Brushes with Fame Your stories of an encounter with a celebrity who unexpectedly enters your world. en-us Copyright 2017 Larry Smith RSS 2.0 generation class <![CDATA[ On a Friday night in September my wife and I went to New York City to see our twin girls who had recently started their first semester at NYU. Thankful for finding a parking spot, we pulled directly in front of Founders Hall, the 26 story modern residence hall near to Washington Square Park, the famous arch, and the East Village. As I pushed the car windows down, Avanty, wearing a colorful floral pattern dress “suggesting cute and casualness”, as she was profiled in College Fashionista, came to the car with a Rubbermaid HipHugger white laundry basket full of stuff. <br /> “I don’t need these shoes and extra bedding.” <br /> <br /> She came inside, closed the door and demurred, “Dad…there is Suraj Sharma…. shhh... don’t point!” <br /> <br /> There were three boys loitering just five feet from our car. For a quick second I made eye contact with one of them. He was of slight build, medium height, eyeglasses with thick black frame, unshaven and wearing sloppy clothes. I could not hear clearly the exchange he was having with his buddies, but his voice was familiar. Avanty explained that though she had seen him around the hallways, she was bashful to introduce herself. When I proposed we get out of the car and say “Hi”, she disagreed. <br /> <br /> Avanty went back to her room on the 13th floor to look for her sister, carrying Gala apples and instant noodle boxes, the staple of college student diet. After waiting for 10 minutes I stepped out of the car first as the cluster of male students started walking.<br /> <br /> “Hi - Are you Mr. Suraj Sharma?”<br /> He smiled and said, “Call me Suraj” and continued to stroll along with his friends.<br /> <br /> Who is he? <br /> <br /> He was the lead actor in “Life of Pi”, which won four Oscars. The director Ang Lee selected him from among 3,000 applicants primarily based on “his expressive eyes and innocent appearance.” The story is about Pi (Suraj Sharma) as a teenager who survives a shipwreck but is adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. The movie has strong undertones of faith and God. Pi Patel says in the film: “I came to faith through Hinduism and I found Christ . . .” <br /> <br /> “Hey Kaylyn, I just said ‘Hi’ to Suraj!” I announced to my other daughter as she emerged from the revolving door of her residence hall, with iPhone and laminated ID card in hand.<br /> “Really? What did he say?”<br /> “Not much. Asked me to call him Suraj because I called him mister.”<br /> “Did you speak to him before?”<br /> “Well, no, but I kind of saw him a few times in the elevator. He lives few floors above my room.”<br /> <br /> <br /> As we were driving back home that night, Avanty texted me:<br /> LOLLOL! Just offered Suraj Cup Noodles. ]]> Brushes with Fame by skavi skavi SMITH <![CDATA[ So close, so vulnerable, so strong. ]]> Brushes with Fame by DenverKBL DenverKBL SMITH <![CDATA[ My boss, his wife, my ex, and I were in LA a couple of days early for a bank conference. We rode around the Hollywood Hills getting looks at interesting homes, some occupied by celebrities. As we went around a curve, Russ' wife, Margie, noticed a man in a suit and a loosened tie rolling his garbage cans down to the end of his driveway. When she realized who it was, Margie shrieked, "It's Bob Barker!" The volume and pitch of her exclamation alarmed Russ, who reacted by hitting the brakes and causing the tires to squeal. Since our position in the curve had us pointed directly at the game show icon, he was the next person to be alarmed. Mild fear was on his face as we passed and waved.<br /> <br /> We had left the hills and were riding down a divided boulevard when we decided to pull over and take a look at our map. As we did, a red Mercedes passed us on the left. When it was directly across from us, Margie resumed the performance of her duties as our announcer and slightly less alarmingly said, “It’s Walter Matthau!” Sure enough, when the red car was completely in front of us, we could see the license plate, which read, “Waltz.”<br /> <br /> We decided to follow him to his destination to see him get out of his car to give us a full view of his starriness. This was not stalking, rather more like bird watching with the hope seeing a hump-shouldered Oscar Madison in his natural habitat. He finally pulled into the driveway at a house, the front yard of which was abound with signage wishing a happy fiftieth anniversary to the honorees of a party celebrating their remarkable marital achievement. I mean, this is Hollywood. How often are fiftieths observed here?