Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Famous People I Thought I Saw on the Street, But It Wasn’t Them at All

1. Michael Keaton, entering a 25 cent public restroom as I was leaving: My dog and I were leaving a 25 cent public restroom outside of Madison Square Park, and the guy waiting to come in said, “Hey! Dog!” as we were leaving. As I walked away I was like, “I think that was Michael Keaton.” Something about it was just very Mr. Mom. I thought about it for about four more days and came to the conclusion that it probably wasn’t him.

2. Richard Gere, walking a large black Poodle: I don’t think it was him, as he was wearing a Bluetooth.

3. Timothy Hutton, walking down the street with a bag of groceries: Guy with sideburns.

4. Guy Fieri, outside of the Empire State Building: Some tourist outside the Empire State Building.

5. Yoko Ono, leaving a bodega on 2nd Avenue: Small lady with sunglasses and CRAZY amazing hat! 

6. That guy who played The Commish on that show The Commish: I don’t really think I saw this guy at all, as I thought I saw him three times in one day. They have posters with his face on it all over the subway stations now to promote some new show he’s on, and I think I was just confused.

7. Andrew Shue, waiting for the train at 28th Street: I think this was really him, I swear.

8. Rashida Jones, walking up Park Avenue with a Forever 21 bag: Cute girl with sunglasses.

9. Bruce Willis, outside of one of those Chinese Trading Company stores near 6th Avenue: Older Indian gentleman (this sounds really ridiculous, I know, but the sun was in my eyes and he just had this weird, sexy smirk or something. It was like a spitting image for those two seconds I thought it was him). **Side note: I’m also pretty sure I saw him pushing a stroller in Columbus Circle. I think it was really him, I swear.

10. Lisa Bonet, on Madison Avenue: This one was actually her! I just kept thinking, “OMG, Mickey Rourke has touched your boobs (Angelheart!)!!!”


Krissy Howard is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is small and has black hair and has a dog that also has black hair.

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I once saw John Michael Higgins (Best In Show, Arrested Development, A Mighty Wind) at a record store in England. I didn't know his name but I recognized his face, and went up to him and said, "Are you that guy from the Christopher Guest movies?!?!?!" To which he responded, "I am He."

I was so excited that I wasn't mortified for not knowing his name. Which I always have to look up every time I tell people this story.


@pharmakeus That guy is hilarious, it's a point of pride to me that we are from the same town. The Break-Up was an okay movie, but oh god, the dinner party scene, oh my god. That guy.


@pharmakeus Ahhhhhhhhhh JMH. He was also on Seinfeld at least one time!

Fiddle dee dee

@pharmakeus It makes me happy that he was nice!


I never think I see famous people that actually aren't. I always see people I think are my friends, but then they're actually famous people. This is tricky because you have to catch yourself before you do something stupid like act like you know them.


@punkahontas - Or you could just start being friends with famous people, and then you wouldn't be wrong.


@punkahontas I always worry I am going to run into someone I know and don't want to talk to.

Beatrix Kiddo

@punkahontas This happens to me a lot! I've almost walked up to several celebrities to say, "hey, weren't you in my [whatever] class?" and realized before I got close enough to say anything that it was someone famous.


@Beatrix Kiddo Exactly! You recognize them so you think you know them! Then you're like, "Oh wait, I don't actually know Julianne Moore/Uma Thurman/Dylan McDermott/etc."

Actually, when I saw Dylan McDermott I didn't think I knew him. He just "somehow managed" to catch my attention on the street.


@punkahontas I once spent a long time trying to figure out how I knew a guy at a bar only to eventually realize that I didn't know him, he just looked exactly like the actor who plays Mark Brandanawicz on Parks and Rec.


@punkahontas I feel this way about Peter Sagal's voice. I'm not like a Wait Wait Don't Tell Me groupie or anything, but for some reason it's become so familiar to me that he just now sounds like someone I actually know.

Beatrix Kiddo

@xx-xx-xx I have actually seen in person the guy who played Mark Brandanawicz on Parks and Rec! He walked into Anthropologie, looked around, seemed to realize there were no men's clothes, and walked out. I actually see Parks and Rec actors a lot.

New Hoarder

@Beatrix Kiddo Praytell where is this haven?

Beatrix Kiddo

@New Hoarder Sadly, it's not some small town where all celebrities secretly live-- it's New York.

Creature Cheeseman

@Beatrix Kiddo I've seen Zac Efron do the exact same thing, in Anthropologie. He looked around then asked a salesperson if they sold men's clothes, then he left.

double paw?

i like this. it makes me think of the ringo starr/topol scene in notting hill. "it's not really a classic anecdote, is it?"


Famous Person I Actually Saw And Nearly Peed My Pants Afterward: Stephen Fry walking down Madison Avenue



@martinipie I used to work in a building with Mirimax offices, and one day I got on the elevator as Jason Bateman was getting off, and literally had to cling to my friend to keep from shrieking before the doors closed.


seeing as we're now in the midst of TIFF, it's the perfect time to almost-see celebrities!

I hope to sight some individuals who are lookalikes for Johnny Depp and Rachel McAdams. At LEAST.


@redheaded&crazie I have not seen anyone, but I have also not gone anywhere near downtown.


@Megano! I was walking around ryerson this morning! I'm pretty sure I saw emma watson, or it might have been a ryerson student wearing big sunglasses and a cute dress, but much more likely emma watson.


@redheaded&crazie I have spent so much time wandering around the Thompson Hotel on my lunch hour in the desperate hope of seeing James Franco. FRANCOOOO


@redheaded&crazie I saw ACTUAL Emma Watson once! ...but only because I sprinted across campus to where I knew she was. My friend had gotten a text that EW was taking a tour of our school (this is when she was originally looking at US colleges) and we literally ran out our door and over to the quad she was touring, and then we had to stand awkwardly and pretend we were waiting for a "friend" to come out of a random doorway while we actually stared at her and some tour guide telling her about a statue.

Then later that weekend I saw Daniel Radcliffe (in Equus, I only ever see celebrities on purpose because I am terrible at recognizing people) and decided that if I managed to cross paths with Rupert Grint in the next few days I could probably just go ahead and die because that was as good as it was going to get.



