How close have you been to a Movie Star?

I had a fun discussion with Mark from ‘Marked Movies’ regarding stars we knew or have been in close physical proximity.

I have touched the suit jacket of Gary Sinise at the Memorial Day show on the lawn of the Capital Building. He was short and thin but had a big voice applauding the wounded warriors and the efforts of U.S. soldiers. He and fellow actor Joe Mantegna pay tribute annually on the lawn of the Capital Building.  It’s quite a show.


Another time I saw Ed Harris in Chicago–only two rows away from him at the Gene Siskel Film Center. He was the guest speaker at an informal Q & A session after we finished viewing his film, Pollock. He was short and thin, but his voice was mesmerizing and he was quite interesting to listen to.

Being a fan and only feet away from a star was a giddy experience. Still, my experiences pale in comparison to Mark who has held conversations with Scottish actor Robert Carlyle!


Do you know any actors or been close to any?

1 point:    you were in the same room

2 points:  you shook a hand or obtained an autograph

3 points:  you talked to them one-on-one

4 points:  you talked to more than one simultaneously

5 points:  you are related to them

6 points:  they are on the “A” list

7 points:   you worked with them

10 points:  you are or were married to one


How many points can you rack up? 

63 thoughts on “How close have you been to a Movie Star?

Add yours

  1. Haha! Fabulous post Cindy. I’m so glad you went ahead with this. You know my story already. But if I include Peter Mullan along with my numerous conversations with Carlyle my score would be… 10points (6 for Carlyle and 4 for Mullan)

  2. Hi, Cindy:

    Great idea and an xcellent post!

    I’ve always been at a distance. Though I did see just starting out Gary Sinise and John Malkovich indulging in humorous sibling rivalry in ‘True West’ at their Steppenwolf Theater back in very late 1972.

    That put both actors on my radar. Though, more so Sinise. Who would guest star and direct episodes of NBC’s superb ‘Crime Story’ about a decade later.

    Ed Harris can do little wrong. First caught my attention as an agency mercenary opposite Nick Nolte in ‘Under Fire’.

    Also sat in on a ‘Q&A’ with Peter Weller at Maryland U. After his completing Cronenberg’s ‘Naked Lunch’. A whole lot more there than meets the eye. A very dedicated, opinionated, cultured and educated actor!

    1. Hi Kevin: so that puts you at 3 points- Weller, Sinise, Malkovich (I’m jealous! Always wanted to experience Steppenwolf but had to settle for seeing them together on the screen in ‘Of Mice and Men’) . Thanks πŸ™‚

      1. Hi, Cindy:

        The original Steppenwolf Theater was a narrow, deep little place with seating for about 150. With ambience and intimacy to burn. The teaming of Sinise and Malkovich in their, ‘Of Mice and Men’ is every bit as good as the 1939, Burgess Meredith/Lon Chaney Jr. classic.

        I think Jake La Motta played the bartender at “Ames”. The pool hall where most everything important happens.

  3. Hi Cindy. I can’t equal yourself or Mark’s experiences, but I did meet former middleweight boxing champion Jake La Motta at a signing in Birmingham a few years back.
    La Motta whose life was immortalised in the film Raging Bull does have 20 acting credits to his name, including a small role in The Hustler, and although age hasn’t mellowed him he was kind enough to sign a photograph from one of his fights with Sugar Ray. It’s now framed and hanging on my wall.

    Have a nice weekend.

    1. Roger, Paul. Your entry counts! La Motta had a bit part in ‘The Hustler’? How come I didn’t know that? πŸ˜‰ You have racked up 2 points for the autograph and I envy your wall!

  4. Here are a few i remember off the top of my head: Billy bob thornton and virgina madsen 1,2,3,4,6 glen hansard and marketa iglova 1,2,3,4 clint eastwood 1,3,6 tom waits 1,2,3 sylvester stallone 1,6 diane keaton 1,3,6 moon so-ri 1.2.3 joan allen 1,2,3,6 drew barrymore 1,6 luke wilson 1,2,3,6 karen black 1,3,7

    1. Wow, okay, Mr. Bill White, I am suitably impressed. How many points is that? Good grief, 107. So of all the people you have worked with, talked to, etcetera, which one did you like the most? Any of them difficult?
      Your profile is quite interesting. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

    2. Wow!!! Tom Waits? I’m thoroughly impressed! I would give my left testicle to meet my idol Tom Waits. I think you’ve just became the undisputed champion of this little game! Bravo sir!

