Gilda Radner - Being a young teenager in 1984 and in LA for the first time, I was awestruck walking down the sidewalk of Rodeo Drive looking at my surroundings. Looking around, but not looking where I was going apparantly, because I walked right into this woman, and I apologized...looking up, it was Gilda Radner, wearing a summer suit, big hat and those round sunglasses of hers. "Watch where you're goin', kid", and she was gone, and all I could stammer to my family was, "I can't believe this..."
Perry Como - Perry, as a barber, in Canonsburg, Pa. worked in my second cousin, Steve's, barbershop. I remember, as a child, his singing as he cut my hair. His ambition at that time was to become the town's best barber.
Donald O'Connor - For my 12th birthday I got two tickets to a revival production of "Showboat", starring Donald O'Connor as Captain Andy. I was thrilled beyond measure, having seen the movie "Singin' in the Rain" more times than I can count and being a performer myself. My mother noticed that the stage door opened out to the street when we approached the theatre ...[and] she insisted on hanging out by the door after the show. It wasn't too long until Mr. O'Connor came out. We were in a small group of adoring fans and we all applauded when he appeared, but I was the youngest. My mother told him that she remembered loving him from the "Francis the Talking Mule" days, and I enthusiastically piped up to tell him that I thought his performance as Cosmo was one of the greatest gifts to film and that "Singin' in the Rain" was my absolute favorite movie. He began smiling from ear to ear and said, "Young lady, you have just made my day. And from one so young...I'd like to shake your hand. That's just wonderful." As we shook hands, I answered, "You've made my birthday!" He got into a limo and I tried to avoid washing that hand for as long as possible.
Wilt Chamberlain - I was working at Marshall Field's in downtown Chicago in the early '70s. As I was leaving work I exited the elevator and there was Wilt heading for the same exit I was heading for. He was alone. I eased in beside him and said, "Hi, Wilt." He offered his hand and said hello. As we exited the store I lit a cigarette, as was my custom then. He asked to bum one from me which, of course, I gladly did and I lit it for him and we stood near the corner of State and Randolph and talked about basketball for several minutes. I was amazed that he was giving me as much time as he did. Finally, a car pulled up, driven by a beautiful girl, and he said thanks and bye and he left. I still have the cigarette pack. Amazing encounter with a very nice guy. - J.C.D.
Charlton Heston - In the middle '70s I was at Old Tucson where they were filming the movie, "The Last Hard Man" (don't know if it was ever released). I was strolling on the back lot when I heard a horse trotting behind me. I turned around and, lo and behold, it was Charlton Heston - sitting high upon his horse dressed in his cowboy gear. He rode right past me and smiled. It was just him and me. - PT
Floyd Patterson - When I was in high school in the 1970's I was the biggest nerd around. No boy ever asked me for a date, I had no friends and when I invited people to my birthday party "they forgot". But around 1973 we had the pleasure of having Floyd Patterson speak at our school. I was a huge boxing fan back then and it was shortly after he had lost to Muhammad Ali. Well, during the reception line ultra-shy me made a condolence comment and wished him better luck on his next fight. After his talk I was the only one to ask him a question. Everybody else was too shy to make eye contact with him let alone speak to him. For five seconds the next day I was the most popular kid in school because everybody wanted to know what I had said to him.
Thank you Floyd Patterson for a great memory. - PK
Michael Landon - I was a young policeman working Hollywood Division. It was not unusual to see stars on occasion. One day I saw a Jeep run a red light. I pulled him over and it was Michael Landon. He was so nice I let him go with a warning. I met him again years later when I was working Detectives. Again he was a total gentleman.
Anthony Quinn - In 1974 I was in a used book store in NYC when I noticed that Anthony Quinn was also browsing quite near me. I approached him and told him I was a fan and how much I admired his work. He was quite polite and thanked me. I asked him for his autograph but found that I had nothing with me that he could sign. He reached down into the $1 discount barrel and pulled out a paperback with the cover torn off. He signed on that first page. I still have that $1 autograph and a great story to go with it.
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