4. Mira Sorvino smiled at me while she was walking her dog.

3. Julia Stiles glared at me in the student center.

2. Drew Barrymore glared at me in Urban Outfitters.

1. Paul McCartney held the door open for me at the Met.

(Fun fact: I once submitted this list to McSweeney's Internet Tendency for their "Lists" feature. Surprisingly, it was rejected.)


@Kristen yo, I have applied for internships at McSweeney's like 3 times and been rejected each time, so rejection just seems to be the modus operandi there. BUT OMG your Paul encounter is fantastic!


@martinipie Thanks!!

What is craziest about this is that back in college, before I even knew what funny was, I wrote two lists and sent them in basically as a joke. I didn't hear back for what felt like years, and then all of a sudden I got a letter in the mail saying, "We want to put these lists in our Book of Lists and we will pay you $25." Even at the time, I was baffled because - and I am in no way being modest here - those lists were NOT. FUNNY. I've asked other people for their honest opinion on this and they all agree that they are the least funny things they've ever seen. I almost have to attribute it to some kind of behind-the-scenes shenanigans...like, the editors like, lost the original batch of lists and had to dig into the rejection pile, or someone was so PISSED about having to compile the book of lists that they purposely did a shoddy job of it.

I have since submitted many other, funnier things to McSweeneys, and they have all been rejected.


@Kristen I am not surprised Julia Stiles was glaring! I had a real life encounter with her at a bar in the West Village, and she was very unpleasant there, too. It was my roommate's 21st birthday and she had arranged for a private room...Julia showed up and insisted the management kick everyone out so she could use it. Kind of made the party though - united and pumped up in anger at Julia Stiles.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Lola Julia Stiles held a door for me once, but it wasn't the kind of door-holding that seemed like she was going out of her way to do it. She also didn't smile at all.


@Kristen YOU WIN! Paul!!!!

rien à dire

@Kristen I have seen Julia Stiles twice and she always seems to be glaring. (What gives, Julia?) Girl especially gave MAJOR stankface when someone shouted at her, "Hey, it's Reese Witherspoon!"


@Kristen Hahaha! Julia Stiles is just a glarer, it seems! I think she is my biggest celebrity encounter? The story is that we were at Pitchfork and she was *around*, which people had begun to notice, and then she was sitting on a blanket a little behind my friends and I. Some teenage brats a little behind Julia Stiles had small water guns and were shooting them in our direction so one of my friends did finger-guns in their direction back, which Julia Stiles saw and clearly assumed were directed at her and she looked So Over It.


@Kristen I used to run into Julia Stiles all the time at a sadly-now-defunct tea shop up near Columbia when she was a student there, and every time I saw her, she glared at me. This was kind of at the height of her movie popularity, so I feel like a lot of people were staring at her back then and she was probably tired of it, but still. Sometimes I'm not staring, sometimes I am just casually observing the universe in which you happen to exist and be famous and you're just sitting there in my way, JULIA.


@dee What year was that? So disappointing to know Julia glares, but then again, none of her characters were exactly smiley-faces.


One time I was camping and a bunch of bugs bit me in the face and then my face puffed up and people were like "You look like Julia Stiles!" There. That's my celebrity encounter.


One time I saw Ben Stiller at LAX...I didn't know he was THAT short!


@lilibyname He's tiny! He used to work out at my gym. My friend was his personal trainer. My other friend was fricking Matt Damon's personal trainer, but I never managed a Matt Damon sighting.


@punkahontas "My other friend was fricking Matt Damon's personal trainer" was your other friend, by chance, Sarah Silverman?


@area@twitter Hahaha. No, but I wish I would have said "fucking" to play that up more.


@punkahontas Matt Damon sat in front of me at a performance of The Motherfucker with the Hat!


@lilibyname I gave Paul Newman a program at the theater once. He was also tiny.


@punkahontas Do you go to Globo-Gym?

Blackwatch Plaid

I met Bill Murray when I was 8. He was filming some shitty movie near my house so went over to get an autograph, but I didn't have anything for him to write on and he wouldn't wait for me to find something. He's Bill Murray, though, so I forgive him.


@glittercock I mended a pair of his pajama pants and a pair of his shorts - he used to come into the alterations shop I worked at. It was pretty sweet, and we all had to play it cool and then get excited and giggly after he left.


Not really famous but kinda famous I guess? I used to serve Gavin Newsom drinks all the time. This was around the time when he was having some affair with a staffer's wife so I was like, attempting to flirt with him just to see if I could get some kind of reaction. He always just had a plastic smile and crunchy hair.

At the same place I saw Bonnie Raitt and Eva Longoria and they were even in the same party, getting snacks before some Bill Clinton Rally thing. Eva Longoria refused to make eye contact and ordered everything through her harried personal assistant. Bonnie Raitt drank coffee and rolled her eyes. Both were built like tiny beautiful birds.


@insouciantlover This is slightly off topic, but Bonnie Rait was on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me this weekend and she was delightful.


@yrouttasight She's amazing. My mom may have disowned me when she found that I did not get an autograph for her.

The party was at the restaurant for a frantic 40 minutes and when they poured back out, she was the only one who acknowledged my "have a nice evening" and she deadpanned, "thanks, that was really relaxing" and I just wanted to be her bestest friend.


@yrouttasight wasn't she though?!?! So perfectly poised and relentlessly positive!


Just this weekend I could have sworn I saw Crosby from Crosby Stills & Nash. Turns out it was just an older dude with a Crosby-style mustache. Famous people I have seen- Jake Gyllenhaal & Ian McKellan!


@ghechr Some hotties!


Dear Brain,
Please stop confusing Mickey Rourke with Mickey Rooney. Sincerely,

Blackwatch Plaid

@Ophelia I can't say that I would want either one touching my boobs.



Maybe not now... but I would chase 1980s Mickey Rourke down the street, howling like a dog. Mickey Rooney, at any point in his personal timeline, not so much.


@Ophelia People I Regularly Mix Up:

Mickey Rourke and Mickey Rooney

Taylor Kitsch and Taylor Lautner

Rand Paul and Paul Ryan

Gore Verbinski and Gore Vidal


@area@twitter Rand Paul and Paul Ryan! They are so similar anyway!


