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Opinion: Talking to a celeb

A few nights ago a friend and I were seated at a Broadway show next to an older theatre/film/TV legend. She sat down about five minutes before the show and was having pleasant, but not intense conversation with her companion. I wanted to quietly tell her how meaningful her work was to me and thank her for responding to a fan letter I wrote as an adolescent but my friend thought it was inappropriate and asked me not to.

Would it have been wrong to say something? Instead we talked awkwardly about the weather.

by Anonymousreply 7210/28/2013

A real friend would have supported you.

by Anonymousreply 110/25/2013

Depends on who the celeb was. I would have talked to her as you wanted if I thought she would appreciate it. Some are very receptive & love the recognition & some don't want to be bothered. Who was it?

by Anonymousreply 210/25/2013

I say go for it, but time it well. Do it after the show is over and you're both making to leave. Don't do it earlier. If it's at all awkward for either of you, then you'd be left sitting in your awkwardness for the rest of the show.

And never interrupt someone having a meal at a restaurant. Ick.

by Anonymousreply 310/25/2013

When meeting celebrities, I never mention their work.

by Anonymousreply 410/25/2013

I've always felt the kindest thing to do in that situation would be to treat the celebrity like a normal person. As flattering as it must be to have people gush over you all the time, it seems like it would be emotionally exhausting as well. Your legendary seatmate probably enjoyed a few minutes of normal human interaction more than taking in the anxiety and hero worship of yet another stranger.

by Anonymousreply 510/25/2013

I don't think there would've been anything wrong with quietly saying that to her, perhaps during intermission. But knowing who this actress was would help all of us give you a better answer. Why hide it? It's not like you're telling us that you fucked her in the bathroom.

by Anonymousreply 610/25/2013

Who did you talk with about the weather? Your friend or the celeb? How did you start the conversation?

by Anonymousreply 710/25/2013

Celebrities are very easy to talk to. Just begin the conversation with a complement and keep the conversation focused on them. Unless you know someone they fucked. then by all means bring that up.

by Anonymousreply 810/25/2013

Why would you go on an anonymous board to post an innocuous story involving a celebrity and choose to hide the identity of the celebrity?

by Anonymousreply 910/25/2013

I guess I'm concerned that my friend reads this, but whatever, the celebrity was Angela Lansbury. My friend didn't want me to say anything because he works in press and they were press seats, he thought it was crossing some line. I think he was wrong.

by Anonymousreply 1010/25/2013

So did you say anthing at all to her?

by Anonymousreply 1110/25/2013

Telling her that she had responded to a fan letter decades ago may have tickled her! That would have been completely OK.

But your friend wanted to maintain his New York coolness, so no gushing over mere legends, please.

by Anonymousreply 1210/25/2013

I would have said something on the way out but only if I was a true fan.

I run into and interact with celebs all the time and get a kick out of recognizing someone but unless I am a fan have no reason to acknowledge their work at all.

by Anonymousreply 1310/25/2013

You showed great restraint and tact. Commendable. And I agree with your friend, OP. I'm guessing you were in house seats and I think it would be crossing some line for a person, there ostensibly as part of the press, to intrude on her privacy. And yes, I still think celebrities are entitled to some degree of privacy.

by Anonymousreply 1410/25/2013


Your friend wanted you to be quiet because he probably knows that everytime Angela appears someone turns out dead in a matter of minutes!

by Anonymousreply 1510/25/2013

I've seen Bedknobs probably 100 times if not more, so I do regret not saying anything. I don't really think she would have minded, but he asked me not to so I obliged. Marsha Mason and Burt Bacharach were also around but seeing as I feel no strong connection to their work I wouldn't have said anything.

Oh well, next time.

by Anonymousreply 1610/25/2013

What was the show?

by Anonymousreply 1710/25/2013

I agree with the poster who said you should have spoken to her after the show as you were both walking out I think she would love it

by Anonymousreply 1810/25/2013

[quote]I guess I'm concerned that my friend reads this, but whatever, the celebrity was Angela Lansbury. My friend didn't want me to say anything because he works in press and they were press seats, he thought it was crossing some line. I think he was wrong.

Your friend was right. Sorry. In your OP I assumed you were referring to a relatively obscure person, but Angela Lansbury? AND you were sitting in house/press seats? FUCK no. That would have *absolutely* inappropriate. Also, DL rumor has it that she can be *quite* the bitch in person, so she could have reamed you a new asshole for disturbing her.

by Anonymousreply 1910/25/2013

Yes, the press, or those sitting in press seats, are forbidden to speak to celebrities.

by Anonymousreply 2010/25/2013

[quote] What was the show?

Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but without the bed or broom. So just knobs and sticks aka OP and friend.

by Anonymousreply 2110/25/2013

I had made a website for a couple of musicians, the wife was in a girl group. The record company (from the 60's) saw the site and asked if I knew how to get in touch with her, concerning royalties. They said no one was going to get rich, but there were royalties. I wrote to the husband about this at his record office. He replied back, and still emails me and sends Christmas cards. (She got her royalties)

by Anonymousreply 2210/25/2013

It was Janet Jackson.

by Anonymousreply 2310/25/2013

Everyone wants to hear compliments, but some celebrities are stopped constantly and it must get very old. If no one else recognized the celeb and the show was over, I think a few kind words would have been appreciated, but I wouldn't expect an actual conversation to take place or any kind of effusive thank you in return. But if you just say a couple of sentences, almost in passing, you had a nice encounter, and they heard a nice compliment.

Your friend sounds overly tense. Unless he or she was seeing something in the celebrity's body language that you weren't picking up. Or knows that you would have interrupted and then rambled or started crying and made the whole thing really awkward.

by Anonymousreply 2410/25/2013

Celebrities LIVE for fan praise. As long as you do it, as others have said, gracefully and at an appropriate time.

by Anonymousreply 2510/25/2013

Doesn't Angela Lansbury sign at stage doors at all of her shows despite her age? I'm sure she wouldn't have minded a few kind words.

by Anonymousreply 2610/25/2013

I once ran into (still straight) Anne Heche while waiting to see a play at the Manhattan Theatre Club. I had liked her a lot as Vicky, and I told her so. We talked about it for awhile. She was no longer playing the role, but she told me she had "liked playing her so much."

by Anonymousreply 2710/25/2013

Actors are the most insecure people on the face of the planet. They LOVE praise and adoration. It's their lifeblood.

As long as you're polite about approaching a celebrity and not intruding on family time or a business meeting or whatever, they're usually fine about being approached if you have something nice to say to them.

by Anonymousreply 2810/25/2013

r26 (and OP), I took my 88 year old uncle to see Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit a few years ago, and we hung around in the freezing cold waiting for her to come out. Christine Ebersole came out first, and signed a few then hopped in her car, then Rupert Everett who signed a lot and posed for photos. Angela came out about a half hour later, smiled and waved, made some chit chat with a few people, but didn't sign and was quickly escorted to a waiting car. I wasn't disappointed and I was happy my uncle got a glimpse of her.

by Anonymousreply 2910/25/2013

Nobody seems to consider how Angela's friend would have felt sitting there while somebody gushed to Angela about how much he loved her work. That sort of thing is awkward at best for the obscure friend of a celebrity. And once one person does it, that typically opens the floodgates for more people to interrupt for "just a quick word" with the person in question. Your friend was right, and you did the right thing to listen to him.

by Anonymousreply 3010/25/2013

I would have said, "Ms. Lansbury, it's wonderful to see you looking so well. I hope you're enjoying the show." And just give her a smile. She has already given you a lot.

by Anonymousreply 3110/25/2013

Should have told her! I once met a female rock and blues legend, Bonnie Raitt. I adore her. My friend said don't talk to her. But I did and she loved the attention, it was in Marin County...

by Anonymousreply 3210/25/2013

One of my relatives worked for a few years for her, OP. My relative was in a fairly lowly position, but she still remembers AL fondly. Said she was unpretentions and an all around nice person. The fact that she wrote you back years ago probably proves that. You should've talked to her and mentioned it, it's a neat little coincidence.

by Anonymousreply 3310/25/2013

Well, if they were press seats & the friend was either doing a review or some other professional task & invited you as his plus-one, then you should follow his lead. (The reason being that if the celeb takes exception to being approached and complains, they can see who was sitting in those seats and pull credentials, or at least get your friend yelled at).

If you'd paid for the tickets yourself, or they were a gift, then I'd certainly have said something, perhaps at intermission or on the way out.

by Anonymousreply 3410/25/2013

I agree that it would have been inappropriate to bother her in press seating. My good friend is an executive at Nike, so she lets me go into the employee store to shop when I am in town. I have seen so many celebrities there shopping (Tiger Woods, George Lopez, Kate Hudson, Pete Sampras etc). I was instructed by my friend before going there that I was not supposed to talk to the celebrities, ask for photos etc. George Lopez was particularly friendly, and waved me over to where he was sitting trying on shoes (I am an attractive lesbian). I didn't know what to do, and was really uncomfortable, so I waved at him and walked away. The whole situation is weird, but I would rather err on the side of being distant, and not piss my friend off.

by Anonymousreply 3510/25/2013

OP, whenever that happens to me, I always linger in my seat after the performance has ended and the star just removed herself from the seat to leave---and I instantly mash my face into her still-warm theatre seat to see what her asshole smells like.

