May 29, 2005

The C-list: Celebrity encounters

I've always wondered about people who approach celebrities asking for pictures, autographs, whatever. Or how about those people who pay to play a round of golf with a celebrity? Or attend a dinner? I've got nothing against celebrities, mind you. But I haven't got anything in particular to say to them either.

My parents reportedly met Ernest Hemingway in a bar in the Village. They bought him a drink, he sat with them and their friends, regaled them with tales and allegedly put his hand on my mother's knee. They asked him for an autograph and he duly complied by signing a paper napkin. The napkin is lost to history.

My celebrity encounters are considerably less thrilling and can be counted on with one hand and a finger:

1. Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter: This encounter took place in the lobby of Donald Trump's hotel where my sister got married. Stewart was pretty obviously inebriated and seemed to be riding up and down the elevator. I saw him many times, since I kept slipping out of Jean Georges for a smoke. Stewart spent several hours (it was a long dinner) shuffling back and forth in the lobby and getting in the elevator. One time, he and Rachel Hunter got off the elevator together. They appeared to have quarreled. He said something to her and she stomped out of the building looking extremely pissed. Rod continued his pacing, shuffling act.

2. Judge Judy: This was at another wedding, that of a friend whose job at the time was to escort the judge to publicity events. Many gathered around to meet the judge and I was introduced. Then came the toasts. Best man, etc. Judge Judy got up and delivered the longest, most obnoxious, self-centered toast I had ever heard. She literally hogged the stage for 15 minutes. Soon after, I sneaked out with a friend to go bowling.

3.George Stephanopoulos: This was while he still worked for the Clinton administration. It was at a restaurant and he was with a date. Totally unremarkable. He is very short.

4. Carol Channing: I saw her riding a swan boat in Boston Public Garden. People gathered by the shore to see this exciting personage and Carol gave them her best wave. I vaguely remember a parasol.

5. Hope Lange: I sold her a pair of jeans at the Gap store on 42nd Street.

6. Hensley Muellens: This erstwhile Yankee was one of the hopefuls brought up in the early 1990s--not a happy time to be a Yankee fan. I saw him at the Lodi, NJ DMV. Not a happy place.

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