Back in about 1996, I was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas area. I got up early in the morning to go for a walk and went into town, which was largely deserted.
As I was walking by some different bars and restaurants, I heard music playing and was curious about what was going on, so I walked into the building.
Went I walked in, I looked further and saw about 20–30 really beautiful African American ladies that were dressed to the nines.
About that time, a young AA man walked out of the area and smiled at me and said “hello”. I said hello back and asked him what was going on with the music and girls…
He said, “we’re shooting a video for MTV”. I told him that I thought that was really awesome and that I was happy for his success. Then I asked him if minded me asking for his name. He said, not at all…
When he gave me his name, I thought he said 6-pack… I was embarrassed and admitted to him that I wasn’t familiar with his music. He said that it was ok and then he wished me good luck and an enjoyable stay during my vacation and left.
He was super nice, squared away and pleasant. Looking back, it kills me that I wasn’t able to get a selfie with him because I wasn’t familiar with his music. But I’ll never forget what a pleasant experience it was to chat with him. I wish he was still with us.
I dated Jennifer Lawrence in 2008. I met her at a yoga class in Santa Monica. I had no idea who she was when I met her. I just thought she was cute and I started talking to her. She said I shouldn’t watch a lot of TV, and that she was on a crappy show on TBS. She ended up giving me a ride home from the class, and then I asked for her number. We went out a couple more times after that, but soon I learned that she was only 17 at the time. But it was cool to get to know her anyway. I lost touch with her after a few months since her career was starting to take off. Now it’s kind of a trip when I see her in movies.
Brad Pitt and I happened to catch the same elevator. His appearance was different than I had remembered from Ocean’s Eleven. He said “hello” and asked how my day was going and we made small talk about the weather. We got off on the same floor and he wished me a nice day.
Awkwardly enough, we were headed the same direction, got tied up by security, and walked up on some women self detonating. Shortly after, a few paparazzi ran up and began snapping pictures. I immediately covered my face because I’ve had groups of people behave like that (from China/Korea/Japan) by walking up to me, touch my hair, and take pictures without asking. I knew I was absolutely not important and was puzzled by the situation. I just don’t understand the unnecessary hype of “celebrity gossip.” Being nosy and making small talk, I asked security what was going on as Mr. Pitt stood there. The guy didn’t respond and seemed taken aback by the question.
I heard some more women sprinting up to Mr. Pitt and screaming his name. He ignored them, looked at me and said “have a nice day” (fist bump included), and darted off. After Mr. Pitt left I was asked if I “knew who that man was” and I said “not at first.” Offended, the women huffed away and the scene became peaceful.
*I live in L.A. Maybe it’s a big deal if you don’t live where “famous folk” live, but I don’t get the hype. If Mr. Pitt opened his wallet and handed me $1000 risk-free, maybe I would detonate. Until then, I’ll mind my own business.
It’s usually easy to stay as cool as a cucumber if you think that the individual in front of you is a regular person just like you. You can chat about the weather. You can talk about your favorite recent films and TV shows. You can grumble/boast about how your favorite sportsball team lost/won. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s small talk at its best.
However, the moment you realize that you might be speaking to someone incredibly influential, wealthy, and successful, your mind can short-circuit. The feeling is not unlike having to go on stage and say a speech. Or how everything goes blank when you sit down to write a test, and oh Lord, none of the questions make sense. Nobody wants to make a fool of themselves. Especially if they think that the stakes are high.
Yes, but not in so many words.
One early Saturday morning, I took our German Shepherd with me to get gas in the car and pick up a few picnic essentials while my husband was still asleep.
As I pulled up, I saw a fancy car and a couple of folks surrounding the driver, who was handing them over something. In a few minutes, they all left. As I was about to get back in my car, he walked up to me, and we exchanged trivial pleasantries. He complimented my dog for his looks, and asked: “Want my autograph?” Seriously!
“Only if you want mine” I responded.
He pulled a calling card from his pocket, asked for my name, wrote something on the back, and handed it over back to me. Without looking I put it on the dashboard
I gave him a napkin, with my name written on it, and we bid farewell.
At breakfast, I told my husband about my encounter with this chap and gave him the card.
“My God! Are you crazy… you met him and didn’t even recognize him?”
With “Who HE?” look on my face, I stared at my husband.
The card was from Jamieson’s, the trendy bar and restaurant in the same block as our office, and the owner himself Sugar Ray Leonard … the boxing champion, had signed and written. on the back of the card:
“Admit Raji, husband and 10 guests for lunch/dinner/drinks. Carryout for German Shepherd.“
No, but I remember hearing Pres. George H.W. Bush tell a story about vising an old folks home and chatting with a pleasant older lady in a wheel chair. After a while he asked her, “Do you know who I am?” She replied, “Ask at the desk. They’ll know.”
A friend of mine told me about the time he saw Prince go through the airport TSA.
Prince was travelling with a gorgeous model. He was also wearing thigh high purple boots and purple cape type thing.
Prince had the special security stamp on his ticket that meant he had to get pulled aside and inspected.
The TSA agent was a 70 year old ex army vet. He rolled his eyes and said, “Step this way sir. And remove your boots.”
Prince unzipped his thigh highs and got the full pat down, all while his super model girlfriend looked on.
When he left everyone was starstruck, asking the old man “Do you know who that was?”
The old man replied, “Looked like a real fruit cake to me.”
Probably the best piece of advice that we can give, when it comes to calming your nerves, is to remind ourselves that everything will likely be all right even if we mess up, atrociously. Sure, you accidentally gripped Brad Pitt’s hand too hard or you tripped over your tongue when talking to pop legend Britney Spears, but it really isn’t the end of the world. You were genuine. You were human. And so are they.
Moreover, if you actually own up to your sense of awkwardness and embarrassment, you’re bound to leave the interaction as someone to be respected rather than looked down on. We’ve written on KristenBellTattoos.com before that being honest about our sense of embarrassment and embracing those uncomfortable feelings can help us connect with others.
A few years back we took my horse mad daughter to the Royal Windsor horse show for her 8th birthday.
We spent the morning watching various showing classes, watching army & police horses strut their stuff much to the enjoyment of my daughter.
I noticed one of the showing classes had a little more audience than most so we wandered over.
As we got closer I saw standing watching was Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew & her daughter Princess Anne. All three were dressed down for want of a better description wearing wax jackets, Wellington boots with both the Queen of UK & her daughter Princess Anne wearing their typical country headscarf. It turns out one of the Queens own bred horses was in said showing class.
I leaned down to my daughter & discreetly pointed out “look over there babe, that is the Queen. Go and stand a little closer so I can get a picture”. My daughter looked to where I was pointing rolled her eyes and said in her loudest voice “what that old lady? Don’t be silly mum that’s not the Queen! She isn’t even wearing a crown”!
needless to say we didn’t get our picture but we do still laugh about it to this day.
My daughter is now 22, still horse mad with 4 horses of her own and half way through a masters degree training to be an veterinarian equine physio.
Back in the early sixties in England, I was a receptionist in a high end car showroom. One day a gentleman strode up to my desk and I greeted him with a smile and said “Good morning.” He didn’t return my greeting but said in a very terse manner. “I want to see Mr. Xx” Mr. Xx* was the sales manager for the Aston Martin. His rudeness irked me so I smiled at him and asked for his name, knowing full well who he was. He said. “Don’t you know who I am?” He was obviously cross that I didn’t recognize him, smile got wider as I told him I had no idea who he was. “I am Peter Sellers.” “Do you spell that with a C or an S?” I asked as l picked up the phone to ring Mr. Xx. Mr Sellers didn’t reply.
I was getting my hair cut at a Fantastic Sams in a small town in Santa Barbara County in CA. The girl who cuts my hair is originally from Mexico and obviously must not ever have listened to rock music. She told me that this man came in to have his hair cut. He was very nice she said. After he paid, he went outside and returned with a guitar. He started singing to her. After he left, she couldn’t figure out what the big fuss about him was. Her co-worker asked her if she knew who he was. In her heavy accent she said she was told he was someone very famous. “Hees name is Meek Yagger”. That would be Mick Jagger. She said she was very embarrassed that he sang to her in front of her coworkers. He didn’t ask her “Do you know who I am” but I think he could tell she didn’t know and it was likely a rare moment for him. Just a guess on that though.
When people see that we accept that we’ve made a mistake and we don’t shy away from whatever embarrassing thing we might have said or done, they’re much more likely to sympathize with us.
However, this also works in reverse. People are put off when someone tries to hide that they’ve missed up. In short: do your best to always lean into your embarrassment. It’s the mature thing to do. And it works whether you’re talking to Keanu Reeves or a complete stranger.
Running away from embarrassing situations and our mistakes can eventually turn into deep-seated feelings of shame. That’s something that you really want to avoid if possible. Otherwise, you might find your entire sense of self being undermined. You might start wondering if there’s something ‘wrong’ with you and may shy away from social interactions in the future. This leads to missed opportunities and less overall happiness.
I worked in a camera shop in my early years and someone came in to pick up a camera which was being repaired. I asked his name. It was Paul McCartney. He very politely gave me his name. No attitude whatsoever. I met him quite a few times after that and he was never other than a nice, genuine person.
In college, I worked in the electronics department at Macy’s.