It has worked on Angela, Dolly, Jane, Mia, Angelina, Zsa Zsa and Pee Wee Herman.

by Anonymousreply 3610/25/2013

R27, I think Anne Heche's work as Vicky/Marley on "Another World" was fantastic. There's one scene where Heche as Vicky is pretending to be Marley at her trial for shooting rape. She learns from Marley's lawyer that Marley had actually been raped but must of course, "act" like she already knows this because she's pretending to me her twin sister. Vicky then goes to the bathroom and has a rage-filled breakdown about. Some of the most powerful acting I've seen.

by Anonymousreply 3710/25/2013

You can compliment a celeb without drooling.

by Anonymousreply 3810/25/2013

Those were the days, R37. I always had a problem with Marley's rape, though. I couldn't believe Jake would do that to Marley.

Such good stuff, otherwise.

by Anonymousreply 3910/25/2013

Um we're talking about me bitches

by Anonymousreply 4010/25/2013

Not sure why I typed "shooting rape" when I meant to say "shooting Jake."

by Anonymousreply 4110/25/2013

Yet I knew exactly what you were talking about, R41.

by Anonymousreply 4210/25/2013

A simple, "Nice tits!" would have been sufficient, OP.

by Anonymousreply 4310/25/2013

Depends... After the show it would have been appropriate whoever it is.

by Anonymousreply 4410/25/2013

I would agree it's a little different if the person who bought the tickets is there professionally and doesn't want you to do it. I've heard that gushing at celebrities when you're visiting backstage is kind of verboten, and that for the theater staff to ask celebrities for autographs is a major no-no. That may be true here as well, particularly if your friend is someone Angela Lansbury would have recognized.

by Anonymousreply 4510/25/2013

I ran into Debra Wilson at an event a few years ago. I always loved her on MAD TV and was sad when she left the cast. I told her so. She was so grateful and friendly and I got an earful about MAD management. She was wired and intense and it was really interesting to hear her point of view. I still wish her lots of success, checked her stats on IMDb and see she's still working.

Once I was with my mother and we met Anthony Newley (a long time ago, he died in 1999). She gushed all over him and it was SO embarrassing.

by Anonymousreply 4610/25/2013

Dear 31, that "looking so well" comment implies she was sick or old. I'd go with "nice tits" instead. Or ask her about Hurd Hatfield, the original Dorian Gray, Grey?

by Anonymousreply 4710/25/2013

In years of spotting celebrities or actually meeting them, I have never encountered one who isn't thrilled to be recognized and complimented on his or her work. The point is to be polite and not bother them in places like restaurant, although a friend of mine asked Claudette Colbert for an autograph while she was in a restaurant, and Colbert was lovely and spoke with her for a few minutes. In the case of the OP, I would have waited until the show was over as well.

A friend of mine went to a show and sat next to Bernadette Peters. They were both in their seats some minutes before the show began, and they both sat there in silence, looking at their Playbills. Finally my friend leaned toward her and said in a low voice, "If you want me to pretend I don't know who you are, I will." Peters started laughing, and they had a nice talk.

by Anonymousreply 4810/25/2013

You should've waited until she was in the bathroom and then cornered her in the stall, OP. You know you wanted to.

by Anonymousreply 4910/25/2013

I once sat next to Greta Garbo in a theatre. It killed me not to speak to her, but I was well aware that she "wanted to be alone". She dropped her program and I picked it up for her - she grunted "thankyou", so, I guess I did have a (very brief) conversation with the great GG.

by Anonymousreply 5010/25/2013

I've met Angela many times at events and at the theater. She is one of the rare ones that is very approachable and nice. She would have loved to chat with you. Your friend made you miss a great opportunity. She would have loved the story about the fan letter.