<br /> <br /> The star exited his car, opened his backdoor, removed and put on his plaid sport jacket, picked up a gift-wrapped package, closed the car, and proceeded to walk up the driveway. We had been so intent in our Walter watching that we had not noticed that the corner house was on a short spur of dead-end road. This necessitated that we pull into the driveway, back out, and head back the other way. As we did, Mr. Matthau turned to see if we were an acquaintance of his also arriving for the party. We waved as we pulled away, and ever the gentleman, one half of an odd couple raised his package to us in salute. ]]> Brushes with Fame by RedStickWriter RedStickWriter SMITH <![CDATA[ Studying in London in 2012, I saw more than 20 theatre productions. After the tickets were bought for the West End production of Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekov, playing at the Vaudeville Theatre, my friend Lala informed me that we were going to meet Samuel West, one of the actors in the show. A theatre professor from her home institution had previously worked with him and asked him if he would take the time to speak with us. Lovely chap that he is, Mr. West agreed!<br /> <br /> So, Lala, Alex, and I went to the theatre for some Chekov-ian entertainment. The show was very intense and well done. Afterwards the three of us found the stage-door. There were the standard fans, waiting to meet whoever came out of the protected area of the theatre, autograph books and cameras poised at the ready. Calmly, we walked right up to the security booth and told the guard, "We're here to see Sam West. He's expecting us." We proceeded to giggle quietly at how cool we sounded, thereby canceling out any coolness factor that might have clung to us.<br /> <br /> West appeared and did the whole meet and greet thing. Lala stepped up and introduced us. He immediately shook all of our hands and waved us backstage, bidding everyone else farewell. We followed him down the hallway into his dressing room. Out of everything I was most impressed just at the fact that he had a bed in there. Very posh.<br /> <br /> He asked us if we would like anything to drink and I made a joke, "Have you got any vodka?" His character was always taking swigs throughout the show. Chekov was Russian, after all! I just expected him to laugh, but instead he opened the mini-fridge at the foot of his bed and asked which we would prefer. We were too stunned to answer, so he pulled out the stronger of the bottles and poured us each a shot in paper cups. We clinked (or the paper cup noise equivalent) and threw them back.<br /> <br /> He asked us about ourselves and our studies. Obviously, everyone in that room appreciated theatre. He offered insight, shared his experiences, nice and casual. West asked us if we would like more shots and then had them poured immediately when he realized that none of the girls wanted to be the first to say "YES!"<br /> <br /> Eventually, it was time to go. He walked us to our Tube station, stopping at the stage-door of another theatre we passed to tell a ghost story about an actor who was murdered at that exact spot years ago. We said our goodbyes and parted ways. The whole Tube ride and walk back to school, we were laughing and skipping merrily. The small amount of alcohol we had ingested had little to do with our current states, more based on a "high on life" kind of feeling. I know three young ladies who will always have special places in their hearts for Mr. Samuel West. ]]> Brushes with Fame by AmyElle AmyElle SMITH <![CDATA[ Yes, another Jesse James spotting in downtown Austin. I realize what you are saying, "Jesse James, big deal, woohooo, Mr. Tattoo'd Attitude and debatably America's most hated male (as a result of his Sandra Bullock issues). There he was in flesh and ink, the modern day outlaw, Jesse James. Pressed dickies, work shirt, hat pulled down on top of his slicked back hair and tattoos for skin. Seems like a nice enough fella to say hello to, so she approached timidly, "Well hello Mister, are you...". Abruptly he responds, accustomed to the question on a daily basis by now, "No ma'am, my name is Rich but I think you may be looking for him", pointing to the 'real' Jesse