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Celebrity Encounters

Posted by on May 23, 2009

The subject of celebrity encounters came up on the Just Plain Folks forum, so I thought I would post a copy of my response here.

I had a good friend who was on the Indiana University concert board and then went on to work for Sunshine Promotions, which was THE concert promotion company in the Midwest back in the 80’s, so I got backstage for a couple of concerts. I got to meet a few artists, but they were mostly “Hi, nice to meet you, goodbye” type things, so I won’t count those.

Later I went to work for the Trinity Broadcasting Network where I met and worked with quite a few B-list celebrities like Gavin McLeod (Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Demond Wilson (Sanford and Son), as well as most of the big-name TV preachers. I even had breakfast one morning with Rosey Grier and Meadowlark Lemon.

I currently work at a hotel, where I have met a few celebs such as American Idol’s William Hung and Prince’s former protegee Denise Matthews (AKA Vanity), who is still one of the most attractive women I have ever laid eyes on.

There are three celebrity encounters that really stand out for me. The first was when I met Bob Euchre. My first job after college was working in the sales department of a small radio outlet in northeast Indiana. We were negotiating with the White Sox to carry their games, so the organization sent me to Chicago. I watched a game against the Milwaukee Brewers from Eddie Einhorn’s private box. (Glass enclosed, air-conditioned, with a private bar and bartender. Now THAT’s the way to watch a game.) Anyway, after the game, I got to go to the player’s lounge, where I sat at the bar with Brewer announcer Bob Euchre, who was regaling a small crowd with tales of his days as a player. He was probably the funniest person I ever had the pleasure of meeting.

The next big encounter occurred at a science fiction convention where I sat at a bar with Jonathon Harris, who played Dr. Zachary Smith on “Lost in Space.” He told me an incredibly funny story about helping Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak better English which ended with the very precisely enunciated phrase “… and the son-of-a b%#ch has never said ‘Thank you'”. I literally laughed until I cried.

The third, and most important encounter, occurred in 1993 or 1994 when Dr. Timothy Leary gave a presentation on “How to Operate Your Brain” at a local college. I attended the lecture and sat just a few rows from the stage. As he spoke, I remember thinking about what a good speaker he was, and how it felt like he was talking just to me. When the presentation was over, several people came up to me and asked if Dr. Leary knew me. I said no, and they all pointed out that he WAS talking directly to me.

I attended a meet & greet afterward, and when I when I finally got to actually meet him, Dr. Leary asked me to sit down and we had a very nice talk. He told me that he thought I was the only person in the auditorium who “got” his message. We talked about other authors and philosophers, and he treated me like I was an old friend.

Wow, I’ve never done so much name dropping in my life.


2 Responses to Celebrity Encounters

  1. Bill Renfrew

    Wow, what an interesting story. I just read and responded to your post on JPF and it compelled me to listen to some of your stuff. While going through your blog I found this bit on the people you worked with. This is amazing. You’re a lucky guy to have worked with these people, and to be able to say Timothy Leary gave you a personal speech…that’s something you dont hear every day.

    Bill Renfrew (aka Billrocker)

    • Kevin

      Thanks, Bill. I appreciate you checking it out.