This dude with long hair came in one day and asked me about the data cable for either the Sharp Wizard or Casio Boss. For those who aren’t old, these were electronic organizers that were the predecessors to the Palm Pilot, iPhone, etc.
It was on sale, but he asked me if it was cheaper anywhere else. I replied that I didn’t know. He decided to buy it.
While I was ringing him up, he asked “do you know who I am?”
I turned to look at this dude with long blonde hair and replied “no.”
“You really don’t know who I am?”
“I’m Michael Bolton.”
He looked completely shocked. “You don’t know me?”
“I have no idea.”
“What kind of music do you listen to?”
“College radio, alternative, punk.”
“Like 10,000 Maniacs?”
“No, but sure.”
“What planet are you from?”
“Do you know ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’?”
“You aren’t Otis Redding.”
We talked some more and he started asking questions about computers. I mentioned that my friend Randy worked at a computer store that was just a couple miles away.
About two hours later, Randy called me laughing hysterically. Randy was working in the back room and one of the sales guys was super excited and came running back:
“Randy, Randy, Michael Bolton is here and he wants to speak with you.”
Oh, I have the best response to this question! This actually happened to my uncle, not me, in the late 1970s. It’s become a legendary story in our family, and I’m thrilled to share the anecdote here now…
My uncle worked for PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) in NY and would often hop on free flights to CA (on other airlines) to visit us whenever the mood struck him. It was one of the perks of working in the air travel industry, but the caveat was that he could only fly stand-by if there was actually an empty seat available; no one was ever bumped in order to make room for him.
One day he managed to secure a seat for himself in first class. As he settled in and got comfortable, he noticed that his young, handsome seat-mate was attracting a lot of attention from the flight attendants and from other passengers. People were asking for his autograph, shaking his hand, complimenting him, smiling at him. My uncle had no idea who he was.
He finally decided to just ask him: “Excuse me, are you someone special? Why does everyone seem to know you?”
The gentleman informed him that he was an actor who had recently been in a film that had done very well. He told my uncle his name and then asked him, “Now do you recognize me?”
My uncle told him, “Nope. I only watch Indian movies. Do you know who Amitabh Bachchan is?” (Amitabh was – and still is – the biggest actor in Bollywood with a worldwide following. To this day, we crack up at my uncle’s response.)
The actor answered in the negative, and my uncle gushed, “Oh, he’s the best! You should watch his movies! You will love them!” And then, intrigued, he pushed further: “So are you famous?”
The fellow passenger smiled and responded, “Tell you what. When we land in Los Angeles, you tell me if you think I’m famous or not.”
When my uncle saw how excitedly people at LAX reacted upon seeing the celebrity who disembarked his flight with him, he became convinced that the man was indeed famous.
So who was the man?
None other than John Travolta.
And his movie that had recently been released to great acclaim?
(By the way, my uncle STILL has not seen any of John Travolta’s movies, even though he will loudly and proudly repeat this story to anyone who will listen – he just gets a real kick out of seeing people’s reactions when he reveals whom he was trying to convince to become a fan of Bollywood King Amitabh Bachchan! Lol!)
I work in media production, and and in 2009 we were producing a corporate video for the big Walmart Annual Meeting. They always bring in a big star to host, and that year it was Ben Stiller. So Ben rolls into Fayetteville Arkansas with a modest entourage, and we quickly whisk him out to the local Walmart where we are shooting a little comic piece, with Ben playing a cashier. It was a very loose setup, and we’re moving fast, since the big show was the next morning and we had to shoot and edit this piece before we slept that night. We had grips and makeup people posing as customers, and Ben asked one of his traveling companions, an older guy named Jeff to join the fun and man the cash register behind him. Jeff suited up in a Walmart shirt, and we got the shots. As we started to wrap, the production assistant made the rounds and got signed releases from everyone that appeared on camera. She brought back the release from Ben’s friend Jeff The Cashier with her jaw practically dragging on the floor. It was filled out correctly and completely and signed…..Jeffery Katzenberg. We were all big film buffs and we worked in the industry, but you just don’t expect to see someone of that stature traveling under the radar, so NONE of the crew had recognized him. You can clearly see Mr. Katzenberg working the register behind Ben in this old picture.
When I was 8 (1985), I was diagnosed with acute intermittent porphyria, and spent a couple months in Children’s Hospital at Stanford the next year.
We were very poor, but had pretty good insurance (CHAMPUS — ,for military dependents, dad was Air Force) but it paid slooooooowly. And didn’t pay everything. Since I was heathy looking, and when not having an acute att*ck could do most anything any other nine-year-old could do (it took several months from being first diagnosed to CHS admission) they offered to have me in a commercial to pay a large portion of what CHAMPUS wouldn’t.
So, I’m in this studio set up like a test room, I’m going to be walking on a treadmill with a breathing mask thing, and in walks this pretty lady wearing the same jelly bracelets I’m wearing, in the same way. And I get VERY excited — she’s the first adult I’d ever seen wear them that way. We talk about the bracelets, how best to wear them, then she asked, “What are you in in for?” and listened patiently as I tried to explain what porphyria was, what it did, and how much it hurt. She cried a bit, I hugged her, the director comes in and I’m expecting her to leave — I thought she was just a babysitter…
The lady doesn’t leave. I say something like, “Oh, are you another patient?“
She looks very amused. “They didn’t tell you who I am? You’re probably a little young to recognize me.”
Maria Osmond. She was SERIOUSLY nice to a little kid in a lot of pain. She actually was a pen pal for the rest of the time I was in the hospital.
I was about 18 working at a store in Carmel Ca. This was 30 years ago. A guy came in brought his stuff up to the counter to check out. I asked for ID when he gave me his credit card to pay and I said thank you, he said “you don’t know who I am do you?” I said no sorry. I read his name again, Sean Connery, went home and told my mom and she freaked out! She had a huge crush on him! I had no idea. He was a good looking older man tho
Well, I met one celebrity, and he didn’t quite say, “Do you know who I am?” Instead he just introduced himself.
It was in the early 1960s and my father had driven 300 miles in the winter to see this man perform in the nearest “big” city to our small town. He had brought my brother and me with him. At the city, we stopped to get something to eat in a diner and, lo and behold, the man was there. My father, never shy, went over and asked him to say hello to my brother and myself.
So he came over and said, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”
My brother and I were quite shy at that age, and couldn’t look him in the eye. He reached into his pockets and pulled out two guitar strings and gave one to my brother and one to me.
So, I never got the chance to say I didn’t know who he was — he pre-empted that possibility. That’s my one fleeting moment of a meeting with celebrity.
My wife did. We were staying in Vancouver, BC for a short vacay at a nice hotel where a lot of celebrities apparently stay when they’re filming. She went down to the hotel gym and rode the elevator up with Jeff Goldblum.
She knew he was some actor, but all she managed to say was, “You’re the guy from the Apple commercials, right?” (this dates the encounter). He said, “Yes, I am.” And she said that her husband (me) would be frustrated that she didn’t get a name (this whole time she’s showing him around the hotel gym). To which he resopnds, “Jeff…….” and then she says, “Yeah, sorry…….” And then he tells her the full name.
The kicker to this story is that she comes back up to the room after her workout and says to me, “I met a celebrity in the gym!” I’m like, “ok, cool. Who was it?” And then says, “Jeff GOLDMAN.” I’m like, “Who?” “JEFF GOLDMAN.” I’m all, “Yeah, I don’t know who that is.” And then she says, “The Apple commercial guy!” And then I’m like, “You mean JEFF GOLDBLUM.” “YES! THAT’S RIGHT!”
Not EXACTLY… but fun memory.
I was studying in the park at Washington Square in Manhattan. Two GORGEOUS women, one a blonde and the other a super tall black woman, just stunning and OBVIOUSLY both models or something, walk by pushing a baby stroller and sit in the grass nearby.
I notice everyone staring at them and all I can think is “damn, people suck, just gawking at these two women who are just minding their business playing with their baby.” At one point a guy passes on his bike, nearly crashes, stops and literally takes a picture. WTF? Anyway…
The blonde starts walking over to where I am smoking a cigarette and studying my flashcards. She asks if she can borrow my light, and sits on the wall next to me. I am friendly of course, wanted SO bad to chat with her, but didn’t want to join the ranks of these other clowns that I’m SURE she saw gawking, that day and every day.
She does this a couple times over an hour and a half or so, obviously getting away from the baby to smoke, so we chat a little here and there but I leave it at that. On the way home, I’m sitting across from my roommate on the subway, telling her about this crazy attractive blonde I “sort of” met in the park, laughing a little wondering who she was. Then my roommate opened the paper and there she was, a full spread on the back of the paper. Cameron Diaz! I didn’t have a clue, lol.
I was working as a barman in Rockey street 1994. I had finished my shift and had gone to the bar next door called Rockerfellas for a beer. I walked in, walked pass this very drunk English guy, went inside and sat down next to his 2 mates. Struck up conversation. They told me they were English, I told them I was French, blah blah blah.. I noticed a group of very attractive ladies looking at them and I informed them but they seemed oblivious to it. The one guy told me they were their groupies. I said “Really? Are you in a band?”.. “Yes, Depeche Mode, maybe you’ve heard of us?” Was the answer… FACEPALM… I was rather embarrassed, started asking stupid questions… But I did get an autograph from them. And just squirmed away..
