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Seeing John Malkovich

by Karen Tortora-Lee on September 29, 2007

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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 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 …”
  • 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.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 4, 2007 at 9:47 am

Oh my god, I get celbrity struck, too! I always think i’m too cool, until I end up in an elevator with Donatella Versace, or Steve Martin crosses the street in front of my car. Suddenly, i’m not so copasetic and tell everyone I know! xo, Farrell

mina October 26, 2007 at 1:53 pm

I had no idea you spotted (and remembered) soooo many celebs! I just saw Danny and Rhea walking in the West Village together a few weeks ago. We just smiled at each other as we passed on the sidewalk.

Tasha November 10, 2008 at 11:23 am

Well written article.

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