James as he exits the gym where we both train. You see, Jesse and I could pass for twins and now that he lives in Austin and we live in such close proximity, this is a daily occurrence. She responds with an embarrassed, "Stop playing, I know you're him and I hate to ask but would you mind being my personal mechanic". As Jesse passes and smiles saying, "My brother from another mother", I decide to show mercy and simply take her number and sign an autograph. The lady and I part ways and I walk to Jesse, who is now parked in his gas-guzzling, 4WD, appropriately black truck, I smile and exchange a typical, "Hello, what's been going on". After a brief exchange, discussing his shoulder surgery and my latest encounter, I promise to tweet him a shout-out and our latest pic from "@TKONutrition" (me) to @FreeJesseJames (him) in hopes that he will likely oblige a return gesture and bless me for taking shots as his involuntary stunt-double. All for nothing, as I wonder how celebrities siphon through their fan mail and why mine always goes unreciprocated. I start to walk away as he revs the engine of that beast, which likely just cost him about twenty dollars. As he begins to take off, I immediately remembered I forgot something, "Hey Jesse, stop! I forgot to give you something". As I retrieve from my pocket the latest number of a damsel in distress, I hand him the piece of paper. I briefly explain it's origin in 140 words or less and make my exit. I walk walk away with a silent pride, not because Jesse will return my tweets or acknowledge my existence but I secretly accepted that latest job offer on his behalf. ]]> Brushes with Fame by TKO-Rich TKO-Rich SMITH <![CDATA[ My boyfriend and I were seeing the Broadway show "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". During intermission, we discovered that my long-time celebrity crush and acting inspiration, Michael Emerson, was in the audience. I was frantic to find him. During curtain call, Jordan and I ran to the lobby to find him, and with amazing luck, we spotted him. When I first approached him, I found myself blabbering on and on about how ecstatic I was to see him. I finally managed to ask him for a picture, and he offered to go outside to take it. We took the picture, and I thanked him profusely. I managed to tell him how he inspired me to continue my acting career. He said that maybe we'd end up working together someday, and I was in complete shock. I thanked him again, and we parted. As soon as we got out of his sight, I tackled Jordan in pure bliss. This was the best day of my life, and thinking about it makes me want to cry tears of joy all over again. ]]> Brushes with Fame by izzyhindle izzyhindle SMITH <![CDATA[ “Because when you spill it, it doesn't smell like piss when it dries."<br /> That's why he's buying expensive imported beer instead of some cheap domestic. He wants to explain. He cracks open two bottles and hands me one. His cat eyes are deep black, with huge round pupils. Who knows what he’s swallowed. His girlfriend massages bleach into the sheared hair on either side of his tall lacquered mohawk. It’s a Mohican, he insists to everyone. Darby’s a stickler for the right word.<br /> "Don't burn my scalp, Amber!" he cries. <br /> "Relax, Mr. Punk Rock."<br /> "It feels like a conflagration."<br /> I'm 18, and I live on the uncool suburban side of the crumbling hills. On a wet Saturday afternoon I drive to Hollywood in my parents’ car. I park down Franklin St. and carry my guitar over my shoulder, like I saw Johnny Ramone do in Rock Scene magazine. It's more punk without a case. Amber points me to a pillow on the floor of the bare living room. Darby nods, stretches out on the couch with his leather jacket draped over him, staring at the ceiling. <br /> “Go,” she snaps. I plug into my tiny Pignose amp and play "Ritchie Dagger's Crime.” It sounds feeble, echoing off the walls.<br /> She smacks Darby on the leg. “Well?”<br /> "He’s got blue eyes like Billy Zoom." He stands and yawns. "Let's go get some beer." Twenty minutes later we’re carrying those Heinekens back. <br /> Now Amber’s off in the bedroom. Darby and I watch Hell’s Angels on Wheels on a black-and-white TV and drink the fancy beer. Cars hiss by the windows, like Jim Morrison said. Hollywood smells like wet wool socks and diesel fumes. <br /> There's an ad for some truck-driver school. “What do you do for a job?” he asks. <br /> “I’m in college. But I'm gonna drop out, ya know, whatever.”