The epic thing was going home. My GF always knew that I’d have a couple of beers after work but never really stayed up that late. So when when I got home.. “I guess you’ve been p*ssing it up with your drunken friends?” , “Yes, Depeche Mode, with a slight grin on my face. She didn’t believe me until I gave her the autograph and she asked my drunken friends that had seen me sit with Martin and Alan. Dave was outside drinking with other ppl.
Yes indeed, I was at an atm waiting with a few people in an orderly line. When a luxury car pulls up behind and the driver leaves the car running. Out pops out a scary looking lady with large shades. She some how stumbles towards the front of the line and says, “excuse me, I’m very important and famous, you all don’t mind me skipping to the front?” No one answered and some even looked away ignoring her. I was second to last and she comes up to me. Takes her shades off and says, “you look like a gentlemen, you know who I am, may I just get some quick cash…” I politely replied, “No idea who you are mam, but I’d be no gentleman if I’d let you go in front of all these people patiently waiting.” She storms off and gets back in her lux car then proceeds to flip me off.
The lady behind me then asks, “ How do you feel being flipped off by Courtney Love?” I replied, “Like a gentleman.”
Not to me but to a friend of mine. Many years ago this friend got a job working in the gift shop at The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
one day a gentleman walked in and looked around a bit, then he went over to the elevator and pressed the button. She said “Excuse me sir but that elevator is for members only, do you have your card?” He looked slightly uncomfortable and then said “ Im sorry, I don’t have my card, but I just wanted to have a look at my collection”. It was, of course, Nelson Rockefeller. My friend suddenly realized that and was mortified, but, she said he was really very nice about it.
Yes, I was working as a salesman for some very high quality window dressings, blinds. curtains, shutters etc. he didn’t actually ask but I actually didn’t have a clue either
At the time I was working north london rather than my home patch.
I went to this old victorian terrace house and was working thru my pitch, taking an interest in the customer, his job, family etc etc.
I asked the customer (quite a tall dark haired bloke)what he did for a living and he said he was a musician, I said that’s interesting, I play classical piano myself (i do actually) and asked if he had enjoyed much professional success. He put on one of those wry slight smile expressions and said “just a little bit, yeah”
I just carried straight on with the pitch (failed to make a sell btw) and thought nothing of it.
Quite a few months later I was relaxing at home and his face popped up on the TV (or a face just like that one) and it was Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol. Apparently they are a “little bit successful”……who knew???……..not me obviously doh!!!
Haha…one of two celebrity or famous person stories. Sat next to Sharon Stone in first class on a flight in 2012 or 2013 to Atlanta. I was the first passenger to board, or so I thought. I have 1C on an MD-90 with 2+2 rows and when I get on a well dressed attractive blond woman is seated in 1D.
I remember thinking “this is weird, I didn’t see anyone board before me?” as I sat down and other passengers boarded. She’s totally into her phone, doesn’t look up or anything when I sit down. The flight attendant asks us if we want a drink before take off. I order a beer, she orders a mixed drink. When the attendant brings the drinks, the woman isn’t paying attention so I take the drink from the attendant and put it on the little center pull out drink thing. The woman looks up briefly, smiles and says thank you. When I see her she looked familiar but I can’t place it yet.
So we’re waiting for boarding to finish and I’m thinking who does this person look like? She doesn’t look up but I catch a couple of glances and after a few minutes I’m thinking Sharon Stone. But Sharon Stone? Then I think back to my thought when I boarded first only to see a woman already on the plane…she might get celebrity treatment from Delta?
So after boarding is complete, I get up to get my iPad from my bag in the overhead, at which point she takes off her suit jacket, underneath which was a sleeveless camisole type (and form fitting) silk top. She looks up and I asked her did she want me to put up her jacket and she smiles again and hands it to me. Now I’m about 90% sure it’s Sharon Stone.
I sit back down and glance at her again as she thanks me again. 99% sure. The attendant brings another round and after a few minutes she sort of theatrically and provocatively props her feet against the bulkhead wall and crosses her legs. There’s maybe 30” from the seat to the bulkhead, so her legs are at about a 45 degree angle up from the seat and her rather conservative tweed skirt is riding up with well above her knees. She’s still into her phone and barely looks at me, pretty much catching me looking…which was really hard not to do…I’m about 100% sure it’s Sharon Stone. And yes the famous scene from Basic Instinct did cross my mind.
About 30 minutes left in the flight, curiosity gets the best of me and I say to her “excuse me, anyone ever tell you you look like Sharon Stone?”. She smiles and says “all the time, what’s your name?” I tell her Don, she extends her hand and says “nice to meet you, I’m Sharon”.
We made small talk the rest of the flight; she was on her way to NYC and thanked me for being courteous and not calling attention to her (although the legs crossed bit got every guy’s attention I’m sure in first class!). I handed her her jacket and got her bag out of the bin when we landed, we exchanged pleasantries again and were on our way. I walked behind her up the jetbridge and she kept her head down when we got into the terminal so no one would recognize her.
A great story and good experience. She was as friendly as you could expect (given the number of…overzealous fans she probably runs into), a little flirtatious, very attractive (she was wearing very little makeup) and comfortable I think once she realized I was just a regular person. I’ve seen her in interviews since then and she seems the same as on that flight, pretty down to earth.
I was on a turboprop flight from Seattle to Vancouver one time with Laura Bush around 2013. Totally different experience with the entourage and all the security & everything.
Back in the 80’s in Boulder Colorado, I worked in a bank. One of the tellers came down to the break room during lunch and looked pretty frazzled. “What happened?” I asked. “Some guy wanted to take some money out of his account. He went ballistic when I asked him for ID. Just kept shouting ‘Don’t you know who I am?’, which I clearly didn’t. Supervisor came over, and he still is refusing to produce ID for the withdrawal. Supervisor doesn’t know who he is, either.”
“What was the name on the account?” I asked. “Something Ginsberg” she says. “Scruffy dude? Beard?” I said. “Yeah.”
Yup. Alan Ginsberg wasn’t very happy at not being recognized by a 20 something teller in a bank in Boulder. I’m sure he would have been even LESS happy if said teller had let some rando take money out of his account.
One day back in the 90s, I happened to be sitting next to Billy Joel. A stranger walked in and started to strike up a conversation, apparently without any clue about whom I was sitting next to. They chatted briefly about the pop music that was playing overhead. At the end of the conversation the man turned to Mr Joel and said, “Hey, by the way, has anybody ever told you, you look kinda like Billy Joel?”
Mr. Joel grinned and nodded politely, then coyly responded, “Ha! Yeah, yeah! I get that a lot!”
The other man smiled and then followed: “Well, I bet you WISH you were Billy Joel…. ‘Cause then you’d be married to Christie Brinkley!”
Without missing a beat, Mr. Joel simply played along and let out a thunderous laugh: “Ha! That’s right! Wouldn’t THAT be something! Sure wish that was me!!!”
I so wish Christie Brinkley had walked in at that moment…
Not to me but one of my sons. He was buying a pizza restaurant in Montgomery, Al. And he was a working owner. One day this poc came in. Very self important with an entourage. My son was waiting on someone at the counter and this person expected him to just drop what he was doing and wait on HIM. My son is very much like me, don’t expect different treatment, everyone is the same. So he ignored the man and continued helping the person at the counter. Well my important was next and he drew himself up and bellowed “ Don’t you know who I AM.” My son isn’t easily impressed. “ no, just another loudmouth in my book.” It was Reverend AL Sharpton… I still laugh about this. My son said the good reverend deflated when he asked him if he wanted a cookie with his ego! We aren’t a religious family, he had no idea who he was. ( just to let everyone know, this is how the story was related to me. I have no idea if it happened or not. My son told me about it and he normally doesn’t lie so I took it for what it’s worth. So believe it or don’t)
I used to run a restaurant in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. One Saturday afternoon, Terry Bradshaw came in with 2 friends. He went to sit at the bar and demanded that all the tables behind him be kept open while he was there.
Being a college football Saturday, the bar tends to get busy with TVs to watch. When some new guests came in they were allowed to seat themselves in the bar area. They chose a table behind Bradshaw, not knowing who he was. He demanded to speak to a manager. I approached him and asked how I could help. He said “Do you know who I am?” Humoring him, I said “No. Should I?” He said I’m Terry Bradshaw. I extended my hand to shake his and said “Hi Terry. I’m Bill” He slapped my hand away and repeated that he wanted the area kept clear for him.
I explained that paying guests can sit where they choose. He got more irate and demanded to speak to the General Manager. I explained that I was the GM. He started going on about how he’d have my job, he could buy this place, etc. I told him the people could sit where they chose, and he could deal with it or leave. He tried to leave before his food came and said his drinks should be comped because he was “treated so poorly.” I said “Well if you can afford to buy this place, you can surely afford the drinks you drank.”
He threw some cash on the bar top and stormed out with his friends. He was a total douchebag. There was a strip of restaurants along the road mine was on. Word from other manager is that he was an ass at all of them.
Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you are a good person. Some famous people remember where they came from. Not Terry.
Quite the opposite. Many years ago, during the holiday season when a store I managed on Fifth Ave. in NY was open until midnight, a young woman came in just before closing. She was soaked head to toe, wore flip flops, and a trench coat over what looked like pajamas. I thought she might be homeless and seeking shelter from the driving rain outside.
