What celebrities have you met?
January 18, 2005 4:04 PM   Subscribe

So I met Alton Brown last night at a book signing here in Tampa, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he is even more likable in person than he is on TV or through his weblog. What I'm interested in learning now is which celebrities you've met/run into/bruised with your front bumper, and whether they lived up to or belied their 'image,' whatever it may be. Cont'd inside.

My personal list (those everyone here would know, anyway):

Alton Brown - As mentioned above
David Bowie - Magnetic
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Incredibly cool, and so appreciative of his fans
Cuba Gooding, Jr. - Down to earth
Donald Sutherland - Tremendous prick (no, I wouldn't know about *that* one)
Hulk Hogan - Literally bumped into him while shopping at a bookstore. Besides being truly MASSIVE, the guy really deserves his reputation for friendliness.

I know, I really ought to get out more. Now how about you?
posted by alas to Society & Culture (126 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
James Woods - Stepped on his toes at the after party for the premiere of The Commitments in Chicago. He was a total prick. So, yeah... much like his image.

Garrett Morris (SNL) - A little shady at first, but very friendly overall.

Mark Grace (MLB player) - I adored him as a teen, when he was a customer of the BlockBuster I worked for I became aware that he was a very violent person and I suspect his first marriage ended because of this. Don't like him in the slightest.

Rupaul - Nice nice nice.

That's all I can think of, but I'm sure I'm forgetting someone.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2005

Ah, I knew I forgot someone. Lea Thompson. She was in Chicago filming. She was intoxicated and very friendly. She also had very nice cleavage. Very nice. And I told her so. There are times when it's *very* good to be a lesbian.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:18 PM on January 18, 2005

I don't know if he really counts as a "celebrity", but Furniture Guy Ed Feldman is easily the nicest famous or even remotely famous person I've ever met - he called the business I worked at, I knew who he was (having been a regular watcher of his show), we chatted, he arranged for free tickets for my friends and me to attend the home show he was in town appearing at, said I should stop by and say hi, we did and he recognized me without ever having met me in person (in fact he shouted a greeting at me by name while he was signing autographs for other people), and was generally a completely lovely, generous, friendly, humble, unassuming and funny man. We emailed for a while, but have lost touch since. (you think you should get out more?)
posted by biscotti at 4:20 PM on January 18, 2005

I met makeup artist Trish McEvoy at BookExpo LA 2003, and she was so so *so* nice. She was promoting her book, which had yet to been released, doing what they called "mini-consultations". I thought, oh my gosh, a makeup artist is going to tell me that I'm ugly and that I'm doing my makeup all wrong. But she was so lovely- asking me so many questions about my life, telling me I looked like Liza Minelli (something I get all the time), and giving me a full-size lip gloss from her makeup line. Her makeup is lovely, and she is definitely worth supporting!

And alas, I live in Hulk Hogan's hometown, so I see him now and then- I know some people that have gotten a different impression than you- he came into a store where people I know work, insisting people carry his stuff to his car (this wasn't Saks!), nearly knocking over an old lady and a pregnant woman on his way out,
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:23 PM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Steve Forbes - I once worked in a book store he and his family would frequent. Very soft spoken, uses coupons. I got the impression that if I snatched his wallet from his hands and said "What are you gonna do about it?" he'd likely walk away sheepishly.
posted by crank at 4:26 PM on January 18, 2005

Steve Martin - very funny after I literally bumped into him.
William Hurt - shy, sweet, wrote me a nice thank you note.
Don Johnson - just like Sonny Crockett!
Pat DiNizio - my god, what a cool guy! (His drummer was a supreme asshole, unfortunately.)
John Updike - I said, not realizing it was him, "Your name is John Updike? Just like the author!" And he said, with a stone cold face, "Yes, that's me."

Also, the has-beens from Squeeze acted too big for their britches. They were rude to my little indie band and stole beer out of my green room.

The best ever, though, was Illinois Jacquet. He told me I needed to start playing (jazz) bassoon again, that he'd find one for me if I wanted to come hang out in New York while his band was playing a month-long gig at Tavern-on-the-Green. (Killed me that I had to say no.) He was the most amazingly sweet and intelligent man. Looked like he was lit up from the inside.
posted by Specklet at 4:35 PM on January 18, 2005

Wouldn't mind meeting Alton Brown!
posted by Specklet at 4:37 PM on January 18, 2005

I met a few namebrand rock stars back in the early '80s while working (interning) at Billboard and A&M Records. Not naming any names but the most common impression I had was almost to a person they were doing coke. And not sharing with the interns!
posted by billsaysthis at 4:40 PM on January 18, 2005

Bob McGrath from Sesame Street. This was in 1990. It made my life, what a nice guy. I was in Heidelberg, Germany at the tourist office to find out which bus to take to the nearest youth hostel. The boyfriend was waiting outside because it was rather crowded. I was studying a map at the counter while waiting for the next person to help me, and heard this very soothing, familiar voice to my left. Almost like part of my subconcious mind, it was so familiar, yet difficult to place (given the surroundings), so I turned to match a face to the voice and there he was: Bob! From Sesame Street! Holy mother of crap!!

I waited for his turn to be over, and then I got up all my nerve and asked him, "Pardon me, is your name Bob McGrath?" and he said, "Yes it is!" in a very convivial way. Right about then I nearly had a stroke, I was so at a loss for anything to say, and I guess he sensed that I was like, "...where do I even begin??!" because he asked me, "Did we grow up together?" What a totally perfect thing to say. All I could do was choke out, "yes!" Then somehow I got myself together and wished him well on his trip, and he wished me well on mine, and off I went.

He was just a real sweet guy - granted, not the most famous person ever, but a huge part of my childhood, and very kind and understanding about a reaction he must get on a very regular basis, even when he's least expecting it while traveling halfway around the world. I imagine it could only be trumped by meeting Mr. Rogers. Sadly, I never got that chance.
posted by contessa at 4:43 PM on January 18, 2005 [5 favorites]

I met Bono when I was about 17 (a great story, too long and involved to go into any detail here -- but any MeFites who meet me in real life can feel free to ask to hear it!) and he was lovely. Really, truly lovely -- he took the time to talk at length (we hung out for about an hour in his hotel room), ask me questions about my life/political thoughts/etc., talk to me about what they were doing musically (he was actually describing the album that would become The Joshua Tree), etc. The encounter was capped off by him walking me to the elevator and kissing me -- kissing! me! -- goodbye. So no matter how ridiculous he sometimes has gotten since then (and despite the fact I haven't bought a U2 record since Zooropa), I always remember how incredibly kind and respectful he was to me.

Other total rock'n'roll mensches I've met:

- Billy Bragg, who I did a radio interview with in college, and who serenaded me with "Milkman of Human Kindness" at the concert after-party (because I wound up missing half the show due to running to the store to buy baby formula for his keyboardist's son)

- Mick Jones (of Clash fame, not Foreigner), who I hung out with in a bar for several hours after a Big Audio Dynamite show in grad school (and have two of the four photo-booth pictures to show for it -- he kept the other two himself; luckily, those were the ones where I looked better, so although I look goofy in the pictures I have on-hand, if he really did keep those pictures, he will at least remember me as looking cute). He was going down to St. Louis for a week the following day, and since I went to college there, he asked me for recommendations for museums, live music, etc. A couple of days later, I got a call from a college friend who worked the door at a place called Cicero's, who said (slightly hysterically) that Mick Jones showed up and said "[scody] sent me -- she said you guys have good music." I think that was the exact moment that my coolness peaked -- it's been pretty much downhill ever since.

I've got others (mostly music-related), but those are the three that are tops.
posted by scody at 4:43 PM on January 18, 2005 [4 favorites]

(Great to hear, as Mr. Brown is going to be book signing in my neck of the woods this weekend...)

The guy my friends would never expect me to have bumped into...of all people, Richard Petty. Was on a plane with him several years ago. Nice guy, signed autographs for a bunch of auto-racing fans.
posted by gimonca at 4:48 PM on January 18, 2005

William Baldwin borrowed a quarter from me to use the pay phone just outside the men's room at a local Italian restaurant. He asked for a quarter just like anyone would.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2005

The members of Cheap Trick - awesome. Never condescending, always cool, and will sign autographs for the silly kids who sang with them in concert once. And send them the DVD. Rick Nielsen bought a Swedish restaurant whose owners were going to close it down, just so he could keep getting the awesome, awesome pie. If you go there on a wednesday night you'll often see him picking up a pie or two. I don't know why it's wednesdays. Robin Zander is a class act and his daughter sings small clubs and is pretty spiffy herself.

Penn Jillette: awesome and exactly like you'd expect. He has frogs named Columbo and Mrs. Columbo. Columbo has, of course, one eye. His house is like a fantasy of a three year old when you still wish your house could have secret passageways.

John Cusack: Will not answer pointed questions regarding whether or not he has had sexual relations with his sister. He could totally do better.

Matthew McConaughey: talkative. Dumb, but talkative. And really, when you're looking at that face and listening to that voice, you don't care what the words are. If you ever meet him, ask him about working with Jodie Foster. The story is too funny for words.

William Shatner: Nice guy. Blatantly flirty. But nice. Will not sign an autograph, though, even if you ask really nicely.

Tom Hanks: So nice that one suspects he must have some deep, dark secret. Like bodies hidden in his basement or something. It's just not possible to be that nice.

