Someone had asked me last week if I was ‘friends’ with anyone famous. That’s interesting because everyone defines ‘friend’ differently. We drifted off into the do you know anyone famous, and then would anyone famous recognize you discussions? So I decided to compile a list of sorts. Feel free to us the comments field to post your lists.
First, we have the Pro-Entropy brigade. Pro-Entropy had three celebrities: Dave Barry, Terry Pratchett, and Douglass Adams. As sysop I did get to interact with them from time to time on technical issues. A pretty literary group I suppose. I’ve only actually met Dave though. Via e-mail I’ve corresponded with a number of people over the years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re friends or even that they know who I am: Orson Scott Card, Terry Pratchett, and Douglass Adams, the most significant. And, back in the days before email, when paper ruled the world, Herb Caen and I exchanged letters.
Then we have the ‘ celebrities who would recognize your name’ collection: Dave Barry, Philip Michael Thomas, and Rocky Frisco. I know these three would recognize my name for sure — but that doesn’t mean I’m friends with them. Okay, I’m friends with Rocky and we’ve never even met. But, although I know more celebrities, I can’t imagine they’d remember who I am. My ego isn’t big enough to pretend otherwise.
We also have the semi-famous as well. John Charles, I feel, is a celebrity. I know him well, but I don’t know if he counts based on the fact not everyone knows him. Everyone should know him.
In terms of famous people I’ve actually met (that means there was an introduction and a conversation) there’s a long list. Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Olivia Brown, Edward James Olmos, John Diehl, Michael Talbot, and Saundra Santiago (the entire cast of Miami Vice) where my mother was part of the OCB Detective extra brigade. Philip and I both went to Berkeley, and I even have a nice little booklet he authored back in his school days which he wrote a poem on and gave to me. He’s an awesome guy. I also spent some time talking to EJO right before the Oscars when he won for Stand And Deliver: that was at the cast season wrap part for Vice. I also met Michael Mann at one of the cast parties along with Melanie Griffin when she was still with Don. Melanie was really sweet to me — I was still a teenager and very impressed with her. (Come on, teen guy meets hot babe…..)
On airplanes I’ve briefly encountered: Jimmy Johnson (thrice), Don King, Jerry Lewis, Richard Kiel, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley (whilst they were married), Robert Di Niro, David Bowie, and Iman. I also sat near John Grisham — I don’t know him, didn’t meet him, and didn’t even say hi. I knew it was him because the person behind him was reading one of his books and his face was on the back of the book jacket and it was a bit surreal seeing someone sitting in the front row and the person behind him reading a book with his face on it.
I’ve briefly encountered some famous musicians as well: Eddie Veder, Neil Young, and Jimmy Buffett.
I’ve been less than 10 feet away from several presidents: Clinton (four times in two cities), Bush Sr, and Bush Jr (thrice). I’ve never met them, though I secretly wish my fist could meet the face of Bush Jr to thank him for all he’s done for this country. (That isn’t a threat, just a secret fantasy for all you secret service types). I ran into Ernesto Zedillo the former president of Mexico and had a very brief conversation, but I won’t count that since I had no idea who he was until after I had met him.
Although I never met her, DAR Systems Int’l had Joan Collins as a customer. I still have a copy of the first order she placed.