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Accidental Encounters

As I think about it, Iíve met quite a few celebrities over the years. I suppose there are a lot of other people who have met more, particularly those people who are in the ďbizĒ in some fashion, like accountants who handle celebrity taxes, or maybe drunk driving. But, Iíve met a few. I have been meaning to write down who I have met over the years and how I met them, so I guess this is as good as a time as any.

The first star I remember seeing in person (other than some local Los Angeles ďstarsĒ who are not nationally or internationally known) was Cliff Robertson. I confess I didnít actually meet him, that is, we didnít have a conversation. He was just standing in line in front of me in a record store in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego.

In 1968, Robertson won an academy award for his role in the movie Charly. Heís been a zillion movies and TV shows over the years. I didnít notice what record he was buying. I should have said hello. This was probably back around 1973 or so, as I recall. I noticed he had really curly hair and that he wasnít very tall. I think a lot of actors are not very tall, actually.

Across the street from the record store is an old fashioned ice cream shop that sells their stuff from a window. Thereís no interior sitting space. Anyway, supposedly Gregory Peck liked to show up there for ice cream. Never saw him. Sorry. He was one of the most famous actors of all time.

Hmm, back to people Iíve actually met. I was at the San Diego Comic Con one year and met a guy who was related to Yvonne Craig. She played Batgirl on the old Batman TV series in the 1960ís. I had just done a painting of her, a strange coincidence, and gave it to him to give it to her. She called me a few weeks later and we had a nice conversation. I think she mostly sells real estate up in Los Angeles nowadays. She was very nice to talk to.

Actually, I met a lot of famous people at the San Diego Comic Con over the years. Anybody who goes there can meet famous people. I had lunch with actor Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) when he sat down at my table. It was crowded in the restaurant I was at, so he didnít have anywhere else to sit. We had a nice conversation. Heís a very friendly guy.

I met Jack Kirby at a party in Los Angeles. He was just about 70 years old at that time. Jack created many famous comic book characters over the years. For example, he helped create Captain America, the Hulk, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. He created a lot of characters with writer Stan Lee. I never met Stan, but he did end up writing the introduction to one of the books I wrote. (Iíve written a couple of books in the Complete Idiot Guide Series.) Roger McGuinn wrote the introduction to another book I wrote. I spoke to him several times on the telephone. He was a founding member of the rock group, the Byrds. All the rock stars, like Tom Petty, seem to love him. He must have been very influential in the day.

I helped create a company called MP3.com. Shortly after starting the company as a cofounder, I asked a friend of mine to bring down his friend Billy Idol to our office. Billy showed up and I had a long conversation with him. He was a very nice guy, too. Most famous people seem nice when you meet them.

Some of the older music business people that I met were fantastically nice to get along with. Patti Page, who was a big star in the 1950ís, was sweet and I had lunch with her one day. Sheís a doll. Did you know that she sold more records during the 1950ís than any other recording star other than Elvis?

Another guy from the far past who I met was Pat Boone. He was really big in the late 50ís and early 60ís and became a movie star back in the day, starring in Journey to the Center of the Earth. A very nice person, I had a long conversation with him on the telephone one day, as I recall.

Joe Walsh, of the Eagles, came walking by me one day, but I didnít know he was in the office and didnít speak up as he passed by.

I did have a recent conversation with Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. He was at a local store, selling bottles of his wine that he, well, sells nowadays. He was nice. (Have I said ďniceĒ too many times?Ē)

I met Robert Heinlein, the famous science fiction writer, when I gave blood at a blood drive. He was cranky that day. So he was ďniceĒ, but not overly nice. His wife was there, she was quite nice.

I met another writer, Ray Bradbury, at the Comic Con a couple of years ago. He was in a wheelchair. I went to a lecture he gave during the 1970ís, but didnít meet him then. He was hale and hearty at the lecture. At the Con a couple of years ago, he looked weak and sickly. Age will bring us all down, I guess, if we live long enough. Ray is probably Americaís best writer of horror and fantasy. Heís really gifted.

The Doors rock group had a manager while Jim Morrison was alive. Bill Siddons is his name. I met him, in fact, I bought him lunch. Nice, yes.

I also met the manager who replaced Siddons, Danny Sugerman. He was less nice than Bill. I also met his wife, Faith Hall. She was famous for being involved, somewhat, in the Iran-Contra affair. She worked for a while as a secretary at MP3.com. She was nice.

Paul McCartney sued MP3.com but I never met him. Too bad, as I bet heís nice. If you have a million dollars, heíll come play at your party, though.

I never met Frank Zappa, but wish I had. Iím listening to a lot of Frank Zappa music lately.

I have had a lot of famous people think I was Elton John, though. Not kidding. I guess I look like Elton. They just star at me and wonder if I am Elton John or not. I try not to speak so that I donít spoil the illusion. Jerry Lewis, Sarah Brightman, and Jerry Springer all fell prey to my Elton Johniness. Jerry was on a plane with me, Sarah was singing from a stage at a huge concert when I was in the wings, and Jerry was on the set of a TV showÖ.but I didnít speak up and tried to look English.

Iíd love to read your stories about who you have met or seen!

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