Gwendolyn Brooks, former poet laureate of Illinois, author: Wonderful, wonderful, amazing woman, so sad she's dead. Once gave a gentle nudge to a little girl who was interested in being a writer. The little girl, after that, showed up at all of Brooks' poetry readings hours early so they could talk. And talk they did, for hours on end before and after. The little girl even had poems dedicated to her at the readings. Now she writes full-time.

Ursula LeGuin: As fiercely independent a woman as you will ever meet, but more than willing to give credit where credit is due. Never one to make assumptions, she once let a nine year old sit quietly in a writing class she was teaching, and always talked to her after class until she realized the nine year old had questions as good as the college students.

Billy Corgan: surprisingly talkative (IMHO) and interesting. Likes to talk shop even when shop talk isn't required, though. He could be a one-note song but I only talked to him for a few hours, so wouldn't know.

Slash from Guns n Roses: Rude and untalkative, literally shoved a person out of his way to get from place to place when I saw him. Could've just been a bad night.

Leon Lederman (physics nobel laureate of the early 80's, fermilab director): best science teacher I've ever had even though he never "taught" per se. He would always spot inquisitive minds and never let you stop thinking.

Weird Al: Just insanely cool. Invited me and my friends backstage two different times because we were obviously so into it. Which is embarrassing but I don't even care. He was so awesome, and when my friend Rachel gave him a parody song she'd written (called, IIRC, "I Will Skydive," to the tune of "I Will Survive") he sang it for us.

I'm sure there are more but that seems like enough.
posted by u.n. owen at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

I have a very depressing Denzel Washington story to tell anyone in person who wants to have their bubble burst about that dude.
posted by gen at 5:07 PM on January 18, 2005

My Close Encounter With Charlton Heston. I now understand the whole NRA thing.
posted by jonmc at 5:11 PM on January 18, 2005

Rob Halford: interviewed him in college for our radio station. Super nice guy, spent almost an hour talking to me before that night's gig. Absolutely no rock-star attitude and very accomidating.

Marilyn Manson: Shook his hand at a book signing, asked him to sign my copy "Brian Warner". He was not amused.
posted by falconred at 5:18 PM on January 18, 2005

I was still 17 and a total geek for all things 1950's and early 1960's. After recently being named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Roy Orbison was planning on releasing some new solo stuff and had scheduled a show in Eugene, Oregon where I lived. Without hesitation I bought two tickets for myself and a buddy one year my junior. When we got to the show at the Eugene Hilton we were told that because alcohol was being served we couldn't go in. Somehow we managed to convince the security that we were not there to drink but really just wanted to see Roy Orbison. To make certain that we didn't drink we were seated near the bar so they could keep an eye on us. Whether they did I have no recollection as we were transfixed by seeing Roy Fucking Orbison! When the show ended Roy stood around to chat and allowed pictures to be taken while he signed a few autographs since the show must have been to less than 200 people. Like complete teenage fanboys we were both too intimidated and left without a word or a handshake or a photo but I did buy a baby blue t-shirt emblazoned with 'Roy Orbison - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame'. Less than a year later while I was in Marine Corps Boot Camp I was able to read in a news clipping from home that he had died. I used to really regret that I missed that opportunity but now understand that is just who I was.

A couple years later I was living in Sacramento and working as a waiter at the harness racing track when my section included the press box. Usually very easy duty since I was essentially there just to get cocktails that weren't on hand. That day I met the most elegant, graceful, distinguished gentleman I have ever met; Joe DiMaggio was in the press box! I have never met a man more deserving of being called a gentleman, he had the most easy going charming nature about him, a real aura. Not to miss this opportunity I did shake his hand and he signed a cocktail napkin for me. He was extremely gracious.
posted by geekyguy at 5:20 PM on January 18, 2005

I went to school with the kid from the TV show Alf...he was really funny and helped me enjoy that Japanese class. I was working as an EMT and, almost literally, ran into Martin Sheen at the hospital. He was very nice, and spoke with us for a minute even though he had somethine better to do (visiting a patient).
Oh, and Vanilla Ice. He said I could call him Rob. Was actually pretty cool to a bunch of kids who just thought it was funny to talk to him.
posted by jawbreaker at 5:29 PM on January 18, 2005

I met Jim Lovell very briefly. He was appearing on Chicago Tonight the week Apollo 13 was released so I ran my butt over to the WTTW studios with my dad. I was too chicken to go up to him so my dad did while I stood around on the sidewalk nervous as all hell. Mr. Lovell stopped his car on the way out, rolled his window down and shook my hand. I stammered something about it being an honor and he thanked me, waved again to me and my dad and drove off.
posted by @homer at 5:35 PM on January 18, 2005

gen, gen, tell!!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:37 PM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Bruce Campbell was awesome at a book reading/signing I attended. He spent about five hours in our local bookstore during the film festival a couple years back (Bubba Ho-Tep was playing, and he was promoting his book). The only condition for the signing was that the book owners got priority in the line—if you had other paraphenalia, you had to wait longer, but he signed everything, and somehow stayed jovial and friendly to the last fan.

Jimmy Fallon showed up at the local watering hole recently, and was amazingly patient with the hordes of university kids with cameras trying to strike up conversations with him.

My girlfriend works at a Starbucks right near the local Four Seasons hotel and has tons of these stories. Apparently the Golden State Warriors are all really nice and tip well.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 5:46 PM on January 18, 2005

Low, particularly Alan Sparhawke, is incredibly friendly down-to-earth and nice. Julie Doiron is just how you'd expect her to be, shy and sweet and awkward and beautiful. Eric Bachmann from Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers is really funny and seems like a great guy. Britt Daniel of Spoon, surprisingly enough, was kind of a cranky jerk the night I met him--but he might have just been flustered or something. JT Leroy is kind of crazy and selfprecious--he does meltdowns the way Chan Marshall/Cat Power does, where he runs off stage and "just can't handle people." But I don't care. :) Mm...oh yeah, I don't know if it was a fluke...it didn't seem like it combined with his npr interviews and other q&a sessions, but Joe Pernice, sadly, comes off as kind of prickly in person. That was a disappointment for me.

Alice Notley is quiet yet fiery, and kind of intense in that you can tell she's constantly reassessing the room and how people come across. I love her.

Lucille Clifton is bubbly and "snazzy." Full of energy...she brings with herself a convivial atmosphere.

Michael Chabon is also just how you'd expect him to be. Kinda geeky lit boy ish, quirky and talkative.

A friend of mine met Adrian Tomine last summer and claims he's everything you'd expect him to be--snarky and misanthropic and whatnot. Ha.
posted by ifjuly at 5:48 PM on January 18, 2005

Robert Plant, very nice, civilized man. Story here.
posted by LarryC at 5:52 PM on January 18, 2005

Met Mike Jittlov (special effects artist and creator of "The Wizard of Speed and Time") at Macworld once, while working at the Bare Bones Software booth. He seemed nice, which is probably due to the fact that he's probably too minor to get mobbed. I didn't mention I recognized him. Actually, I recognized his eyebrows, then I looked at his name badge and said to myself "that's what I thought."

Met bestselling author Harry Stein at a conference where another writer I knew was doing a reading. Super-nice guy, I couldn't believe he'd bother talking to me. I ended up doing a small Web site for him.

I sold paint to veteran Columbus, Ohio weatherman Joe Holbrook when I worked at Sears. He was shorter than I thought he'd be.
posted by kindall at 5:55 PM on January 18, 2005

For some reason I keep hearing that Alton Brown is a really nice guy.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:01 PM on January 18, 2005

Peter S. Beagle. My ex and I had dinner with him a couple of times, back in the early '80s. One of the sweetest, strangest, funniest people I've ever met, and a memory I cherish.

Also, Roger Ebert--way back in the 70s, before he was famous, we were staying at the same hotel, and he took a day out of his schedule to hike all over Hampstead Heath with me (socially-inept, bookish, shy 23-year-old) and talk about the Romantic poets. I remember him as an amazingly nice, intelligent guy, unpretentious and companionable.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:03 PM on January 18, 2005

Eddie Vedder once went waaaaaay out of his way to return $20 he borrowed from me at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in NYC in..... 1997 (was it that long ago?)

I was stunned. I mean, he hunted. me. down. And it was all sort of in good fun that I gave him the money to begin with.

MCA from the Beastie Boys bought me a burrito. Talk about down to earth.

I've met several prominent politicians on Capitol Hill, who are usually very nice people even if you aren't a campaign donor.
posted by owenville at 6:08 PM on January 18, 2005

Robert Downey Jr. is a total sweetheart, although he tends to go off on tangents.
posted by softlord at 6:22 PM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

Alton Brown: Yes, very friendly. Of course, it was a book signing, but he went above and beyond the call of duty. (Also, he signed my friend's iBook with a Sharpie... does that make it worth more on eBay?)

Neil Gaiman: Very nice to fans. I gave him a mix tape (this was in, oh, 1990) and to this day I wonder what he thought of it.

Paul Westerberg: Along with 3 or 4 others I stood around a piano singing songs with him at a party in 1987. A couple of years later I spent some time around him at a local concert. He seemed shy. I am shy too so I didn't actually talk to him directly... but I think we were all having fun singing around the piano.

At the same party were two other Replacements, Tommy Stinson and Slim Dunlap. (If Chris was there I don't recall.) Tommy was drunk and hitting on girls, who were ignoring him. Slim was playing cards in the dining room and seemed to be having a great time.

David Byrne sat behind me at a focus group after a rough cut preview of True Stories. I heard him come in and turned to see, and holy shit, there was David Byrne in the seat behind me. When I got a chance I said hello and got an autograph. He was very soft-spoken but was friendly enough under the circumstances.

