Social Question

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Apart from official events what is your strangest sighting of a celebrity?

Asked by TheProfoundPorcupine (2549points) September 28th, 2012

I was contemplating this question earlier after overhearing a conversation whereby two people were talking about bumping into the comedian and actor Billy Connolly in the fruit and veg section of a supermarket and it got me thinking about my own strange encounters with people who were at least famous to me.

One of the strangest was getting on a train in Edinburgh and doing my usual of sitting down at a table and looking out the window until I became aware of someone sitting down at the same table. Usually I would just have a quick glance and carry on with my window viewing, but this time it was the lead singer of a Scottish band I loved in the 80s and 90s and there was this famous guy sitting with his expensive train station coffee and me resisting going…you….you are!!!

That being said what is your strangest encounter with someone who is famous? It does not have to be someone who is known globally, but someone who would be well known in and around your area? Have you ever been beside Tom Cruise when he is getting a big mac?

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53 Answers

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t know if I would consider it strange, but I did share an elevator in a shopping mall in Las Vegas with Barry Manilow when I was a young teenager in the early 80s. I thought that was pretty cool.

Shippy's avatar

I was in a coffee shop with a good friend, and this “guy” kept on staring over at me. So I glanced back at him a few times, then we started actively flirting, with our eyes.

He was really cute, and sexy. So I nudged my friend and said “He’s hot hey?”. Then in walked another couple of guys, including Right Said Fred!! It was his brother!

Sigh another missed opportunity?

And yes, he was too sexy for his shirt!

SuperMouse's avatar

I saw Tom Selleck leaving a doctor’s office, ran into Robert Hays in Whole Foods, and saw John C. McGinley browsing at Barnes and Noble. When I was in New York I saw Jackie Mason getting a cab and Tony Bennett walking down the street.

Seek's avatar

I’m about 99% sure I gave up my parking space to Samuel L. Jackson during the Republican National Convention. Jeff Bridges was screening a new film in the building I work in, so it’s entirely possible.

Coloma's avatar

I once ran into Bruce Willis at my local general store and feed store, asking for directions while he was real estate shopping for ranch property in my area. He seemed nice. :-)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A group of friends and I were having a drink in the lobby lounge at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis. One person pointed out a guy waiting for the elevator and said, “That’s Jerry Garcia!” I got up and caught the elevator with him to another floor. There was no exchange of conversation, but it was a bit of a thrill for me. (Eat your heart out @Coloma.)

If you are looking for strange, then I could tell you some celebrity stories after being in the hotel business, but that just comes with the job.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I was watching them film American Graffiti in Petaluma, Ca. one night and saw this skinny, acne-faced girl just lose it completely, screaming at everybody, threatening to quit—a complete, very loud meltdown. She shut down the whole production until this bearded guy in his mid-thirties sat her down on the curb and consoled the little prima donna for about an hour. Gaffers and lighting guys were just standing around shaking their heads, lighting up doobies. Later, I found out the girl was McKenzie Philips (daughter of Papa John Philips of the Mamas & Papas) and the old guy (I was barely 20) was George Lucas. What a little PIA she was.

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Pffft, braggart! Well Bob Weir KISSED me once! lol
@Espiritus_Corvus what is a PIA? Sorry, I am slow this morning. haha

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Coloma I knew you could top me. You have lived a wilder life than I have. PIA=Pain In the Ass.
@Espiritus_Corvus I only needed to read the first line to know who you were talking about. Poor McKenzie. What a mucked up life.

Seek's avatar

Most of the quasi-celebrities I know are very genre-specific, so most people wouldn’t recognize the names. My husband did slam Fred Durst into the hood of a car once, though.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yeah, I couldn’t help but notice when her nwme came up over the years. Too bad.
@Coloma Pain in the Ass.

yeah, old Jerry. He had a piece of land up near where I went to high school for a while in Marin. Grace Slick got arrested for DUI in front of my house in Larkin one afternoon. Paul Kantner (Airplane) was listed in the Marin phone book under “Bar Fixtures” for years. I often used to see him hangin in a little bar in Mill Valley playing “Horse” (dice game). I turned into the soups isle in Safeway one day to find Dino Valenti (Quicksilver) screaming at his girlfriend.

Coloma's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Thanks, I am not very internet slang savvy. Poor Jerry, I was a one woman tribute the day he died, drank wine all night and played all my old dead collection til about 4a.m. lol

Sunny2's avatar

Not strange at all. I was visiting New York City and walking down a street near Broadway, when here comes Jason Robards. I grinned at him and saw the momentary “Do I know this person?” look on his face before he smiled back.

