I Know the Fame

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I don’t mean to be a name dropper here, but: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Oops, my bad- it just slipped right out!

I know him as Phil Hoffman, of course.

I starred with him in numerous plays all throughout high school, and by ‘I’, I mean ‘my sister’. She was all up in what was then referred to as the Drama Department, which I hope has been changed to the Theater Department by now. She and all of her friends were joke fodder for the zillions of popular kids at our high school, and lovingly referred to as Drama Fags. Lovingly.

Now those kids are pumping gas and have 30 year old children, so ha ha on them. When my sister was in these plays, I would go see them and decide which actor to have a crush on from my seat in the audience. I was probably around 13-14, so this was the only way I could make it through the plays without melting into a puddle of boredom. Phil was the object of my affection during their rendition of Death of a Salesman. My sis played Mrs. Loman to his Willy (that sounded wrong). I would sit there in the front row, all doe-eyed and slack-jawed, waiting for some eye contact from the star.

Incidentally, I recently read that he is starring in Death of a Salesman on Broadway.

Look at that pathos.


My sister’s dreams of becoming an actress took years to diminish, and while she was gathering masters degrees, PSH was getting all famous and shit. I’m pretty sure, though, that his years in high school rank right up there as the best in his life. I love his work- I think he’s phenomenally talented, and I do believe his rendition of Truman Capote is my favorite of his roles.

Anyway, that’s my fascinating famous-person tidbit for you. Although, now that I think about it, I have another good one.

When I was about 13 I went to NYC with my family on a vacation. We saw Paul Shaffer sitting next to us at a restaurant. Big whoop, BUT- the very next time I went to NY- 1 year later- I saw Paul-fucking-Shaffer again. What are the odds? And why couldn’t it have been someone more interesting?

Celebrity stories from you all now, please. Entertain me. Dazzle me.



  1. Kathleen
    04/19/2012 / 2:31 am

    About 25 years ago I met Charlie Sheen. And by "met" I mean he was drunk in a bar and kept bumping into me so I shoved him so hard he almost fell down (his friends caught him). Then he apologized and gave me his autograph.

    Met Paul Shaffer at a charity event; he was very nice – even after my friend asked him "And who are you, exactly?".

    Other celebrity conversations (that did not include physical violence) include: Bob Woodruff, Pat Cooper, Tommy Hilfiger(twice). Lots of "sighings", since I live in NY.

  2. 04/19/2012 / 3:23 am

    Sounds like PSH owes all his success to you, if I'm reading this right.

    Okay, here's my celebrity story (prepare to not be dazzled): As a teen/college student in the early 80s I worked in an upscale toy store in my touristy home town. Every summer the town/area would be inundated with famous people due to all the summer theaters in the area. It was always no big deal — you'd see someone famous every day. Well, one day I was at the cashier of the toy store doing my job and rang up a purchase, and being the business-like and shy salesperson that I was, I barely made eye contact and said nothing more than "visa or mastercard". As soon as the customer left, the other employees were all crazy… why didn't I say anything? How could I be so aloof? I was confused… what were they talking about? They all were dreamy eyed and crazy smiling telling me I just served Frank Langella, star of the 1979 movie Dracula. Not being a fan of that kind of movie, I had no idea who he was. They all thought I was so cool for being so cool around a famous person. I am cool that way — when I'm clueless.

  3. 04/19/2012 / 3:54 am

    I have my kids do a theater class but I could never – WAY too shy!

    I went to high-school with Amy Jo Johnson who was on the show Felicity but her biggest claim to fame was being the Pink Power Ranger. Also went to middle school with Shane McMahon of the WWE – awesome – he gave me a wedgie in wood shop – gross.

  4. Lisa
    04/19/2012 / 6:19 am

    My BF's second cousin is Bryan Cranston. We stayed at his beach house once. He also officiated one of my bf's weddings. Oh, I went to elementary school with Nicole Eggert (Baywatch). My kids did theater with Jim Rome's kid.

  5. 04/19/2012 / 6:31 am

    I bow down to your celebrity shoulder rubbing. Bitsy has her share of stories – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Anthony Hall, and others. Unfortunately, I don't have any stories of that sort.

  6. 04/19/2012 / 6:44 am

    I don't have any famous run-ins to share. Although I did go to college with a girl that appears to be up and coming in the famous female comedians department: Fortune Feimster. And by go to college I don't just mean we went to the same college, we actually hung out a little because we shared the theater department as an interest.

  7. 04/19/2012 / 7:10 am

    Okay, the shoving of Charlie Sheen story made me laugh out loud at work. LOVE IT.

    When I was in AmeriCorps down in Atlanta, I shook Al Gore's hand and talked to him for a bit. He came to speak at one of the schools we worked in. His hands were kinda soft and cushy (girlie paws), but he was also kind of handsome. (Rawr.)