@glittercock I thought that...and then Mickey Rourke was training at my gym right before The Wrestler came out. He would wear gold shoes, gold sunglasses and had that awful blond hair but there was still something about him that made me quiver.

And one time, Jeff Goldblum came up to me thinking I was one of his friends....so the reverse of this post?


@area@twitter I have a friend who has difficulty remembering who's Neil Young and who's Neil Diamond.


These are real: Janeane Garofalo walking her dogs in the west village. Tom and Colin Hanks in the east 70s. Paul Giamatti with his kids ALL THE TIME. Michael Showalter at Starbucks occasionally. Robin Williams walking behind me and my dog yesterday. He is so short!

Imaginary: dude who looked just like Jack McBrayer (Kenneth! from 30 Rock). I was so excited! And then I saw him again a couple of days later and was all, "Hey, that guy looks just like Kenneth...oh."


@KatPruska I think Paul Giamatti lives in or near Brooklyn Heights, he's always getting spotted. I saw him like four times in one day once when I was running errands on Montague St. I felt like he was stalking me, but hopefully he wasn't thinking the same thing.


@punkahontas He does. And he is everywhere, always!


@KatPruska: I have also seen Janeane Garofalo walking her dogs in the West Village.


@KatPruska I forgot Ana Gasteyer! My favorite, because she said my dog was pretty (and she is!).

Legs Battaglia

@KatPruska Janeane Garafolo does *not* like it if you say "hi!" to her like you know her when you see here on the street.


@KatPruska Hmmm... does this mean the guy I saw at a bar in the West Village and thought was Kevin from 30 Rock was not, in fact, Kevin from 30 Rock? Because I'm going to choose not to believe that, if that's the case.


@hulia BELIEVE!!

(My NotKenneth experience was in Brooklyn)


A friend and I were at a bar in East Nashville for Halloween, and we saw a girl dressed up as a slutty lion, and I thought, "That chick kind of looks like Ke$ha, huh," and moved on, because Ke$ha is banned from that bar. We later found out it was actually her based on her Twitter feed.

That's not really a story. The end.


@mlle.gateau Wait, but it has a story behind it! Why was Ke$ha banned from that bar in the first place?!?!?


@martinipie Okay, so it's not a dive but not a fancy place either- like, as a grad student, I can afford to drink there. Anyway, I guess 2 years ago now? after she was already famous and stuff, Ke$ha was there, and they caught her in the bathroom with a bottle of Beam she'd snuck in and banned her for life. I kind of respected her more after that, because homegirl keeps it real.


I saw two of the members of Barenaked Ladies in a park by my house once while I was walking home AND while their song was playing on my iPod! Surreal. I've since discovered that one of them lives near me, so it's all old hat now.

I also seem to be a magnet for Degrassi characters. They're always popping up all over the place.


@quimby OOH WHO FROM DEGRASSI?! I was so obsessed with TNG in high school, and I think I would have died to meet/spot the cast out and about.


@Elleohelle The guy who played Toby (I think that was his name, JD's friend with glasses?) works for the same company as me! I have yet to see him, though

Blackwatch Plaid

@Ophelia I can't say that I would want either one touching my boobs.

Blackwatch Plaid

@Ophelia I can't say that I would want either one touching my boobs.


This comment posted twice, once with respect to each boob!

Blackwatch Plaid

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll Totally intentional!


Sarah Vowell in a beauty supply store in the Lower East Side. She walked in as I was leaving, and I almost did a double-take but kept going. Then as the door closed she spoke and it sounded just like her but I kept going.

Stars and Garters

I bumped into Sean Connery at the Philips Collection in DC. Like bumped right into him.

Stars and Garters

@Stars and Garters And I got to drive Tom Brady and his then girlfriend whose name I currently forget to a party where he got is 3rd superbowl ring. So that was fun.


@Stars and Garters Wait, what? How'd you drive Tom Brady to a party?

Stars and Garters

@area@twitter My boss at the time owned a Maybach and Tom wanted to arrive in something no one else would. I drove. He was super nice and we took pictures and he slipped me $100. I had a fun, they were super drunk and that's the end of the story.


@Stars and Garters That sounds like a blast. :D I obviously need to cultivate more acquaintances with Maybachs.

Reginal T. Squirge

I once thought I saw Kyle Gass in my parents' living room. Turned out it was just my father.

fondue with cheddar

@Reginal T. Squirge Once I thought I saw David Byrne in my living room, only it was my dad.


@Reginal T. Squirge I think we need a "My Dad looks like "X Famous Person"... Mine is Dick Van Patten. I may have just outed myself as an old.

fondue with cheddar

@saywhatnow? That's okay, I'm an old, too. I totally watched him on "Eight Is Enough".

Fiddle dee dee


Mr. Rogers. My dad has been asked by a small child if he is Mr. Rogers.

fondue with cheddar

@Fiddle dee dee Aww, that's adorable. :)

My dad looks like Mr. Rogers, too. That's what all the neighborhood kids called him when I was little. He was also kind of dorky, which certainly didn't hurt.


@saywhatnow? Mine looked so much like Jack Nicklaus when I was wee that every time I saw Nicklaus on TV I would yell, "DADDY!"

Roaring Girl

Whenever I have an opportunity to talk to someone famous (or even famous-ish), I get all hyped up and nervous, half-shout/squeak whatever I was going to say, and then I run away. I am so sorry, Jared Leto.


At the gym a few months ago I was in the circuit training room in rotation behind some doughy, watery-eyed guy who looked familiar. It was Al Franken. That was pretty cool. He was wearing a Minnesota t-shirt, one of those shirts with airbrush-y photorealistic nature scenes. I still can't really distinguish between him and Garrison Keillor, though.