She picked out about a hundred dollars worth of items and wanted to pay by check with no ID. When told, politely, that it wasn’t possible, she argued for what seemed like twenty minutes before finally accepting my offer to hold the items for her until she could return with ID.
The next day her housekeeper came in with the check and her employer’s identification.
The name on the check was Faye Dunaway.
I was a fan of her movies and if she had just name dropped her own name, I would have seen it was her and taken her check.
Not exactly, but in the early ‘80s I took up fencing (the sport) and was chatting to a new fencer to the club at the bar of the “leisure center” (public sports facility) where the club met.
I asked if I could buy him a drink, as we were all very friendly to newcomers. His face kinda said “Oh FFS!” and I don’t remember exactly what happened next because it wasn’t at all memorable. I may have bought that round, but his expression stuck with me.
Then, when a group of us fencers were sitting around one of the tables, a couple of girls also in the bar came up to him and asked him to sign their jeans. I leaned over and said to him, “You don’t work in an office, do you? What do you do for a living?”
Bruce Dickinson (lead singer of Iron Maiden) warmed up a bit to me after that. He always beat me in a fencing bout, though, he was quite good.
It’s actually worse than that. I had a friend who ran a shop called Judith Stiles Pottery.
At the time, I was about 26, barely surviving in NYC, working as an actor in experimental downtown theatre pieces. I never had money to buy any of Judith’s pieces, but I lived in the neighborhood and used to hang out at the store. One day, she had some errands to run and asked if I would watch her ten-year old daughter.
So I’m talking with her daughter, who tells me she wants to be a movie star. Having been rejected multiple times auditioning, I tell her that while that’s a wonderful goal, it’s very very hard to do, and maybe she should find some other things she likes just in case. She got very indignant and told me she was going to be a big star.
Yes, I spent the better part of an hour being patronizing to Julia Stiles.
January 92. I was in the line for the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco. There were a bunch of guys ahead of us in high spirits and one of them was checking out my date (she was pretty cute). I caught his eye and he was a bit embarrassed, apologised, and said his band Jet Boy had just been signed to a deal and they were celebrating. I said I had never heard of them. He handed me $20 and said I should keep it, as one day they would be famous and it would be worth a fortune.
So they go in ahead of us. I put the $20 on the reception desk and ask for a table for 4. We are sat promptly and order our food. He sees us seated, comes over and asks how we got a table ahead of them. I said, I tipped them your $20. 😉
Never did hear of Jet Boy.
Yes. We were following a friend up into the Hollywood Hills to his home after the funeral of his fiancée. He was distraught and we were concerned that he had insisted on driving home himself. He rounded a curve but went off the downhill side and his car was balanced mid-air with back wheels on the berm and front bumper in scaffolding where there was construction in the home. It was a dramatic vision.
A Rolls Royce (Silver Cloud) coming downhill stopped and a dapper, bearded man emerged, wide-eyed. Our friend was fine and able to climb out a back window after which we had an awed but friendly conversation with our friend, the onlooker and the the home builder. No major damage but we pondered about the vehicle removal (eventually a crane was used). Before the onlooker departed he said he thought I looked familiar and did I remember him. But I did not.
Turns out I had met him twice before. Once, many years earlier when his band rented a beach house next door to my friend’s parents’ home. And a second time also several years earlier when his wife invited me for coffee in Westwood Village and he was with her.
It was Ringo Starr.
I was a very young mother (19) flying from Seattle to Alaska where I live. My son was not even a year old. I went to sit with him to wait for boarding calls and the area was really jammed pack so I looked for an area with more space and sat in a area adjacent to the gate. I never paid attention to who was sitting by me until my son was wanting to walk around so had to help him. He kept going towards a girl who was on her headphones listening to music and it was loud. I vividly remember it sounding like black gospel music. I started to look at my surroundings better and noticed it was a group of young black women around my age sitting and a older black man standing. The girls were strikingly beautiful. Especially one which I still cant believe I didnt know who it was. Anyways, they boarded first class and I went to my good ole coach section. I remember thinking they were a musical church group going to Alaska. I gathered that from the gospel music playing earlier. So I get home and I’m learning that the popular music group “Destinys Child” will be performing in alaska. Of course I knew Destiny Childs music and was familiar with their songs but this was like 20 years ago and internet wasnt what it is now so it truly was mostly music and I got my news on artists on MTV, VH1 or BET. I’m watching MTV and it shows the girls of Destinys Child and I was like omg! Its them! They were already very popular so I felt a fool for not knowing their faces and putting the two together. Now my son says once he got to be in the presence Bey, the queen. She was the one I thought was especially beautiful. Fun story to share.
Back in the 1990’s, I worked in a store in a large shopping mall (we call them shopping centres here in the UK). This one was called Lakeside. The shop sold computer games and also board games and other random toys.
During the Xmas period, when it’s heaving with customers in store, a guy walks up to the counter and dumps a board game called “Articulate” down, and pops his credit card next to it.
I run the card and for some reason the machine rejects it. (Usually a poor read, faded signature, worn card, etc).
I run it again, and it fails a second time.
The card wasn’t reported as stolen, so everything is all fine, just a bad read. In cases like this, we would just ask the customer to sign a counter slip and imprint the card using a small machine.
I look up at the customer and tell him our card machine isn’t scanning the card properly, and would he mind signing the counter foil as I prepare the manual machine ?
He looks at me dead in the eye and utters the immortal words, “Don’t you know who I am?” taking off his sunglasses.
I spend a few seconds looking at him.
Quite a rounded face. Shaved head. Number 1 at a guess. Originally wearing dark sunglasses. In a shopping centre. In a store with no natural light.
My colleague Neil hears this exchange and turns to look. Neil lets out a gasp, crouches to his knees behind the counter out of sight of the customer, and looks up at me, eyes wild, gibbering.
Neil : Harv. Harv! That’s..That’s..Um..Er..
Me, getting slightly irritated : What? Who?
Neil getting more animated : Grant Bloody Mitchell (Also known as Ross Kemp) from Eastenders (very popular TV show with millions of viewers here in the UK. I was not one of them)
Me : Oh.
I turned to the customer and said “Sorry, No. My colleague does however. Regardless, may I have your signed autograph on the counter foil please?”
He smiled a little, and duly signed, then stomped off.
Afterwards, my colleague ribbed me for not recognising him, but the customer was “in cognito”, and I didn’t watch the show.
It still tickles me to this day.
When I was 18, I worked at a Deli on Mulholland Drive, in Los Angeles, CA. We would have a celebrity come in from time to time, but I would rarely recognize them. On one occasion, Lindsey Lohan came in with friends to buy alcohol, I swear I didn’t know it until my coworker told me who she was.
On one particular day, I was working the cash register. This woman, a thin brunette in her 40s, randomly snuck into the grocery store from the backdoor wearing these booty shorts that showed off the line separating her hamstrings from her ass. I didn’t think much of it, but as she came to the register to pay, she said “omg, if the paparazzi outside catches me like this, I’ll never hear the end of it. ” She didn’t really ask if I knew who she was, but it seemed that she assumed that I did. It has been 10 years since, and I still wonder who she was.
I have, but my friends’ story is much more interesting.
We worked concert security pre-covid and brushed shoulders with lots of artists. One day we were the pass checkers to the backstage area (one on each stage side), and about halfway through the second act this woman comes up to my friend and says she needs to get backstage to meet with her friends (headliner), and that they had her pass backstage.
As you can imagine, that’s not an uncommon occurrence; you can typically see when it’s a giggly/drunk patron vs someone who probably does belong back there, but you never know! They refuse to let her pass, telling her that if someone brings her pass out to her they’d let her through. She makes a call, and nobody picks up (they’re about to go on).
She starts to insist, and pulls the “Don’t you know who I am?” card, which we’ve all heard from anyone who wants anything. My friend replies, “Sorry, I’ve got no idea,” and she goes absolutely nuts, storming off. A little while later, during the intermission, our supervisor comes to my friend and asks “Did you block Sheryl Crow from coming back?” to which my friend shrugged “Probably, there was this blonde laby that acted like she was important, but she didn’t have a pass.” Nobody got in trouble, as that’s protocol, but from what I heard, SC was really not happy.
TLDR: Sheryl Crow thought she was famous enough to not need a pass, younger security had no idea who she was.
Dana White from the UFC also doesn’t like to wear his passes, so we’re told before hand to memorize his face and let him do whatever. I heard that before my time, there were a few members of security that wouldn’t let him near the octagon until someone with a pass escorted him, and now they don’t work UFC shows anymore. Fun times
Not me, but a French lady I bought an apartment from.
She moved to London but came back a few months later and met up with me to discuss any problems with the apartment.
She said she had bought an apartment in a ritzy area of London. It was a low rise complex and she often met a black American woman in the lift. After multiple crossed paths the black woman asked her if she knew who she was? She indicated no and the black woman seemed both sceptical and annoyed.
I met her again some time later and she said she now knew who the woman was, but still somehow could not exactly recall the name of her fellow resident other than she was a famous pop singer.
By a process of elimination I realized her lift friend was Diana Ross.
I obviously showed some enthusiastic interest. The French lady could not care less
I used to moonlight on the weekends as a Manager/Security for a small karaoke bar catered towards the Mexican community . My Spanish was good enough to run the place, and take care of both my staff and clients.