Coloma's avatar

I would do amazing things to Val Kilmer. Oooh baby, I’ll be your Huckleberry! ;-)
Infact, I would sleep with the entire cast of Tombstone. Kurt Russel, Sam Elliot and Val…oh Val. I hear he has a huge ranch in New Mexico, is single these days and works with the local wildlife rescue releasing animals on his ranch. Oooh baby, can I live with you? Can my geese and cats come too? lol

Seek's avatar

You take Tombstone, I’ll take Young Guns.

Coloma's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Works for me, but you’ll be sleeping with some old dudes compared to me. lol

Seek's avatar

Pfft. This is imaginary – I’ll take a ride in my Tardis, and hit Keifer before he tries on his first vampire teeth.

Brian1946's avatar


I saw Tom Selleck leaving a doctor’s office, ran into Robert Hays in Whole Foods, and saw John C. McGinley browsing at Barnes and Noble.

Was that in the Los Angeles area?

YARNLADY's avatar

I was at an invitational Yahoo!Answers award ceremony to receive an award when I was introduced to David Filo. I gave him one of the Yahoo!Answers coasters I had made for the occasion. I said “I have a problem with my Yahoo e-mail, could you help me?”

Everyone was amazed that I would walk up to the 75th richest man in America (at the time) like he was my own son, and ask him. He wrote my user name of the back of a business card. The issue, which had been going on for months, was resolved within two days.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

God, its all coming back… I babysat for one of my Sonoma State (Ca) proffs one time at their little house near Joy Ridge near Bodega. His name was Stan Horrowitz. They had a little baby girl name named Lauri. I changed her diapers a few times that night. She was a cute little thing. Later she became Wynona Rider.

There was this guy that used to hang with us when I worked with a kind of a mobile food pantry in San Francisco called the Kauliflower Underground. It was a Digger thing. I had a Norton 750 and he had Sportster. His big thing was hanging with Marcel Marceau and doing street guerilla theater, anti-war stuff. We used to go in together on lids. The original ones, in the blue flat Dutchman tobacco cans. One ounce, ten bucks. Anyway, his name was Cohen in those days. Cool dude. We used to make deliveries from SF to communes as far north as Healdsburg together. He became quite a famous actor later on. And goddammit, I can’t remember this guy’s professional name. I’ll find it and get back to the string. But we hung for about a year. I remember he came from NYC.

Coloma's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Hah..great story! Celebrity diaper detail
I haven’t thought about Nortons in years, I still have a scar on my right calf from the pipes of a vintage Norton years ago.—When looking cool and sexy trumped safety.
Short shorts and hair flying, rockin’ down the highway. lol

SuperMouse's avatar

@Brian1946 yes it was. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles and as a result had some pretty good celebrity sightings. I also saw Sam Kinison, Little Richard, Donna Summer, Elmore Leonard, Bob Hope, and Flip Wilson. Kurt Russell and Michael Richards graduated from the same high school as me (though before my time).

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Peter Coyote. I knew him as Pete Cohen.

@Coloma Oh yeah, Nortons. Weren’t they great? “When looking sexy trumped safety.” Yeah. I remember pushing 112 in the Mohave on the way to Vegas (more interested in the free buffets than anything else. Wasn’t my scene at all.) one afternoon. The only thing keeping my ass from flying away (175lbs in those days) was the rucksack on the sissybar.

tinyfaery's avatar

In the early ‘90’s I used to see Drew Barrymore at almost every concert I went to. I even saw her driving next to me once. She was my stalker.

I once saw Jason Patrick ordering tacos at Poquito Mas

Just recently, I sat next to Kareem Abdul Jabbar while we watched the new Batman. Poor guy could not have been comfortable. His legs stuck out so far, he had to sit sideways the whole time.

I got lots of other stories. I was in really bad traffic once and saw Morgan Freeman being driven right next to me. He smiled at me.

SuperMouse's avatar

I forgot my very best, we once had lunch at a table next to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, my kids were playing with theirs. My middle son got one of their kids in trouble and I had to apologize to Rita.

Coloma's avatar

@tinyfaery I adore Morgan Freeman, but who doesn’t. :-)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

My dad would take to work on Saturdays, at the time it was Beverly Hills, 1950’s.
We would over for tea and English Muffins at Coffee Dan’s on Wilshire. I’d sit between Robert Cummings ( Dial M for Murder ) and my dad. My dad worked for an airplane engine company and Mr. Cummings was restoring a WWII aircraft.
We would meet sometimes twice a month.