      1. Ah, so this explain your preference for folk music. I liked him in 7 Psychopaths.
        Zachariah: You didn’t think I was what? Serious? You think I’m not serious just because I carry a rabbit?

      2. I was actually very disappointed in Seven Psychopaths but Waits’ character was great. I loved him in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus and Bram Stoker’s Dracula but my favourite of his is Down By Law. He was also fabulous in Ironweed and almost stole the show from Nicholson and Streep.

  5. I liked Moon So-ri the best. Joan Allen was the most difficult. I left out some who I had spoken to o the telephone, including Ricki Lake and Lou Reed. Mark, I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard with a friend when a Lincoln continental pulled to the curb. The driver got out extended his hand to me, saying “Im Tom.” My friend and I got in the car and Waits gave us a ride home. he and my friend were well acquainted, and I had the pleasure of socializing with him and the rest of the crowd at the Tropicana many times over the next year. this was the end of 1978, right before he started acting in movies, when he was working on the One From the heart Soundtrack and his Blue Valentine album. The car on the cover of that record was the one he was driving.

    1. What a cool story. I have been meaning to watch the erotic ‘A Good Lawyer’s Wife’ but never got to it. Nor have I seen ‘Oasis’. Thanks for reminding me πŸ™‚ So, Bill, your profile said you live in Peru and are your days of filming over? I’m a writer, too, and I wish you well! Come back again, soon.

    2. That’s just fabulous Bill. I’m so jealous. I had one chance to see him play in Edinburgh a couple of years ago but he was sold out within days of the tickets going on sale. It’s unlikely I’ll ever get the chance again. I’m so gutted.

      That’s a great story. Especially getting in the very car on Blue Valentine’s LP. I love that album. One his best.

      1. I often find that musicians don’t make great actors. Dylan, Bowie and Sting are pretty dire but Waits is just a natural performer. Great actor. I really want to see his full length stage show of his album Big Time. Apparently it’s on you tube so I must free up some time to watch it.

  6. Cool idea for a post! 1,2 and 3 for the following: Robert Englund, Angus Scrimm, Malcolm McDowell, Fairuza Balk, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley and Gunner Hansen.

    1. HI there stranger. Wow, you’ve racked up a lot of points –42! That puts you in second place. You are fan of horror films: Robert Englund–scary Freddy. Angus Scrimm–I remember watching the first ‘Phantasm’ in high school, but missed out on the rest. Fairuza Balk was awesome in ‘American History X’ and your other stars, kings of slasher films–my favorite star on your list is Malcolm McDowell. I admire his work a lot and the actor least likely to give me the creeps πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for sharing!

  7. I had a chat to Bill Nighy when he was standing outside my office one day, which was nice. I also had a bizarre encounter with Ben Affleck outside my office (I work in a bit of a celeb trap). It was before I got used to seeing famous people so I actually pointed at him and said, “Ben Affleck!” He gave me a freaked out look, waved and ran off. Then a couple of weeks ago I saw Alan Rickman standing on Oxford Street staring into space. Didn’t want to bother him. It seemed like serious pondering. Not sure what score that nets.

    1. Abbi! Wow! I’m jealous. Where the heck do you work so I can hang around the street corner? Bill Nighy would be fun to talk to. I love his sense of humor and always semile when he’s on the screen. I’ll count the Ben Affleck as being in the room and Alan, too, even though you were outside. Alan would be an intimidating person to talk to. He’s so arrogantly judgmental and condescending in his roles. I just assume he’s that way. Maybe he’s really a soppy, blubbery kitten of a man, but I doubt it.
      Your point total is: 5. Well done πŸ™‚

      1. I work in Soho, on the West End of London. There are lots of theatres and media companies near by and the particular road I work on leads to an area full of really hip restaurants and a boutique hotel that seems to be a Hollywood fave. We have a star spotting photo wall in the office and it is full of famous faces.