  8. 04/19/2012 / 7:14 am

    This is totally lame – err – I meant late! HAPPY SITS DAY! I'm catching up on old emails and blog posts – forgive me…we just moved from Japan back to the US!
    I love your humor! I would say that I have a famous person story but I sort of kinda do and don't. I went to church with Mary Lou Retton's Grandma and got signed stuff from her g-ma at church b/c I was a cute kid and naturally good at sucking up to old people!
    I used to work at a very exclusive resort as the Engineering Coordinator and was one of very few people to know when we have someone famous coming. My department had to prepare for their arrivals. John Travolta and his fam would come and stay with us before their son died. I never met them b/c they only came out at night – no joke – and requested that their windows all be blacked out in the cottages they stayed in. BUT They were still there – where I was! Even though I was in some random nameless building on the other side of the property from them… we'll forget that last sentence!

  9. Leila
    04/19/2012 / 7:18 am

    I have had lots of run-ins with famous people… due to my jetsetting fashion stylist life… sharing an elevator with Aaron Neville.. sitting next to Greg LeMonde on a plane… bumping into Raquel Welch at the Delano in Miami.. seeing Gianni Versace walking down the street… shaken hands with Jimmy Carter on a plane… (he shook everyone's hand!)… fitting Evonne Goolagong for a fashion show at the Tennis Hall of Fame… I could go on and on… really. But one that stands out.. I had my hand up Stephanie Powers skirt while trying to hem it at the Ritz Carlton. True… all true…

  10. 04/19/2012 / 8:50 am

    uh, let's see…Paula Zahn went to my high school (but I mean, way before me). Her name was on the swimming bulletin board for years, because she held some record. I occassionally see Mr. David Matthews around our neighborhood and my kids have played with his younger kid, but I don't really care about the music of Mr. David Matthews, so, uh, huh, it's not quite that exciting. (I hope he never finds this and confronts me at the sandbox in the park when our kids are playing together.) (Haaa.) (Wait, seriously, does he read your website?)

  11. 04/19/2012 / 9:05 am

    That is absolutely hilarious. You should make a point of shoving every celebrity you see- you know, just as your "thing".

  12. 04/19/2012 / 9:08 am

    I'm clueless, too most of the time. I never notice the celebs if we see someone in Chicago, and my husb recognized everyone.

  13. 04/19/2012 / 9:09 am

    Fen's in theater class, too- she loves it. Oh, speaking of famous- did you know Shep Fairey at RISD at all?

  14. 04/19/2012 / 9:13 am

    I bet the beach house was pretty awesome. Had to Google Jim Rome, because I'm not a sports person, but my husb will like that.

  15. 04/19/2012 / 9:15 am

    Woah- Bitsy has collected some good ones. I think you may have to plan a special vacation to just go search for famous people. Wouldn't be a waste of vacation at all.

  16. 04/19/2012 / 9:16 am

    I'll go look her up- that's kind of cool to know an up-and-comer.

  17. 04/19/2012 / 9:17 am

    Charlie is definitely a good story. It makes me giggle. Now I will tease you mercilessly for your love of Al Gore.

  18. 04/19/2012 / 9:20 am

    Yay! SITS day love still? Love it. I can't imagine being a giant celeb and wanting to have the windows blacked out and sneaking around at night. That would be extremely depressing. (Oh, and welcome home from Japan.)

  19. 04/19/2012 / 9:21 am

    Why, you ARE glamorous. I think that goes above and beyond a celebrity sighting; it's classic.

  20. 04/19/2012 / 9:23 am

    I forgot to mention what great friends I am with him. Now I shall alert him and he'll most likely keep his kids the hell away from you.

  21. 04/19/2012 / 12:01 pm

    I snorted out loud (SOL) when I read this line:

    "I starred with him in numerous plays all throughout high school, and by ‘I’, I mean ‘my sister."

    You are a funny, funny lady.

    I make it a point not to brag on and on about my many celebrity friendships, but I'll put a moratorium on that silly rule for now.

    Let's see… when I was a child I met Minnie Pearl in Nashville at a restaurant AND got thisclose to Ben Vereen at the Pittsburgh airport. Who are those celebs, you ask? Why, they're known for tap dancing and Hee Haw and whatnot.

    Once I dated this guy from Santa Barbara and we went to this mountaintop restaurant after a day of hiking. We were canoodling in the parking lot and stopped long enough to watch this glamorous couple rush past us with their heads down, obviously trying not to make eye contact with us. A minute later our friends ran out of the restaurant in a tizzy because they just had a twenty minute conversation at the bar with Geena Davis and her then-husband Renny Harlin. I broke up with my boyfriend five months later mainly because he interfered with my brush with fame. Me and Geena totally would have become besties if he hadn't distracted me so completely.