<br /> He rolls his empty bottle into the corner and fishes around in the paper bag. “Why would you do that?”<br /> "Well - um. I dunno.”<br /> He cracks two more beers and hands me one, watching the TV impassively. His gnarly buck teeth push his lips out and his eyes are gentle and unfocused. "Trucker school would be cool."<br /> The movie comes back on and he murmurs, "Jack Nicholson. Look how young he is.”<br /> Jack sidles up to a car and strikes a pose. He looks exactly like Darby waiting for change in the liquor store. <br /> “Wild. He’s the wild card. In every movie. He's the one-eyed Jack.” He drains his bottle and rolls it away. “Or, the suicide King.”. ]]> Brushes with Fame by Sporifix Sporifix SMITH <![CDATA[ I was walking down a local Mall, and walking in the opposite direction was a man with a pram. I thought that I recognized his face...then it clicked he was Richard Marchenko, the former Navy Seal and author of many novels. I whipped around and approached him, asking if he was Marchenko.<br /> "That's what they tell me." He drolly replied.<br /> I told him of my Magazine articles, and asked how much work he had to put into his fiction work.<br /> He replied, " Each chapter is about as much work as one of those magazine articles you write. 20 chapters, about 20 times the work of a magazine article." I thanked him for the time and information.<br /> <br /> At work later that week I told a co-worker of the encounter. She said, " Oh, he lives in my neighborhood, he babysits children during the week, and he's good with children, but they come away with realy colorful vocabularies. ]]> Brushes with Fame by tcrog1020 tcrog1020 SMITH <![CDATA[ I was on the 7 PM American Airlines flight from JFK to LAX on Valentine's Day 1996. I was in the front aisle row of Business Class and had a clear view of First Class where Alec Baldwin was traveling with his wife Kim Basinger, their nanny and 3 1/2 month old baby Ireland. Kim seemed to be exhausted - she was curled up with a long fur coat.<br /> <br /> Alec had on a v neck navy blue sweater and brown tortoise shell glasses. From a few minutes after take off, baby Ireland started fussing. Alec jumped up (I think even before the seatbelt sign went off) and started swaddling and walking with her up and down the aisle, with her over his shoulder, patting her, comforting her. He would coo to her, cradle her, give her a bottle, calm her down. He'd sit for a moment and then she'd start up again. He patiently went through the routine again. <br /> <br /> My children were already 9 and 7, but I so related to what these new parents were going through and how patient and sweet Alec was with Ireland. We exchanged a few comments about babies, and I totally got a mad crush on Alec that night. Kim awoke a couple of times and smiled back at him (and me) but she could tell they were in their own world. <br /> <br /> I am in the jewelry business, so I sent up a pair of heart shaped earrings to Kim with a little note for Valentine's Day with a flight attendant. She mailed me a sweet thank you and said I should have come up and talked with her. I sent a message to Ireland about this little moment in time a few years ago and she told me it made her (and her mom) really smile. <br /> <br /> I have met/ run into many celebrities in my many years of travel and being in a politically connected family, but this was the absolute sweetest and most memorable. To this day I have that Alec Baldwin crush. ]]> Brushes with Fame by silver07 silver07 SMITH <![CDATA[ As I entered my favorite little country store, I could tell that something unusual was going on. Two men in suits were standing on either side of the door and a classy luxury car was parked out front. The owner of the store looked at me and pointed down the center aisle. Phil was smiling, so I let my curiosity lead me in the direction he was pointing. There was a woman digging through the ice cream freezer with one hand and holding a Coke with the other. I drifted in a little closer. She straightened up with her choice-a Nutty Buddy. When she turned toward me, I recognized her and couldn't help but beam a big smile at her and say hello. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "I really shouldn't be eating both of these." We both laughed and I suggested that she trade her Coke in for a diet soda. "This way," I continued, "you'll eat only half the calories." Nodding and laughing, she agreed that trading her drink would be a smart choice and then she added, "I don't imagine there's such a thing as a diet Nutty Buddy?"