  8. I’ve been up front and center with quite a few Hollywood and sports icons, but found them to be no different than other people. Suppose I might have been kind of lucky on that score tho, not coming across any with huge, egos! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi GP: well, sir, it’s hard to tally your score up without specifics. To converse with a star–surely there’s a tingling inside? I would have to shhhh my inner child who wants to jump and down and hyperventilate. Stars–they do get up every day and relieve themselves and do all the things we do, I agree. I’m convinced their price for fame is not worth the hounding, the suffocation, the public ridicule. BUT they are different because they are on the screen and thousands and millions worship them from afar and their lifestyles are quite different than the norm. In this way, they are quite different. Some, are iconic and it would be difficult to stand next to them and not be affected. πŸ™‚

      1. On the streets of NYC and having a conversation, Perry Como, Frankie Valli, at a party, Rosie Greer, back stage – Roy Rogers, Fess Parker, Frank Sinatra, Howard Keel, there are more but I’m feeling like a name dropper and I’m not one for that. This will not only give you an idea, but also gives away my age!! LOL

        1. The fact that I know of your names signifies we are both baby boomers and, well, so, there you go! Wow, Perry Como! My daughter would be very jealous you talked with Franki Valli. Who wouldn’t be impressed you gabbed with Frank Sinatra? Howard Keel–what a voice! Fess and Roy, western greats and Rosie Grier, Giants football player and actor, yes? Wow. Now I can award you some points. Over 10 for sure. Great πŸ™‚

  9. Hi cindy. Iam not through making films by any means. I just spent the last year here in Ilo peru making dozens of short anthropological and social films, topping the year off with an hour-length political documentary. Im moving back to Lima in two weeks, where I hope to make my frst full length narrative feature. reading your entry here on standing next to celebrities took me back to the 80’s, when I stood right next to Elvis Costello on three occasions and was too nervous to say a word. Then there was Julianna Moore, who never made me nervous, although she came over to the house for many partiies and I sat next to her at a picnic. why no nervousness? Because her career had not yet begun. She was a schoolmate of my girlfriend at the acting school of boston university. Another of her classmates who got quite famous was Michael Chiklas. And she herself has had a great obscure career in the theatre, and had a featured role as the weird nurse in John Carpenter’s recent film, the Ward. Now that I remember the 80’s there were a great many movie and rook stars who passed my way, most of whom would only rate a “being in the same room with” point. They include mark rylance, christopher Walken, peter gabriel, charles durning, philip glass, john savage, aimee mann, roger mcguinn, steven van zandt, norman mailer, david mamet, diana rigg, barry macguire, connie sellicca,..oh and i took acting lessons from linda hunt, and was the opening act for scarlet rivera. most of the movie actors that i actually know are character actors who are not household names, such as Jeff Morris and Virgil Frye, both of whom , as well as Waits and chuck e Weiss, have been fictionalized in my hollywood novel the Goners, which can be read for free at

    1. Jinx and his California escapades has the feel of ‘LA Confidential’ to it. You certainly have had an interesting life! I always liked Julianne Moore but you knew the real girl before she became a star which is very cool. I have stopped bothering to rack up more points for you because your total is in the hundreds. Lima, Peru! Expatriate. Wow. When you complete The Goners, you should just write an auto-biography. Your past, for which you’ve shared only tiny amount, is atypical and would be fun to read. Good luck with your filming and writing. It’s been a pleasure πŸ™‚

      1. the goners is cmplete, as is cnema penitentiary book one 1958-1980, amemoir of my life growing up in movie theaters. i look forward to making the time to dive into your book

  10. I got Michael Haneke’s autograph and saw Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Jerry Lewis all together at a screening for The King of Comedy, both two great experiences.

  11. I’m envious of some of the great interactions people have had with their favorite stars. I was lucky enough to see Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum on stage in the West End and decided afterwards to wait at the back stage door with a few other autograph hunters in the hope they’d sign my programme. Eventually go them both to sign, and they were very approachable guys – Goldblum was funny, happily signing Independence Day memorabilia and chatting about his movies, Spacey was more formal, only signing stuff related to the stageplay we’d just seen. It was a moment I won’t forget.

    1. Wow, Dan! I’m envious. Both actors can come off on screen as total pricks and arrogant asses. I’m thrilled Goldblum was down to earth and funny. Spacey–I love him, too, and he being too serious even when he shouldn’t have been doesn’t surprise me. 4 points going to you! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  12. Awesome post, Cindy! Well I think you already know that I met Gerry Butler and grabbed his hand after a TIFF screening, so I guess that’s as close as I got to my crush.

    WOW, you’ve met Ed Harris, very cool! I really admire him. It’s fun to read others’ celeb encounter, of course now that I’m hugely crushing on Toby Stephens I wish I could meet him or see him on stage. I’m completely enamored by him AND his voice.

