If you live in a big city then chances are the rich and famous hang out there too. Some may be passing through, some may live there.
As you all know I spent the first 44 years of my life in New York City – can’t imagine any place with more rich and famous people of all stripes – and it was a point of pride amongst us natives that we never hassled those folks. Hey, they’re just neighbors. You could shout out a ‘Hey, how ya doin’?’ even a ‘Love the new movie/play/song/book ‘ but then you just kept walking.
Hanging around the stage door waiting for a sighting and an autograph – that was ok because that was expected. Before the days of smartphones there were indeed folks who brought their cameras so old time selfies were not unknown. BUT – there was a time and place for autographs and photos and a restaurant or the dry cleaner wasn’t it. Making a fuss was never a cool thing to do.
Celebrity sightings were common as dirt and most hardly registered unless you were a super fan. Only once did I do the super fan screech.
A friend and I had been bopping around one night and between stops the need for a bathroom became urgent. So we popped into the Waldorf Astoria to use the bathrooms there. As we were walking through the lobby who comes floating through – coming right towards me? Peggy Lee! I stopped in my tracks, did the whole “OMG – It’s Peggy Lee. I love you! Her two bodyguards shifted her out of my path and as she passed she nodded and gave me that wonderful half smile of hers. I think I peed right there in the lobby.
But other than that…it was all just ho-hum. I gotta tell ya tho – people who you have only seen on tv? In person they are WAY taller. I know you are laughing but – you see someone on tv and people all look basically the same size and you probably don’t think about how tall (or short) they really are. The you see them in real life and it’s “OMG – he’s tall!” And Alan Alda’s eyes really are that squinty and I don’t know how they hell he sees out of them.
A lot of names I could drop would be meaningless to most of you because I am old and you are not. And most of them are dead now anyway.
Jackie Gleason? When I say I bumped into him, I mean that literally. I was mad dashing down 5th Avenue, late to the office after lunch and BOOM I hit a human brick wall, went down on my ass, my glasses when flying….as the human wall that I bumped into was picking me up, handing me my glasses and I was apologizing – I hear “That’s all right, girlie, you ok?” “Oh, Mr. Gleason, I’m sorry” – He just laughed and walked on. I got back to the office and did the whole “You’ll never guess who I bumped into…”
Oh yes, we were all very happy to lose the cool amongst ourselves – but never in public. We were way too cool for that.