<br /> Knowing that she loved horses, I asked her if she knew about the Point to Point Race that was being held at a nearby estate that weekend. She smiled and said she hoped she had time to go to it. I told her that I was planning on going with my six-year-old son and some friends.<br /> I watched her leave and waved to her when she looked out her window from the back seat of her car. The two gentlemen were with her-one was the driver and the other was probably her body guard. She waved back and gestured a toast to me with her soda.<br /> Phil was surprised that we chatted for as long as we did. He wanted to know what we were talking about. I answered, "Ice cream and horses."<br /> The races are held in March when it is still cold and windy. Lots of hats and scarves dotted the hillside on that sunny day. I was looking around to see who I knew when I spotted her behind me further up the hill. When she looked my way, I lowered my sunglasses and raised my drink in a mock toast to her. She smiled and pointed toward my son who was standing next to me. I nodded and patted the top of his head. She placed her hand over her heart. My friends saw me toasting her and asked who she was. "Oh," I answered..."it's just someone I met at Locke's Store. Her friends call her Jackie O.". ]]> Brushes with Fame by kateaustin kateaustin SMITH <![CDATA[ Eddie Vedder's own leg, only fake. ]]> Brushes with Fame by annawa8 annawa8 SMITH <![CDATA[ My teen-aged daughter and I were spending a few days in NYC some years ago. One very cool, very rainy afternoon we braved the conditions and went walking in midtown armed with umbrellas and tightly fastened coats.<br /> <br /> There were few pedestrians on the sidewalks, but in the block ahead I noticed a woman walking toward us. She was tall and slender. She had no umbrella and, as she got closer, I could see that she had no need for one. She was wearing a waterproof jacket that came down to just above her knees - a car coat, I'd guess you'd call it. What struck me as amazing and ingenious was the hood and collar of the coat designed in such as way as to almost totally encapsulate her from the knees up protecting her from the elements and enabling maximum flexibility and range of motion.<br /> <br /> The closer she got, the more I was able to study the details of this garment. I was thinking "that is a great coat! Perfect for this weather: no umbrella to hold and operate against the wet gusts of wind or to impede visibility; and hands free to keep cuddled in pockets or to hail a cab." The hood was close fitting so the wind couldn't easily dislodge it from her head. The collar stood straight up and ended near her nose and was secured in that position by a sturdy zipper.<br /> <br /> I waited until after we had passed the woman before exclaiming how amazingly perfect the coat was. But before I could begin my praise for the perfect rainy weather garment, my daughter excitedly turned to me - she also had waited until we had passed the woman before speaking, and said, "Do you know who that was? You DO know who that was, right?"<br /> <br /> "No, who was it?"<br /> <br /> "That was Julia Roberts! We just walked past Julia Roberts!"<br /> <br /> At this point my observation seemed a lame retort at best, "I wasn't looking at her face. I was looking at her coat. Hey, that was a great coat for this weather, don't you think?"<br /> <br /> "Mom, Julia Roberts!"<br /> <br /> I think that meant, "I win this round.". ]]> Brushes with Fame by Kitt Kitt SMITH <![CDATA[ In 1973 on a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, sat beside the Beach Boys in the dining room. Two fifteen year old girls - stoned. We were talking about the Beach Boys concert we were on our way to see - and the fact that we didn't have tickets yet. They started flirting with us, teasing us about the concert and we didn't recognize them. To be fair, I only knew them from their clean cut album covers with matching striped shirts. These were big, dirty, extremely hairy men. Who knew?<br /> Turns out they were doing some promos for the local radio station on the ferry, which included GIVING AWAY TICKETS. Oh well.