Ned Beatty: at a premiere showing of Restless Natives, same theater as the above, around the same time. He stayed around after the show and talked to everyone who wanted to talk to him. Very friendly.

Rod Carew: Refused to sign a single autograph after a Mariners/Twins game in 1978 or so, even though there was no crowd waiting (only 3 or 4 people -- the big postgame crowd had already left) and a five year old boy was crying because of the rejection. (Actually I used to collect baseball autographs, but off the top of my head I am having trouble remembering who the nice folks were and who the jerks were. It was a LONG time ago. But I've never forgotten that Rod Carew couldn't even take time, while he stood there waiting for his cab to arrive, to talk to a five year old.)

Bill Gates: Sat with his wife at a table next to mine in a Thai restaurant many years ago. I didn't dare talk to him, but he was rocking in his chair, just as many people have described. The pizza place I used to work for had him in its delivery zone and he supposedly didn't tip. I never got to deliver to his house and find out if it was true.

Pat DiNizio (and the other Smithereens): Nice guys. I hung out with them a bit after a show in Minneapolis because I had a mutual friend, and a photo of their drummer Dennis Diken that I wanted to give him.

R.E.M.: In 1984, Michael Stipe was... a little off-putting. Not unfriendly, just... not quite friendly either. Peter Buck was talkative. Mike Mills was very friendly and we talked about his Rickenbacker bass for a while. (After the concert a few of us were hanging out on the sidewalk outside the stage door; a guy stuck his head out, looked around, and said "OK, come on in, everybody!" So about 8 of us trooped in and spent a couple of hours just hanging out with R.E.M. I think that wouldn't quite happen anymore.)

Kurt Cobain: Shy. Very shy.

Elvis Costello, despite my expectations, seemed very nice to fans. As usual I was too tongue-tied to say much when given the opportunity.

Danny Kaye: He was one of the first owners of the Seattle Mariners. I was a 12 year old baseball fanatic. I called and spoke to him on a radio program and he told me a long story about the history of baseball, the Red Sox, etc. He was a born storyteller, really.

Someone the non baseball fans might not have heard of is Lou Gorman, who was at one time the head of baseball operations for the Mariners. When ticket prices went up after the 1977 season, my mom called the Mariners office to complain. She said, "I want to make a complaint, and I want someone important to hear it." And, wow, they transferred her to Lou. She told him how frustrated she was about changes in ticket prices, and Lou listened. Then they just started talking baseball. For about an HOUR. I sat there listening to one side of the conversation while they just gabbed about Seattle baseball history, etc. At the end, Lou said "Well, I can see you're a real baseball fan. I'd like to give you some tickets to see the Mariners play the Red Sox next week." "Wow, thank you," said my mom. "Which night?" "All three of them, of course," said Lou. "And from now on, any time you want to see a baseball game, you just call my secretary, and there will be tickets waiting for you." So for 2 or 3 years, we saw the Mariners for free, thanks to Lou. (And we got tickets to the All Star game in 1979 from the players' allocation, and sat in the stands surrounded by players' wives and families.)
posted by litlnemo at 6:26 PM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

i let one of the dudes from pet shop boys into the toilets at my apartment building once.

oh yeah.
posted by fishfucker at 6:29 PM on January 18, 2005

met Jeff Ament (bassist for Pearl Jam) outside the 9:30 club in DC, only a couple of people there (at first) hanging out just talking about basketball and how eddie vedder owed him $20 from a lost bet (what is it about that guy and $20?)very cool guy, kinda quiet, but very nice.
posted by ShawnString at 6:35 PM on January 18, 2005

litlnemo: Paul Westerberg, Pat DiNizio, Elvis Costello, Ned Beatty?

You've met a ton of my idols. I'm so envious, I might have to kill you :)
posted by jonmc at 6:36 PM on January 18, 2005

I sold some books to Henry Rollins last year. He was browsing in the used book store I worked at before a show he was doing later that night. I was the only one there and, therefore, kept him waiting just a bit, but he was very gracious and pleasant. Not particularly talkative, but what do you want for a bookstore employee selling a customer books? I don't remember the titles, but they were older, classics-type books. I wished him a good show as he left and he thanked me. So, Henry Rollins = pleasant to used bookstore employees.
posted by stefnet at 6:44 PM on January 18, 2005

Aw, the Bob McGrath story gave me a lump in my throat. "Did we grow up together?" Yeah, and what a big neighborhood it was.

Jamie Farr--nice, nice man. Personal friend of my in-laws. Not nearly as dumb as Klinger

Maureen (Marcia Brady) McCormick--Beautiful. Tiny. Seemed shy.
posted by GaelFC at 6:58 PM on January 18, 2005

I saw Al Roker at a McDonald's once. He was using the soda fountain, and afterwards a friend of mine said, "Dude, that was Al Roker!" and I said, "Oh."

I know people who get christmas cards and that sort of stuff from Weird Al.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:14 PM on January 18, 2005

If you ever meet him, ask him about working with Jodie Foster. The story is too funny for words.

Seeing as how my chances of meeting the naked bongo dude are comfortably slim, I demand to hear the Jodie Foster story.

My list:

Lady Bird Johnson once called me "sir" (one of the hazards of being female and having short hair).

Ann Richards
, in line at Whole Foods -- not a pleasant person, although I like her as a statesman/woman.

A few months ago I played craps with Ricky Henderson. I finally had to ask him who he was, since people kept coming up to him and asking him for a handshake or an autograph. After I told him I'd never heard of him, he was the sweetest guy in the world. His wife hugged me when they left the table.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:26 PM on January 18, 2005

Anne Rice came into the bookstore I was working at one evening. She bought a lot of books on witchcraft.
posted by govtdrone at 7:41 PM on January 18, 2005

Splecklet, care to give the details on that Squeeze story? I've always been a fan (okay, not so much of their new stuff since the really early 90s), and while I really don't want my image of them deflated, I'd still like to hear what happened....
posted by kimota at 7:46 PM on January 18, 2005

I feel like we talked about this before, but I once smoked a joint with Dizzy Gillespie.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:50 PM on January 18, 2005

Back when I was fairly young and my family still lived in New York, we were seated in the theater for a Broadway show. Candace Bergen, whose seat was in front of mine, didn't like me kicking her chair so much.

Don Schula was a guest at a family wedding several years ago. He was nice about signing autographs.

I spent about an hour interviewing Bruce Hornsby a while ago. He did not like my photographer prowling around the room looking for good shots, so he sent her away. Other than that, he was a really friendly guy and told me some great stories about working with various musicians over the years.

Victor Wooten approached me in between sets at a Flecktones concert, handed me a camera and asked me to take a picture of him with some group of people, possibly family. Super nice. We chatted for a little while before he had to go back onstage. He and his brother kind of grew up in the area, so it was a homecoming of sorts.
posted by emelenjr at 8:05 PM on January 18, 2005

Lots of older school NASCAR types: Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnet, Dale Waltrip, Morgan Shepard: All nice down to earth people that would make time for fans (or at least that was the Case 25 years ago)

The one exception in the racing crowd I ever met was Dale Earnhardt. Guy was a total ass
posted by ad hoc at 8:06 PM on January 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

I've exchanged email with Scott McNealy. I was having some difficulties in getting permission to use some historically-significant Sun video footage (the SPARCstation 10 product announcement) on sunhelp.org, and annoyed at the red tape, emailed the obvious address @sun.com.

Less than 24 hours later, I had a response from the man himself, and the red tape dissapeared very quickly. I was just floored that he would take the time out of his schedule to respond to a nobody like me who emailed him out of the blue.
posted by mrbill at 8:06 PM on January 18, 2005

litlnemo: Paul Westerberg, Pat DiNizio, Elvis Costello, Ned Beatty?

jonmc: You've met a ton of my idols. I'm so envious, I might have to kill you :)

Jon, I may be willing to lend a hand...singing songs around a piano with Paul Westerberg? Cripes, man. He does come across as shy eh? I have noticed that in interviews I have seen...
posted by Richat at 8:11 PM on January 18, 2005

Oh, and I met Daniel Lanois a couple of times a few years back. Seemed wickedly shy, and also small. I was totally, totally awed by him though, so didn't have much to say, despite my then-roomate having grown with with "Danny". Lanois seemed a sweetheart of a cat though.
posted by Richat at 8:13 PM on January 18, 2005

Terry Pratchett was lovely when I went to a book signing. People who'd brought along their entire collections were accommodated (i.e. a couple signed straight up, the majority of the rest deferred until everyone else was done).

He also participates in the alt.fan.pratchett newsgroup, to the amusement of everybody.
posted by coriolisdave at 8:18 PM on January 18, 2005

Anthony Bourdain - funny, smart, very nice and hot as all get out.

Allen Ginsberg - so very patient with all the dorks who asked "So, what was Jack Kerouac really like?" and "Which one were you in On the Road?"

Natalie Merchant - sweet natured and fond of kickball
posted by gsh at 8:18 PM on January 18, 2005

Specklet, there's no email in your profile so-

Jazz bassoon? That's so awesome.
posted by kenko at 8:25 PM on January 18, 2005

I once waited on Andy Rooney, back in my bookstore days. I couldn't find the book he wanted. He was nice about it, but I kept having a recurring vision of him on CBS ging "Didja ever notice how these idiot clerks can never find your book..."
posted by jonmc at 8:26 PM on January 18, 2005

I was at high school with Jason Alexander and he was about as arrogant as you can imagine a person being whose biggest accomplishment at the time were the school plays, though he was still going by his real name, Jay Greenspan. The big star in school at the time was Julie Montgomery, who was in one of the ABC soaps (One Life to Live) and went on to big fame as the tough guy's girlfriend who defects to the geek in Revenge of the Nerds but because of her TV gig she was never really around.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:28 PM on January 18, 2005

Steve Baldwin. He has come to our church a couple of times. Real down to earth guy. One of my former bosses has a private plane and flew him here-they were so much alike it was scary.I got to spend a few minutes talking to his wife-really, really, sweet, genuine woman-not "Hollywood" ish at all.