@Probs I saw Al Franken (before his political career) stick his head in the room I was working in while getting a tour of the college (Wash U) with his daughter, who was considering attending.
Other encounters: Clark Johnson in a bodega in midtown Manhattan. I said I loved Homicide, then later he talked to me about the pet food recall (the big one circa 2007) and I didn't know much about it and kind of babbled (this was a reasonable topic of conversation for him to bring up because I was buying cat food-of a non questionable brand- and we were both in line to check out)
When I worked in NYC in theater Bette Midler held the door for me at my work. I was so shocked at how small she was that I'm pretty sure I stared and didn't properly thank her. Also Martha Plimpton and Jennifer Elhe, in passing- Martha took lots of smoke breaks and Jennifer was super patient and polite. I also once dyed some fabric Oprah's skin tone but did not meet Oprah.
Since then I've worked in regional theater, so I regularly see actors I've worked with in guest roles all over the place. It's nice to see them do well.


@Probs Garrison Keillor is the one who breathes like Darth Vader.


Do all famous people stand around, looking like they're fully expecting to be recognized at every moment or am I just projecting that on them?

fondue with cheddar

@laurel They probably stand around fearing that they will be recognized at every moment.


Viggo Mortensen came into a restaurant that I worked at and ate a salmon sandwich once. I didn't see him though. Everyone I worked with said it was a pretty "meh" experience, but he was nice.

Lush Life

@permanentbitchface I've always thought that it would be a pleasure to serve at my bar any one of a number of famous-type people. Oh, what a story I'd have to tell about my chat with so-and-so, and aren't they lovely tippers,etc..

And then there are a rare few in front of whom I would helplessly melt down into a blubbering, fangirl pile-of-goo. Oh, Viggo. Salmon huh??


I once saw Joe Biden in that awful mall in Georgetown wearing a leather bomber jacket and sunglasses and wandering around aimlessly with the secret service in toe.

I also swear I saw Jamie Lee Curtis on the High Line but that easily also could have been Jamie-Lee-curtis looking woman.


@districter Seriously, how does that mall not have ANYTHING in it?

sudden but inevitable betrayal

One time I saw Aretha Franklin at a rest stop on the Ohio (I think?) Turnpike. Her big black limo - license plate, ARETHA - was also parked outside.

Actually, my parents saw her, and in my memory (I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time), she was the lady in front of us in line at the Roy Rogers. No idea if that's true, or just the closest lady to me when my parents gasped, "Look! LOOK! Aretha Franklin!"

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@sudden but inevitable betrayal Also I saw Bruce Springsteen at a horse show a few times when his daughter was competing. He dresses really shabby to not draw attention, and all the rich, very well dressed people would gossip about the homeless guy who wandered in until they realized who he was. Every time!

dj pomegranate

I saw Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a cafe in the West Village about 30 seconds after telling my friend that I never see famous people. He was drinking wine and reading and looked exactly like you think he should look.

barefoot cuntessa

?@dj pomegranate The V Bar? He goes there all the time. And thank you for patronizing my friend's bar, if it was in fact the V Bar.


Ray Allen bought something from me in the bookstore I sometimes work at. Authors I've met include Brian Jacques, Julia Alvarez, Elizabeth Berg, Adriana Trigiani, Mary Roach and a bunch of other I probably forget. I don't think I've ever seen an actor or actress. I used to live super close to Obama's house in Chicago but never saw him, one of my friends saw him twice around the neighborhood though.

Roaring Girl

@Ellie Is it weird that I fail to think of politicians as famous people? I live in Iowa, so at a certain point you basically have to pry them off the hood of your car to get anywhere.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Roaring Girl I lived in DC for a while, so politicians were basically everywhere, but I'm sure I missed recognizing a bunch because I don't really know what most of them look like. The only one I did spot was Newt Gingrich, because that guy is ridiculously recognizable.

dj pomegranate

@Beatrix Kiddo I once saw Dennis Kucinich at a Chinese place on the Hill. He had remarkably lustrous hair.


I was in the waiting room of St Francis Sports Medicine Clinic early one morning when an older lady walked through the room. She looked familiar so I looked at her, trying to place her, thinking she was a former coworker. She gave me a total glare of "Do not even think about speaking to me" and I realized it was Lily Tomlin. Very random. I found out later she was in town doing a show.


I also thought I saw Yoko Ono once- tiny lady dressed in black with a cool hat and dark sunglasses near the Dakota!

El Grande Fluffio

@sodette I did see Yoko Ono once! In London, walking down Brompton Road towards Harrod's. She was a very tiny lady with a cool hat and dark sunglasses that she was peering over, with about 4 large (or maybe they were normal-sized) people flanking her. My thought was "gosh, Yoko Ono is even shorter than my mother."
Also saw Giorgio Armani in Milan airport in the 1990s, (got his autograph, found it again last year and thought, what the hell am I doing with this?); Mother Teresa on my flight from NYC to Rome (got a Virgin Mary medal from her that she was passing out in the baggage claim of Rome Fiumicino (sadly lost in a move) and Betsey Johnson in a restaurant in NYC (she gave me nothing but a desire to bleach my hair and cut Raggedy Ann style bangs and wear pigtails).


@El Grande Fluffio Cool!


Best growing up in DC story: A car once ran through our church picnic. Story is one of the driver's kids accidentally hit the emergency brake; it was parked on the hill above us and started to roll. Our verger sprinted after it like an action hero, threw himself in and pulled the handbrake before it went through the baseball game. Ten minutes later I look over and there's this familiar looking white haired guy chatting with folks around the grill.
"Mom? Who is that?"
"Ted Kennedy."
"...Was that his car?"
"Yes, it was."

New Hoarder

@area@twitter My DC celebrity sighting dream is to meet all of the old local news anchors: Gordan Peterson, Maureen Bunyan, Jaycee Hayward, Bob Ryan... *sigh*

New Hoarder

@New Hoarder *well, veteran, as most of them are still on the air!


@New Hoarder YES! I would be so delighted to meet them ALL. Particularly Gordon Peterson and Maureen Bunyan- I grew up watching them on Channel 9. JC Hayward and her wonderful smile! And Doug Hill with the weather!

New Hoarder

@area@twitter I would hug them and softly whisper, "Thank you. Thank you."


@area@twitter I once saw Alan Greenspan having dinner at Cafe Milano. It was my birthday, and we all agreed it was a Very DC Experience. And I saw Janet Reno in the airport once.

New Hoarder

@Ophelia A guy on my morning train is a C-span anchor and I just *knew* he was a TV news guy (I guessed MSNBC) and then one evening I saw him on C-span. See him all the time, nod hi, don't know his name.

