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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Famous People I Have Met…

Sitting on an airplane flying to San Francisco in First Class reminds me of an entry I have been meaning to write for a long time now. I have met some cool people in my life and wanted to keep a journal of these people so I could tell the stories to Dryver’s and Stryde’s kids and grandkids. I figure there is not much about meeting someone famous, except if you can tell people about it.

The reason this is coming up now, is because I am sitting one seat behind Robert Novak, the famous reporter from CNN Crossfire. It is funny to see him, and say hello to him today, because I just watched the video of him walking off the stage at CNN when he was ribbed by James Carville. I said to him that I was a big Illini fan, because I knew he attended U of I, and didn’t want to remind him of Valarie Plaime or James Carville.

So I thought of writing about all the cool people I have met, but that is too subjective. How about all the famous people, that is subjective also. I could write about the people that have made an impact in my life that I have met, but that is a different entry all together. These lists are so complicated.

So I think the best way to make this objective is to create a list of all the famous people that I have met that have an entry in Wikipedia. The reason this is good is because it is current, but also the editors are very careful and controlling about who gets an entry in the online encyclopedia.

Now, this list includes people I have introduced myself to, spoken to or have actually met with in person. This is not people I have seen walking in the airport or even driving in their car. I am not going to list Dennis Rodman, whom I walked next to in Atlanta at the Olympics. I am not going to list out Bon Jovi, whom I saw speak at the CTAM conference last summer. I won’t list out the many politicians, actors, news reporters that I have seen on a plane. These are people I have actually spoken to and there is at least a short story associated with the encounter.

So, in random order, this is the list of famous (as defined by wikipedia) people that I have interacted with… Now, this is not everyone famous, just the people I remember and there was an interesting enough interaction to list. I have also included a comment about the encounter when it was interesting enough to mention…

- Michael Jordan – I met him the year he retired from the Bulls the first time. Eddie and I went to the Dallas and Bulls game and headed back to MJ’s restaurant after the game. We also met and spoke to Quinn Buckner, Jimmy Jackson, Bob Love, and the man himself. MJ the king of the court and of Chicago. He was hanging out at the restaurant and Eddie and I walked up to him to say hello. I introduced myself, and said I was a fan (as if anyone wasn’t a fan.) I asked him for an autograph, and in the nicest way you could imagine, he patted by beer belly and said, ‘Sorry big man, can’t do that here, but would love to give you one outside of the restaurant.’ I will tell you that he was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and for a guy that was so famous, what a great attitude. I wanna be like Mike!

- Steve Dahl & Garry Meier – now this might seem a little random, but I met these two guys when I was a teen. I was a huge fan and a close friend, Billy Horist’s, mom was working for the Red Cross. Steve and Garry did an annual blood drive, and since Karen Horist was coordinating it, we were able to meet these two. I was really excited to meet these guys and had actually bought their fan club membership and was one of the biggest fans around. We got to get our photo taken with these guys and get some autographs. Garry was a great guy and Steve was cool, but started to get irritated when we were getting autographs. It was one of the first times I was disappointed to see a guy that I really idolized not be a good guy, and actually be somewhat of a jerk.

- Ed Harris – I met him a couple of times. He grew up in Evanston and I was in a play with his dad, Bob Harris. His mom was also our family’s travel agent. He had just become famous from The Right Stuff, and had made a few other movies. He was really nice and actually gave my family autographs on our church bulletin.

- John Cusack – He attended Evanston High School and I actually shared a graphic arts class with him. He seemed like a nice guy and I worked on a few things with him. I had no clue at the time he would be a famous actor one day, but he always was nice. I was a freshman in class and he was a junior. I never really had a friendship with him, but do wish I had kept in touch. Joan Cusack was also someone I met briefly. Actually a friend of mine started making out with her one night at a bar in Chicago.

- Jeremy Pivin – We used to go to summer vacation with his family. His dad, Bern Pivin, was an actor also and we knew him as the old guy on the Uncle Ben’s Rice commercials. I took the Pivin acting classes and met Jeremy a few times in the summer and also in the acting class. He was a much better actor than I was.

