I have been star struck ever since I was a kid. Really, I should’ve been a movie star by now. I grew up loving the movies and loving the artists called actors which Hollywood called stars. In lieu of realizing my own fame and fortune, the Universe has been kind enough to offer me several opportunities to meet and (briefly) mingle with celebrities.
One day, while I was living in Los Angeles, I spied Gary Oldman at the condiment table at a Studio City coffee shop. I walked up, real non-chalant-like and stood next to him. Looking over the top of my sunglasses, I said, “Is that you?” To which he replied, looking at me over the top of his sunglasses and smiling, “Why, yes, it is.” A conversation ensued, whereby we talked about his work, his favorite films. No names – neither his nor mine – were ever mentioned.
Another time, Annette Bening and I were in the same yoga class. Observing me coming in late, she offered me her asana set-up; she’d never even seen me before.
I met Alex Rocco, the guy who played Moe Green in “The Godfather”, at a storefront trainers’ gym in Studio City. We’d both gone there to pay for our memberships and were the only two people there. I did not know who he was. I said, “Come on, let’s get on the treadmill while we’re waiting for the owner to get back”. That’s when we got into a really fun conversation, where he revealed that he was an actor. You’ll recall that the Moe Green character got his left eye shot out -through his eyeglasses -while getting a massage in Vegas. “That role in ‘The Godfather” really opened things up for me career-wise,” he confided. Before I left, I looked at him and said, “Hey, that eye healed up pretty well.” He chuckled and told me that I reminded him of his wife.
The tour de force was the time when my best friend, Diane Cardea, was hired as the announcer for The Critics Choice Awards Show, held at the posh Beverly Hilton. “Meet me at the side door of the theater after the show,” she instructed. So, I went to what I thought was the side door and I waited. I was surrounded by people, yet it was eerily still and quiet, as if I were in a parallel universe, observing from without. Then, someone brushed up against my back and broke the spell. When I turned to see who it was, I recognized Clint Eastwood’s wife. I looked past her and, standing ten feet away from his wife, waiting to get into his car, was Clint Eastwood. Things were off and running! I realized I was SURROUNDED by A-list actors. “Holy shit!” I yelled out, “THAT’S Dustin Hoffman!” Nobody reacted. Then, Penelope Cruz, Jason Alexander…….
Two years ago, I attended the Los Angeles Book Fair and decided to stand in line to purchase Buzz Aldrin’s children’s book, “Look to the Stars”, for my nephews. By the time I actually laid eyes on him, a highly-electric power was surging, then circulating, throughout my body. Seeing Buzz Aldrin was nothing like seeing the others. “THIS MAN WALKED ON THE MOON!” I screamed internally. Buzz was The Second Man to Walk on the Moon, to be specific – of a total of only nine human beings in the history of all human beings ever to live on this planet. I WAS THRILLED to be in his presence. My adrenaline level skyrocketed the closer I got to him. Then, I did something I never do anymore: I asked my friend to take a picture of me, with Buzz Aldrin. I recalled the summer of 1969, sitting in the living room with my mother, watching him and Neil Armstrong bouncing along on the lunar surface, astounded. It is a little-known fact that most photos of the men on the moon were of Buzz Aldrin, because Neil Armstrong was taking all the pictures. Now, here I was, 40 years later, rubbing elbows with living history.
Neil Armstrong’s proclamation that reaching the moon was “One small step for Man, One giant leap for Mankind” now resonates throughout history . To have been so close to one of the men who made that history was one of the great thrills of my life.