Years and years ago I worked at an art store and the creator of the comic strip "Hagar the Horrible" would come in to buy supplies. He was large and jolly and basically looked like the character. Interestingly enough his eyesight was failing and I would have to help him choose paints. (I think his son does the strip now. Met him too, in fact I met his whole family. Sweet, sweet people.)

And I don't know how many of you remember Jake the Snake (professional wrestler a decade or so ago) but I waited on him at a Waffle House in Pensacola. He had the steak and eggs, tipped okay.
posted by konolia at 8:29 PM on January 18, 2005

Tony Levin is a nice guy.
posted by kenko at 8:32 PM on January 18, 2005

Willie Nelson sang the song "Amanda" to me. He's such a cool guy.

I ran into Adam Durtiz (Counting Crows) in a record store and we talked for a while. He was my first rockstar crush and he totally lived up to the fantasy.

I was sitting on a couch in a bar in NYC and suddenly realized that Paul Shaffer was sitting next to me. He bought me a drink.

The guys from Barenaked Ladies are sweethearts. I've met them multiple times and they're always so nice.
posted by amandaudoff at 8:38 PM on January 18, 2005

contessa: I met Fred Rogers one time. Actually, he sat next to me in church. It was the church he attended and I was visiting to check it out. I sat in the back pew and he sat next to me and started a conversation. We talked about the church, the pastor, my life, and his son. I was star-struck, but his Mister Rogers-ness quickly dissolved that. He sat with me throughout the service and excused himself afterwards. I left the church floating a couple inches off the ground.
posted by booth at 8:53 PM on January 18, 2005

I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela in Geneva in 1990.

He was so nice. He was friendly, kind and seemed interested in talking with us kids and our parent. He took the time to chat with us, signed autographs and let us take photos and with him.
posted by netsirk at 8:57 PM on January 18, 2005

Oh yeah, to add more: Jon Langford (and the rest of the Mekons/Waco Bros. crew I've met) is absolutely fantastic -- hilarious, incisive, sharp, interesting and interested in the world around him. Gawd bless them Mekons, by gum!

A few others from the Chicago scene: Seth Cohen from Number One Cup/The Fire Show became a close friend about five years ago after we worked together at the same company for awhile -- initially I was intimidated by him but once we broke the ice we got on like a house on fire. (It was a little strange, at first, to become friends with someone who I was also a fan of, but after awhile his musical career just became incidental to our friendship.) And his former bandmate Michael Lenzi (now producing solo work as M. Resplendent) is one of the sweetest, gentlest souls I've ever met.

And also, to continue the Mr. Rogers theme -- I never met him in person, but he sent me an autographed photo and email greetings a few years back. A friend of mine here in L.A. had been one of his producers for several years in Pittsburgh, and knew I'd been a big fan as a kid. Fred's note came at a time when I was going through a serious rough patch, and it really did make a difference.
posted by scody at 8:58 PM on January 18, 2005

Oddly although I live in the most celebrity infested city in America, since moving here, I've only seen one celebrity, the woman who played Barney's wife on Barney Miller. She was walking outside the Public Theater on Lafayette Street.
posted by jonmc at 9:00 PM on January 18, 2005

Whether Matt deletes it or not, I have a personal relationship with God (Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah) and he's pretty cool.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:01 PM on January 18, 2005

William Gibson totally tolerated my fanboy instincts when I followed him aroudn the country during the Pattern Recognition tour. I finally interviewed him in Birmingham, and his wife made sure I mentioned their cats, Emma and Misty, in the write-up-that-was-never-to-be. Although I still have the recordings.
posted by armoured-ant at 9:05 PM on January 18, 2005

Man, I would *love* to meet someone from Sesame Street...Bob, Maria, Luiz, Mr. Hooper *sniff*, Gordon, Susan...God help me, but the Sesame Street person I'd most like to meet is Grover.
posted by duck at 9:18 PM on January 18, 2005

Jimmy Carter and Wife - When I was in highschool, I went to the dedication of an exhibit at the Carter Center about the Foreign Service. I was in a large room full of people waiting for the man himself to enter and give a speech. When he appeared at the doorway, a silence fell over the crowd and people parted like the Red Sea. I got pushed to the front of the crowd along his path to the podium. He made one stop along the way. He turned, looked at me, smiled a heartwarming smile, reached out and tugged on my hair and said "Pretty." Probably the most surreal experience of my life. Not only that, but his wife stopped in front of me, took off her scarf and unfolded it. It bore the presidential seal. She said "isn't this neat?" I agreed and she walked on.
Carter went on to give the best speech I've ever been on hand to hear.

Tim Armstrong of Rancid fame - Tim looks like the human equivalent of a pitbull, but is in reality, the sweetest man I've ever known. He's very well read and can converse on a number of topics from international affairs to photography (not to mention music). Total badass in the best way imaginable.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 9:23 PM on January 18, 2005

I went to a funeral with Roy Scheider once. His little boy seemed nice.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:25 PM on January 18, 2005

Dave Grohl did an amusing jig for us drunk college kids in a crosswalk on Sunset Blvd. while we all screamed that The Colour and the Shape ruled.

I ran into a lot of famous people while working a catering gig in Hollywood my freshman year in college, but all that really did was take away the small sense of allure there was about celebrities. My memories of those days mostly consisted of dodging used napkins and balancing a tray full of hor d’oeuvres while trying to make my way through the throngs of famous people and their clinger-ons. The people who mattered always showed up late and left early, while those who were there for the free food and drinks were always the first ones in the door and the very last to leave. Snapshots: Cameron Diaz likes to drink, Tara Reid totes a coked up entourage, Nicole Kidman is even more stunning in real life, William H. Macy is very nice and down to earth, everyone is shorter than you thought, California news anchors are real pricks, Joaquin Phoenix likes to wear suits and tennis shoes, and the whole scene was so sleazy it made me want to puke.

Other instances outside of work include running into Clint Eastwood at the health food store in my hometown in Maui (he has a house he spends a lot time at there). He was extraordinarily tall and well mannered. Also Oliver Stone came and spoke on campus and I spoke with him briefly afterwards. He was, in both his talk and our conversation, rather paranoid. Go figure.
posted by rooftop secrets at 9:26 PM on January 18, 2005

I sold a three pairs of Dansko clogs to Melanie Griffith in 1996. She was very friendly and was really into being recognized. She was with someone who I eventually figured out was Antonio Bandaras's personal assistant. The PA kept very loudly saying, "Oh MELANIE, those are just gorgeous. Oh MELANIE, ANTONIO would just LOVE those!" Melanie smelled like perfume and payed with a credit card that had her name on it.
posted by arielmeadow at 9:29 PM on January 18, 2005

(oh my god, my spelling! "payed"? I meant paid, sorry.)
posted by arielmeadow at 9:31 PM on January 18, 2005

i shyly approached Caithlin DeMarrais after a Rainer Maria show. we talked a bit and she gave me a hug when i asked. since then, RM has been my most favorite band ever.

i met William Shatner when i was a kid--about 4. i didn't know who he was, but my mom told me he was from star trek. i asked him if he was spock. my mom was his physician for a short while, and told me several years ago that she saw him naked.
posted by lotsofno at 9:42 PM on January 18, 2005

David Carradine: Generally reclusive, but he hangs out at a certain bar in Studio City. Always seems realllly distant. Has a car (black tinted windows) and driver take him to and from the bar at lunchtimes.

Philip Glass: Clearly hesitant of fame, but very appreciative of his fans none the less. He seems unsure, nay, bemused, in social situations, but I was very taken with his manner and friendliness.

Jamie Theakston: Lovable twat. Enough said.
posted by wackybrit at 12:15 AM on January 19, 2005

Spent the day with Buckminster Fuller when I was about 8. He spent all day talking to me, and ignored everyone else. I thought he was extremely cool for an ancient dude, and later everyone with us wanted to know what we spent all our time talking about(just about everything, with him asking questions mostly about what I thought). I had no idea who he was at the time, but did realize afterward that all the adults we were with thought I was extremely cool for distracting him for 6 or so hours. I just thought he was a lot of fun to talk to.

Now as an adult, my default state with kids I've just met is "What do you think?".
posted by dglynn at 12:58 AM on January 19, 2005

Let me see... I once shared an elevator with Mike Tyson and Don King in downtown Chicago. I remember thinking that Tyson's neck *couldn't possibly* be that large.

I met Sean Connery during the filming of "The Untouchables". He had the most obvious, million-watt lightbulb sense of "presence" that I've ever encountered. It's easy to see why he's such a huge star.

James Randi once had dinner at my home, when I was involved with the Chicago CSICOP. He's much the kind of guy you'd expect, coolly logical, with a sense of humor.

I briefly met the first President Bush, long before he was president, in Arlington, VA. No real interaction there, he was giving a speech about the CIA.

Ilie Nastase, the tennis star, once shot a magazine ad at the railroad museum where i worked. I was in the shot as an extra, spent the day with him on the site, In person, he seemed like a nice guy, didn't get impatient with the waiting around necessary for the lighting to be right, etc.
posted by pjern at 1:26 AM on January 19, 2005

Kurt Vonnegut -- he was gesturing a bit wildly and hit me in the nose. Very apologetic.

