SEVEN THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME (celebrity edition). These are all absolutely true.
1. BEN VEREEN: In Las Vegas in the 80’s, I was waiting in the breezeway of the hotel I was staying at for a taxi to bring me to a job interview at the Las Vegas Review Journal. I was surprised that it was a really chilly morning. while I stood there, a black limo pulls up, and Ben Vereen gets out, with a woman dressed in fancy furs. They come and stand next to me in the tiny breezeway. We barely all fit. They apparently must of had an argument in the limo because the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. He was very, very angry. Nothing was said. We just stood there for a long time, and I couldn’t figure out why they would leave the limo just to stand in the breezeway, as if waiting, for what? another limo? Why didn’t they go inside? Eventually, my cab arrived, and I left them there, waiting.
2. JUDITH LIGHT: This happened while “Who’s the Boss” was still on the air. I was in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Galleria, buying last minute Christmas presents. I was in a bookstore and peering at titles sideways so I was in my own little world. I should mention that I’m 6’4″ tall, at that time around 280 lbs. I stepped back from the bookshelf and almost bumped into Judith Light. I was dumbfounded, but not for the reason you might think. I was shocked to realize how SHORT she was. She came up to my chest, if that. And the paralyzing thought I had in my mind was, (if you’ve seen the show, she starred with Tony Danza, who appears shorter than her) was OMG, Tony Danza must be a SHRIMP!. This fuddled my brain, and then she noticed me staring at her from about a foot away. She also froze. I had to think quickly to cover up for just standing there, staring at her, so I mumbled out “Um, I love your show!” not knowing what else to say. She had this look of extreme panic in her face and said “Thanks” and basically ran away in apparent terror. I can only imagine my size scared her or the fact I was standing so close to her? Anyways, I had my purchase and went to stand in line (it was very long, being right before christmas) And I was not paying attention. I look ahead in the line, and Judith is like two people ahead of me. She turns around and I try to smile back, but she still looks spooked. I didn’t know what to do, I was not going to lose my place in that long line. So it became this awkward and slow thing where she would keep looking back at me like she was afraid of me. I felt bad about that one.
3. WILLIAM ZABKA: If you’ve seen the Karate Kid, Zabka is the blond nemesis who’s told to “sweep the leg” of Ralph Macchio. At time of this encounter, He was guest starring in a series called “The Equalizer”. My first wife had passed away recently, and since I couldn’t stand to be in the empty apartment, I found reasons to be out. I started hanging out at a TGIF restaurant in the valley near LA. I would draw patrons without their knowing and have the bartender send the drawing down to them. Sometimes they would buy me a drink or start a conversation. Anyways, I went to the restroom and left my drawing tablet on the bar. in this particular men’s room, there was a couple of pay phones right next to where the urinals were (why? I have no idea) So, I was trying to use the urinal, and Zabka was trying to use the phone, and suddenly two giggly starstruck girls came into the men’s room because they followed him in. I tried to hide what I was doing (peeing) and Zabka shrugged at me apologetically, and tried to usher the girls out of there. After they left, he apologized to me and kinda said “what are you gonna do?” When I went back out to my drawing pad and seat at the bar, he talked to me briefly and looked at some of my drawings. He was very classy, and apologized for the fans, although it clearly wasn’t his fault at all.
4. ROGER DALTREY AND PETE TOWNSEND: When I lived in Chicago, my apartment building’s penthouse floor often put up people that were performing in town. One day I went to the front desk to pick up a bulky large package. As I got on the elevator, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend asked me “what floor?” since I couldn’t push the button. Pete was in a patchwork fur jacket, and Roger had on a black knit cap. But of course, I knew who (WHO) they were, but didn’t say anything except “thanks” To which roger said “No problem”. I was on the 24th floor, so it was a long, silent, but strangely comfortable ride. They seemed very nice.
5. GENE SISKEL: I worked for a time at the Chicago Tribune, where Siskel was a columnist. Occasionally I’d see him around the building and one time he came through the Art dept. I stopped him and we talked about movies for a while. he was a super, super nice guy, and very down to earth. I also shared an elevator with Mike Royko (not a pleasant experience) and a very odd day seeing Richard Simmons and Barbara Eden at the same time.
6. MORRIS DAY: Morris Day and the TIME was a group that had a partnership with Prince (artist formerly known as). I was in an airport and he was there with several hot women, waiting for his flight. he was smiling a lot and laughing at everything. I recognized him, but not a lot of other people did. He accidentally knocked off a plastic casing around the thermostat, started laughing and tried to kick it under some seats in embarrassment. I walked over and put it back on and laughed with him about it.
7. ADAM WEST: In Palm Springs, I was in a mall bookstore (again) and saw Adam West checking out behind me with his wife. I held the door open for them and polltely stopped him and said, “Excuse me, but are you BATMAN?” and he said “Has there been a crime, citizen?” I shook hands with him and said, ” I’ve enjoyed your career and your body of work, and It is an honor and a privilege to meet you,” And he said “It is an honor to meet you as well.” That was the CLASSIEST encounter I’ve ever had.