Are you sure it wasn't Will Ferrell in a dress you saw? ;-)

RK Fire

@area@twitter: I used to work in DC, and one day my org was doing an event on the Hill and when I tried leaving, Sen. John McCain pushed past me to get on the elevator! He didn't even say "sorry" or anything!

One of our constituents, not seeing any of this, tried to shake his hand. That is my DC story.


@area@twitter must. not. make. Chappaquiddick. joke.



@stonefruit I thought the same thing! ugggh.


@RK Fire Bad McCain! Bad!

@stonefruit @meetapossum I KNOW. At that time I hadn't heard of Chappaquiddick; when I eventually did the whole experience became even more bizarre.

@Ophelia Janet Reno! She's the best, even if I do mostly picture her leading Janet Reno's Dance Party (damn you, Will Ferrell). My friends and I met Olympia Snowe in the Portland Jetport once while flying back from college. She was reserved but pleasant.

New Hoarder

Oooh! Just in NYC this June I saw Heidi Klum shooting a hair care commercial (YAWN) and met FREAKING COACH CARR from Mean Girls (he lives in my friend's building). THAT is the pinnacle of my celebrity signtings/ meetings/ touchings. Plus a bunch of people in this year's Pride Parade!

And I had my pic taken with Jake Gyllenhaal when he was campaigning for Kerry in '04 and came to my college! Arms around me and everything! I wore a teal tank top and it made his beautiful, beautiful blue eyes pop!

Also I squealed like a little girl when I passed news anchor Sam Donaldson on the sidewalk outside of my work a few years ago. Probably because I've been watching him since kindergarten.


@New Hoarder JAKE. I think if I ever saw him in real life my reactions would be as such:



@New Hoarder Ooooh, I saw Jake while having a work holiday lunch outing at ABC Carpet Restaurant. He is just as dreamy in person as I thought he would be. Luckily, no real chance to make a fool of myself and talk to him but I sure felt fancy eating at the table next to him!


@New Hoarder Sam Donaldson would be great! I saw Dan Rather by the White House in 2009 with a little girl (probably a granddaughter) and I was SO EXCITED. I didn't talk to him, because it all happened so fast, but I heard his voice and it was HIM!


I don't think I've ever had this experience (I barely get to see celebrities when I arrange for it to happen, much less accidentally, MUCH much less in the middle of Central California where nobody famous lives ever besides MC Hammer), but when I was doing elder care, one of my clients told me about the time her daughter ran into Patrick Stewart on the street and she asked if she could touch his head.


@frigwiggin Although on the subject of MC Hammer, he has an extremely yellow house and lives across the street from the lady my best friend's family bought their poodle from. We watched him and his son unload groceries from their matching yellow Hummer (Hammer Hummer!) one time.


@frigwiggin seriously I never even run into pseudo-celebrities like ... TV newscasters or municipal politicans or "webbloggers"


barefoot cuntessa

@frigwiggin Tracey? I'll wave to you next time I drive up to visit my parents in Stockton. Holler! (Drops head in shame)


Important. Did he let her touch his head?


@rh&c It's okay, we can be desolate together. *weep, sob*

@JaneDoe I wish I knew! Unfortunately, that part of the story has left my little brain. I should call Francine and ask her, I'm sure she'd understand...

@barefoot cuntessa You can do more than that, you can wave to me when you're actually IN Stockton! (I grew up in Tracy, moved two hours away for college, and then moved to Stockton after I graduated. And hopefully will be moving somewhere else in the next couple of years because, while there are some lovely things about the Valley, I am SO TIRED OF IT HERE.)


I got stuck in an elevator with Michael Keaton, his kid, and some other random dude who thought he knew Keaton from high school. It was five minutes of pure embarrassment for everyone, and right then and there I resolved never to talk to a famous person unless they were actually on the job being famous. That poor kid was 9 or 10 and just miserable.

There used to be (is? can't find it) a theater in Hollywood that had these giant escalators going from street level up to the theater. I went there to see Last of the Mohicans. I happened to be on crutches with a cast on my leg. There was a small premiere happening at the same theater for this movie nobody had heard of (yet) by a director nobody had heard of (yet), so random celebs were going up the escalator too. I discovered Drew Barrymore was right behind me when I lost my balance and whacked her with my crutch. She was very polite and accepted my apology. There were so many other just-about-to-blow-up famous people there that night. I had no clue. The movie was Resevoir Dogs, and Tarantino bummed a smoke off me. Without the chin I never would have recognized him later when I saw him on the news. :)

I've spoken to many famous people on the phone too - I worked my way through college dispatching tow trucks for AAA in Los Angeles, and usually worked nights and handled a chunk of LA from Hollywood west out to Santa Monica and up to Malibu. Famous people drive really fussy cars and often don't maintain them. And they also lock their keys in and need jump starts like everybody else. Most of them were very polite, I had a CRAZY half hour conversation with a very drunk Milton Berle once, and James Caan is a colossal juicebox. He actually reminded me who he was TWICE as if that could make all the traffic he was causing by breaking down in the middle of the street evaporate so the tow truck could get there faster. DICK.

New Hoarder

@sony_b Milton Berle!!!

let's pretend we're bunny rabbits

AHH. This reminded me that I saw a comedian/character actor at Downtown Crossing in Boston recently, except I can't remember his name and it's driving me nuts. I've just spent the last 20 minutes googling variations on "bald comedians."

New Hoarder

Also sometimes when I squint really hard I see famous people everywhere and they're shiny.


Clinton Kelly from What Not To Wear came into my coffee shop on a morning when I showered, didn't blow dry my hair, and went to work looking like a wet dog. For a split second I thought I was going to be on the show but it turned out he just wanted a cafe au lait and a blueberry scone. He was very friendly!




@elenachicago I technically had dinner with him at Red Farm a few weeks ago, because we were both at the communal table...

New Hoarder

@Beatrix Kiddo Praytell where is this haven?


One very early morning, when I was studying abroad in London, I had the lovely experience of seeing the teeniest, tiniest, most adorable Elijah Wood in person.

