Humphrey Bogart - When my mother was a teen, she got a 12-foot sailboat for her birthday. As she and a friend of hers struggled to get out of the harborage, they crashed into boat after boat, and most of the owners were not very pleasant about giving them a push off. Finally, she bumped into a large, beautiful yacht, and heard a very kind voice asking if they were hurt or OK. She kept her head down and mumbled something apologetic while the nice voice gave her a friendly push off. When she turned to her friend to ask her why she wasn't helping, her awestruck friend said, "But Barbara, that was HUMPHREY BOGART!" The next day, Mr. Bogart saw my mother trying again, this time alone, to get out of the harbor. As she came near his boat, he called over to her, "Need some help? Let me come aboard!" He did, and taught my mother how to handle her little boat. She continued to be friends with him and Lauren Bacall for several more years, and another funny story she used to tell is about the day she split her jeans helping him step a new mast on his boat. He was always gracious and kind to her, and indeed to almost everyone around, as far as she could tell.
Rip Taylor - I bumped into Rip Taylor as he was walking out of a KarmelKorn in a mall in South Bend, Indiana. Kind of a surreal experience. This was about 20+ years ago, when he was hosting the $1.98 Beauty Show. - CB
Danny Thomas - We lived in the Yucaipa Valley [California] area and our home backed up to some foothills where I loved to ride my horse. This would be in the mid-sixties. I took a longer than usual ride on this day and I ended up coming down in the Cherry Valley area. I had been told that Danny Thomas' ranch was somewhere in the area, though I was not even thinking about it. I came to a fence line and was about to turn my horse around when I came face to face with Danny Thomas himself. I was speechless at first, then managed a shy "Hello". We talked for a few moments, then when it came time to say good-bye, I was again at a loss for the proper words to say. I fumbled around with "Mr. Thomas" and "Sir", and at just the right moment to spare me further embarrassment, he said, "Just call me Danny. I may be Mr. Thomas or Danny Thomas to the world, but to God and people I consider my friends, I am just Danny. Take care young lady and God bless." Needless to say, I don't really remember my long ride back home, but I do remember the way the soul of that man touched me. I will never forget. - Jo
John F. Kennedy - When I was thirteen years old, my mother and I went to see John F. Kennedy when he was campaigning for the presidency. After his campaign speech, Mr. Kennedy and his entourage walked within two or three feet of my mother and me. My mother was a strikingly beautiful woman, and as he passed her, Mr. Kennedy "looked her up and down." After he passed, my mother asked, "Was he looking at me?", and I answered with a resounding "Yes!"
Ara Parseghian - [When] growing up in South Bend, being a Notre Dame fan is a given. I discovered Notre Dame football in the late '60s, when Ara Parseghian was the coach. During my senior year in high school, I worked as a janitor in a bank building in South Bend where Coach had opened an insurance business after he retired as Notre Dame's coach. One evening, as I was riding on the elevator, it stopped on his floor. Who else should enter the elevator. I was struck dumb. I could only stare in awe at the bigger-than-life hero in the same elevator car as me. We rode down until I had to get off and do my job. I never said a word to him. Fortunately, I was able to share an elevator ride with him a couple more times, and I was able to at least introduce myself as a fan. He was very kind to me, a teenaged kid, and always had a kind word for me. He truly impressed me. - J.A.S.
Jan Stenerud - Around 10 years ago, I was at work in downtown Kansas City. I was dashing out, late as usual, to a meeting, when I ran into the elevator. I saw there was another person in the elevator, but didn't look up to see who it was at first. Then, I looked, and saw Jan Stenerud, the kicker of the Kansas City Chiefs when they won Super Bowl IV! I couldn't believe it and couldn't think of anything intelligent to say (we only had nine floors to go), but I finally stammered out that I had watched him play football from the time I was a little kid. He turned all flushed and stammered out a thank you. About that time, the elevator doors opened, and we went our separate ways. I didn't ask him for an autograph, because I didn't think he would want to give one to a blathering idiot. He was VERY gracious (and I think maybe a little pleased that I didn't bring up the Christmas Eve Miami game). What a great guy - class all the way! - ADR
Mickey Rooney - I met Mickey Rooney when I was in the Mrs. America pageant in Las Vegas. He is a living example of how movie stars should treat their "public". He was friendly, charming, and I was very favorably impressed. He pinched our elbows and flattered us. When someone asked him how short he was, he said, "Well, after my last divorce, about $30,000."
Tony Franciosa - I am an art restorer. One day in '03 I got a call from a Rita Franciosa to look at a painting. I drove to her house and she introduced me to her husband, Tony. We looked at some paintings and I took one home to work on. On the drive home I am saying to myself, "Tony Franciosa, Tony Franciosa... where do I know that name?" And then it hit me... TONY FRANCIOSA! He had looked familiar but it just didn't register. When I returned the painting weeks later, Rita wasn't home so I dealt with Tony. I got up my nerve and asked him, "Are you THE Tony Franciosa?" And he laughed and said "yes". I told him my neighbor was in love with him. He laughed again. A VERY nice couple. I was so sorry to hear of his passing. - Janice (Los Angeles)
Morey Amsterdam - I was in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands on Dronnegans Gade when I was stopped on the street by "Buddy" asking me about the best place to buy Waterford crystal. I told him the store to go to and he replied he was there but the wine goblets they showed him had air bubbles in the stem and he refused to buy defective crystal. When I told him that the 'air bubbles' were a sign that the crystal was blow by mouth by an artisan he looked at me like I was nuts and said he would never pay that much money for something he thought was defective. He was the classic Buddy and I was left to wonder if this was the true Morey Amsterdam. May he rest in peace. - Montague
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