<br /> We bought tickets from scalpers and actually didn't realize who they were until they walked out on stage. ]]> Brushes with Fame by Baca Baca SMITH <![CDATA[ I was about 23, living in LA, when my best friend came to visit. We were eating in Westwood, when we see a black SUV pull up right in front of the restaurant. Jack Black emerges, along with that blond guy who is in his band (and has been in movies with him). They both looked exactly the same as they do on-screen, rockin' their little beer bellies... My best friend said, "Oh my god! It's Jack Black!" pretty loudly, and I suddenly got so nervous. It was really weird. I think my nervousness came from a fear that my best friend's comment or slight fawning over him would embarass Mr. Black (and me). I said "Shut up Jamie!" and then she proceeded to make fun of me for getting so nervous in his presence. It really is weird how a famous person can have that effect on a person. Some teenage boys saw him too and told us that they were going to go talk to him. They came back a few minutes later and said, "Yup, it was him! We talked to him!" Maybe I'm too shy, or maybe overly respectful that I don't want to bother a celebrity when they're out trying to do normal civilian type of things. BUT many celebrities each that shit up and that's the reason they became famous. Whatever the case may be, my first "brush with fame" or shall we say "brush with beer belly" is a funny and cute memory from my youth. ]]> Brushes with Fame by Some1special Some1special SMITH <![CDATA[ My fandom for Bill Murray goes deep. Unabashedly deep. <br /> <br /> So, you can imagine my surreal thrill when, working a catering gig at a house with a backyard that looks onto the tee box of number 14 at Pebble Beach, I saw D.A. Points and Bill Murray’s party approaching. I’d just delivered a vodka cran to George Lopez on 14’s fairway, and Lopez had kissed me, told me I was beautiful and that he loved me (in that Hollywood way), then fist bumped me and blew me up. So, I was feeling a little like anything was possible when one of the patrons at the house we were catering for suggested that if I “get a cold beer out here, Murray will come up and get it.”<br /> <br /> I put a bottle on my serving tray and headed out to the lawn. Murray hit a fine shot off the tee to much fanfare and as he headed up toward the fairway in his oversized Elmer Fudd hat, folks from the party around me hollered: "this one's for you." He acknowledged us (and the beer) and turned up the rise toward the golf cart path. <br /> <br /> I held the bottle with one hand on my tray so as not to spill it on my way down the landscaped embankment, and then I was in front of Bill Murray and a full camera crew with a boom mic guy, a key grip, two cameras, and the caddy. An entourage. And suddenly, I felt like I was in a reality tv show. Wham. Like that.<br /> <br /> I managed to pull my gaze up from the strange sheep-skin cover on the hovering boom mic and make eye contact with Bill Murray. I remember the pores in his face. And his eyes. Kind eyes. He shook my hand. He took the beer.<br /> “God bless you for this,” is all he said.<br /> <br /> Then he took a hit of the beer. Tipped it all the way back.<br /> <br /> “Ah, Mr. Murray.” I stammered. “Mr. Murray, I just wanted to say…I just want to say you’re my all time favorite. Really. I just think you’re the best.”<br /> <br /> Bill Murray looked at me and gave me a half a nod. But with kind eyes, you know, like, ‘don’t go gettin’ all respectful on me now, kid, we’re at a golf tournament.’<br /> <br /> At the end of the day Murray was asked about the beer he was given on 14 and he said, "The beer was good."<br /> <br /> Bill Murray and D.A. Points won the AT&T;Pebble Beach Pro-Am that week.<br /> <br /> A photo of Murray holding his beer and me standing next to him with my arm around him ran on the next day, then in Sports Illustrated and finally the San Jose Mercury over the next week.<br /> <br /> I got a lot of mileage out of that. I gave him another beer at this year's event when he was wearing his camouflage outfit. We're a tradition now. ]]> Brushes with Fame by RBLove RBLove SMITH <![CDATA[ I was working a banquet as a server. The event was a fundraiser for a human rights organization. I wanted to listen but was shooed out by our manager. No workers were to stay in the banquet hall during the speeches. I snuck in the back service door and crouched down behind a buffet table covered in the standard table linens. For a while I listened, empowered by the speeches and thought about how many of my co-workers lives were touched by the topics being discussed. Just then a tug on