Peter Falk -- quip-y and funny.

Robert Reed -- very smart. knew his shakespeare inside and out.

Alex Haley -- we had dinner together in a cafeteria. He seemed very sad. I couldn't tell if he'd rather eat alone, or if he was glad to not have to dine alone.

Madeleine L'engle -- REALLY nice (and I was a bit obsequious).

Jimmy and Roslyn Carter -- genuinely interested in a variety of topics.

Loads of other politicians, but somehow political fame doesn't really get me going.
posted by tidecat at 1:35 AM on January 19, 2005

Like someone else said, the more famous people you meet the more everyone seems like regular people. That being said, two stick out in my mind:

Dave Eggers-- I've spoken to him briefly after two separate readings. He has a strange calming effect on me--much more soft-spoken than I expected. Like he would knit me a sweater if I even shivered (and assuming he knows how/likes to knit).

Dolly Parton-- It truly is hard to describe what she's like. She's so self-aware and absolutely hysterical. And she's also unbelievably hot.
posted by dogwalker at 1:38 AM on January 19, 2005

jonmc: Sorry. Guess Seattle in the late 80s was a good place to meet people. I don't suppose you're also a fan of the Young Fresh Fellows, Fastbacks, Posies, etc....?

Actually, the rest of that Mats story is that the cops showed up after a while because of a noise complaint (which was odd, since it really wasn't all that loud that night), and kicked everyone out of the house, including some of the people who lived there... but the Replacements got out of there so fast I could hardly believe it. It was like they had a sixth sense -- "The cops are here, time to split!"

My mom has a much better hobnobbing with celebs story than any of mine. She partied with Elvis in 1962 at the World's Fair. (She says he was a "perfect gentleman"!) And since she was in bands in the early 60s, and my uncle was in a popular Seattle band in the late 50s - early 60s, they knew a lot of folks too. If only I could get my mom on here to tell some stories. :)
posted by litlnemo at 2:14 AM on January 19, 2005

Oh, I forgot one -- when I was four I was called up on stage with Pat Boone at a show, and he talked to me a bit and then sang to me. I thought he was nice enough, though I was only four, so my judgement may have been suspect... Anyway, that was my first celeb encounter!
posted by litlnemo at 2:17 AM on January 19, 2005

Working in a large record store in I don't know, 1994? John Lydon walks in, orange hair and all. Whispers go around the staff. Walks up to my till with an enormous stack of CDs. I'm not saying a word here, just doing the work. So he gives me his gold Visa card at which I inwardly sneer (punk rock eh, Mr Rotten?). And then - joy of joys - his card is refused. Not only that, but the machine rings through to the operator on the other end. She tells me to keep the card and cut it up. Which I do. In front of him. I cut up Jonny Rotten's gold visa card. Then I hand him the phone so that the operator can have a word with "the gentleman". Apparently, he'd been in LA for the last six months and hadn't paid his bill.
posted by humuhumu at 3:10 AM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

My sister met Leonard Nemoy, and said he was a sweetheart.

A friend of mine dealt with Telly Savalas on many occasions, and said he was a real nice guy.

I once worked with Ben Stiller's parents. His mom is terrific. His dad is a bit of a jerk. Since becoming aware of Ben, I've been wondering where he was that summer. They didn't mention him that I recall. This is ancient history, from 1973.
posted by Goofyy at 4:05 AM on January 19, 2005

Adam, Charlie and Dan from Counting Crows - completely lovely. Stopped to chat and sign autographs at the back of the venue after a (fantastic) two-hour show, after midnight, in the middle of January. Thanked us for coming (and meant it) and just could not have been sweeter. Made me an even bigger fan.
posted by eatcherry at 4:54 AM on January 19, 2005

In the early 90s I was having Derby Day breakfast at the in spot. I couldn't understand why everyone was looking at me. People heading for the bathroom kept walking out of their way to come by my table. Finally, I asked my friend across the table if my hair was on fire. (That would make sense if you have ever lived in Louisville and have spent Oaks Day and night in a 24 hour party.)

She gestured that I should turn around and as I did the person behind me turned to see why I was moving. I then spent a few seconds face to face with Bo Derek.

Forget her politics/acting ability -- all I saw were cheekbones and eyes. Pleasantries were exchanged. My friend was less impressed with said eyes. We laughed a bit about how well traveled our back corner of the restaurant had become. We talked a bit about the Derby and Kentucky with Derek, her police escort and her mother. (Where Bo obviously got her cheekbones.)

That's the long fanboy story. I had a quickie with Joe Jackson at a bookstore in Montreal. He was early to his book signing and the staff didn't have a back room for him to wait. So he was hiding out in the calendars. I didn't want to disturb him, but I just had to sidle up and say, "Thanks for Jumpin' Jive." A bit of surprised laughter and he said I was welcome.

The biggest celebrity I ever had the chance to talk to was Muhammad Ali. In the early 80s I was in the lobby of the city newspaper.Ali walked in with two men and simply took over the building. He sat down on the lobby couch and told his men to put the boxes of religious books beside him. He then waited while the word spread. For the next couple of hours he just sat there and signed and chatted with everyone from the lowly new clerk (me) to the publisher.

Being first I was staked out a chair beside him and listened to him command a room with simply his presence. When he spoke it wasn't much more than a whisper, but he never played to the room. His attention was focused on whoever was sitting beside him. You had his full attention. His agenda wasn't sell books or promote himself. He just obviously needed to spread his beliefs.
posted by ?! at 5:50 AM on January 19, 2005

Most notable celebrity experience was actually quite mundane: We had a table next to John Turturro eating at al di la in Brooklyn. I really enjoy his work, but we didn't disturb his meal. We noted that he was exceptionally nice with the staff.

Everyone else has been musicians or comix people of basically the same age range and where there is little-to-no fanboy stuff getting in the way of being normal; and so the name dropping seems weird since in my eyes they're not celebrities or stars really. Most all of those experiences have been pleasant. Maybe that will change if they do get famous. I don't know.
posted by safetyfork at 6:39 AM on January 19, 2005

The Connells: My buddy and I bought their drummer and roadies a pitcher of beer before the show, and afterwards we got to go backstage. They're one of my all-time favorite bands and it was one of the greatest thrills of my life. They're very, very nice.

Pianosaurus: the lead singer was a friend-of-a-friend, and we got to go backstage (my first backstage experience). They were also nice.

Bill Christopher (Father Mulcahey from M*A*S*H): he was in a play at my friends' college, and I met him at the cast party. He was a lech; we stole his cake.

Jeanne Tripplehorn: I hit on her at the tiny airport on Martha's Vineyard, without knowing who she was. Afterwards I said to my sister, "she looks like that actress Jeanne Tripplehorn," and she said, "she is that actress Jeanne Tripplehorn."

Kat Allison mentioned walking with Roger Ebert on Hampstead Heath; he wrote a book about it (well, maybe not about Kat, but about walking on Hampstead Heath).
posted by kirkaracha at 7:16 AM on January 19, 2005

More rockers-in-bookstore stories: I met David Bowie, Mrs. Iman Bowie, and Mick Jagger during the 80s. Bowie--on whom I had a major, major crush in the late 70s--was debonair and pleasant and made me weak at the knees. His wife, however, was a bitch. She threw her credit card on the counter and then turned her back on me while I was filling out the slip. Feh. Jagger, who also made me weak at the knees, smiled in a friendly way that also meant "I'm famous. We both know that." He bought a bunch of books on English history. I also sold an art book to one of the ZZ Top guys at the Strand a long time ago. He didn't make me weak at the knees, but I have to admit that was one hell of a beard.
posted by scratch at 7:20 AM on January 19, 2005

Steven Segal - Rode in my family's minivan. He was visiting my dad's laboratory to do some research on railguns for some movie he was working on (scientist discovers Evil Super Plane will be flying over DC to blow it up. Nobody believes him. Builds railgun in garage to blow it up. Judo chop.) and because his Range Rover did not have the right tags to get onto the Navy base, he was forced to ride in a green Aerostar.

Jim and Tammy-Fae Baker had their compound across the lake from my grandparents in South Carolina. Tammy was, of course, a big jerk to all within shouting range.

While at the DNC, I met Michael Moore (shook my hand, thanked librarians everywhere, but was otherwise being swarmed by press), Mo Rocca (Eh.), various CNN folks (Wolf is very short, Larry King has a big skull, and I read Obama's speech over Jeff Greenfield's shoulder), and finally, Jesse Jackson stepped on my foot. He did not appologise or even move even after I yelped. He's a big guy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:22 AM on January 19, 2005

A group of trumpet players, obviously including myself, met Wynton Marsalis for a few minutes backstage after a concert when I was a Senior in High School. We exchanged small talk about trumpet playing and what it take to be a professional musician (practice and lots of it). He seemed completely stoned, but it was nice of him to chat with 4 dorky white boys from Indiana.
posted by internal at 7:23 AM on January 19, 2005

Let's see, longest ago was Klinger from MASH Jamie Farr years ago, in a parade.

And back when I was bartending, the late Charles Bronson would come in from time to time. He didn't want anyone to interact with him aside from the help. He was cordial but you could kind of tell that he'd already imagined killing you while he was giving you his order.