I had rolled out of bed to take the Tube to Heathrow to pick up a friend from home who was coming to visit me. I'm standing there in the big receiving area that always makes me think of Love Actually, swaying with sleep inertia whilst sipping coffee to cure it, and I look up and there he is. Elijah Wood. (This was also in 2004 and Lord of the Rings was still so hot right now.) He's stopped with his little luggage cart – well, to be fair, it was normal-sized, and I really shouldn't continue emphasizing his stature, but he was just. so. cuuuuuute – about 10 feet in front of me, and we lock eyes. For reals. Just as my face enflames with a mammoth blush, because THOSE EYES, a voice tears the air from behind me:


Elijah slowly shuts his eyes, and quietly mumbles "shit."

I am then literally shoved aside be a raging herd of LOTR clamoring to touch their Hobbit Hero, and I lose sight of him. He begins to push his cart towards the door, still surrounded by the cloud of fans, and then as quickly as he appeared in my life, he is gone.



@tessamae Poor guy! He does always come across as super adorable.

In a weird reversal of your story, I was visiting NYC from London, and had been lamenting the fact that I was yet to see a famous person despite having visited the US a bunch of times. Pop out for lunch and as I walk down the street, I see a bunch of people appear out of nowhere and start running down the street with cameras.

Thinking they were taking pictures of a building, I looked around wondering what famous historical building I must be walking by when I hear 'Orlando! Orlando!' and realise its actually a horde of papparazi and Orlando Bloom is walking down the street carrying what at that point, was his few months old baby son.

Before I could approach him and mumble something about two Brits in New York etc etc, he jumped into a taxi.

Only other celeb sighting was Liam Neeson from Taken which was very cool. Oh and I once spoke to Mr Bean on the phone and booked a taxi for him. So hard to remain professional on that call


@khaleesi Liam Neeson! I would diiiiie.


@tessamae Elijah is darling! I thought I was short but holy shit! I work in TV and we were doing an off-site interview with him. Super laid back and all around very nice.


I've never met anyone famous, but the craziest celebrity related thing that ever happened to me was when my friend and I were at a second hand bookstore, and he picked this old copy of A Wrinkle in Time off of the shelf, opened it, and in the pages was an old original home photo of Michael Keaton. It was INSANE. He's from Pittsburgh and so are we, so it wasn't as crazy as it could be, but still! He now has the photo in a picture frame on his mantle.


In law school I dated a guy whose dad was a rabbi at a nearby synagogue. I was brought home for a showing to the parents, and they took me to see the synagogue. Rabbi-dad was giving me a tour, and then saw some congregants - a middle-aged man with a shock of white hair and his elderly mother - and went over to greet them.

The conversation between me and my boyfriend went like this:

me: do those people go to your dad's shul?
boyfriend: yep.
me: aw, that's sweet - HEY. Wait a minute. Oh my G-d that's CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
boyfriend: yep.
me: Oh my G-d that's CNN's Wolf Blitzer's mother.
boyfriend: yep.


@stonefruit "CNN's Wolf Blitzer"


I am totally celebrity-blind. I think it's because I always have to be somewhere, and I just focus on where I'm going and not the people around me. My life is full of my friends going, "Hey, that was [celebrity]!" and I turn too late and say, "It was??"

Case in point:
I live in Astoria, and a lot of filming goes on there, though not usually on weekend afternoons. It was my birthday, and my friend and I were walking to a pool party, and I saw the trucks and a bunch of crew people standing on the sidewalk. We were walking toward them, but none of them bothered to move, so I said to my friend, "Ugh, let's just cross the street." He turns around afterward and says, "Hey, you almost ran into Liam Hemsworth." I HAD NO CLUE. I thought they were all just some random crew people. Womp womp.


I bought Timothy Hutton a beer once a couple years ago. It was a Guinness.


I once saw Billy Connelly walking down the street in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was in Charlotte Square and no one else was around. I was walking along with my family toward him and must have been staring very openly because he looked back like "What the hell are you staring at?" I tried to get up the courage to say hello but couldn't think what to say ("I loved you in Head of the Class when I was 12!"?) and then we passed by each other. My husband swore it was just some guy trying to look like him (he's been a big star in the UK since the 70's I think, and I guess he's pretty well known world wide now?). But then we saw that he was doing a show that night in town so I was right after all!

The other person I saw once in Edinburgh was Lulu. She was famous in the 60's and still well known in the UK and the only reason I knew who she was was because I saw an awful interview with her once that made me think she was a terrible human being. I have had an irrational intense dislike for her ever since. When I saw her in Boots for Men (now closed) on Princes Street a few years back I was seriously considering going up to her just to tell her I couldn't stand her! Managed to control the impulse though. (just!).

The only other person I can think of was Mo Mowlam. She was a famous member of Tony Blair's cabinet. I literally ran right into her in a WHSmith (magazine/stationery shop). Turned out she was there and about to do a book signing. Again I had nothing witty or intelligent to say. I seriously suck at spur of the moment meetings with famous people!


I think a saw Tom + Ray/Click + Clack the other day near Kendall Square. I didn't get to look too closely because I was mid-run, and also what would I say?


I've lived in Los Angeles for 11 years now and have had plenty of celeb sightings but essentially I am really bad at it. I will be out with friends and they will be all "oh, did you just see so-and-so?" and s/he completely passed me by without me knowing it or recognizing him/her.
My last good one was at a local deli; I was waiting for a smoothie and chatting on the phone with my BFF, wandering around the store. I started to circle the communal table they have in the middle of the store as I chatted. There was only one guy sitting there with a magazine & a sandwich and I was sort of spacing out/staring at him without realizing it because I was too busy chatting. On my 3rd circle, I suddenly figured out why I was staring at this random man: it was Alexander Skarsgard.
I probably looked like some kind of stalker, circling him like a vulture.


@romastrega AND HOW HOT WAS HE? (Note: Only superlatives will be accepted in response.)

Also, assuming it's the one I think it is, that deli is a goldmine for sighting/inadvertently stalking/unintentionally colliding with celebrities.


@hulia Viking God. Seriously.


I was playing bar trivia last night and Christopher Lloyd sat down at the table next to me.PHOTO EVIDENCE.


@allofthewine Where (if I may ask)?? I love bar trivia, esp. with the Pagemaster.

barefoot cuntessa

@allofthewine He is a horrible tipper.