Judi's avatar

I had my head in the shampoo bowl next to the one where Betty Ford was getting her hair shampooed. My husband was in the urinal next to Eddie Murphy. He also bumped into Elvis in the Basement of a Tahoe hotel he was working in years ago.
Oh I was also in a doctors office waiting room and met Dr Quatermaine from General Hospital. The show was on the waiting room TV at the time. I never watched it and HE had to bring up that it was him.
edit, Oh oh Oh one more, Hubby saw Janis Joplin passed out with a bottle of Southern Comfort in Golden Gate park.

zenvelo's avatar

My girlfriend and I were in New York and went to dinner at a little Italian neighborhood place on West 13th. There was table at the back that need to be cleared, and one next to it that was reserved, so they sat us down at the reserved table and put the reserved sign on the other while it was being cleaned up.

About five minutes later a very pretty young blonde woman sat at the next table, along wth what was an apparent date. Not only was she rpetty , but hse seemd very familiar, and I kept glancing at her. My girlfriend kivked me, leaned over and whispered, “it’s not nice to keep staring at her.”

After dinner, my girlfriend said, “Why did you keep staring at Julia Stiles?

Same trip, we were at the Whitney Museum to see a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit. A beautiful young girl, short and tiny with brown hair walked up next to us to look at a painting. Her boyfriend stepped in front of us, and she grabbed him and turned to us and said “excuse us.”

My girlfriend said , “oh, don;t worry” and then since we were progressing through the exhibit at the same speed, my girlfriend said to her oh I really like this one, it’s one of my favorites”. My girlfriend and the young lady had occasional chitchats through out the rest of the show, and she said goodbye to us when they left the museum. It was Natalie Portman and her husband Benjamin Millepied and it was while they were filming Black Swan, which was why she was tiny.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I got nuttin’. My sister, though, found herself in an elevator with Kevin Costner in Wichita once. There was some baseball convention in the Hyatt or something.

Judi's avatar

My husband has been mistaken for Henry Winkler. When shopping in Hollywood we sometimes don’t tell anyone anything different. We get great customer service.

Jeruba's avatar

That would probably be rifling through the dresses on the rack of an upscale department store alongside Lee Remick. It so happened that her father owned the store. She scooped a half dozen dresses off the rack and handed them to someone: “Please put these in a fitting room for me.”

At the time she was quite a celebrity. I didn’t want to bug her with obvious attention, so I pretended I didn’t recognize her and moved away.

I wouldn’t call this a strange encounter, though. It was just an encounter.

There are some interesting responses here.

Blondesjon's avatar

Believe it or not, we are constantly running off Jason Alexander because he keeps rooting around in our garbage cans.

Kardamom's avatar

Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (who I adore) sat right in front of me at a Crosby, Stills and Nash concert. I could see that he was simply there as a fan, so I kept my lip zipped, but some douche a few aisles away spotted him and his wife and started shouting, “Hey Hey We’re the Monkees!”

I also saw Mark Volman of The Turtles and Flo and Eddie Fame in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland.

Saw Dick Van Dyke at the airport.

Saw Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys at a Paul McCartney concert.

Saw Cy Curnin of The Fixx (an awesome 80’s band) at a coffee shop in Hollywood in the 80’s.

flutherother's avatar

I was walking up Byres Road in Glasgow one evening when I saw Billy Connolly coming down towards me with a look that said I don’t want to be recognised. I also bumped into Prince Charles in the village of Culross one afternoon just by chance. He stood right next to me chatting away to some of the locals.

ucme's avatar

Back in 88 I spotted Bono in a betting shop in Blackpool, he didn’t give a shit about being recognised either, just smiled & nodded before moving on.

lynfromnm's avatar

Two weeks ago my co-worker stopped at Mike’s Mini-Mart in Velarde, New Mexico. My friend was immediately handed a camera and asked to photograph the cashier with Johnny Depp, who had stopped to get gas. I said to her later, “Lily, why the bleep didn’t you get yourself photographed with Johnny?” She said she was so stunned to see him it didn’t occur to her. Lily did send the pic to all of us who were slaving away in the office. Johnny Depp was dressed in Tonto attire for the movie he’s filming in Northern NM, with the addition of sunglasses.
So I have 1 degree of Depp-eration!
Other encounters: stuck in bad weather at the KC airport, Bill Murray bought everyone waiting for our plane a cup of coffee, so I got to thank him and shake hands.
I’ve seen Neil Patrick Harris at the Dunkin Donuts (he grew up in my city and his parents still live here).
Back in the day, when I was waitressing, Joe Cocker and his drummer, Conrad Isador, sat in my section and left me a $10 tip.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Well, I used to drive 18-wheelers long-haul, & once at a small restaurant in Colorado, I saw John Denver come in & order coffee !