For some reason most of the cast of thirtysomething came in every so often. Nice people and I remember the dark haired one was really great looking and nice.
posted by fenriq at 7:26 AM on January 19, 2005

I ran into John Waters at a random party in TriBeCa once. He was exactly what you'd expect. Kinda cool.
My uncle married Marianne Faithful, so I've hung out with her (they had one kid & divorced); she is a Diva. My sis used to do lines with her in cambridge; I was never rocknroll enough for that.
Went to school with Ani Difranco and Mike Doughty; had major crushes on them both. Ani left right around when I got there, but doughty was around for a few years, and dated one of my roommates for a while.
Ran into Michael Stipe on the LES once when quite drunk, kinda surreal... only sure it was him because of the ? tattoo.
posted by mdn at 7:49 AM on January 19, 2005

gen - we're still waiting for that Denzel story.
humuhumu - I knew I'd heard that story before - then I remembered you mentioned it in the old credit card thread from a couple of years back.

My celebs are so UK based and obscure that you'd have no chance of recognising them. Here is a wonderful old link for gossip-mongers to get in on however.
posted by longbaugh at 8:08 AM on January 19, 2005

Mo Nickels wins.

I met Jeff O'Neill the night that the Hurricanes beat the Maple Leaves in game six to go on to the Stanley Cup finals. Super nice guy. His eye was still massively fucked up from taking that Sean Hill slap shot a week or so earlier.

When I still lived in Chicago, my girlfriend (at the time) and I went up to the Crash Palace (as we did every night) and Al Jourgenson was our bartender because Rick (the owner) had to go buy some weed. Rick told him not to give us any free drinks. As soon as Rick left, Jourgenson commenced with the free booze. When I got up to take a piss, he started hitting on my girlfriend. She was rather disgusted by him.
Not too long after that, the dude singer from the Sugar Cubes hit on her as well. I so wanted Bjork to start hitting on me, but alas, even though she stood right next to me, she only said a few words. Oh well.
posted by NoMich at 8:17 AM on January 19, 2005

Kevin Garnett- MN Timberwolves player- He was polite, courteous and VERY TALL

Woody Harrelson- intoxicated, so-so friendly

Steve Guttenberg- a little too friendly, came on a little strong, was polka-dancing with us and drinking my beer
posted by Gooney at 8:21 AM on January 19, 2005

The Connells: My buddy and I bought their drummer and roadies a pitcher of beer before the show, and afterwards we got to go backstage. They're one of my all-time favorite bands and it was one of the greatest thrills of my life. They're very, very nice.

Was waiting patiently to chat with them after a show - the guy in front of me went into a long guitar-geek soliloquy and while Mike was perfectly polite and patient with the gent, we made eye contact and shared a bit of eye-rolling.

When Natalie Portman was at Harvard we'd see her a lot at the Middle East (rock club). She's both tiny and gorgeous, though I never approached her.

jonmc, two of my buddies, alerted by a friend at his record company, drove up to the North Shore of Mass. to be extras in an Elvis Costello video. The crew was shooting at two locations, and as one of my friends lived up there and knew his way around, he ended up driving Elvis to the next stop. Highlight was Mr. Costello complimenting my other friend on the mix CD he'd made that was playing.

My best brush was probably Nick Hornby. My wife and I went to see him read from How to be Good. The line for the book signing was huge, and Nick was periodically dunking his hand in a bucket of ice water. While it had been announced that he'd only be signing the new book, he gladly signed his entire output for us, and chatted pleasantly for a moment about things Arsenal - very cool.
posted by jalexei at 8:24 AM on January 19, 2005

Um, I met Red Green once & he signed some duct tape for me. Does that count? He was a great guy.
posted by aramaic at 8:26 AM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

I hung out with Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar after Uncle Tupelo's last-ever Barrymore show in Madison, and they both seemed really, really tired. Tweedy was really nice and spent half an hour talking with me about music.

I also got a chance to meet Wilco (at a Madison in-studio radio-interview show) just after Yankee Hotel Foxtrot came out, and they put me and a co-worker on the list for their show at the Orpheum that evening. I bought 'em a nice bottle of whiskey as a "thank you."

(I also met Cybill Shepherd in Nice, France, during the filming of a movie. She was horrible to me, my friends, and her assistant. Eugene Levy was there, too; he said a few words to us and seemed much nicer than CS.)
posted by *burp* at 8:34 AM on January 19, 2005

In the early 1980's there was a celebrity tennis tournament to benefit New Mexico Special Olympics. My sister was one of the featured athletes and the rest of our family worked the event. As a result, I got to walk around, talk with the celebrities and get autographs. I so wish I had the programs but they were destroyed when my house burnt down. Here some of the ones I remember

Ted Dansen and Mary Steenburgen let me sit and eat lunch with them and were very kind. Mary was particularly sweet to me, answering all my questions. (I was 10 at the time).

Linda Carter was so tall, beautiful and gracious. I adored her! Wonder Woman was one of my favorite shows (reruns) and she hugged me when I told her so.

James Brolin was cocky and didn't clue into my age at first and made an inappropriate comment. My impression at that time was that he was generally yucky.

Alan Thicke didnt leave an impression one way or the other.

Others from other occassions:
Erin Grey is vivacious, funny, and happy to speak about Tai Chi to anyone.

Micheal Keaton has a dead fish handshake and is a real ass, imo.

Brooke Shields is sweet but reserved.

The guys from the band Ah-Ha were dreamy *sigh*.

Clay Jenkins is super intelligent and nice, easy to talk to. (Ok, he's a minor celebrity. He is the one who portrays Thomas Jefferson as heard on various NPR affiliates around the US.)
posted by onhazier at 8:34 AM on January 19, 2005

David Sedaris--my husband (at the time we weren't married), my good friend, and I got to a reading of his very early to make sure we got seats. It was a small place and we were the only people there. In comes this guy, sets his bag down by the podium, takes a drink of water, and comes over and kneels on the chair in the row in front of us and starts talking to us over the back of the chair. He was just what I would have expected if I'd imagined talking to him. He asked how we were related to each other, asked how long my (now) husband and I had been living in sin, chatted some more asking a bunch of questions, and asked if I'd like him to sign the 3 books I'd brought, which he then very graciously did. A very nice man and the funniest person I've ever seen. I've almost blacked out from laughing so hard every time I've seen him read.
posted by lobakgo at 8:55 AM on January 19, 2005

Where's our Denzel story?

I've met a whole bunch of "working actors"- people who have been in films/tv/whatever and don't double as waiters/bartenders/etc., but in small roles and who aren't "names" yet, though you'd recognize their faces. They all share the universal quality of being so much nicer to people who engage them about something other than their work. I imagine this increases exponentially with fame.

Sat in front of Larry David at a Yankees game last year. Very nice guy. A friend of mine told me Joan Rivers is completely normal when she's not "in character".

Emo Philips (past his prime) hit on my girlfriend once.
posted by mkultra at 9:00 AM on January 19, 2005

Robyn Hitchcock is a complete bastard. Don't piss on him unless he's *not* on fire.
posted by trondant at 9:06 AM on January 19, 2005

Gerry Mulligan: Extremely adept at helping a barely 15, social dweeb express his fandom. Talked bari sax with me for well over ten minutes despite the lengthy line of folks who wrote the checks to bring him to our remote corner of the universe wanting to shake his hand.

Pharoah Sanders: So exceptionally cool and utterly unfaze-able. My own personal jazz deity and favorite NYC memory. His whole entourage is, um, cosmic.

Slash: I'll second him as a relative jerk. One of the crappiest in-stores I had the pleasure of working. His bassist (Johnny Blackout?) on that tour was pretty cool though.
posted by Fezboy! at 9:07 AM on January 19, 2005

I got to meet Muhammad Ali when I was kid. Sat on his lap in the Atlanta airport in 1982 or so. Wonderful man.

Greg Graffin of Bad Religion was a real nice guy, talked to us for a while after a show. Eerily intelligent man. Personable.

Larry Hornbeck - minor celeb, sort of. Won an emmy for developing DLP television technology at Texas Instruments. More energetic than anyone I've ever met.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:23 AM on January 19, 2005

Tim Allen - Saw him at a comedy club. This was just before his TV show. Went backstage, said "hi", talked to him for a few minutes. Very down-to-earth, nice guy.
Randy Jones (the cowboy from the Village People) - Met him at an extended family vacation. Outgoing, funny, friendly. Enjoyed playing goofy games with us (Taboo, etc.). We still exchange emails on occasion.

Met at book signings...
Carl Reiner - Wonderfully nice, sweet man. Could be your grandfather. He even gave me a hug!
John Starks (former NY Knick) - Well-spoken, friendly, articulate. I'm not a basketball fan (I was picking up his book for my Dad), so I was surprised that he was not the typical jock/celebrity. He was also not as tall as I thought he'd be.
James Watson ("Mr. DNA") - Huge brain. Handled a "heckler" with aplomb.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:49 AM on January 19, 2005

Emo Philips (past his prime) hit on my girlfriend once.

That's amazing.

Emo Phillips had a "prime?" Who knew?
posted by jonmc at 9:57 AM on January 19, 2005

Tom Clancy really enjoys talking about himself, how much money he's worth, and generally being a bossy prick.