@pennylaner in Santa Fe, NM at El Farol. He's apparently a regular there and definitely would have known it was trivia night. People freaked a little bit, but tried not to.

@barefoot cuntessa He also looks just like Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit now, so...


I have never seen a famous person but my grandpa has a funny story about it:

He was sitting in the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in a bad mood over something, and snapped "I hate this place so much I'd like to meet the man who blew it up and shake his hand!" Someone he was sitting with said "Well, he's sitting right over there..." It turns out Menachem Begin was sitting a couple tables over (though I don't think my grandfather did end up going over to him).


I just remembered another one! Once when I was little we were visiting my aunt by the Akron/Canton airport in Ohio. My parents thought it would be fun for us to watch some planes land on the way home. Back then they had a viewing area of the airport you could just go sit in and do this (back before worries about terrorists etc). We were happily watching planes land when all these middle aged ladies started arriving. The place started to get PACKED. All of the people arriving were middle aged females. Suddenly a plane arrived that had them all going nuts. I was little but my best memory of it is that it was a huge jet that was covered in gold sequins and said "ELTON" on the side. They had this one pull right up to the viewing area. Elton John got off, wearing some crazy outfit and his huge trademark glasses, and walked past the windows to the viewing area waving and smiling. We were the only kids there and the ladies seemed to think we were fans too so they let us up at the front. Thinking about it now I am glad we didn't get crushed against the glass or something! Elton looked pleased that kids were there for him and pointed and waved at us. We had to ask our mom who that person was, but at least we had the sense to wait until we were in the car away from his fans to do so!


CHUCK BASS. I mean, I know he is a fictional character, but I'm pretty sure he was based off the guy I saw walking down the street in Chicago.


About a year before he died, a tiny but very loud Dennis Hopper was filming in the park where I was walking my friend's dog at six-thirty in the morning. There were lots of people associated w/ the production standing around the spot where the dog prefers to poop and I was thanked for picking up his poop by a very large transvestite in a Clintonesque pantsuit who went over and joined a picnic table of other transvestites. I don't very much like Dennis Hopper, but if that was his posse, I have some respect.

Queen of Pickles

I was a barista at a cafe in the West Village when Philip Seymour Hoffman came in, looked at our tiny, airy open-plan restaurant, then immediately turned around and showed us his back for a solid minute. He was standing at the espresso counter, resting his elbows. It was very peculiar. He was the only patron, which made it extremely obvious.

I think he was shy.

He looked scruffy and anxious, and I'd heard he was directing a play nearby, so that might be why. He sat down at a table in the corner, next to the window, and put on a pair of enormous headphones. I took his order. He was polite and normal and nice.

Then a bulldozer started ripping up the sidewalk, right next to his window. The noise was incredible. His eyes bugged out as the gigantic shovel attachment tore up the pavement just two feet from where he was sitting. None of the servers could do anything, and nobody could even be heard.

And then when he tried to tip me, all of his change dropped out of his wallet.


fondue with cheddar

@Queen of Pickles I adore the hell out of this story.


Saw Cher browsing the racks at Neiman's in Vegas. She didn't have a personal shopper or anything. She was just... shopping. Like a normal.


@jules Was she in the bedazzled floor length headdress aisle?


My husband worked for a horrible Optical Chain when he was a student and he saw a few famous people who came in there. The two I can think of off the top of my head are:

Robert Mugabe: Was overseas for some talks with other governments, must have been about 1999 or so? Came in with all his "security" who were really scary. No one wanted to be the one to fit his specs as they all thought he'd order them murdered if they were wrong. Bought a couple terrible pairs of glasses that he was still wearing in public until recently (whenever we saw him on the news we'd notice they were one of the same pairs). Seems to have a couple new pairs now.

Neil Connery: Sean's less famous younger brother. Looks a bit like him though!


I saw Paul Dano in Brooklyn. As soon as I did a double-take, he shot me a sullen, "don't you dare" kind of look so I didn't say a word...he was wearing a blue velvet-ish suit?!

My lone celebrity sighting in a year+ of living in NYC.


@pennylaner Too Young to be a Dad!


When I was fifteen or so, I once saw Bill Irwin walking down the street in New York City (I knew who he was because of Northern Exposure). My husband has had more success--he's seen Sitara Hewitt (Rayaan of Little Mosque on the Prairie) jogging in our local park with a dog, and yesterday he called me to say he'd seen Rachel McAdams on his lunch break. I asked him if he'd asked for her autograph, and he said he'd been concerned about coming off as creepy so he hadn't.


I'm often mistaken for one of the Dixie Chicks.


I was at some Irish bar in Atlantic City on a bachelorette weekend when Ryan Kwanten walked in. In an uncharacteristic moment of brazenness I walked up to him, told him I enjoyed his work on True Blood, and asked if I could buy him a drink. He accepted, and hung out with my friends and me for a good 20 minutes. Such a nice guy!


I live in London and once saw Mickey Rourke looking at the jewellery cabinet in Argos. I was convinced that David Lynch lived down my road until I realised it was just a hot old man. After the World Cup in which Zinedine Zidane headbutted someone, I saw him everywhere for a week.

Blackwatch Plaid

Once I almost met Mr. T at the mall. The entire day, I kept saying, 'I'll go a little later, I'll go a little later...' And when I got there, they told me he just left. And when I asked the mall guy if he'll ever come back again, he said he didn't know. Well, I'm never going to let something like that happen again!

etc etc

EDWARD JAMES OLMOS. At an art exhibit opening in southern Oregon. Although I might have been on my third glass of wine in an hour and in the midst of a BSG marathon. Not exactly trustworthy.

fondue with cheddar

I've only randomly seen a famous person once, and it was Danny Bonaduce. Oh well.


@jen325 I once had a co-worker who claimed to have slept with Micky Dolenz.

fondue with cheddar

@Xanthophyllippa WAS HE GOOD IN BED?

Diaphanous Gown

I was very disappointed with New York, I only saw Mika there and that was because I queued up for 3 hours to get a CD signed (it was for my dad, who liked 'Grace Kelly' and wasn't able to come on the holiday with us). No famous people! Bad New York!