    A few years ago I was on vacation and Yao Ming was staying at our hotel. All of the people in our party were staring at him from a respectful distance as he loped up to the hotel desk, but I walked right up next to him and stood as close as I could just to see how it felt standing next to someone who is almost 8 feet tall. It feels just how you would expect it to.

    For years my parents had a portrait of themselves posing with MC Hammer displayed in their home, mingled in with other family pictures. Okay, it was a snapshot. They also met Robin Williams recently, but they're just show-offs.

    My brother had a roommate who was a contestant on the show Blind Date. He had to compete against a guy who tried to woo the girl by saying things like "I got the brains AND the bronze." My brother's roommate won the girl.

    I guess that's it. There was a period of time when I had more than one dream about me, Jennifer Aniston, and Brad Pitt being best friends when they were together, but I don't think that counts.

    Thanks for this post. It reminded me that I should probably go and give all my celebrity friends a call to catch up.

  22. 04/19/2012 / 12:05 pm

    This is so cool! PSH is an amazing actor… what an awesome celeb to have a personal history with. I don't have anyone famous in my life but I have a few near brushes with a fame….like not to frighten Reading and Chickens out of the sandbox… but I have a friend who is indeed pals with David Matthews, but I have never met the fellow. However, I know that if you are pals with him then you call him DAVID and not never ever, Dave. Also- my husband designed the YELLOW power rangers garage… again never met her, but he said that she was very nice and didn't seem power ranger-y at all. And finally, I was in the bakery buying doughnuts at the same time that Drew Lachey (Nicks brother) was there and then later saw Nick Clooney (George's dad) at the movies. He was buying tickets to see The American starring George!

  23. 04/19/2012 / 12:32 pm

    PSH is among the greatest we have today. I too was a theatre fag even have a BS in theatre which amounts to a BS in theatre. My latest and greatest is of course Sir Paul Mc Cartney at the It's a Small World ride. I can't make this shit up.

  24. 04/19/2012 / 2:10 pm

    I went on a date with Gregory Porter once. I wanted him to take me home with him but he didn't. I found out later he had a girlfriend. Oops…

    Oh, and I made him a cheesecake once. Twice. Yeah, twice. The first time was as a nomination present for the grammies. The second time I wanted to get into one of his shows and I couldn't pay for it, so I told him I'd make him a cheesecake if he got me in.

  25. 04/19/2012 / 4:16 pm

    SOL is the best! And I totally know Minnie Pearl and Ben Vereen- (should I admit this?) Your celebrity stories are just plain wonderful, I really hope you got a photo of you next to Yao Ming.

  26. 04/19/2012 / 4:22 pm

    These are good, because they are subtle and one person removed. That's good stuff, and it's weird that two of you are all David Matthews-y.

  27. 04/19/2012 / 4:27 pm

    I just love the Sir Paul McCartney sighting- It just doesn't get better than that. Plus I think it may be time for you to get your ass into another play! Do it.

  28. 04/19/2012 / 4:29 pm

    Girlfriends are such date-ruiners. Um, and I'm beginning to think you may have to start selling these cheesecakes. Plus I need one.

  29. Brett
    04/22/2012 / 6:32 am

    My claim to fame is having done some theater with you (and by you, I mean your sister). How the hell did I not know about the PSH thing? Wacky.

    Umm, once had lunch next to Mia Farrow and Ann B. Davis at different times. Met Amanda Bynes (on a movie set since a friend was directing the movie.) Saw Stephen Stills at a traffic light in LA. Chatted with Alan Thicke for a few minutes….

  30. 04/22/2012 / 3:53 pm

    My sister dated Woody Harrelson about 20 years ago. In fact, she was the last person he dated before he ended up with his assistant. They met at a screening. Her sorority sister's much older brother was a big time producer so when he had private screening seats to fill, he invited her and told her to bring some cute girls.

    I forget which movie they say, but Wesley Snipes was also at the screening. She met him too (he hit on her friend from Italy) and my sister had no idea who he was even though he had just made two big blockbusters. She didn't go to movies much in college; not in the budget.

    My husband had a golf store in West Los Angeles at the time and played a lot of golf at Bel Air Country Club and Riviera Country Club (he is a scratch handicapper). He has lots of stories to tell. Bob Hope … a true gentleman. He used to repair his clubs. He also met Jack Nickelson who didn't play golf but was brought to his shop by Jack Valenti, a big time producer, who admired my husband's golf skills.

    There were tons of actors in his shop. I happened to be there when Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto) was there. (He's not a good golfer) and I made small talk with him while he was waiting for his club repair all the while pretending that I didn't recognize him.

    This is who I can remember that my husband played with:

    Adam Baldwin … nice guy and decent golfer
    Jack Wagner … arrogant

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