but when he got serious, he got serious. Was never famous, though.

    So, one day I get on the elevator and, who was standing there waiting to go up to his studio? Andy Warhol. Wow, I didn't even know that he had a studio in the same building. He seemed short to me but his bushy hair made up for a slight stature.

    Someone else I often shared the elevator with on our way to work was Mikhail Baryshnikov. The American Ballet Theatre had its studios in the same building as well, so we often "ran into" one another. He also employed my employer to construct costumes for his company, let's say he was a client.

    Most memorable elevator experience?
    Dame Joan Sutherland. She was a bosom buddy of my boss, the head dresser. She was also a horse of a woman with an incredible attitude. Naturally, she was a diva (read: DIVA!!), and her attitude was deserved and earned. However, going down in the elevator with her (and that was a tight fit between the chubby Jamaican elevator man, Miss Sutherland who was at least 6 foot 6 and 3 feet wide.... not fat at all, just a massive woman!.... and myself) well, she stepped on my foot with her chunky-heeled pump and didn't bother to apologize. Oh well.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  14. Ruth Belena

    Ruth Belena Active Member
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    When I was living and working in London I met famous people through my job and my interests.

    The nicest person I met when working in a bookshop was David Attenborough, although I could not think who he was when I was first speaking to him. His face was so familiar, but I couldn't think where I knew him from. It soon dawned on me who he was, and I could see from his amused expression that he could tell I had only just realized who he was.

    Probably the biggest star I encountered, but did not speak to, was Steve Martin who was speaking a protest rally to save the remains of the original Shakespearian Rose Playhouse. I was in the crowd as he left the platform area, but he refused to stop and speak to anyone. All the other celebrities were happy to stop and sign autographs and spent some time taling to supporters.
     
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  15. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    And now, the world of opera....

    I've already mentioned Dame Joan Sutherland, who carried her attitude around with her like a massive tortoise shell. As she was a girlhood friend of the boss, one had to really bow down to her whims (which, fortunately, were few, as she hardly ever noticed us mere mortals.... even snubbed the boss' husband, a polite smile and she was whisked away to her fitting....)

    I can remember two others that I met and chatted with that were worth note. The first was Leontyne Price, wonderfully polite and professional woman, tall and beautiful and uncommonly elegant. She sat in the theatre seats that were next to my desk and basically talked about the weather and current events. Then she begged pardon because her head itched under her turban. She lifted one corner and it could be seen that she wore her hair cut to the scalp. She explained that, besides the fact that black women have a lot of problems with their hair breaking off at the scalp because of its being quite brittle, she also kept her hair almost shaved off because her job required her to almost wear some wig or headdress and having thick hair would have made the wearing of such unbearable on stage. This made me wonder if other female opera singers also crew cut their hair and she assured me that most did, for the same reason.

    The other was Marilyn Horne. Now, that woman was also quite professional, but she was also a charming gossip.... she just loved talking about (and hearing about) other people. She gently pumped me for information about all the famous people I had met up to then and seemed to have a quirky thing to say about each one of them, whether she herself had met them or not. The conversation was pleasant and fun.

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  16. Jorge Ruiz

    Jorge Ruiz Member
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    Okay, the last in the series, the Liza Minnelli story....

    Although I was often called upon to call famous people to remind them of fittings, the case of Miss Minnelli was quite different. She was making some kind of "comeback" to Broadway, was starring in a Kander and Ebb musical titled The Rink with Chita Rivera. Miss Rivera had already been in to try on the simple costumes designed by Theoni V. Aldredge (who once ironed a shirt for me as she didn't like the one I was wearing to work.... amazing woman, very Greek and very modest despite her awards for shows such as A Chorus Line and her efforts to make sure that designers got artistic recognition as well as royalties for their original works) and, coming back to Chita, I don't remember much of her visit.

    Miss Minnelli was a different story. The boss's husband (who was actually my boss, as he "ran" the business part of the costume shop) first lectured me about Miss Minnelli's visit. She was to be greeted with a "Good afternoon, Miss Minnelli" and then ushered into the star dressing room where she was not to be disturbed or talked to again.

    However, when Miss Minnelli breezed into the shop, she was having nothing to do with being hidden away in some back dressing room, no matter how luxurious it was. My boss was nearly licking her feet as she sat at his antique desk and threw her feet up onto the blotter. "Boy", she shouted from over there (I had direct sight lines to my boss' desk) "bring me a Coke!" This I had to do chop-chop. During the five or ten minutes she waited there (the other boss, the head dresser, made Miss Minnelli wait, I don't think she liked her attitude very much) she must have downed three or four cans of Coke while she laughed loudly and pretended to chat with my boss.

    When the head dresser found out about the coke, later, she made a snide remark about not being surprised, as the simple jeans that she had prepared for Miss Minnelli had to be made from a special stretch fabric as she kept putting on and losing weight. I must say that Miss Minnelli's visit brought back the original awe I had felt when I first began working at the shop. I had become used to famous people by the time she breezed in-- but just thinking about this woman who had wowed me as a kid in Cabaret, who was the fruit of the womb of Judy Garland with a father like Vincent Minnelli, well, one had to be briefly in awe.