One day, there was pay per view fight on. We would charge $5.00 to get in (any other day it was free), so I worked the door and made sure the money was right.
A singer by the name of Jenni Rivera comes in. I used to listen to Classic Rock and Soul, so I didn’t know who she was. At the time, she was pretty popular, So she walks up and I tell her, “Hello, five dollars please” She gives me the old, “don’t you know who I am? I’m Jenni Rivera” . I replied, “nice to meet you Jenni, that will be five dollars”
A fan who was behind her pulled out his wallet and paid for her. She gave me a sneer as I told her to enjoy her self. That was actually the only part of her being a little perturbed, or having an attitude She went on to perform all of her songs we had on karaoke. The clients were going nuts. At the door, I can tell someone was singing really good, but I couldn’t see who.
She left a couple of hours later, and that’s when one of my waitresses told me who she was. After Googling her and finding out that she had her own show, was touring all over the place, and was very popular, I realized we had a bonafide celebrity in our little hole in the wall.
May she Rest in Peace, her airplane crashed a few years back while touring.
A few celebrities, usually of the here today, gone tomorrow variety have said words to the effect to me…like I give a [email protected]
I’ve never heard it from a genuinely famous, talented person, even when I may not have recognised them.
Based on my long experience in the entertainment business I’d say that there is a clear pattern there.
Many years ago my wife had a conversation with a woman in the narrow corridor behind the stage of a well known south London theatre, where I was working with a US band who were on the verge of becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. She told me that the woman was very nice and had looked a bit familiar. I had to ask her if she meant familiar like Madonna. Yes, that Madonna, who never once said to my completely unaware other half. “Do you know who I am?” probably because she clearly did not.
Back in ‘09/‘10 (ish) I was working as a parking garage attendant in downtown Kansas City. The fee to park was $2 (cash only). At about 9 p.m., a black Chrysler Aspen pulled up and the driver asked if I accepted credit cards. I said no, but there’s an ATM down the street. He expressed that it’d be difficult to stop on the narrow, one-way streets and asked if he could park in the garage and walk to the ATM. I was reluctant. He assured me that he’s good for the $2, and I said okay, I’ll let you park and then return with money.
Ten – fifteen minutes later, he returned with cash and asked if I knew who he was. He said he played for the KC Royals. I didn’t recognize him and asked him what his name was. He said Billy Butler. I told him his name wasn’t familiar, but that’s cool and thanks for returning with cash. He then gave me his phone number and said he’d hook me up with tickets to a game.
I researched him later and discovered that he was our designated hitter. I texted the number he gave me and sure enough, he had two tickets for me behind home plate. He struck out that game, but it didn’t matter. I was a recently married, broke, college student with a newborn baby. I still think of that kind gesture to this day.
In a way, but with a twist. I knew who she was but she didn’t want me to know.
Our city is often used for filming movies (Canada fits the bill quite well for depicting many international locales) and I was working downtown at an outdoor clothing store – you know, technical jackets, hiking gear, stuff like that, about 20 years ago. It was just before noon – I was dressing some mannequins on the main floor while my boss was out getting some lunch. In walks a very pretty brunette – I recognized her immediately as being Shannon Elizabeth, despite the sunglasses and ball cap. She was with a particularly large dude and a serious looking lady (security detail). This happened a year after American Pie came out, so she was quite well known at that time.
I’m no gusher, but wow, such a nice-looking girl. Hey, I was 24 and I saw American Pie – sue me. Anyhoo, she starts looking at the Gore-tex shells and I called over “If you need any sizes or have any questions, give me a shout.”
There were a few other people in the store, but no one paid any attention to her.
Eventually she came over and asked me if I had one of the shells in a particular colour and size. We walked over to the display and checked the bottom drawers underneath – we did have that colour and size. I pulled it out and handed it to her. While I was pushing the drawer back in (and without looking up) I asked “You filming over at the Customs House building? So many people on the sidewalks watching today.”
I glanced up – she had taken her sunglasses off and was staring at me with a smile. “You’re good,” she replied.
“Well, you’re kinda hard to miss,” I said. I could feel my ears going red.
We wandered the displays together for a couple of minutes talking. She also chose some new model hiking shoes that just came in. By that time, my boss was back from getting her sandwich – I introduced them, hellos were exchanged. Boss had no idea who she was – she thought she was a friend of mine.
We chatted for almost ten minutes, even got stern-b**ch-security lady to laugh. Shannon was planning on going hiking after the week was done before heading back to the US and was shopping in her downtime for basic rain gear – it rains often where I live. Been in town for six days, two more days to go.
She got the jacket and the hikers (stern lady got some stuff too, nice sale overall!), I got a friendly hug (eeeeee!) and she left.
Just a little reverse here. Charles Bronson used to come into the Kmart I worked in with his wife Jill Ireland. She was lovely and pleasant, he was oils hook his elbow over the top of an end cap and wait patiently while she shopped. We left them both alone unless she seemed to need help. This is a really small town so we clerks knew 98% of our customers by sight at least. One evening when Bronson was propping up an end cap, a customer we figured as an out of towner, came to me to ask if that was indeed Charles Bronson. My reply, “ Nah, just a local curmudgeon”. And she walked away disappointed.
In the late 1990s, I was walking through Manhattan with my father, when we passed a line outside Barnes & Noble.
Apparently, someone named Gene Wilder was doing a book signing. We turned the corner, and Gene Wilder stepped out of his trailer. My dad pointed him out, and my simple, 8 year old mind could only stare at the guy walking out of the trailer.
Gene Wilder met my eyes, smiled, and said “Do you know who I am?” I said “No”.
My dad face palms and exclaims, “That’s Gene Wilder!”
I look at both and say, “Who’s Gene Wilder?”
After a laugh, Mr. Wilder explains that he played Willy Wonka in the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I didn’t really get what the big deal was. 🤷♂️
Yes. When we still needed to go physically to the bank and wait in line, a norwegian tv celebrity cut in line before me and rudely said “Don’t you know who I am?”. I knew very well who he was, but I didn’t care, so I retorted “No. And you’re cutting in line.” So I shoved him aside and went for the clerk, who just laughed.
I was fresh out of college in California working as a novice TV reporter in Medford, Oregon. I had never even been to Oregon before my job interview. The year was 1979 and one of my first assignments was to go to the airport and shoot film (yes, 16mm film) of then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan on a campaign stop.
The Secret Service, or maybe local police, had me wait in a room in the terminal with one other person– a middle-aged man. We made some small talk as we waited for Reagan to arrive. I was curious what this guy was doing there all alone with me but couldn’t figure it out from our light conversation so I just came right out and asked him who he was and what line of work he was in.
“I’m Vic Atiyeh,” he replied. “I’m the governor of Oregon.”
It was one of the most embarrassing moments I had ever experienced, especially given the fact that I was supposed to be a journalist. But I could tell the governor didn’t say it in a manner meant to humiliate me. He was simply answering my question and could not have been nicer.
No, but a friend of mine did. He used to work in a now defunct department store in Bristol named Dingles. One day he spotted a familiar face looking at accessories. The celebrity was walking around with her nose very much up-in-the-air and she was talking to a person she was with as though they were nobody.
When my friend asked he if she required assistance she looked at him and said “I’ll call you IF I want anything. Now go away” My friend muttered “Rude” under his breath and she heard him. She said the classic “Don’t you know who I am?” and even though he recognise Jennifer Saunders he said “No idea!” and went and served someone else.
This didn’t happen to me, but a friend of mine. We were Midshipman at the Naval Academy at the time.
In 1986 My friend John (who later became a Marine Corps Harrier pilot) was boarding a plane back to his home state of Alabama.
There was a man sitting next to him on the plane, and every single person who got on board was talking to him and saying hi.
John looked at him and said “You must be a celebrity because everyone seems to know who you are”
The man said “Are you saying you don’t know who I am? If so I need to fire my publicist”
John explaned that he has spent the last 3 years as a Midshipman at the Naval Academy, and wasn’t allowed to watch TV and was focused on classes and make sure he graduated.
The man introduced himself and said he was a comedian and had been appearing on TV quite a bit.
His name was Jay Leno.
No, but in the late nineties I once ran out of fuel in a Triumph Spitfire I’d just purchased on my way to meet a location director friend for lunch on set in Santa Clarita, California. Long story short, after contacting my pal and arranging for him and a bowser to come and rescue me, I got chatting to a large, bearded fellow, who told me that he had once owned the same model year (1974 or 75) when it was brand new.
He was quite nostalgic about the car, although we both had to agree they were not at all well suited to CA, especially the Freeway on ramps! Well I had to try, so offered him my one for a fair bit more than I’d paid for it, but still less than $1,000. The fellow said he’d love to buy it from me, but that, alas, he was due to be married the following month, so had best keep his money for the honeymoon, etc.
Just after he got in the back of an SUV and started on his way, my pal pulled up in another that had been waiting for the parking spot, and said to me “Hi Greg, I see you met James”. I replied that I hadn’t asked his name, but that he seemed a nice gentleman and that I’d tried to sell him my car. My mate nearly p*ssed himself as I finished the story of how he couldn’t spare the cash,…
“James” was the actor James Brolin. And the following month he did indeed “tie the knot”. With Barbra Streisand.