    1. Hi Ruth, I’m very envious you got to touch Gerry Butler! Nice. I wish you good luck finding a room Toby Stephens is in! I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching you giddy as a school girl over him ;). It’s been fun listening to everyone’s story. Seems like we’ve all brushed into someone famous we admire. πŸ™‚

      1. Ahah well I’m not really a fan of Butler anymore but that experience still made me smile, I couldn’t believe I was so unhinged!! I hope I’d behave better if I were to meet Toby one day, but given how crazy I am about him right now, I might do worse, ahahaha

  13. I’m not great at maths, but I think I got about 30 – I cheated a bit by working in the industry! I have been starstruck on many occasion, but Martin Scorsese took the biscuit – I literally could not form a sentence and all but gabbled gibberish as he smiled nervously!

    1. Hi Claire! Oh, I’m giddy just thinking about standing in front of Scorsese. So, 30 points or more! Any stars you thought were special? Sweet? Not so nice? I’m curious what your profession was like. For instance, if I were a hair stylist or did make up, not only would I be close to the star and be nervous, I couldn’t imagine putting eye-liner on one…:)

  14. The better half has the knack of being at the right place at the right time and spotting stars. Me, I have better luck with writers.

  15. Interesting one. I followed Richard E Grant round a shop in London once, and passed Peter O’Toole striding down Oxford Street. I think those are the only ones, unless you count seeing actors live on stage. If you do, I can add Kevin Spacy, Ian McKellen, Rafe Fiennes, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Alan Alda, Bill Pullman. SD

    1. Live on stage counts! Therefore, you have an impressive 9 points. πŸ™‚
      A secret wish for me is to meet Alan Alda. Huge M*A*S*H fan and he’s just so darned talented. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I can only say that I’ve seen Hong Kong actors. Not Hollywood stars except for the time The Factory was filming here and John Cusack was like 3 meters away from me. And well, the time Warm Bodies was next to my office and I saw Teresa Palmer about 10 meters away.

    Now, I’m hoping to spot Saoirse Ronan since Brooklyn is being filmed the past few days around my work area πŸ˜‰

    But, if you must know, my uncle is a retired Hong Kong actor and singer and my late second grandma (because back in the days my grandfather could have more than one wife) was a big Hong Kong star in the 40-50s. She passed away when I was 1 so I never saw her other than pictures.

  17. I was at the Scottish premiere of Noah a few weeks ago and Russell Crowe was there. So i was about a foot away from him.

    Also I shooks hands with Carl Weathers at a comic con i was at in March!

    And i spoke to Jaws from James Bond once πŸ™‚

  18. I hesitated to write this a few days ago, I do not have that much of an ego, but its true and you asked. I used to have a job in the US where I met loads of celebs, it was a great time met a lot of interesting people. Movie stars, loads of TV stars, musicians, models, porn stars, writers. I have met hundreds of ‘stars’ some not so well known some A-listers. Met all the Star Trek people, from the 60s to the 90s versions, which would have been great if I had ever seen one of the movies or TV shows.
    Nicest possibly Robert Downey, Jr or maybe (believe it or not) Mel Gibson. Least favourite Robert Vaughn, which was very annoying as I am a huge UNCLE and Hustle fan. Linda Lovelace was a very, very unpleasant person. Easily the most interesting person I met was J.G. Ballard, you may not know his name but the autobiography he wrote was β€œEmpire of the Sun” which was later a major movie.
    I once totally and utterly unintentionally and embarrassingly told Mickey Rooney to β€œF__ Off and stop bothering me” And Vanessa Redgrave once said exactly the same thing to me, but she meant it.
    Push comes to shove they are like everyone else, The Good, The Bad, and the downright obnoxious.

    1. LOL Well! I’m very happy you decided to share. I think if you are movie buff you’d be lying if you met a star and your pulse didn’t quicken. How cool you were sworn to by Vanessa Redgrave. I can see her being bitchy–I love her talents as an actress. It’s ironic that those in the tabloids that are supposed to be obnoxious–like Downey and Gibson–are humble and sweet. I was in awe of the film ‘Empire of the Sun’ and as a writer, I would be in awe of J.G. Ballard. I’d happily run and get them all coffee or a drink if they asked, and nothing would please me more than to have a conversation with them. That said, I suspect their star power is more of a curse than a gift. I wouldn’t want it–to be famous. As far as the ‘contest’ goes, I will happily dub you the winner.;)

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