I did see Kevin Spacey walking down Portobello Road and got all excited, but my brother - who lives in London - grabbed my arm and said in a stern voice "this is LONDON. famous people are everywhere" and steered me away.


Real: Ethan Hawke, Anna Wintour, Will Ferrell, Madonna, John Slattery (Sterling on Mad Men), Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Sam Shephard (this doesn't quite count, he's friends with a friend of mine and we were in that friends' restaurant), Wallace Shawn, Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Westveldt (no Jon Hamm, sadly), Yoko Ono (I was considering a vintage bag in a store and she told me to buy it, so I did), Fran Leibowitz, Louis C.K. and his kids, and a whole mess of models of varying levels of fame. Life in the West Village, you guys.

The only notable thing is is that Will Ferrell was a DICK about being recognized. I didn't do anything, just glanced at him (dude is incredibly tall, in a way that most people would take notice of) and realized who it was. I said NOTHING, did not change course, but he literally pulled his knit cap down to his eyebrows and shielded his face with his hand. I am not the kind of idiot who is likely to run up to Will Ferrell and yell "MORE COWBELL" but I was kind of tempted to just because he was so rude about it.


I am the master at spotting minor celebrities whose names I don't know. On my last trip to DC, I noticed "the guy from The Black Donnellys" checking out the Warhol exhibit at the National Gallery with his gorgeous girlfriend and two older people. After a few minutes of frantic googling to try to figure out who he was so I could explain it to my friends, I (a) got yelled at by a guard to put my phone away and (b) discovered that his father is actually some kind of art history professor, and thus decided that the old man with him was his dad (He kept talking about the art in a seemingly knowledgeable way). Also, his name is Jonathan Tucker.

The second one on that trip was when I saw "the angry boss from Workaholics" at a tapas restaurant. No one I was with had even heard of the show, so my announcement was met with doubt and apathy. But it was her. And google says her name is Maribeth Monroe.


For someone who has spent most of her life in Indiana, I've met a lot of celebrities. A great deal were because they were speaking at my college (Ralph Nader -- kind of a jerk, Frank from Postsecret, probably someone more famous I'm forgetting), or because I knew they'd be somewhere and purposely saw them (George H.W. Bush at the Indy 500.) I just narrowly missed helping Kelly Clarkson at my store. I also missed seeing Cee-Lo Green during the Super Bowl. When I went to Obama's inauguration, I saw Tom Hanks, Alicia Keys, Oprah's hair (not the rest of her... people were SO EXCITED by Oprah, almost more than Barack), Forrest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson, Jay-Z, and a bunch of other people. I've also met the Obamas and Bidens and Bill Clinton and a ton of other politicians, but that's mostly from trying to. I've probably seen many other celebrities, but I didn't realize it was them until it was too late.

I also met the drummer from The Script, Glen Power, two years ago when he was shopping for earrings. I helped him find a set of clear and black ones. He was a good-looking Irish dude, and when he said he was here with his band, I figured it was some unknown group, but to make conversation, I asked which one. Turns out I knew several of the band's songs, and he was really excited about that. (This was right when they were starting to get a few songs on the radio. I wasn't a huge fan, but I'd enjoyed their songs.) He invited me to the show the next day and said he'd put my name on the VIP list. And he actually did! At the show, he wore the earring we chose together (which I also own now) and remembered me when he saw me afterwards! He was incredibly nice and invited my friends and me to go drinking with the band afterwards at a Scottish bar nearby. So we did, and it was a nice, low-key evening. There were some groupie girls along too, and they sat next to the band, while we sat at the next table and turned around sometimes to joke around or chat.

Finally, my friend who played basketball with Obama? She also had Thanksgiving dinner with Owen Wilson a few years ago. She has the coolest life. Except that she feels she acted really stupid at that dinner by making a dumb joke about baseball that no one understood was a joke.


I lived in Vancouver in the late 80's - late 90's. I stopped at a 24 hour grocery in the West End late at night (this would be perhaps 1990?). I think I was probably coming back from being at some grungy club. In line ahead of me were a couple of guys. One of them was tall and pretty good looking I thought, with a nose ring and longish dyed black hair. He looked sort of familiar but I couldn't place him exactly as someone from the scene. He seemed to be checking me out so I ignored him. A couple of months later I was at the dentists looking at a People magazine and there was a photo of the guy checking me out: Tommy Lee ! I thought this was pretty funny as a I went to highschool with stupid Motley Crue fans who had a pathological hatred towards punk anything(ie me and my tastes). Later I heard that Motley Crue had been in Vancouver recording Dr.Feelgood. I felt completely mortified to have been momentarily attracted to this person.

Around 1995 I was walking on West Broadway close to where I lived and I saw David Duchovny walking down the street like a normal person, by himself. XFiles was filmed in Vancouver. I wasn't a fan -- but I am 98% sure that was him.

When I was 18 years old in Montreal I spotted Leonard Cohen across the street. It was a disgustingly hot day, I was completely bedraggled and frustrated after digging through a giant inventory of deadstock 1950's shoes in every size except mine. Anyhow -- he was wearing sunglasses and was walking with a woman. I couldn't bring myself to run across the street to embarrass myself with fan-love -- so I let him be.


I met Greg Louganis at a dog show maybe 7 or 8 years ago. I sat behind Marcia Clark on an airplane a couple of years after the OJ Simpson trial. Over a dozen years ago, I missed seeing William Shatner at a restaurant where my then co-workers often gathered for lunch (I was broke that day, darn it).

Lucy Honeychurch

Flavor Flav. In a British "pub" chain location in Modesto, CA. I know, it makes very little sense.


I did a three-week internship at NBC News in the 30 Rock building, and I once rode in an elevator alone with Kenan Thompson, who was a big part of my childhood back when he was on Nick. I didn't say anything but grinned like a weirdo and marveled (as discreetly as possible (not at all)) at the smoothness of skin. It was basically exactly like that scene where Kenneth Parcell rides in an elevator with Jerry Seinfeld.


Christopher Plummer in 199...5? He was still pretty hot.

Also Phil Keoghan last summer. He was filming either the end or the beginning of a season of The Amazing Race across the street from the hotel I stayed in for an overnight layover in Santa Monica.


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