my arm and my manager once again pulled me out of the room and into the service hallway. She walked one way, I walked another. Bummed out that I couldn't listen. As I walked the long service hallway I spotted Jon Voight coming towards me. He motioned to me with his finger. "Come with me," he said. "It's important we listen." Then he led me back into the banquet hall where he stood by me for the rest of the speeches. My manager saw me standing there with Jon Voight, as visible as I could possibly be! She didn't have the nerve to pull me out now. At the end I shook his hand, said thanks and went back to work clearning tables. ]]> Brushes with Fame by Berna Berna SMITH <![CDATA[ I found Joyce McKinney in Washington Square Park with one of her famous cloned Rottweilers. She sat in an electric wheelchair and was dressed in a fringed neon pink suit jacket with a matching skirt that hung loose over her knees. Her hair was bright yellow and damaged. It was eleven at night, a Tuesday in October. <br /> I am a huge Errol Morris fan. Three of my friends and I had just gotten out of the New York premiere of Morris’s latest film, Tabloid, which was showing at DocFest. Tabloid told the true story of Joyce McKinney, the quirky tabloid star of the 1970s, through interviews and archival footage. When Joyce made a surprise appearance from the back of the theater at the end of the screening, it was surreal enough. But then Joyce took the stage. She spewed negative comments about the media and Morris. The audience looked on, aghast. My friends and I had to get burgers afterward to decompress. We couldn’t believe what had just happened. <br /> Afterwards, on our walk to the subway, my friends and I saw Joyce again. She was sitting alone, watching her dog run in Washington Square Park. We couldn’t resist approaching her and starting up a conversation. We asked her about her life and what she had thought of the movie. In reality, we found Joyce to be just as the film had portrayed her: paranoid, eccentric, and endearing.<br /> Joyce chatted with us in the park for an hour before we suggested escorting her back to her hotel. Mostly, Joyce was so sweet that when she rambled on about conspiracy theories it was hard not to want to believe her. That night Joyce had carried disorganized stacks of her old glamour shots in her briefcase. She showed them to us in the lobby of Washington Square Hotel. Joyce is old now, but the pictures showed the Joyce of yesteryear, the Joyce my friends and I are all too young to remember: the former Miss Wyoming World, the obsessed lover, the accused kidnapper, and the mixed-up tabloid queen. ]]> Brushes with Fame by AdrianaW AdrianaW SMITH <![CDATA[ When I was a teenager back in the 1960's, I would take the bus east to Beverly Hills so that I could study at the public library there. I found more resources at this more affluent library than the one closer to my home. One Saturday, when I had finished studying, I was walking back to the bus stop for my trip home. Rather than my usual route, I chose to walk down one of the side streets in downtown Beverly Hills. Being a bit "off the beaten track" from the more touristic Rodeo Drive, there were few people on the street that Saturday afternoon. As I walked along, I passed the storefront of a fencing studio. I had only seen people fence on television or in the movies. I quickly found myself glued to the window staring in with surprisingly unselfconscious adolescent fascination. This was certainly the most interesting thing I had ever seen up close and personal! It finally dawned on me that I recognized one of the two people in the studio. It was none other than the famous movie star, Tony Curtis, getting a lesson from his fencing instructor! I could not believe my eyes at this bit of serendipity! <br /> I continued to press my nose to the window. After a few minutes, Mr. Curtis stopped and took a break from his lesson. Before I could blink, he walked out the door and ask me if I would like to come in, sit down, and watch him finish his lesson! Oh my God, I thought, was this really happening to ugly-duckling ME?! <br /> Without thinking twice, I marched into the studio and sat down with my schoolbooks in my lap. I frankly don't remember the rest of the lesson. I was in such a daze, so awestruck at what was happening at that moment! Tony was a really big movie star at the time! I guess he was practicing for his next "Prisoner of Zena" (swashbuckling) movie