    I saw the show in previews, not impressed, Miss Minnelli spent most of her time on stage sitting (she had twisted her ankle roller skating for the show) and smoking. The critics didn't like it much either. Miss Minnelli left the show to go into rehab I heard at the time, thought it was just an ugly rumor but the Wikipedia article "confirms" it.

    So, that brings me to the end of the most notable people I remember from my 15 months in that job. Oh, yes, I met Sigourny Weaver, lovely woman, quite professional, a lot of other ballet people and Broadway people and opera people, designers that most would not know their names (Ann Roth, Richard Horneg, Patricia Ziprod etc....). Just thought it would be fun to share with you all. Where I live presently I've only seen two famous people in the distance: Isabel Pantoja (Spanish ballad singer, presently in jail for tax evasion) and IƱaki Gabilongo (TV news personality).

    peace,
    revel.
     
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  17. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    My wife and I are in Augusta today. She has a podcast interview scheduled with Maine's 1st Lady, the governor's wife right now, and we'll be having breakfast with them in the morning. Neither one of us voted for him either the first time he ran, or the last, and he knows that; in fact, my wife was on the staff of one of his primary opponents the first time he ran. Yet, while I differ with him strongly on some of his policies, which is why I haven't been able to bring myself to vote for him, both he and his wife are quite cordial.
     
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  18. Kevin Matthew

    Kevin Matthew Member
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    My strangest story was a couple of months ago meeting John Barrowman - anyone who watched Doctor Who or Torchwood recently might know him - he played Captain Jack... and lives in Wales in the UK.

    Anyway, it was the middle of the day and I stopped in at a Starbucks in a less than ideal part of Los Angeles to grab a coffee, when all of a sudden John Barrowman walked by me... I thought I must be crazy, so asked the barista if that was who I thought it was - the barista said, "Who? I don't know who that is...", so I was forced to take it upon myself to go up and ask the guy if he was John Barrowman. Yep... he was just stopping in to grab a coffee on the way to the airport...

    So, he took a selfie of us, we talked a couple of minutes and he rushed off to catch his flight... My friends into science fiction were stunned... and I was stunned and happy!
     
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  19. Susan Long

    Susan Long Active Member
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    My 'famous' interactions have taken place during golf tournaments. I met former Head Coach of the Denver Broncos, John Fox. He is a very personable man with, in my opinion, high moral values. I have admired him for many years, as a result of watching NFL football.
     
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  20. Gary Ridenour

    Gary Ridenour Very Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG]

    former president Truman. I lived in his home town of Independence, MO for many years.
     
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  21. Bobby Gnomy

    Bobby Gnomy Member
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    I met and dated Jackie Mason the comedian, back in the early '60's. We hung out with Woody Allen, Mort Sahl, Oscar Levant, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lenny Bruce among a few others who tagged along. I was living in Chicago as a young 20 year old going to college, and my roommate wanted to go to Second City to see the show one Saturday night. So, we asked two more friends if they wanted to join, and they said 'sure thing'. We got four tickets to the show.

    I put on my nicest dress... this was going to be a big evening out. We were seated in the middle of the room. Jackie Mason came out and did his shtick. It was hilarious. The audience was going crazy with laughter. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. After his appearance we got up to leave the building and walked to the street. We turned around because someone was yelling "stop, stop!" and pointing at us. We all looked at each other and wondered what had happened. He approached us and looked at me and said "I work for Jackie Mason and Jackie wants to meet you". HUH!

    He explained that Jackie had noticed me in the audience and wanted to meet me. I was stunned. One thing led to another and I gave him my phone number. All of us were giggling and making silly comments how he would never call, it was all a big joke on me. I surely didn't believe he would call, but the next afternoon the phone rang and it was unmistakably Jackie. He has a unique voice and way of speaking to put it mildly.

    We talked for a long time -- and he asked me if I wanted to go out with him on a date. I accepted and that night he picked me up in a long black limousine and we went out to dinner. We had a great time and I felt totally at ease with him even though he was quite a bit older than me. I dated him for the three weeks he was in town. We kept in touch for a long time after, but over time we stopped communicating.

    Many years later, I contacted him just to see how he was doing. He called me back that night and we talked for several hours. I was living in Pittsburgh, PA my home town at the time and he asked me to come to New York to be with him. I declined, of course.
     
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  22. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Our current governor and former representative, Asa Hutchinson, was my attorney for a lawsuit I was involved in. ( we won ). He was also the attorney for my parents estate when my mother died but he got elected to congress before it was over so his partner took over.

    More recently, I supported our current senator, Tom Cotton when he was running for office and went to a fundraiser to kick off his campaign. I met Tom, His parents and his wife Anna. Being a small town, there weren't a lot of people there and I got to talk a good bit with Tom, and even more with Anna since she sat at our table much of the time.

    I met Jerry Lee Lewis briefly at a nightclub where he was performing.

    That's about it as for me meeting famous people. Unfortunately for all the others, they haven't had the pleasure of meeting me.
     
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  23. Kalvin Mitnic

    Kalvin Mitnic Well-Known Member
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    My bro...Google if
     
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  24. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    google what exactly.........
     
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  25. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I've been reading through some of the posts on this old thread....Jorge Ruiz sure knew a lot of people!
     
    #25
    Bobby Cole likes this.

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