Patch Game: Celebrity Sightings
What famous people have you encountered?
Celebrity sightings come with the territory in places like New York City and Los Angeles—two locales that I have actually logged some hours in. Yet, curiously, both celebrity encounters I have actually had occurred here in the D.C. metropolitan area.
The first one was in the mid-80’s, on a hot summer night in Georgetown, walking down M Street with my two sisters and several girlfriends. It was late, and we had been throwing them back all night, when up pulled a long stretch limo to the curb beside us. Out stepped Mr. T (this was during his A-Team days and he was a pretty big deal then) with an entourage of ladies, all of whom were licking Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream cones.
Upon his egress from the limo, Mr. T. immediately started chatting us up in a very gregarious fashion. We felt like we had known him for years, although I couldn’t begin to tell you what we even talked about. The only other detail I recall from that night, besides the ice cream cones, was my unrelenting, irresistible desire to reach out and stroke the collection of gold chains (his signature trademark) draped around his neck. At the moment of my intrusive contact, he slapped my hand away and bellowed repeatedly, in his deep baritone, “Stop disrespectin’ me!”
He then turned on his heels and huffed down M Street, with his posse of lactose-tolerant ladies still in tow, while my group and I broke out into peals of inebriated laughter. To this day, when one of us feels affronted, we’ll jest in our best Mr. T voice, “Stop disrespectin’ me!”
My second sighting occurred more recently when National Treasure 2 was being filmed at Mount Vernon in 2007 (and it did not involve copious amounts of alcohol so I was much better behaved.) Several evening shoots took place along Riverside Park off of the GW Parkway. One shoot coincided with an evening my mom and younger sister (and my nieces and nephew) were visiting. Since it was novel and since the kids were bouncing off the walls and driving us crazy, we thought it would be fun to take them and check out the shoot.
We opted to walk over, along the GW Trail, even though it was already pretty dark. As we were approaching the set, an older man in a fishing hat passed us in the opposite direction. As he did, I recognized his face and excitedly exclaimed to everyone in my group, “Oh my God, that was Jon Voight!”
He heard me, stopped in his tracks, then turned around and came back to talk to us for a good ten minutes. Our conversation ranged from the movie he was currently shooting, to his grandkids (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s kids—who, pathetically, I am able to recite all of their names and adopted countries of origin and can also tell you that they have a predilection for Cheetos.)
He also was very complimentary to my sister and me and kept telling us how beautiful and special our own children were. Bottom line: he was a lovely man. And we couldn’t imagine why Angelina had estranged herself from him. Team Jon, for sure! (Especially after her crazy Leg-Gate incident at the Academy Awards.)
I’ve had some other sightings too, but technically, I don’t count them because they weren’t unexpected. For instance, I attended Heidelberg American High School in Germany with 20/20 news anchor, Elizabeth Vargas. I also was at a taping of a Conan O’Brien Show in NYC when Zsa Zsa Gabor was a guest. And recently I met Wolf Blitzer and John King (even caught a glimpse of his famous “magic board” that he breaks out for elections) while on a tour of CNN. But that meet-up was courtesy of a friend of mine who is a producer for CNN’s political unit so I don’t count that one either. It’s the random, unanticipated high-profile run-ins that generate the best stories and that I love hearing about.
So, what celebrities/famous people have you crossed paths with? Patch wants to know about your encounters in the comments section below.