epic. At the end of his lesson, Tony took a few minutes to sit and chat with me. Hollywood is so full of stars with big egos that it was a surprise that he would spend a few minutes of his time with me. Remember that there were only Tony, his instructor, and myself in the room during that session. I did have one card up my sleeve though. I knew that Tony Curtis's real name was Bernie Schwartz and my last name is also the same. I shared that information with him. <br /> We both smiled at our common link, the two of us were from the same "tribe" (so to speak). After that, I stood up, we shook hands and I went off to catch my bus home. Decades later, he was interviewed on a local radio station, and I was able to call in and share this memory with him.<br /> I have never, ever forgotten this kind & gracious man. ]]> Brushes with Fame by aardapple aardapple SMITH <![CDATA[ We went to see Break of Noon at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, starring David Duchovny. We lived nearby and, as avid Californication fans, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Duchovny on stage.<br /> Afterwards, we filed outside into the brisk evening air where Duchovny fans hovered nearby with cameras, excitedly awaiting his exit. The temptation to join them flickered through my mind before I dismissed it.<br /> “I don’t want to be one of those fans,” I said to my friend. “But I’d like to catch another glimpse of him. Why don’t we have a drink over there?”<br /> On the other side of the street, directly facing the theater, was a low key Peruvian restaurant. Most importantly, it had an empty table by the window that would afford us the perfect view of Duchovny’s exit. The restaurant owner was a friendly elderly man. His restaurant was bustling with people, save for that one table we had in mind. <br /> “Can we sit here for a drink?” We asked. “We watched the play and would love to see him come out.”<br /> He was good natured and nodded happily. “This table’s reserved, so you’ll have to leave once the group arrives, but meanwhile you can sit here.” <br /> When he returned with our wine he leaned forward and let us in on a secret. “You know, he’s been in here a few times. He’s a very nice man.”<br /> Duchovny appeared and we watched, fascinated, as the energy on Christopher Street electrified. A crowd formed around him and I was struck by how gracious Duchovny was. He spent considerable time with fans, standing in photos and signing autographs. <br /> “He always does this,” the owner said, joining us to watch. “Spends time with fans.”<br /> A black car with shaded windows was waiting for him on the other side of the street. He edged towards it with his entourage, but then walked past it. We watched incredulous, as he – surely not! -- walked towards us. <br /> The door opened. Duchovny appeared in the doorway and looked directly at us. <br /> “Looks like we’ve got more people around this table tonight,” he said humorously.<br /> The owner came forward and explained we would move, adding that we had wanted to watch him exit the theater, which made me cringe.<br /> “We’re not stalkers,” my friend said.<br /> “We just saw your play and it was great,” I added, hoping to salvage our embarrassment. <br /> He nodded at the words he must have heard so many times already that evening and smiled, before glancing down at the floor, almost shyly. It was clear he didn’t want fuss or commotion, just something to eat. We stood up and gave him back his table. <br /> “I can’t believe we spoke to him!” my friend said later. <br /> I’m not sure our three line exchange counts as a complete conversation. But, we dined off the story for weeks afterwards, naturally. ]]> Brushes with Fame by HannahSloane HannahSloane SMITH <![CDATA[ Last summer, I saw a special presentation of The Wizard of Oz. It was at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, hosted by John Waters. He was the perfect host for this movie. <br /> <br /> After it was over, he was greeting fans and signing books. I waited in line for about 40 minutes to meet him. This was a bucket list item for me and I wasn’t going to miss this chance.<br /> <br /> I knew what I wanted to tell him. I got up to the head of the line and said, “I love your work. It makes me feel normal.” He replied, with great attitude, “You are normal. Tonight, we’re all normal.” A blessing from the Pope would not have made me feel better. ]]> Brushes with Fame by JHaus52 JHaus52 SMITH