Living in New York you see a lot of famous people around. Not that you ever get used to it … there’s always a little thrill when you see a celebrity in a place you’re not expecting them to be. But, you know, this IS New York. You’re bound to run into a star as you go about your own fabulous day.
Wednesday morning on my way to the subway I passed a row of movie trailers parked along the street and thought nothing of it. All very bla bla bla until I looked to the right and saw John Malkovich speaking very intently to a girl who was either a 19 year old PA or a 19 year old fan. Either way, he was being very intense. And this, only a week after running into Chloe Sevigny!
I happen to live in a very filmable area so it’s normal to see those long trailers parked along my block. It’s sometimes nice but mostly annoying — like when you’re trying to have a romantic baloney sandwich with your Boo on the promenade in the moonlight and get shushed off your bench because it’s a “closed set”.
I once kept a list of every celebrity I ever bumped into but it was on some hard drive that crashed and I never tried to re-create it. Until now.
A short list of the celebrity encounters (which I can remember) in no particular order and by no means all inclusive:
- Seeing Maria Shriver in the ladies room when I worked at Time Magazine
- Seeing James Earl Jones pass by my desk (again at Time) asking the executive assistant for coffee with “fake milk and fake sugar”
- Having Charles Durning hold the door for me on my way into work at Petersen Publishing
- Being in the elevator (at Time again) with Isabella Rosellini
- Seeing Rodney Dangerfield walking along a beach in Bel Air with a girl 1/4th his age
- Passing Mike Meyers as he contemplated going into Balthazar
- Seeing Kate Capshaw and Stephen Spielberg at Nobu the night I splurged and had a hugely expensive dinner with friends
- Seeing Buddy Hackett walking through the Noguchi Museum one afternoon
- Seeing Nipsey Russell coming out of a restaurant in midtown
- Seeing a very bony, totally scary looking Melanie Griffith sitting in the window of Thalia
- Having Captian Jean-Luc Picard (okay … Patrick Stewart) sit at the table behind me in a Mexican restaurant on the Upper East Side and trying not to hang on every word coming out of his mouth in that gorgeous voice of his
- Bumping into Caroline Rhea near Rockefeller Center
- Seeing a tiny tiny Joan Rivers come out of The American Airlines Theatre
- Watching Geraldo Rivera strut so comically down the street in front of the ICP that I thought he was doing it to be funny. Turns out he’s just cocky.
- Attending an all star (Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Christopher Walken, Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marcia Gay Harden, John Goodman) performance of The Seagull at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and spotting Alec Baldwin and Candice Bergen in the audience while I sat right behind Christoper and Dana Reeves
- Seeing Alec Baldwin again later in the park after the performance (I’m not kidding) shouting at someone on his cell phone. (Too long ago to be his daughter, but maybe it was Kim).
- Being introduced to Gloria Steinem by a mutual friend at an event and having her graciously say “hello” and then ask “Do you know where my coat is?”
- Years later, seeing Alec Baldwin (again!) come out of a Union Square movie trying to ignore the crowd calling out to him
- Seeing Brooke Shields on the subway
- Catching Al Sharpton‘s eye as he was making a speech to the cameras and have him stutter when I winked flirtatiously (back when I was a cute 19 year old PA for an investigative news show)
- Watching Mikhail Baryshnikov during practice rehearsal at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center
- Seeing Paul Giamatti just hanging out in front of a store around the corner from my house soon after Sideways came out
- Seeing John Gotti having a nice sit-down in Little Italy and hearing the guy in front of me say “You know, I’m not gay, but that John Gotti is one good looking guy!”
- Standing behind Robert Klein in a crowd scene (when I was an extra) during the filming of Next Stop Wonderland
- Seeing Ed Koch in front of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
- Seeing Eric Bogosian brooding on the subway
- Being alone with Mario Bosquez in the elevator … and watching him close his eyes so he wouldn’t have to speak with me when I turned to smile at him
- Being introduced to Richard Metzger after he gave a presentation at a Howard Bloom event I was involved with
- Seeing Boy George who, after hours of performing at a record store and signing autographs, STILL had a better makeup job than me
- Seeing Pope John Paul address the crowd from his summer home, Castel Gandolfo, in Italy
- Getting my picture taken with Rudy Giuliani during Sport Magazine’s Christmas party (we were sharing the venue with the Fire Department’s Christmas Party. He’d come to celebrate with them, but got us too).
- Having Charles Shaughnessy come up and ask me and some friends “What’s this line for?” as we were going into The Town Hall. Richard Avedon was in the audience with us listening as Woody Allen and Steve Martin read pieces they’d written for the New Yorker
- Seeing José Eber in the reception area of Sassy Magazine
- Seeing Michael Badalucco on the R train in Brooklyn graciously smile as a guy came up to him and said “My wife makes me watch The Practice … so I know you’re famous from that … otherwise I wouldn’t know who you are …”
- Sitting in the same row as Andrew Lloyd Webber at a performance of Bombay Dreams
- Taking meetings with an out-of-drag Lady Bunny in my short-lived stint as a comedy writer for her sketch comedy show that never got off the ground
- Trailing behind Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman at a street fair a few days after Cheers aired their last episode
- Seeing Tom Hulce milling around the audience the night I went to see a screening of Amadeus at a Monday Nights with Oscar event
- Seeing Margaret Cho come to a screening of her film, Notorious C.H.O. at Time Inc’s joint GLBT/Asian Society (or as my friend called it, the Gaysian Society) event
- Having John Waters sign my copy of Hairspray and ignore me during my sycophantic gushing … even though I was the only one on line
- Meeting Lidia Bastianich at her restaurant Felidia two of the three times I was there
- Getting an interview with former SNL producer (and ex Woody Allen friend) Jean Doumanian and blowing my chance at working for her by telling her I’d read all about her in a book that painted her as an evil witch
Well, that’s all I can remember for now. But if you’re someone famous and want to get on my list … contact me! We’ll arrange an obscure place to bump into each other. Then, voila! You’re on my list. And congratulations to you on that.