Jay Leno - Back in the late '80s I was in the Minneapolis airport and saw Jay Leno standing next to me by an airport phone kiosk where I was on the phone with my secretary. I said, "Hey Jay! Either I can yell, 'Hey everybody, here's Jay Leno!' or you can talk to my secretary on the phone. How do you want to handle this?" Mr. Leno said, "Give me that phone!" and he talked for about a minute with my secretary and then gave me his autograph for her on a napkin I supplied. He was very gracious and personable. To me, he deserves all the fame and fortune he gets. - Ted P.
Ken Curtis - Ken Curtis (Festus on "Gunsmoke") was special guest at the Lucas County Fair in Toledo, Ohio around 1967. After his show (in full Festus garb) a bunch of us kids snuck back to the trailers to catch a peek at Mr. Curtis. We saw him outside his trailer and went up to him and started talking. He was very friendly and kind and was so glad to talk to all of us. He was as nice as his character was on Gunsmoke. - RL
Anna Nicole Smith - I remember working at Disneyland one summer when Anna Nicole Smith came to my attention. Miss Smith and her entourage came in through the back passageway. I greeted her with a hello and she said hi with a great big smile and a how are you. She was heavy at that point in her life and had a hard time sliding through the narrow entranceway onto the ride . I didn't know who she was at first, but I thougth what a beautiful person. Later my manager told me who she was. I vividly remember her son Daniel because he was so cute. It's sad that they are both gone now. - A.W.
Red Skelton - While my father was serving in the Army in World War II he and a batch of buddies were sitting on a curb in LA spending time during a weekend pass. Red Skelton, who was already a big radio and movie star at that time, came walking by and they all recognized him. He sat down with them, chatted, and gave them all an autograph. My father carried that autograph in his wallet until he died in 1967. We always watched Red's TV show and any appearance he made on other shows. Time passed and I found myself working as a DJ in Evansville, Indiana in the '80s and was hired to entertain a Shriners group. Red Skelton was booked at a nearby showroom, the owner of which was a Shriner. He brought Red to the meeting where I was to perform. I showed Red the autograph that I now carried and told him the story. I'm not sure if he was acting, but he appeared to be wiping a big tear from his eye. What a great guy - a real pro! - Bill Love
Tommy Sands - I was in Fairmount, Indiana on Sept. 25, 1993 for the annual James Dean run and saw Tommy Sands there. We talked for some time. He said I was lucky to be from Indiana. He was a nice man. - Terry
Charlton Heston - When I was in the Navy I always traveled in uniform. Once in Orlando airport I was having a beer waiting for a plane when a large good looking man came in and sat at the bar. He asked me what the Navy was doing and I told him I was going to Chicago on leave. He replied that he had gone to school at Northwestern in Evanston (a nearby suburb) and that's when I realized he was Charlton Heston! (A Northwestern drama school grad.) He even bought me a beer. So Charlton Heston and I are old drinking buddies!
Robert De Niro, Spike Lee - One afternoon in Brooklyn, NY, my sisters and I were to meet at a restaurant on Flatbush Avenue. We went inside and ordered our food and my sister says to me, "Turn around and look who is sitting down." It was Robert De Niro and Spike Lee. My sister put on more lipstick. Later, she said they were leaving and that I should get Robert De Niro's attention. So as he was standing up, I tugged on his coat. He looked down at me and I said, "My sister wants to tell you something." He very graciously listened and shook all our hands. Very nice man. As for Spike Lee, not so nice. - osiristre
Jim Henson - In December of 1989 as I was Christmas shopping in Manhattan I passed by the CBS building. Walking past me in the street in the other direction, with the snow cascading from the sky, was a lanky, full-bearded fellow with some familiarity. I doubled back and had the courage to politely tap him on the shoulder. He turned around and it was the "Muppet Master" himself, Jim Henson! He was a such a gentleman (I swear he sounded like Kermit) and was willing to give me an autograph. But neither of us had a pen! But he was so enamored of my gushing, he shook my hand and said that if he saw me in the future, he would give me his signature. Wouldn't you know that the great legend would pass away prematurely a mere six months later. Now I never walk without a pen or a spare Post-It... - KBS
Charles Grodin - Sometime in the 1980s I was on line for a weiner at Nathan's in Yonkers and so was Charles Grodin. For a change, I didn't bug a celebrity because he was with a kid. I'm usually awful. They have lots of pinball and video games there - PP
Sophia Loren - I was in an elevator on my way up to a dinner party at the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto, in the '70s, when the door opened and in walked Sophia Loren. I had heard that she was in town promoting her new line of eyewear. I quickly, and politely, greeted her with, "Good evening, Mrs. Ponti." Just as quickly, and just as politely, she acknowledged with a nod and that famous smile. She exited before I arrived at my floor and, as she left, she spun a half-turn on the heel of her stiletto, looked at me, and said, "Good night." I nodded in acknowledgement and the doors shut. It was then that my knees went weak and I gushed, "That was Sophia Loren, and she talked to me....to ME!!!" Several people applauded my performance, which brought a roar of laughter from others. I will never forget it! - Gary F.
Submit Your Own Story
To submit your own story of a personal encounter with a famous person included on the Dead or Alive? site, click this link.