Coloma's avatar

Oh, how could I forget, Max Baer ( Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies ) lives in Lake Tahoe about an hour from me and he gave me a bottle of his steak sauce a few years ago.
” Jethros heapin’ helpin’ steak sauce.”
I have yet to try it, one of these days when I sit down and rest a spell and grill a steak.
It will be vintage hillbilly sauce. Welllll doggy! lol

AstroChuck's avatar

We were in a video store years ago and in comes Eddie Murphy and his posse. This was ages ago. His then girlfriend Nicole (later wife and now ex-wife) lived in Sacramento so he was obviously in town to see her. Never did get close enough to see what video he was checking out. My guess is Beverly Hills Cop.

filmfann's avatar

I sat with a friend at a private viewing of Toy Story 2, before it hit the theaters. My friend nudged me, and pointed one row in front of us, and about 8 seats over. Robin Williams.
After the movie, I went back to the video game area, where I talked to him while he was giving his kids quarters to play games.

filmfann's avatar

A quick search tells me I haven’t told this story yet. If I have, forgive the retelling.

A friend of my sister’s from church, and her husband, went to Las Vegas from some gambling. Normally, they didn’t do this, because they didn’t want to give people on the fence about Christianity the impression that they were sinning hypocrites. Anyway, they were in Vegas, and gambling.
Her husband got tired, and decided to go back to the room. She wanted to gamble more, so she stayed in the casino.
She got on quite a winning streak. The machines were belching out quarters every time she played. She gathered all the quarters into a bucket, and wanted to show her husband how she had won, so she took them to the elevator, while holding her room key.
As she got into the elevator, she was followed in by a short black man, and two very large black men. She shrank back into the corner, worried that they would see her bucket full of money. As the elevator doors closed, there was a pause, and the shorter man screamed “HIT THE FLOOR!!!” Well, she did! She dropped to the floor, spilling her quarters all over the floor of the elevator. She was terribly frightened. She kept expecting them to take her money, or rape her, or whatever evil thing that would come next. She heard the elevator doors open, and the men stepped out of the elevator, and the short black man began laughing loudly.
Well, she was shaking something awful, and scooped all the quarters into her bucket, grabbed her room key, and got out at her floor. She spent a sleepless night worried that they would come back for her.
The next morning, she convinced her husband that they HAD to check out of the hotel and go home. The packed their things, and went down to check out, and the man at the desk looked at his computer screen and said “Your room has been paid for by Mr. Eddie Murphy.”
When he and his body guards had entered the elevator, he shouted at his body guards to push the elevator floor button: “Hit the floor!” When she dropped, he saw her room number on her key, and paid for her room.

Coloma's avatar

@filmfann Great story. LOL

AstroChuck's avatar

@filmfann- That story has been going around for ages. The source is always a friend of a friend. It used to be Reggie Jackson and has morphed into Eddie Murphy over the years. You’ve been victimized by an urban legend, my friend.

filmfann's avatar

@AstroChuck I suppose that is possible. My sister told me she knew who it happened to. Let me research this.

jaytkay's avatar

I was perusing the breakfast cereal shelf at a grocery store in San Pedro CA.

A cute woman grabbed a box, held it up next to her face and said, “Buy this one! The picture is me and my sister!”

And the photo on the box was her and her sister, Denise Austin

I bought it!

downtide's avatar

I saw William Roach (Ken Barlow from Coronation Street – very well known in the UK) dining in a restaurant in Manchester with his family. It wasn’t a particularly up-market restaurant either (otherwise I wouldn’t have been dining there).

About 20 years ago I met a family at breakfast in a guest house where I was staying on holiday. The family comprised the parents and a teenage boy who was apparently competing in his first adult golf competition. His parents were gushing about how good he was. His name… Lee Westwood.

filmfann's avatar

@AstroChuck You were right. I asked my sister about it, and she admitted that she didn’t know the person it happened to, but insisted the story was correct, except it might have been Michael Jordan. That is flaky enough for me to believe the story is a legend.

Jeruba's avatar

I wonder how long before a version turns up starring Barack Obama.

filmfann's avatar

@Jeruba…and the woman is concerned about having her coins redistributed?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um. Standard “Scared shitless of black guys” story! I’m sorry it turned out to be an urban legend, @filmfann. I DID read the whole thing, though. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Funny! In that Snopes article it has someone recounting that story to Eddy and “Whenever I go ‘No, it never happened.’ ” They always say, “Yes it did. My cousin was there.” LOLL!

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