I was drinking in a bar on a private island in the Caribbean over the Christmas break and Keith Richards walked in and sat down next to me. I’m 22 at the time and Keith is one of my idols but I was also nursing a terrible hangover. About 12 hours earlier, after blacking out at Welcome to the Johnson’s on the Lower East Side, I came to on the floor of a commercial jetliner with the disembodied voice on the intercom requesting a doctor for one of the passengers. To my utter embarrassment that passenger turned out to be me. When I arrived on this tropical island I discovered that I’d mostly packed winter coats and no cigs for some odd reason. Anyway, Keith seemed to have an endless supply of smokes so we got to chatting and next thing I knew we were about 6 drinks deep. This was half a decade before he fell out of the coconut tree and he was still raging pretty hard. He had a dry wit and was quite the raconteur just as I’d always imagined. At some point in the night though as the alcohol crept up on us the banter seemed to take a dark turn. After correcting him about something that seemed totally asinine he started poking his boney finger in my face and shouting, “do you know who I am, kid”. I kinda thought he was joking cuz I clearly did know who I’d been talking with for the last 2 hours so I responded by asking if he was the star of that Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Long story long, he basically threatened to cut my head off and stormed out of the bar. The next day around 10am I ran into him in a gift shop and he told me he was gonna buy out the shop so I couldn’t have anything. Then he asked if i was ready to start drinking with him again. The man was, and still is a true legend.
In the 90’s I danced with a handsome guy at a night club who asked me on a date.
He took me to dinner at a nice local restaurant, we order our food and when there was a lull in conversation, he points to the ring he’s wearing and asks me if I know what it means. I told him I didn’t recognize the ring and asked him what it stood for. He replied, “My team won the World Cup.”
I don’t think he liked that I didn’t know much about sports and we never went out again.
A while back, I knew a pilot. One day at the airport, Patrick Swayze showed up because he was seeing a doctor in the area. (This was well before he died. The 90s.)
The pilot I knew obviously recognized him and I suppose looked at Mr. Swayze long enough for him to say: “What? Do you want my autograph?”
To which the pilot responded: “Do you want mine?”
His daughter wasn’t pleased.
I live in LA so, prior to lockdown, saw celebrities on a near daily basis. You can’t go shopping or to some neighborhoods and swing a dead cat without hitting a celebrity. Thing is, most of them prefer you not to swoon and faint when you see them, but to just treat them like normal folks. The only ones who do the whole “do you know who I am” thing are talentless hacks.
I however, have a certain amount of face blindness. It’s really hard for me to recognize people. So, I often talk to strangers for ages without having a clue who they are until later. XD
For example; when I was working at an architecture firm, a woman came in and was looking through the pages of the firm’s completed projects. We talked for a while, she was very polite and quite lovely. We discussed what she was looking for in an architect, what she wanted designed, etc. She was friendly, kind, and perfectly charming.
After she left, one of the other people in the firm came up to me and asked me if the lady had been rude to me. I was surprised by the question, because she’d been so nice. He was shocked by my reply and shook his head. I asked him why he thought she’d be rude and he explained I’d been chatting up Courtney Love.
I know a lot of people think she’s terrible. But, the one and only time I met her, she was great. So, I have never been willing to believe press about anyone since then. If I don’t know them personally, then I don’t know who they really are in private.
More often other people are “Don’t you know who they were!?!” than the people themselves.
My grandfather John Thompson worked as a chassis builder for the Mclaren racing team in the 1960s, and he has repeatedly told me the story about how he got the job.
Just for some context, my grandfather grew up in Richmond, London in the immediate post war years, when much of London was still rubble, and had left school at 16. Anyway one day he was wondering around the mclaren factory (he never specified whether it was feltenham or new Malden) in with no real reason to be there, just snooping when Bruce Mclaren walks by, and knowing he is out of place accosts him.
My Grandfather asks him “who are you?” knowing full well who he was, but he was trying to bluff his way out of trespassing so eh.
Then the following exchange happened :
M: I’m Bruce Mclaren
G: never heard of you!
M:… Do you work for me?
M: if you had worked for me I would have fired you for that.
M:… do you want to work for me?
And with that my grandfather got a job with mclaren, which was his introduction to the motoracing world. He would eventually break off and become independent, working for teams diverse as jaguar, ferrari and Honda in le man, f1 and touring cars.
I was managing a Triumph motorcycle shop in the LA area and we used to get lots of celebrities, rock & roll guys, movie & tv guys, etc. (Dr House – the nicest man you could ever meet, Billy Idol – the nicest rocker you could ever meet who always let my office girl take selfies with him, and many others). One day, in walks 2 (too pretty to be real) LA hotshots and a stunning girl wearing full leather pants, jacket and t-shirt. She was fabulous and she looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place her. So one of the “studs” shouts out, can they take a test ride? I gave them my usual smart ass answer “if you are real and have a drivers license and insurance, of course you can”. The “stud” says to the other “stud” “he does not know who you are (he was one of the stars of one of the vampire movies – I never heard of him). Then I realized who the beautiful girl was, Laura San Giacomo from Quigley Down Under and a then current TV show. So I foolishly stuttered out “Oh my God, you are the TV lady” – and then said “if they are with you, of course they can get a test ride”. She burst out laughing and told them “he knows me but not you” laughing all the time. They were embarrassed as hell, but did start laughing and they did get the test ride. No sale, but I got to see her up close and personal (what a great smile, great laugh, just a great lady), so my day was made. Good times were had by all!
I haven’t but I know a man who has.
He was the maitre d’ (let’s call him Claude) at a fancy London hotel where my wife worked and was manning the front desk at the restaurant entrance temporarily whilst the receptionist nipped off somewhere. Maitre d’s don’t normally man the desk, they work the room.
A couple approached and asked for a table for lunch. They were asked if they had a reservation to which they said they hadn’t and were then politely told that they would need to wait as there were currently no tables available (it was a busy place and rocking up without a reservation at 1.30pm isn’t gonna cut it).
The guy starts getting stroppy and loudly demands that he’s a regular and doesn’t need to book. He wasn’t a regular and was just being a dick as was his usual way.
Claude is used to dealing with people who think the rules don’t apply to them and politely informs him that he’ll get them seated as soon as possible and if they’d like to go through to the bar they could have a couple of complimentary drinks whilst they waited.
Matey boy was having none of it and kicks off and loudly utters the immortal words “Do you know who I am?” getting the attention of most of the restaurant customers at the same time – a ploy he presumably hoped would embarrass the establishment into seating him immediately.
The maitre d’, as professional as ever, looked him up and down and replied “No, I’m afraid I don’t know who you are sir”. To which he received the reply “I’m Michael Winner!” There was a brief pause and Claude, to his credit said “No, I’m none the wiser sir”.
You can imagine what happened next. Winner completely lost it, demanded to see the hotel general manager (as he was a “close personal friend” – he wasn’t) and basically made a scene and a complete tit of himself.
Apparently one of the seated customers shouted out “We don’t know who you are either!” to a response of laughter and applause – that bit probably is an urban myth, but the rest of this sorry tale happened.
And Winner didn’t get his table – him and his girlfriend stormed off in a huff promising never to come back and how appallingly they’d been treated and how he was going to mention it in his next ‘Times’ column; he was the restaurant critic at the time for a popular, and posh, national Sunday newspaper, ‘The Sunday Times’. He subsequently didn’t mention it as his editor probably pointed out that it would make him look an even bigger twat that he’d done already.
Note; Aside from regularly slagging off restaurants in print, Winner was known for being a film director, ostensibly ‘Deathwish’ and it’s many sequels and other movies, most of which were unsuccessful. In his later years, and (presumably) needing cash he appeared in TV adverts for an insurance company (which to be fair were very entertaining) and for which he garnered his own catchphrase “Calm down dear, [it’s only a commercial]”
Remind me one day to relay my other Winner story when we were both eating at ‘The Ivy’ – not at the same table I hasten to add.
We were in St. Petersburg, Russia. June 1990. It was still the Soviet Union, but not for much longer. The city had recently changed its name from Leningrad back to its pre-Soviet name.
My high school classmates and I were in the USSR for a 10-day educational tour. It was an amazing experience that I still treasure, but… the food… was not good. I’m sure we all lost weight that week. (It was hard times and things would get harder, so I’m not knocking the Soviet people.) If it hadn’t been for Russian black bread and butter, and cheap Soviet shampanskoye (sparkling wine) we might have starved. 🙂
So it was near the end of the trip and our guides decided to treat us to seafood. Pickled herring and caviar – which was cheap! – and other strange but welcome things, at a nice restaurant. I remember seriously pigging out.
Suddenly, an older guy walks up to our table and says “Hey, you kids Americans?” We said yes and he said, “Do you know who I am?” I said, “No, but you look familiar.” Whereupon he proudly announced that he was the actor who had played Grandpa Fred in Sixteen Candles! Max Showalter. We busted out in laughter. How bizarre, right?
He explained that he frequently vacationed in the USSR. Things were cheap – you could live like a king – the people were nice and he loved the culture and history. That blew my mind. It never before occurred to me that someone with means would want to spend long stretches of time in a relatively poorer country, especially one that was “the enemy.” I expected people to try to keep up with the Joneses, but his philosophy seemed more the opposite. Maybe he’s onto something.
