Celebrity Encounters Part One

I have met two celebrities in real life. The first was when I was fifteen: Jack Kevorkian. This is a picture of him

Jack Kevorkian (Credit: Flickr/RecordRat)

Actually, this was him. Ironically, he’s dead.

In case the name doesn’t ring a bell, Jack Kevorkian is known as Dr. Death. Beginning in 1990, he worked as a “suicide counselor,” and helped over 100 people commit suicide. He was in and out of jail as Michigan debated and legislated regarding suicide assistance. He advocated for it strongly — although reports proved that many of the people he assisted were not actually terminally ill. Details!

I met Jack Kevorkian at the movies: we were at the same showing of The Birdcage starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. He had just gotten out of jail and had been on a hunger strike, so he was skinny. He was with his attorney, another Michigan celebrity, Jeffrey Fieger. I was with some friends from school, and even though we all knew who he was, nobody would go over and say hi. Except me.

He said, “Hi. I’m Jack. This is Jeff.”

I said, “I’m Erika. Congratulations on getting out of jail.”

Then he leaned over and KISSED ME ON THE CHEEK. Yes, he gave me the kiss of death. He laughed a lot during the movie. It is a pretty funny movie.

I was not nearly as cool during my second encounter, probably because it was with an actual celebrity: Andie MacDowell. I was at the fancy-schmancy mall in Charlotte with Jugs, and as I am not that into shopping I had drifted to the Food Court. I was enjoying a chocolate shake from Haagen-Daz when Nice-Nice texted me that Andie MacDowell was in Anthropologie. I was all, “Dale Beaverman from St. Elmo’s Fire? Rita from Groundhog Day? Carrie from Four Weddings and a Funeral?!?!? I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!!!”

(Flickr/manuel | MC)

I totally ignored all the other shoppers who were (appropriately) totally ignoring Andie MacDowell, and I approached her to say hi. Except unlike my encounter with Jack Kevorkian (RIP) this time I felt nervous and I ended up sounding like an idiot:

“Hi… are you…? SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” I actually made that noise and out loud and then I actually clamped my hand over my mouth. To this day I cannot explain why, although I have a few hypotheses:

  • My mind was blown that I was in the presence of someone who’d had movie sex with young, cute, James Spader. I couldn’t fathom that.
  • I was hoping that by covering my mouth I could magically reclaim the idiotic ramblings I’d already thrown at poor Andie MacDowell like I had some kind of verbal-diarrhea tic.
  • I was out of breath from rushing through the mall.

Andie MacDowell glanced at me for 1/16th of a second and continued shopping.

I continued: “I loved you in Groundhog Day!”

She nodded without looking at me and said, “Thank you very much. That’s kind.”

God, could I be more of a loser?!?!?!? Four Weddings and a Funeral, St. Elmo’s Fire, Green Card, Sex Lies & Videotape — and I went with Groundhog Day. Ugh. I love Groundhog Day, but it’s not exactly like it was award-winning work!

So those are my two face-to-face celebrity encounters. I had a few classes in college taught by writing professors who were published — and some people in the professional bridge-playing world would consider my parents celebrities — but that was really it as far as name recognition.

The next time I encounter a celebrity face-to-face, I plan to be way more cool.


10 Responses

  1. I recently met a celebrity and didn’t even realize it until my 9year old told me. I won’t drop names but she is from the UK and I recognize her from a UK tv show that is not huge in the US. My daughter made friends with her daughter and we exchanged numbers. When my daughter told me who I had just exchanged numbers with without actually looking her in the face I nearly called her back there and then to babble like an idiot.

    I have one other near meet (again my kids actually met him) and that was Peteer Mayhew (Chewbacca). He lived next door to us when we moved to the US from the UK. My kids trick or treated at his house. He didn’t come outside much.

    I am ok with writing his name as he has moved on but the other lady is still living nearby and I am sure doesn’t need me outing her.

    • I wish I’d been cool enough not to go nuts, but alas I’m just… not cool like that. I sincerely hope to get another chance to meet a celeb so I can prove myself not-a-lunatic.

  2. I think I need a definition of celebrity…….seriously? Jack K?? i wouldnt go near him with a 1000 ft pole. yuck, freaky. Good thing he liked you or you might have been next!

    And as for Andi……..well though she was in a lot of cool movies it was only because of all the other awesome actors/esses that the movie was any good. she is truly an awful actress! She has ruined many a movie for me. But i like her more now seeing how sweetly she dealt with your craziness!

  3. I never met Andie MacDowell, but I have spoken to James Spader. Thankfully I had several opportunities to do this because I could barely get out the words to ask him for an autograph the first couple of times. Eventually I got comfortable enough to converse a little bit. Occasionally he was a little intimidating, but most of the time he was very nice. Definitely some of the highlights of my life!

  4. Lucky you got to meet Dr. Kevorkian. Why did he kiss you? How’d THAT come about? Anyway, I hope you enjoy my avatar. It is a drawing of Dr. Kevorkian!

    • It’s fantastic! He kissed me because… I’m not exactly sure why, I think he was just feeling effusive because he was just recently out of jail.

      • Weird. Was it awkward? In any case, if you’re a fan of Dr. Kevorkian, come join my group Artistic Tributes to Dr. Jack Kevorkian on Facebook!

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