Chi Chi Rodriguez - I was at a golf tournament that Chi Chi played in, and my dad and I had clubhouse passes. As I was coming out of the clubhouse, Chi Chi walked right past me on his way in. I almost bumped into him. The weirdest thing was, since there were a lot of people and he was so close to me, I didn't even see that it was him! My dad told me afterwards that it was Chi Chi.
Sally Struthers - My husband and I were in line to go on a ride at Disney World in Orlando, Florida a few years back when Sally Struthers and her entourage walked up and got in front of the seemingly endless line and onto the ride. Must be nice to be famous!
Bo Diddley - When I was 19 years old, in the early 1980's, Bo Diddley was performing at a club in Ottawa, Canada. As I walked past the bar before the performance, I saw him sitting down having a coffee and I said hello. -
He offered his hand, which was was three times the size of mine, and related me that the airline had lost his guitar (his trademark box-shaped guitar). When I expressed my disappointment, he smiled and said, "but that's okay, I can play anything." -
The next day I read in the newspaper that the club's owner had lent him a guitar that he had bought for his own son's 13th birthday present. So this kid, the son of a bar owner, received for this 13th birthday a guitar that had been played by Bo Diddley.
Tony Danza - It was my 50th birthday, and my crazy cousin from NY wanted me to celebrate with her. She ordered tickets to "A View of the Bridge" starring Tony Danza. Well, we went and enjoyed the play very much. But that was not enough for my pushy, but cute, NY cousin. She insisted that we try to meet him and that is exactly what we did. As he exited the back door of the theatre, there were about 15 fans who greeted him, me being one. He was so gracious, chatted with me about his child and told me that his child called the playbill the DADDY BOOK. Well, now I am a fan for life. Thank goodness he is among the living. What a guy!
Birgit Nilsson - In 1970, I was a young singer in Atlanta, Ga., studying to sing in the opera. Miss Nilsson came to Atlanta to sing. I sat in a pitch black auditorium all day waiting for her to arrive to prepare for her recital, which she did at around 4 p.m. As she sang, I inched my way forward until I was sitting on the front row. When she finished, she walked to the edge of the stage and looked at me. "You're very intent on me, aren't you?" she asked. "Oh, yes," I stammered, totally awed by the great soprano. -
She asked if I was a singer and I told her I was studying to be a singer. She asked me if I would like to sing for her, which I did. She took her time just before a recital to critique my performance line by line and said to me, "You have a beautiful voice; you must keep singing." For years after that, any time I was panned by a critic, I just thought to myself, "So what; Birgit Nilsson said I can sing." It was incredibly validating and a magnificently generous thing to do for a young singer. I miss you already, Miss Nilsson. Your time was not wasted. I did become an opera singer and in honor of your kindness, I always tried to encourage other young singers.
George Burns - I crossed paths with God one afternoon while waiting for my flight departure at LAX, back in 1984, but He was hurrying to catch a flight of his own and didn't have time to sign an autograph for me. -
Yes, I actually passed by George Burns in one of the main corridors at LAX. He was clutching the trademark cigar, and I received a friendly "hiya" when I greeted him. But when I requested an autograph, his assistant apologetically told me that they were late for a flight and really didn't have the time. I didn't care, the memory of the encounter was the important thing for me.
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