Yes. Or ‘do you know who we are?’ was the question and to this day, I still don’t even though they were famous.
Back in the 90s I was in Highgate (in England) at my favourite cafe, sadly closed, over a ladies hat shop. It was the perfect, Bohemian paradise, always packed, had the best live music I’d ever heard on Friday and Saturday nights and served fantastic food and coffee to die for. I was with a tall, beautiful French lady. Anyhow, the owner sat a group of lads down with us who also had a very similar looking lady with them and as it happens was French and from the same village as my companion! I had no idea Brittany had a cloning machine for tall, beautiful brunettes but there you go! So they had a lot in common, got talking and pretty soon we were all chatting.
Anyhow, it turns out they were some kind of ‘boyband,’ extremely famous but I didn’t have a single clue who they were. I hadn’t watched a lot of TV, wasn’t paying attention to the charts and had no idea who’d been the top selling bands around the time.
So we just ended up chatting about ‘stuff’ and I was more surprised the two women were from the same place in France and looked so similar!
Anyhow, just as we were getting up to leave, one of the members of the band tentatively asked, ‘do you know who we are?’ I was a little confused and said, ‘no.’
They just looked at each other with expressions I still remember to this day. It was almost confusion mixed with surprise and something else. So one of the others, again, very gently repeated the question in a very polite, gentle and surprised way. This went on for a minute or so, they gave me a hint and said something about a boyband. Top of the charts etc… and very famous. But just to give you context, this cafe was the kind of place where no-one bothered anyone else or cared. Sting came in one night and played a little guitar and it was just around the corner from Annie Lennox and George Michael plus a plethora of famous names.
So a top-of-the-charts boyband went unnoticed. My companion at the time said she thought that they were disappointed but I think it was something else. And I’ve met other famous people in the course of my work but that was the only time I was asked the question. And I still don’t know because the only thing I care about is if someone is a good or bad person. And they were good.
Not that way, BUT….I was working at an ice cream and yogurt shop down in Atlanta, and this very good looking man came in. He had the most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen. I told him he looked familiar, and he asked if I’d ever watched Route 66. I said yah, I was in love with that dark haired man. He then told me he was George Maharis. Next words out of my mouth was “Bullsh*t, PROVE IT!” He showed me his drivers license, and I paid for his order.
Many years ago, I was very involved in Michigan politics and was attending the Democratic National Convention. As a National Democratic Delegate, I was waiting for an elevator at my hotel. I was standing next to 3 huge men. When the elevator arrived, they attempted to push ahead of me. Being a person that does not like to be taken advantage of, I muscled myself right back and took my rightful place as first in line. One of the men said, “ Do you know who I am?” I did; I recognized him as Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick along with his two body-guards. Not to be outdone by this display of blatant xenophobia, I replied, “No, do you know who I am?” He said, “No.” The door of the elevator opened, and as I was exiting the elevator, I said, “Mmmmm, I guess that makes us even. Have a good day,”
Not those exact words, but a worse example of it I think.
People that know me are well aware that despite my encyclopedic knowledge of random trivia I am unbelievably clueless when it comes to pop culture. For whatever reason I am aggressively apathetic toward actors, actresses, and whatever other constitutes a pop culture icon these days. These are two recent examples that have sparked some astonishment from people near me:
– I’m not sure who Katy Perry is. In that I’ve heard the name, but couldn’t tell you if she was an actor or a singer. I thought for a moment that she might be one of the Hannah Montana people? I don’t know. I’m not going to google it. I don’t care.
– The Kardashians are… a family living in Topanga? I know this largely because I grew up near Topanga and someone mentioned that we might be driving by their house. Some random villa in Topanga. I don’t know how many there are, I don’t know what they do, I couldn’t name a single one. Again, not going to google it, don’t care.
So… that’s some relevant context, I do not know who celebrities are as a rule. For whatever reason I’ve met a lot of celebrities over the years and depending on who they are, they take the news very differently.
So, I was at a SXSW party for founders and investors. Met some really cool people, mostly execs of companies that I knew about, or investors. I talked a lot of shop and had fun when later in the night people started talking about the celebrities that had showed up. Mark Cuban and Spike Lee.
I did a lot of eye-rolling and then in my impatience asked someone to point these people out to me. Wanted to figure out what the big deal was. I pretended to be a little tipsier than I was, little test I have to see if people are paying attention to how I look or what I say, and approach both of them the same way:
“Hey, I have no idea who you are, but some people said I should talk to you.”
Mark Cuban was a sport, I talked a lot of sh*t about ML and we got coffee the next day. He was a genuinely good dude that did a better job of helping early stage founders than most folks I’ve met.
Spike Lee literally shouted: “GOOGLE!” at me 3 or 5 times before I walked away.
Here’s the thing, you could have googled literally any person at that party. Myself obviously included. I’m no celebrity (thank god), but google-ability isn’t a very high bar. The worst part was that I did google him. Right there at the party. At a glance it wasn’t immediately obvious to me what he did. I don’t really get how movies work, so best I could tell he was “some movie guy” who had done “some movie stuff” for “some movies I haven’t heard of”.
That’s… honestly still all I know about him.
I’m not going to google it, I don’t care. He’s just some movie guy that was a bit of a jerk to me at a party once and I’m fine with that.
Years ago my husband had a small solo law practice. He was feeling a bit overwhelmed by being in his legal mind all day so he took a year long massage course to have a bit more balance in his life and got certified to practice in our state. It was kind of an odd set up but my partner being who he is enjoyed what he was doing. Lawyer and masseur. We lived in a small seaside town in Maine and just across the bay from our town was a large island where a number of well known celebrities had summer homes. One sunny summer afternoon my husbands office secretary answered the phone. The voice at the other end identified himself as John Travolta and he wanted to book a massage. Susan the secretary was a bit of a space cadet and she didn’t recognize the name so she told him that this was his law office and to call the home number, which she provided and then hung up without taking his number. She forgot about it for awhile and several hours later said, “ some guy named John Travolta called you and wanted to book a massage” . I told him to call your home number. Partners jaw dropped nearly to the floor and when he asked Susan if she had any idea who had called she said “no, his name sounded familiar but as he wanted a massage I didn’t think it was a big deal”.
He never called back and never made an appointment. A near brush with fame.
My family moved to California in 1987 and we hadn’t been here too long when my experience happened. We lived in a rather small town in the Central Valley. My dad and I (I was only about 10 y/o at the time) were doing some grocery shopping at a local market. We noticed an older gentleman (easily in his early 70’s at that time) preening and doing everything he could to draw attention to himself at the check out lane.
The old man noticed my confused attention and walked over to me with a broad smile. Pushing his shoulders back he asks me, “Know who in am, son?” Without missing a moment, I told him that I had no clue. The man’s cheeks grew flushed and he sputtered something about my generation and stormed out of the market. Turns out, I had been blessed by none other than TV and Western star Jack Palance! Turned out that he was a local and always demanded his recognition when he came to town. To this day, I honestly still don’t care.
Seabee base. I’m back from Vietnam. They’re filming a a Ray Charles special on the base. At lunch, this bald guy is sitting at the next table, right next to me. One of my friends starts bouncing up and down in his chair, going “OOhh! OOhh!”
I asked “What?” He said, “Get me his autograph. Please!”
I took a napkin, and I asked the gentleman if he would please give my friend an autograph? I thought my buddy was going to pass out or something.
He said to me, “Hell, he doesn’t even know who I am.” In a sharp and nasty voice.
I said, “Mister, I don’t give a s**t WHO you are. Give my friend your autograph, or turn around and shut up.”
He gave me the autograph.
It was Don Rickles.
In 1989 my Coast Guard boat was in the yards at San Pedro, CA. The best hotel in the area was doing remodeling and so their rates were such that the USCG leased a bunch of rooms from there for us. I became a regular at the bar.
One night I was sitting at the bar talking with another resident when an Englishman walked down with his wife. I had no idea who he was, but he was friendly and boisterous.
Eventually I asked what he did and he said that he was currently “in a band with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison, and previously I was in a little band called The Electric Light Orchestra.”
I just looked at him. The guy I had been talking to broke the silence and said, “I was wondering if that was you!” I still had no idea who he was as while I enjoyed ELO’s music, I didn’t like them enough to bother learning their names.
Yes. I don’t live in NYC, but I like to go hang out there on my own from time to time and just walk around the city for a few days. Very low key. I find it relaxing to be somewhere teeming with people and activity where I can just feel invisible and observe.
Anyway, It was early and I had just got myself a coffee and went to sit down on a bench in the NW corner of Washington Square Park. After a minute or two, I realized that the actor Rip Torn was sitting on the next bench over from me. There were a couple of homeless people still sleeping nearby and someone would walk or jog past now and then, but otherwise, it was just us. He had recently been in the news for an embarrassing and concerning drunken incident that had him in serious legal hot water, so I thought it would be better not to act like I knew who he was.
My plan was to ignore him completely, but he spoke to me. Just a comment about the weather. I replied, and was surprised when he kept making small talk. The way he was dressed, one would think he was trying not to be noticed. We talked for nearly half an hour about all kinds of things before something made him ask if I knew who he was. I said “no,” though by his smile he apparently knew I was lying. He nodded and said, “Good, then we can keep talking.” We must have chatted for an hour in total. I guess maybe he needed an interaction that just felt normal, after what he’d been going through.
