While I confess to having been a Beatlemaniac in my teens, I like to think I’m not a fan of the cult of celebrity – I guess because I never saw my parents gush over famous folks. They’d gone to Syracuse University and performed on stage with Jerry Stiller, Peter Falk and Jerry Adler – so they took the fame-game pretty much in stride. And in show biz, it’s a given that you probably know some famous people – or people who would become famous later. For instance, my folks performed in community theater with Nelson & Joan Baker, Mark Linn-Baker‘s parents, in the 1960s:
And at my first job, I worked right down the hall from Nell Carter, back when she was still “only” a singer:
Celebrities are America’s royalty and I’ve known and worked with many talented and well-known musicians and singers (check my website!) But it’s the serendipity of crossing paths with famous folks that tickles me. For instance, my husband once literally bumped into “Moses” AKA Charlton Heston, (who might’ve been packin’!?)
better not try to take that rifle from his hands!
and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, (whose bodyguards definitely were packin’!),
don’t mess with Hizzoner!!
and Woody Allen, who literally bounced off Mark’s chest while shooting Broadway Danny Rose and running into our apartment lobby!
There was that time we saw Jack Palance dining at an Indian restaurant in Studio City:
no one-armed pushups, Jack – cash only, please!
and James Coburn the next month at that same restaurant:
“I’d like another round of lassi for my table… and a touch more turmeric in this curry, eh?”
At our favorite, now long-gone Mexican place Caramba! we saw John Schuck and Jack Gilford crunching tacos between their matinee and evening performances:
“Tomorrow – tomorrow – it’s only a day away!”
We caught sight of Shirley Hemphill in the parking lot of a Hughes supermarket:
and stood in line behind James Woods at a different Hughes:
(he was wearing glasses at the time, like he did in “THE WAY WE WERE”…he looks a little less forbidding in glasses!)
Mark pulled up beside Weird Al at a stop light, when he was still being discovered on the then-new M-TV channel:
was he driving a Yugo? I dunno!
But I think my favorite was one rainy autumn afternoon when I heard a school bus full of children in front of the Plaza Hotel calling out to “God” AKA George Burns – the whole street burst into applause when he waved to them and everyone grinned ear-to-ear!
“When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick!”