Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spin Cycle:Celebrity: Namedropping, big time!

I actually talked about some of this when I did my 100th blog post.

My ex-husband and I owned a restaurant in Kutztown, PA for 6 years. Kutztown is a college town, home to Kutztown University. From time to time,persons of celebrity status come in to town to give speeches. And they have to eat. And once upon a time, we had "THE" place to go if you wanted to celebrate a special occasion or take a dignitary or celebrity to dinner before the speech.

The oddest person to come in was Rita Moreno. She played the nun on OZ (an HBO show), the next door neighbor to the Golden Girls, and her most famous role, Anita in West Side Story. So Rita Moreno was giving a speech at KU and someone brought her into the restaurant to eat. They pull up in a limo and come in. She's very polite and I admit to be VERY star-struck! I swear to God, not one regular customer came into the restaurant to eat until after she left. She looks over the menu and says, "You know what I could really go for? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread and a glass of milk." HUH???? Are you serious? And she is... deadly serious. So that's what she had. I'm still embarrassed by the frozen, plastic smile on my face the entire time she was there.

Another person who came in before a speech was Ted Kennedy Jr. He came in with a tableful of college students. He was very nice, shook my hand, entertained his hosts. I can't remember what he ate... but it was a regular meal. No special orders. Right after he left, someone said, "that guy looks like Ted Kennedy Jr." Yes, it was! For those of you old enough to remember, Ted is the son of the notorious senator from Massachusetts who lost part of his leg to cancer at the age of 15. He went on to become the Poster Boy for handicapped kids and Special Olympics.

Probably my favorite celebrity customer who came in regularly was Michael Constantine. He was Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He was also the principal, Mr. Kauffman from Room 222. He left his credit card behind one night and the manager put it in the safe. So I got it out and looked at the name"Michael Constantine". Hmmmmm.... wouldn't it be cool if he was THAT Michael Constantine? Then he called to see if we found his credit card. I told him we had it and it was in our safe. A little while later, in he strolls and it's HIM!!! I hope I was cool. I told him I was a fan, loved the movie. One night he was there while I was working. I told him my daughter was in college and studying theatre but she was thinking of going back to school to teach (or something... I forget) just in case this acting thing didn't pan out. He told me to tell Gina that she needed to say "I'm going to be an actor or I'm going to be a bum." That if you have a back-up plan, that's what you'll end up doing. This fellow doesn't live in Hollywood. When he's not filming a movie, he lives in Reading, PA with his sister, where they grew up (I don't think he ever married)

Some of Gina's college friends are working actors in LA and NYC. Her college roommate, Marnie Schulenburg is Allison on As The World Turns. (although I knew Marnie as a blonde, they made her a brunette for the show) She also has a few friends who are/were working on 30 Rock, 24, Ugly Betty, Law and Order. I'm sure there are other people and other shows that I have forgotten.

Want to join in the fun? Hop on over to Jen's place at Sprite's Keeper, grab the spin cycle button, check out the topic for the week and give us your spin! All the rules are right there!


Liz said...

Oh wow!! What cool stories, Joanie!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Michael Constantine? I would love to meet him! He was the greatest part about My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Great Spin! You must have autographed pictures lining your walls!
You're linked!

bernthis said...

you should have seen me when I saw George Clooney in a rest. I was married at the time and I literally pushed my ex out of the way to get to him

Sally's World said...

You are so cool...i would have totally embarassed myself and got all starstruck!!! Bernthis...that is so funny..and a very ME like thing to do LOL!!!!

Alix said...

Once it registered that you really weren't kidding about having a restaurant in a place called Klutztown, I stopped laughing.

I LOVE this post, Joanie. You are so funny. I absolutely saw your expression in my mind as you described the Rita Moreno incident. How funny.

Now here's a little name dropping for you! Billy Joel had dinner at the Ponte Vedra Beach Ruth's Chris last month when he was in town for a concert. I wasn't there, but my sister was and texed me. If I'd been there, I would have embarrassed myself by staring, I'm sure. Good thing I was home.

Joanie M said...

Actually, Alix, there's no L in Kutztown (pronounced Koots town). Aw, staring isn't bad. Rushing over and screaming OH MY GOD!OH MY GOD! Now THAT'S embarrassing!

♥ Braja said...

....and then there was that gorgeous, cruise-lovin' woman called Joanie....

Camille said...

This is fun! Gus's quote is inspiring, no? I might just make it my mantra. Thanks for the spin!

Ferd said...

Wow! Those are GREAT celebrity sightings! Did you get pictures? That's enough to start a Wall of Fame.

I especially liked Michael Constantine's quote about either being an actor or a bum. I would not be cut out for that all or nothing mentality. I'd have to have a back up plan.

Thanks for stopping by my site!
: )

Michele said...

Well, you just have to have milk when you eat a PB&J. Great spin.

Thanks for visiting the blog today.

Joanie M said...

Nope. No autographed pictures on my wall, no photo ops taken with the celebs.

I'm remembering other things now. Once, in Central Park, we saw Richard Kind (the klutz from Spin City)walking with his wife. We were in town, on a bus trip to see Phantom of the Opera. He saw that I suddenly recognized him and said hello and I just said hello back. Gina told me he looked famiiar. I said, "he should. You see him on TV every week."

Later that day, we were in John's Pizzeria (across the street from the Majestic Theatre. My favorite in NYC.... decent prices! good food!) and Ernie Sabella (the voice of Pumba in The Lion King video)was sitting in a corner, with a young thing hanging all over him. He is short, bald, not attractive, and she looked like she was stage crew. He was performing next door at Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Some cool stories Joanie. When I was waitressing, the most famous person I waited on was Dianna Ross. She was gracious, polite, very nice, and not at all diva ish.

Lilly said...

Wow, loved hearing about your brushes with fame Joanie. Peanut butter and jelly, just imagine.