He said he had an apartment in a building along that end of the park and pointed to it. I was in NYC right after I heard he died, and walked down past the building and the benches where we sat. He was a troubled man but I really enjoyed my time with him.
MANY years ago, when I was in USAF, I was standing in front of a hotel somewhere in the mid-west with three other airmen. We were on a TDY (temp duty) mission and were looking to get a cab down-town to eat and drink. A man in a large, very nice rental car pulled up and said “you boys need a lift?” – so we piled in.
We told him “downtown, where’s there’s food” and he said “no problem. I’m a big supporter of the military!” and off we went. I was sitting up front and he asked my name and where I was from. I told him “Harry – from San Diego”. He responded by saying “no kidding. I’m Bob Owchinko”.
I said “cool… should I know you?”
He looked *a bit* put out but then said “well, I do pitch for the Padres…”
Bob Owchinko Stats | Baseball-Reference.com
Now, I’m a baseball nut *today* – but back then my friars were TERRIBLE and I was really focused on my career – so I had no clue. Thus I responded “I don’t follow baseball very closely, but it’s great to meet you!”
He was very pleasant, gave a nice the ride – but I kinda feel bad that I didn’t know who he was!
Actually, I did the opposite. I worked in advertising for close to 40 years… primarily producing TV commercials. I worked with many celebrities, and I always practiced the concept of “Boundaries” whether it was in a studio while shooting a commercial, or in public (like in a restaurant). By “boundaries” I mean that just because you recognize a well known person doesn’t mean you automatically get the privilege of invading that person’s private life to ask for an autograph or picture or something else equally annoying.
A few years ago, I was in Roger Dunn Golf Store in Santa Monica. While purchasing a dozen golf balls, I noticed someone famous examining a new putter. I made a mental note of who he was and then continued to look around the store. A few minutes later I went to the cashier to check out. As it turned out the famous person was in line ahead of me. I heard him say to the cashier, “I believe you are holding a package for me.” The 20-something young man behind the counter had no idea who he was and replied disinterestedly, “Name?” The famous person responded, “McDowell.” The 20-something went off to find the package, and when he did I said in a voice loud enough for Malcom McDowell to hear clearly… “Well, I’m pretty sure he never saw Clockwork Orange.” He turned to me and laughed and gave me a nod of appreciation.
I have told the story many times and I always felt like I kept to my rule of respecting boundaries. At the same time I showed someone famous I respect him and his work.
Oh my, and yes, I am still embarrassed. I was a 20-something co-ed at USC and hopped on a flight to Chicago to visit my fiance. Amazing enough, I was upgraded to first class thinking how wonderful it was going to be to catch up on sleep on the flight.
Next thing I knew, there was a very chatty English bloke in the seat next to me. After a bit of small talk, we were on a first name basis and he started sharing more about his singing career.
Yep, I was sitting next to Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits band. Of course having missed much of ANY of the music from the 60’s and much of the early 70’s, I had never heard of this band out of the UK. The trending music from the UK in the 80’s was very different.
He even referenced one of their better known songs: ‘Mrs. Brown, you have a lovely daughter.’ Clueless, I shrugged, said ‘that’s interesting…’ and promptly turned away for much much needed nap!
We didn’t talk much after getting to O’Hare, but I still remember that flight!
Yes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture with him. I should have asked. When I was in the military and just came back from deployment one of the NCO’s over me told me they were going to a car show. And I was like “I want to go!” because of never having been to one. He didn’t have a problem with us going there together. We went to Hot Import Nights car show in San Diego. I took one picture with one of the models there, he took different pictures with other models there, looked at different cars & bikes there.
At night, there was an amateur NOS photo shoot and I was watching this one girl pose in front of the backdrop, bright lights on her, and photographer taking pictures of her at different angles. One of the woman working with the photographer asked me if I want to take a picture and I said I don’t really have experience. And she’s like that’s “okay, we will tell you how to pose”.
After this photo shoot, the guy comes up to me and says he’s Tyson Beckford and I have no idea who he was but didn’t say that. He told me he needs models for his new TV Show & I said I am just amateur. And he said that’s okay, he still wanted to work with me and gave me his number. I just remember him being very calm and smiling when he was talking to me. I told him Thank you and then walked off.
NCO I was with was only a couple feet away and just told me he saw me taking pictures and I was like “Yes”, then explaining into detail how that happened.
I believed that someone famous did approach me but when I got back on base and used the internet on my phone I searched: Tyson Beckford.
And that was definitely the same person who went up to me. I was in disbelief. Also, felt secondhand embarrassment again for not even knowing who he was.
Didn’t call him right away because I was really nervous, especially with him being famous. It took me almost two weeks to not be afraid to call him but once I did he told me sorry he had enough girls for the show. And that he was waiting for me to call earlier. To which I apologized, said I was busy with work but tried to call as soon as I could. And that was that. I just left with a memory of the encounter with him that night.
it was thanksgiving evening and about 8 of us were sitting around a piano bar at the Alley in Oakland. This guy walks in and had a virgin Bloody Mary. He sits around and when the piano player Rod Dibble went on his break he asked if he could sit in and play a tune or 2. Well he played for us and during his performance I got up to use the bathroom. On my way back another customer wanted me to ask him his name. I said sure what’s his name and my friend said Gregg Allman. So that’s how I met Gregg Allman of the Allman brothers band. Next time he came in he had a Bloody Mary again but it was a double. He was living in Emeryville or Albany, CA at the time. He called my singing “the voice”. I liked him and I was sad to hear of his passing. He mentioned that he would perform at the exotic erotic ball on New Years and was paid 14,000 dollars under the table for a few songs. One guy asked for his autograph on a dollar bill. He was gracious. One song he sang for us was dedicated to his brother Duane about head on traffic or something like that.
Many years ago, when I was working in a pharmacy, a well-known South African football player came in for his monthly (chronic) medicines. People were shaking his hand and giggling and lauding his performances, but he was haughty and mostly dismissive of their attentions.
He walked to the front of the line and, without a greeting or acknowledgment, instructed me, “I’m on the (computer’s) system. I want everything this month. And charge it to my account.”
Then he turned away and preoccupied himself with something else.
I certainly knew who he was, but I’ve never appreciated entitled, condescending people – everyone has a right to courtesy and to be acknowledged as a human being – so I feigned ignorance.
“What is your surname, Sir?”
He was baffled for a moment, then screwed up his face and crisply said his name.
“I’m on the system. I come here every month.”
“I’m sure you do, Sir. But you see, there are several pages on the computer with your surname.” I was telling the truth.
He was not impressed.
“This is ridiculous! Ask (Manager’s Name) to come here and sort this out.”
“He’s not here, Sir. I’m glad to help you and if I can just get your initials and physical address, I can access your profile.”
He shook his head, sneered, and decided it would be best to get it over with, so barked out the information I needed to continue.
After I had dispensed his medicines, I dutifully exited the dispensary, walked over to the cashier and asked her to charge it on his account. That’s part of good customer service.
“The lady in front will charge your meds, Sir. If you have any questions, please call us. And have a pleasant day.”
He couldn’t let it go and, after eyeing this upstart with that “this-guy’s-not-for-real” look, he glared at me and said the famous line:
“DONT YOU KNOW WHO I AM? “
It was more of a whine than a question. I paused and thought a while, eyes pointing upward and to the side. I was certainly being mildly dramatic.
“Now that I think about it, I HAVE seen you on TV.” I paused again, then exclaimed:
“Yessss, now I remember! Gosh, I have to say, though I don’t particularly like the sport —YOU PLAY ONE HELLUVA GAME OF GOLF!”
Mr. Pro Footballer turned and left in a huff without a word, grabbing his meds on the way and muttering to himself.
Maybe just a small victory for the little people, but every victory counts!
If he had been a genuinely nice, accommodating person, different story all together!
Many, many years ago, I was with my parents at an all you can eat barbecue place in the foothills of North Carolina.
While my dad and I were in line, we were chatting with the guy in front of us, as you do and 4 or 5 people came up, one at a time, asking for his autograph. Finally, I said, “I feel like I’m out of the loop here. Should I know who you are?” He laughed and said that he was a NASCAR driver named Morgan Shepherd. I said, “Oh, I’ve heard your name come up during the sports section of the local news.” He laughed and introduced us to another famous NASCAR guy, Junior Johnson. Junior Johnson was one of the old time race car drivers who used to run moonshine and was there when it evolved into racing on a track.
Junior Johnson was pardoned by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and this wasn’t long after that so being more plugged in politically than I am in NASCAR, I congratulated him on his pardon.
Both of them were extremely nice. I’ve come to find out that NASCAR is one of the few sports where the participants realize that the fans are the reason for the sport and, for the most part, treat every fan with respect and rarely charge for autographs.
Wife and I went to a friend’s barbecue and one of their neighbours was there. We gathered from the conversation that he was a retired professional football player and that his name was Kenny. We had no idea who he was. Everyone else thought we were making a joke and laughed until they realised that we really had no idea who he was. The look on his face was briefly fury and he wouldn’t speak to either of us again that night. Kenny Burns apparently is his name.
#Times #People #Met #Famous #Didnt #Realize #Care