Both John's from They Might Be Giants are super nice, though Linnell is quite shy and reserved.
posted by absalom at 10:08 AM on January 19, 2005

Joaquin Phoenix likes to wear suits and tennis shoes - Most dress shoes are made with some type of leather, and being a vegan that supports PETA, he would wear footwear without. There are vegan shoe sources, but it's just easier/cheaper to run about in sneakers.
posted by FunkyHelix at 10:19 AM on January 19, 2005

My most recent celebrity encounter was with a whole bunch of other online type folks during 2003's JournalCon in Austin. Whilst sitting in the lobby bar in the hotel, R. Lee Ermey appeared. He was apparently in town for a family wedding. He very nicely posed for pictures with a bunch of folks (read: the pretty women) sent me a return message (I didn't feel like joining the mob scene but sent him a "Marine's wife hoo-ra!" via one of the approachers) and spent quite a bit of time speaking with a friend who had just arrived and was in his Marine dress blues. He was a very nice, very down to earth man, nothing like his most famous role at all.
posted by Dreama at 10:22 AM on January 19, 2005

Benny Golson - Incredibly genuine and articulate man. Very willing to share his knowledge and lessons learned. Rehearsing with him showed just how authentic a guy he is. No "big time" attitude at all. An earnest teacher and collaborator.

Bobby Hutcherson - Warm personality. I revealed that I live a few blocks away from him, he discovered that I play jazz trumpet, and he jokingly chided me "I don't hear you practicing!" (For a few weeks after the encounter, practicing took on a new sense of urgency...)

Joshua Redman - Waaaaay more interested in my then-girlfriend than anything I had to say. Eh, at least she was into it.
posted by lpqboy at 10:23 AM on January 19, 2005

Margaret Atwood has a great, biting sense of humor.

I met Bono at a soccer game two summers ago - he was great with answering our questions, had a good sense of humor (said he was going to be a Manchester United supporter that day, because they seemed to be the crowd favorite in Seattle), and told me my name was spelled strangely when he signed autographs for us.

My friend met Neal Stephenson at a book signing. He brought in Snow Crash and asked Stephenson to sign the page where YT and Raven get it on. He got glared at, but his request was granted.
posted by emmling at 10:31 AM on January 19, 2005

I actually used to be friends with him and forgot that some might consider him a celebrity: Chris Collingwood from Fountains Of Wayne. He was a good friend, although I haven't talked to him in months. He and his wife Linda used to come over to me and my (now ex) husband's house for dinner about once a week. Chris was goofy, pretty dark, would drink a lot. Then he'd pick up my crappy guitar and show us what he was working on. He used to make fun of himself a lot. One time I flashed him at a cocktail party we threw, just to see if could jolt him out of his dark, drunk funk. He lit up and complimented me heartily on my breasts. Adam is nice, pretty quiet. A little prickly. Jody I only knew peripherally, but man, that guy was always fucked up.
posted by Specklet at 10:49 AM on January 19, 2005

I drove Douglas Adams to dinner after a speech at my college. I was so nervous, and it was pouring rain, and when I turned to ask a question while stopping at a light the car slid forward and touched the bumper of the car in front of us. So embarrassing, I don't think I said anything the rest of the night. He seemed nice but distant, which I assume now was because of shyness and the travelling, and hopefully not the minor traffic accident. And he left a little pig someone gave him during the lecture in my car.

James Randi was much friendlier, and kept everyone entertained throughout dinner.

I'm not really sure how to rate authors I've seen at signings, since I always feel uncomfortable trying to say anything beyond "I enjoy your work."
posted by babar at 10:59 AM on January 19, 2005

I saw Frank Abagnale at a local sandwich shop. He was hanging out with what I assume were his wife and one of his sons. He paid in cash.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 11:03 AM on January 19, 2005

I met Milton Berle several times. He made sure he was the center of attention at all times. Short. Always had a cigar going.
posted by deborah at 11:09 AM on January 19, 2005

I didn't, but my best friend met, smoked a joint and shared skittles with Snoop. She's a music writer and not typically starstruck as a rule, but came away from her interview with him very touched by a kind of charm that he had, and this really surprising level of.. empathic charm.. He smiled at you, and you felt very known and understood by him.. I thought that was neat..
posted by onanon at 11:17 AM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

Not hugely famous but...
I recently met Steve Carell, movie actor but unknown to me. I had no idea he who he was but my niece recognized him from SNL and some films. He was very nice, personable and friendly (as was his wife). He also appeared to enjoy the 'in joke' with my niece of being recognized but not 'outed'.
I wish all performers were as kind and cool.
posted by evilelf at 11:17 AM on January 19, 2005

Some others I remember:

Jack Nicholson while filming the 'The Witches of Eastwick' in Marblehead, MA came out in the rain to shake hands with everyone hanging around the building they were using for filming.

Thomas Dolby came to my school to do a lecture about electronic music (sponsored by Apple I suspect). It was like a lecture/concert. Had lots of cool electronic toys to show of and explain. Hung around after to talk with and help the crew. Very nice guy.
posted by evilelf at 11:55 AM on January 19, 2005

Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter - Herbie was one of the nicest people I've ever met. Wayne Shorter was obviously so fried from decades of drug use that it would be unfair to for me to say whether he was nice or not.
Herbie Hancock was very friendly, and genuinely laughed when my friend and I told him how we had lied our way through backstage security to meet him. He then introduced us to Wayne Shorter.
Wayne Shorter was eating some food when I met him. He gave us a 10 minute speech about the fork he was using and how it directly related to perception, the cosmos and the general order of things.
I should have paid more attention but I couldn't get past the unbelievably vacant look in his eyes long enough to process what he said.
posted by Hadroed at 12:01 PM on January 19, 2005

Yevgeny Yevtushenko for one. He and his friend raised hell at dinner, drank too much, and hit on all the female waitstaff. When one of the hosts drove them back to their hotel, Yevtushenko's friend puked in the car. The next morning at a signing, as Yevtushenko scribbled in a book, his friend asked "What are you writing?"

"I am signing your death warrant," Yevtushenko replied.

Bill Clinton for another. I met Clinton in '92. Without a doubt the most charismatic man I've ever encountered, whatever his faults. He was electric. So yeah, in those two cases at least, both certainly lived up to their image.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:02 PM on January 19, 2005

Mo Nickels: I once smoked a joint with Dizzy Gillespie

Hands down, the winner.

deborah: Milton Berle... short

That's not what I heard.

B.B. King: Unbelievable friendly. Posed for a picture and gave me a guitar pick.

Bob McGrath: Does a charity event in Saskatchewan every year. Super nice guy, even after being up for 36 hours.

Joey DeFrancesco and Dennis Chambers: Ran into them at a jazz bar right after seeing them play with John McLaughlin. Joey invited me to their table and we talked about Miles Davis for ages.

Big Rude Jake: Canadian swing-punk singer. Gave him a ride to his hotel. He's big. He's rude. What else can I say?

Dickie Barret (Mighty Mighty Bosstones): Met him at a signing and he put me on the guest list for that night's sold out show. Hung out afterwards and he came off as a bit of a jerk. While leaving the stage before the encore somebody in the crowd called him a sellout and Dickie responded by dropping him with one punch.

Joey Shithead (DOA): Nice guy. Will talk to fans for hours.

Maceo Parker: Told him he was the reason I got into music and he smiled and shook my hand.

Matthew Carter, Nick Shinn, Dave Farey, John Downer, Jim Parkinson and a bunch of other legends of typeface design: Without exception, all smart, funny and friendly. Most people wouldn't recognize them on the street, but their work is read billions of times every day.
posted by Monk at 12:28 PM on January 19, 2005

I met the Frames at an in-store performance/autographing thing they did at a tiny record shop in Long Beach, CA. Glen was talkative and friendly. The rest of the band seemed shy (I was leading the conversations and I almost never do that with people I've just met) but very friendly as well and appreciative of the fans. The drummer, who I think isn't really seen as a permanent member of the band, didn't really expect anyone to pay him any attention, and so seemed even more shy and unsure of how to react when I spoke with him. Some friends of mine have hung out with the band several times and from what I hear they're all a lot of fun.

I've met Daniel Lanois as well. Didn't have much in the way of conversation, as I wasn't really sure what to say except that I really loved his music/concert, but some friends of mine had a more involved conversation. He's very nice and appears to be quite the ladies' man.

I once told Rob Schneider "hey you're famous" at the Hard Rock Cafe in Universal City. His response was a disinterested "yeah" and to continue heading for the exit. Not in a rude way, mind you, and I probably did come across as a bit of jackass.

I gave Emilio Estevez an acknowledging nod once, just because we were looking at each other, not because I even realised who he was (just that he was familiar - I realised who he was later). He just stared blankly. This was at a film studio I used to work at, where I saw a lot of celebrities but never interacted with most of them. There I heard lots of stuff, like the Croatian guy on ER is a dick but the rest of the cast is really nice and down-to-earth, that Martin Sheen will talk your ear off if you let him, much to the chagrin of the crew who want to get filming. George Lopez is by all accounts I've heard a really nice and friendly guy. He got a former collegue of mine a PA job on his show. Much of the main cast and the crew of Ocean's 12 seemed as interested in hanging out/playing basketball/kicking a hacky sack around/accidentally throwing a football into an occupied golf cart as they did in making the movie. Oh and based on what I saw in the studio commissary, the little kid on Two and a Half Men is a total little shit.
posted by DyRE at 12:41 PM on January 19, 2005

Oh yeah, I met Kim Thayall once. Soundgarden was doing a signing at some record store in Royal Joke, MI and I wasn't very interested, so I smoked and looked at used records. He didn't seem very interested either and hung out with me, looking at old records. He bummed a bunch of smokes off of me, but he was really nice.
They had a show later on that night at St. Andrews in downtown Detroit and I was one of 12 people in attendance. Me and my friends hung with them a really long time after the show. I remember thinking how that a band this nice (not to mention a rocking great band) deserves to make it huge. Lo and behold, they did.
posted by NoMich at 1:13 PM on January 19, 2005

Lots of musicians, from my fanzine days - Rollins, Vedder, Neil Young, the guys from Soundgarden, Alice Donut, Jesus Jones, some manifestation of Pigface . . .

