Monday, January 23, 2006

Famous (and not so famous) people I have met

Famous (and not so famous) people I have met (saw in person, not counting at a performance), in no particular order:

Ang Lee Ang Lee has been in the news a lot this week because he won Best Director at the Golden Globes for Brokeback Mountain. He's also directed Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. When I owned my apartment in White Plains, NY in the mid 90's, I lived next door to Ang Lee and his family. When my manager at PeopleSoft at the time heard this, she said, "I have a whole new vision of where you live. It must be a gated community, very fancy." It was in fact a pretty modest 2 bedroom apartment he shared with his wife and (at the time) two small sons. The sons' bedroom wall was on the other side of my bedroom wall. I didn't realize who he was until I was moving out, and a neighbor told my mother who was waiting at my apartment for the moving company appraiser to come. They seemed pleasant. I think he lived there for a while after moving to a house in White Plains.

Kelly Coffield
I grew up with Kelly, and she was a good friend of mine in elementary school. Kelly's fame grew when she was in the cast of In Living Color. For a while she was the only white actress on the show. She's also had parts in Field of Dreams, Jerry McGuire, as well as episodes of Seinfeld, Once and Again and Law and Order. The last time I saw her was after her performance in a play in New York years ago. I try to keep an eye out for when she'll be in something.

Barack Obama He is the Illinois state senator who gained a lot of press at last year's Democratic convention for the speech he gave. At my first job out of college, I worked at Business International (now owned by The Economist as The Economist Intelligence Unit). I think I transcribed some interviews he had taped. I remember him as quiet, a very nice person.

Kurt Vonnegut
At that same job where I worked with Barack Obama, the office was first located at 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, not far from the UN in New York. Also in the building, sharing our bank of elevators, was Dell Publishing. Once in a while, I'd share an elevator with Kurt Vonnegut.

Kathleen Turner
While I was still working at Business International (or was it the Economist Intelligence Unit by then), a friend and coworker was trying to find a place to live in Manhattan. Her friend had given her a tip about someone who was subletting an apartment. She had to go to the owner's apartment to get the keys and then go see the sublet, so she asked me to come with her. The owner lived in UN towers in quite a swanky apartment. He told us the rent, said it was a steal, but he wasn't sure his business partner would approve such a low price. Even though the rent was too high for my friend, we went to look at the sublet anyway. I remember it being a dark dingy basement type place. Certainly not worth what they were asking and kind of creepy. So we went back to the owners apartment. He was entertaining some friends. He told us to go to the restaurant he owned, they'd be there soon, and he'd buy us a drink. So we went to the restaurant, and he came with his posse of friends: a female professional tennis player, some Democratic party political advisor and others I can't remember. The owner of the apartment & restaurant kept talking about his partner "Jay" and Kathleen, saying they might stop by. He invited us all to dinner on him. While we were at the table, a homeless man was outside the window of the restaurant with a shopping cart full of bright yellow stuffed large ducks he was selling. Our host sent a waiter outside with some cash and asked him to buy ducks for all the ladies at the table. Soon after, in walked "Jay" and his wife, Kathleen Turner. They came over and chatted with our host. He introduced us each to Kathleen. She shook my hand and said in that sultry voice of hers, "I love your duck." Kathleen and table went & took a table by themselves. I finished dinner & caught a train home. Never saw any of those folks again, except my friend, who could never afford to rent an apartment in Manhattan.

Bill Gates Years ago when Bill Gates was famous for Microsoft, but certainly not one of the richest men around (but pretty darn rich), I met him at a Microsoft SQL Server conference. I'm trying to think when it was, it had to be in the early 1990's. I was in San Francisco for the first time (and had no idea I'd eventually move to the bay area). During one of the evenings there was a Microsoft hosted cocktail party, which Bill Gates attended. My manager at the time, also named Bill (who was there as well as my colleague Danny) must have encountered Bill Gates another time. He went up to talk to him and introduced us. These were Bill Gates' single days and there were a lot of Microsoft women hovering around him. "Do you need another drink, Bill?" "Can I get you something to eat, Bill?" It was pretty funny. I was wearing a dress that had a handkerchief in the upper pocket. Bill and Danny kept urging me to drop my hanky in front of Bill Gates to attract his attention. I declined.

Ethel Kennedy
When I was moving from NY to California, I had to work the in the PeopleSoft Waltham office (outside Boston) the week before the move, so I flew from Boston to San Francisco. I had lots of frequent flier miles in those days, so I thought I'd try to upgrade to first class. Ahead of me in the line trying to do the same thing was Ethel Kennedy. Neither of us got into first class. Later, she stood behind me waiting for the airplaine potty. Just like regular folk.

James Taylor When I lived in Manhattan soon after graduating from college, I lived on the upper west side. One day, walking along Amsterdam Avenue with my roommates, we saw James Taylor walking along with his two young children. We tried to nonchalantly walk in front of them so we could get a peek, then stop in a store, then walk behind them, etc. I think these days this would be called "stalking".

Mary Tyler Moore Again, while living in Manhattan, with the same roommates, one evening we were walking up Columbus Avenue. As we were about to turn the corner onto our street, we noticed that Mary Tyler Moore was sitting an an outdoor cafe and at her feet was a beautiful golden retriever. Of course, we had to go pet the dog.

John Malkovich Same neighborhood, same roommates. Was in an ice cream shop on Columbus Avenue and John Malkovich was behind us on line.

Chuck Scarborough and others
If you're not from the NY area, you wouldn't know Chuck, but he's long been the anchor for the local WNBC news. My first job (besides babysitting) was at a Baskin Robbins. One day Chuck walked in and I made him a strawberry cone. Another day we served girl who played "Dee" on the show What's Happening? (C'mon, you know the show. With Dee and her brother Raj and they're friend Rerun who was always saying "Hey, Hey, Hey".) Oh and there was the gal I worked with at Dollar Savings Bank in the Bronx as a bank teller in the summers during college. Her name was Tracy Parnell and she had been in the movie Fame. And Rene would like me to mention that we had lunch next to the Charlie Daniels Band (sans Charlie) when we first arrived in Augusta. Oh, and I walked past David Crosby of CSN fame in San Francisco once. My cousin reminds me that we saw Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond at the ice cream store in Long Beach Island one summer (although I'm not sure if I was actually with them at at the store or back at the house). A year later, I did see the mom, Doris Roberts, from Everybody Loves Raymond, at the airport in NY.

What does this tell you? Not a lot, but it gives you a sense of where I lived and worked over the years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot a few...

The Charlie Daniels band in Augusta...for example.