- Howie Mandel – He played at the Bradley University field house. I was friends with the gal that was running the show and I was able to go backstage and meet him. He was very cool and such a funny guy. Mike Avery and I used to love watching his shows and listening to his cds. I really think he was one of the best stand-up guys I have ever seen. Now, with his new gig on ‘Deal or No Deal’ he is cashing in for once.

- Gary Kremin – Founder of and Had a few drinks with him and we spoke about the internet and some of the things that were going on in the online world. He was an interesting guy to say the least. His history is amazing; this is one story to read.

- Donald Rumsfeld – I met him long before he became Secretary of Defense. He grew up in Evanston and was in town when I was in college for some arts festival. I had new clue he would be the guy in the hot seat one day.

- Ken Mehlman – Chairman of the RNC and big time strategy guy in the republican party. He was really an amazing guy and I was blown away by his charisma and intelligence. I usually don’t agree with these guys, but now understand why they win so often. With guys like this guy at the top, they are not going to lose very often.

- James Carville – Political Strategy Guy that ran Clinton’s campaign in 1992. He is one of my idols overall and I really respect this guy for what he stands for. I really connect with him in his books and respect him for his energy and drive to win. I was lucky enough to go to his home in Alexandria and speak to him about our business and living in Alexandria. His house was beautiful, Jennifer wanted to get some art like him and Mary had, then I told her they were original Picassos.

- Alan Greenspan – Head of the US Treasury – Talk about a grumpy old man. First of all he looked older than dirt. He is a crabby old guy and had no social skills at all. I really did not talk to him, but I stood next to him at a urinal. I looked down to see what he was packing and understand why he is so bitter now. Anyway, I did say hello and spoke to his wife, Andrea Jacobs, from NBC. Now, Andrea Mitchell was so nice. I spoke to her for awhile and really enjoyed the discussion.

- Molly Ringwald – I met her when she was filming Sixteen Candles in Evanston. She was really an unknown at the time, and me and a friend went to watch them film the movie. It was being filmed about three blocks from our house on Simpson Street. We did say hello to Molly and some of the cast. They were all very nice and took time to speak to us. We also were able to play with the dog that was in the beginning of the film.

- Paul O’Neil – I met him at the Treasury for a minute or so. He was nice and formal. I said hello and he shook my hand. I really loved his book. It was too bad he was thrown out, he really had a lot to offer our country.

- Brian Stafford – The head of the secret service for many years. He was the head during 9/11 and was famous for running the show under Clinton’s years. This guy was down to earth and hardcore. Some of the stories he told me were unbelievable. If you like the Tom Clancy books, you would be amazed by what this guy had experienced in his life. Wow, that was one really memorable couple of hours.

- Bill Henderson – Postmaster General under Clinton. Now, this guy I know very well. He is like a mentor to me and I always look up to him for guidance and support. He is another one of those natural born leaders and such a great friend. I have a few people like this that I look up to, but he is the only one that made Wikipedia.

- Robert Palmer – I was down at the David Letterman show when he was filming at the Chicago Theater. I said hi to him and he was also pretty nice. He asked me if I was going to be a photojournalism guy when I got older. He said to take pictures on his good side.

- Joe Lieberman – I met him in 2006 on an airplane. We were sitting in first class together and he was really a good guy. I spoke to him briefly about the effects of the internet on kids and the pros and cons of online controls for children.

- Lecy Goranson – The kid from Rosanne and was an actress in some great movies. I did not know her well, but my sister Molly was really good friends with her. I am sure I tried to beat her up a few times and make fun of her. I am sure I also saw her running around in her underwear when she was having a sleepover at our house.

I am sure there are more, but these are the ones where I actually spent a little time talking to them or had a relationship with them. I have met a bunch of senators and congressmen as living in DC, but there are too many of these to mention and I don’t want to invade their privacy as I still keep in touch with a few of these.

There are a few that I have on my list of people I would love to meet. These include, but are not limited to: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Howard Stern, Nicole Kidman, Steven King, Bill Gates, Jerry Yang, Billy Graham, Artie Lange, Tim Robbins, and Jimmy Carter.

I hope to update this list one day with the above list completed and a new list underway.

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