Monday, February 8, 2010

Another "Brush with Fame"

Brush with fame? I had a collision!

During the early 1980s, my husband was stationed in London with the Navy and I had taken a Civil Service job in the same building he worked in. It was on Audley street, off Grosvenor Square adjacent to the American Embassy in Mayfair.

I had figured out that if I took a sandwich with me and set out at a good pace, I could make it across the corner of Hyde Park and get to Harrod's Department Store and back on my lunch hour. I had done this several times and had discovered some ways to shorten my trip by ducking down a few narrow streets and alleys.
So, one day I was steaming along, munching my sandwich and planning my store attack when I rounded a tight corner and ran smack in to Robert Morely! I mean SMACK into Robert Morely.

He had a hat firmly planted on his head, a cigar in his mouth and after I bounced off his vested stomach, his eyebrows began to bounce, his eyes bulged. He blinked several times and his cigar wobbled in his mouth while he said, "Oh! I SAY! I'm TERRIBLY sorry! Are you all right?" in impeccable Queen's English.

I had recognized him right away and became flustered, but wasn't hurt at all. He just kept apologizing until I laughed and told him I was just fine. He finally tipped his had and said "Good Day, Miss." and continued on his way. Actually, I was lucky he hadn't flattened me. I couldn't stop laughing because he was so comical.

Just recently, I was at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. looking at a special display of photographs, looked up and saw in profile a man who at first glance, I thought was Sir Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame. But looking a bit harder, I realized I was looking at Sir Ben Kingsley. There was no one else in the room, although a small group did wonder in and back out, he wasn't recognized.

I continued to look at the pictures as did he, He was very interested in them and got quite close to see all the detail. I didn't disturb him. His family, I later saw, had decided to rest on the benches in the main lobby. He caught up with them and they all left the building together. Only then did someone say, "Was that Ben Kingsley who just left?"

Stewart on the left; Kingsley on the right.

I have 'run into' other celebs and notables as well. And I always wonder, "Should I acknowledge them by saying, "Hi" or something or just leave them alone. A few times I've nodded or smiled if I've caught their eye. And once in National Airport in D.C. I helped Lily Tomlin locate her driver who I had seen earlier.

I wonder how famous people feel about how other people react to seeing them in public. Often in places like Europe, they are looked at, but left alone. If you ignore them completely, are they glad or depressed? I guess it depends on the person.

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