Movie types - Umm, James Woods, Dennis Hopper (briefly - I was so itimidated!). But my fav was Nick Cage, who came into a bar I frequented at the time in North Carolina. I drunkenly asked him if he really ate the roach in Vampire's Kiss, and he laughed and said yes, bought me a beer and we talked for a good 30 minutes or so about what he was doing in town.
posted by tr33hggr at 1:18 PM on January 19, 2005

oh i also hung out with the bassist, drummer, and drum tech from The Goo Goo Dolls. very cool people, kept making fun of the headliner (Soul Asylum) and telling the girls looking for Dave Pernier that he was in their bus.
posted by ShawnString at 1:29 PM on January 19, 2005

Sharyn McCrumb was an incredible gentlewoman when she came to speak at our library a few years ago. The first event was a reception. Most of the attendees were people who couldn't afford the expensive lunch the next day. Ms McCrumb not only did the reading she'd told us she was going to do, but spoke a bit, took questions and made sure during the mixing that she spoke with every single person in that room. She was gracious, intellegent, interesting, charming and a real class act. The folks who came left walking on air.
posted by QIbHom at 1:46 PM on January 19, 2005

scratch, i am more jealous that you worked at the strand than that you met famous people there! :) and i've always wondered what famous folks patronize that place on a regular/devoted basis...
posted by ifjuly at 2:07 PM on January 19, 2005

Back in college, must have been '81, Firefall came to play on campus (USC) and while I could have cared less about their music, I was involved with the sponsoring student gov org. 90 minutes before show time, on a Sunday afternoon, the lead singer decided he absolutely required several pairs of cowbell drum sticks (that is, the kind that are cylindrical and don't taper like normal sticks). The only place open at all was way over past Hollywood and of course the highway was jammed solid so I couldn't even get back by showtime.

I got Telly Savalas' autograph in the late '70s at the Meadowlands Race Track. He and his manager were "entertaining" two much younger but tall and blond hardbodies a few tables over but when my (15 year old blonde) sister and I went over to get him to sign our programs, he seemed barely able to resist hitting on my sister.
posted by billsaysthis at 3:37 PM on January 19, 2005

"Everyone else has been musicians or comix people of basically the same age range and where there is little-to-no fanboy stuff getting in the way of being normal; and so the name dropping seems weird since in my eyes they're not celebrities or stars really. "

Yeah, I have not posted some of my so-called "celeb encounters" because they were just local musicians, and not really celebrities in my eyes.

Someone mentioned Kim Thayil from Soundgarden -- for a while I worked at Seattle Film Works where both Kim and Mark Arm (Mudhoney) were working. I remember riding the bus home one day with Kim sitting nearby, telling how he had gotten busted for talking too much and made to sit somewhere where he couldn't talk to anyone. For those who have met him, this is pretty funny because he does like to talk! Years later I saw him in a club and did the "You probably won't remember me..." thing, but he was warm and friendly, and all around a great guy to talk to.

(BTW, this may be a chatfilter post, but I love reading all of your celeb stories, so thanks Matt for not deleting the thread!)
posted by litlnemo at 4:18 PM on January 19, 2005

steve forbes is a dickhead. the melvins are nice, except for the dale, the drummer, who was quiet/drunk.
posted by angry modem at 2:04 AM on January 20, 2005

Is it weird that I haven't heard of half of the names being dropped in this thread?

I went to college with Tom Hanks' daughter and saw him around on campus a couple times. He is exactly like the guy you know him as. She (the daughter) tried to hang around with my social circle of seniors when she was a freshman and first impressions of her were so incredibly poor, (always name-dropping,) that she wasn't around us much after a couple weeks. I also went to college with several other celebs' kids. I'm not sure what we're counting as "celebrities" here but a good friend of mine from college won the Amazing Race a few years ago. Zach (of Zach & Flo.) I didn't think the show captured him at all, he's actually a very charismatic guy, a good person, funny & cute. None of that came across. I know Flo too, we all lived in the same dorm in college. Flo & I did not get along but I felt just awful for her when I saw her on television. After they won the big prize she had to go around to all the morning shows and apologize for her bad behavior & whining. Ethan who won Survivor Africa also went to my school but is slightly older than I. I've met him a couple of times on campus, though, and that boy is hot. He is just gorgeous and very kind as well. I also went to college with Angela Goethals and one day my friend Karl, drunk, screamed across the quad at her "I think you're PHENOMenal!" Annie Hathaway went to school my school also, right when The Princess Diaries came out. I never really met her but she seemed to be generally disliked. I'm not sure if that was just because everyone was way too cool for this Princess Diaries business. Now that I think about it, there were lots of working actors at my school.

My girlfriend went to Yale and they had more actual celebrities around. I saw Barbara Bush around there sometimes and Claire Danes once.

I've met some authors & such at book signings & at campus talks. My most humiliating of these experiences is when I asked Tony Kushner to sign my book "Congratulations Ebay Bidder (buyer pays actual postage)" and he did not get the joke. At all. He just kind of stared at me and I apologized and spelled out my first name for him. I was really surprised. He was a very nice guy though & had full conversations with pretty much everyone in line. He & I talked about NYC restaurants (Craft is his favorite) and Thomas Keller. Kushner? Not so much into Keller, go figure.

I've known some Broadway people & some that have gone on to become pretty big stars (Jesse L. Martin, Taye Diggs--both incredibly kind, down-to-earth people.) The people with less talent invariably perceive themselves to be the biggest stars. Adam Pascal, I'm looking at you. I feel bad for broadway actors, though, they're forced into a very strange relationship with their fans.

I met a bunch of random b-list celebs backstage at RENT (backstage is the wrong word here, but it's hard to describe.) The most memorable of these encounters was Tom Arnold who seemed confused about why no one was paying attention to him. Then he came over to me & my friend and was acting like an ass. My friend didn't even know who he was when he introduced himself, which really upset him.

I was camp counselor to Dorothy Hamill's daughter -- we were all a bit starstruck by her on drop-off & pick-up day. (She's still rocking the haircut.) Driving home with another counselor her daughter spotted us, somehow, on the highway and she pulled along next to us & honked so she and her daughter could wave to us. It was so surprising that we almost drove off the road.

I met Ira Glass & Chris Ware at a record signing for the first TAL CD, they were exactly how you would expect, so cool. Also incredibly perceptive. Ira had my number right away, it was kind of disconcerting. I shouldn't have been surprised, though. Later I spent several days with Ira reporting a story for TAL. I was so head-over-heels thrilled & excited about the whole situation that the times that my voice appears in the story I'm all high-pitched and ridiculous. How embarrassing! I don't think I was calm for a moment the entire time. When we walked into the NYC NPR bureau to record some of the interviews all of the NPR folks were star-struck and because I was with Ira they thought I was somebody, which I was not, and people kept handing me their cards & such. I had to keep demurring "oh, I'm just some kid!" Sarah Vowell called him on his cell phone to make plans while we were in a taxi & I tried desperately to stay cool. We talked a little bit about Dave Eggers, I said he was dreamy & Ira said "yeah, but one look and you can tell he's trouble!" Once he was back in Chicago working on editing the piece together he called my work one day and asked for me. I had answered the phone myself & when he asked for me I said "this is Rebekah Jude." "Oh hi Rebekah, this is Ira Glass." I almost crapped myself. You'd think I'd have recognized his voice...

I am not cool at all & can not be trusted around celebrities.
posted by palegirl at 4:07 AM on January 20, 2005

I've met the woman that writes the Aunt Dimity mystery series, and she was really friendly.

I've eaten supper with Sam Prekop and John McEntire from Sea and the Cake, and they didn't seem so friendly.

I've seen the bass player from Dashboard Confessional shop at my bookstore, but I used to see him shop at my Target when he was in The Promise Ring, so that's not that much.

Apparently co-workers have met Dustin Diamond.
posted by drezdn at 9:51 AM on January 20, 2005

I met Henny Youngman at a resort in the Poconos. I hardly recognized him, it was near the end of his career and without his tux and makeup he just looked like any old man. His wife seemed to fuss over him a lot.

I ate dinner at a resort in the Thousand Islands with Foster Brooks, the guy who used to do the drunk act on Dean Martin's show. He was the resort's pet celebrity (lots of pictures of him on the wall) and treated like royalty. He clearly held sway at his table and was quite the raconteur. I don't remember him being drunk, naturally.

My wife and I took a cruise with Delbert McClinton and a whole bunch of other musicians. Delbert is a lot of fun to hang out with, doesn't look or act his age and is much shorter than I thought. "Long Tall" Marcia Ball is very nice and not so much like her stage persona. We chatted with her and her mom while riding a boat to one of the islands we visited. Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel is like the quinnessential Texan (even though I think he's from West Virginia), taller by a head than I am but one of the friendliest guys you'll meet. He even recognized us at a later show in Buffalo when we ran into him at the hotel we shared.
posted by tommasz at 10:28 AM on January 20, 2005

Met Neil Gaiman at a book signing. We chatted a bit about Tori's next album as he signed my door prize. He was as pleasant and intelligent as you'd expect, and he wore the same leather jacket you see in all his publicity photos.
posted by squidlarkin at 10:49 AM on January 20, 2005

Hasn't anyone here met Jason Kottke?
posted by wackybrit at 11:44 AM on January 20, 2005

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