Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Celebrity Encounters

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Working in the hotel/restaurant business has afforded me many an opportunity to meet celebrities. I am fortunate to have mixed with some interesting folk, or at the very least, had some interesting run ins with the Glitterati, the Glam, and the occasional Goth rocker.  In a new segment on my blog, I am going to write about these fun and sometimes not so fun encounters. Hope you enjoy!

As I wrote about before, one of my favorite encounters was with Chef Julia Child. I have met other chefs though. One of my most memorable was meeting Chef Marcus Sammuelson while he was head chef for Washington Square, a restaurant in Philly by famed restaurateur Stephen Starr.  I was there sipping Champagne with one of my close friends Jerry when we decided to order an appetizer. Having never had sweetbreads, we decided to given them a try.  For those of you that do not know, sweetbreads are either the pancreas or thymus in calf, lamb, beef, or pork. For the life of me, I wasn't not sure what I animal I was eating. They were served fried and were very tasty though. Suddenly, Chef Sammuelson was at our table and asked in his ever so smooth voice and eloquent manner, "How are your sweetbreads Gentlemen?" I gulped Champagne down and barked back "They are very good Chef!!"  I think he was taken aback by my exuberance and quickly moved on.

While working at my previous job at the luxury hotel, I had the joy of meeting Sigourney Weaver in a potentially awkward moment. I was in the elevator taking it down to the lower level where our main kitchens and ballroom were. Riding it down, I was standing way to close to the doors. Usually one should move to the rear of the elevator. I think I was looking at myself in the mirrored doors. Suddenly, the doors opened on the lobby level and I came face to face with the perky breasts of a very tall woman.
"Like what ya see?" she asked smiling down at me.
"Uh ... uh  I'm sorry!" I sputtered looking up. Sigourney Weaver! She was in town for the Philadelphia Film Festival and I was accidentally staring at her chest.
She laughed and I moved aside, she entered and the doors closed. It was just Sigourney and me. She was gorgeous, tall, looking radiant in heels, black slacks, and a leopard print top.
"Are you enjoying your stay Miss Weaver?"
"Yes, thank you, the hotel is beautiful."
With that, the elevator doors opened on the lower level, and she glided away to give a speech in the ballroom.

At another time in the earlier 00's, I jumped on the main hotel elevator going up. Who was on the elevator beside me?  A well known 80's film actress who had appeared in several adventure movies. She was now appearing in a large play production in Philly which was just recently touring the country after Broadway.  I had heard she was sick and admittedly, she did not look well. She was coughing and looked worn out.
"Are you alright, Mrs. X? Can I get you anything?"
In a deep husky voice she responded,"I could go for a scotch on the rocks, but a cough drop will have to do."
I laughed nervously and told her I would let the concierge know. I had another encounter with her during her stay. She was not the diva I had heard she could be. She seemed always nice and cordial to our staff.  I look at her as a screen legend and was privileged to have my encounters with her!  Out of respect, I have not revealed her name as at the time she was supposedly having issues with alcohol.

I have also met others in passing, I served breakfast to James Darren, Bobby Rydel, and Fabian when I worked at the Omni Hotel in Philly while they were in town touring back in the late 90's. Nice guys, great tippers! My mom was so excited that I waited on them! The Goth rocker Marilyn Manson was such a tall guy in his black boots. I turned around and he scared the heck out of me. But such a sweet heart of a guy! He was very pleasant and friendly. Lastly, I met Richard Wagner and Jill St. John at the last hotel I worked at. Now THEY are Hollywood royalty. She was beautiful and he was so handsome. Both were pleasant and so polite. I count them as one of my favorite encounters!

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