by Anonymousreply 5110/25/2013

It does depends on who the celeb is and the circumstances. I've met lots of them in NYC and most are nice. I once (2010) was at the same play as Denis O'Hare. It was bloody vampire I think. (He said he had a friend in the play) My friends & I sat right behind him & Hugo & another couple they were with. After the play I told him how I love Russell etc. He was very nice, thanked me, & even let me take a photo of him with me & my boyfriend. Then I ran into him in 2012 at Pret A Manger near Union Square. I said Hi, & reminded him of the play. I could tell he did not remember (of course) But he said it was a good play etc. He chatted for a few minutes & seemed very happy to do so. & said he had to get to a meeting with his agent over on Park ave. S. Very nice man.

by Anonymousreply 5210/25/2013

Honey, shertainly, I'd have talked to you eshpeshially if you got me a gin and tonic!

by Anonymousreply 5310/25/2013

Since when is being parked next to someone in a theatre seat considered the sort of social situation where not only introductions but lengthy nattering about how much one person knows about the other are expected?

A smile, a nod, a "good evening," and then if any spontaneous and serendipitous impetus for further conversation is called for ("Oh. You dropped your glove. Allow me to get it.") one smiles and says what one has to say and then allows the other to return attention to the person with whom she or he has arrived.

Of course, if any invitation to chat is offered, one does it, to be polite, within limits. It is not polite to assume familiarity with a person to who one has not been introduced, and familiarity includes presuming to display knowledge of the person's job, character, or the quality of her or his work. Presumption is ugly.

It is better to be a person's equal and give the person space than to be a "fan." This was not a stage door, a book-signing line or a public appearance.

Are there no adults left?

by Anonymousreply 5410/25/2013

was once in an elevator with Mindy Kaling and she was super sweet. told her "I never do this, but I think you're just sensational on The Office." and she cracked up and said "thank you, but wtf is up with that doll!"

by Anonymousreply 5510/25/2013

R55, kisses doll.

by Anonymousreply 5610/25/2013

Ask her if her tits are real.

by Anonymousreply 5710/25/2013

I avoid celebrities because I always screw things up. For some reason I keep thinking they know one another.

Back in the 90s I worked security at Saks. Womenswear reported that some strange man was spinning a loaf in one of their dressing rooms.

I stuck my head over the partition and discovered Mandy Patinkin. I yelled, "Hey, Mr. Patinkin, what's it like working with Patti LuPone ?"

He looked up at me and said, "Um..fine."

"Have you met Tom Bosley? How is he to work with? Is he nice?" I continued.

He buckled his pants and turned to look in the mirror, adjusting the part in his hair. "No, no. Haven't met him."

He then gingerly stepped over the turd and exited the dressing room.

I was so embarrassed.

by Anonymousreply 5810/25/2013

I sat behind Fergie, Duchess of York once at a play in New York and she jabbered and gesticulated so much that I whacked her with my program.

by Anonymousreply 5910/25/2013

You should have broken into "I Wanted Hearts not Diamonds" until she stabbed you in the throat.

by Anonymousreply 6010/25/2013

Lansbury is pretty comfortable with the public. I used to work in a store she shopped in when I was a teen (and this was when Murder She Wrote was still on so she was high profile.) She'd enter the store like she was entering a Broadway musical and greet all the staff and smile and accept compliments from anybody else who was shopping there.

by Anonymousreply 6110/25/2013

Not sure how they work the house seats, but I often get them by just going to the theater the day of the peformance. I think they release them at noon. If I paid cash, they'd have no record of who sat in those seats. I would have said hello at the very least...

by Anonymousreply 6210/25/2013

It's considered to be in poor taste to talk to a celeb in that way, OP. That's what I was taught. Makes you look like a low class tourist or something equivalent.

by Anonymousreply 6310/25/2013

Please don't look in my general direction. Commoner.

by Anonymousreply 6410/26/2013

What are press seats?

by Anonymousreply 6510/26/2013

Sat in front of John Larroquette at a B'way show. He was with a hot younger guy. Told him I was a fan and had a brief chat with him. He was nice. Same with Paul Reiser back when he was a big tv star. He was alone at intermission when I approached him. Did not approach Doris Roberts at the off-Broadway show where I sat near her during her "Raymond" days. She was with another woman and was NOT interested in being approached.

by Anonymousreply 6610/26/2013

John Larroquerette is gay?

by Anonymousreply 6710/27/2013

R36, you are so juvenile. I love you from afar.

by Anonymousreply 6810/27/2013

Wow, Google Doris Roberts, she looks like Divine now.

by Anonymousreply 6910/27/2013

Your friend probably knew you were going to be fanboy-ish about the whole thing, and that once you started in about the fan letter from the past you would have kept babbling and ended up being awkward.

by Anonymousreply 7010/28/2013

Nonsense. A polite compliment is always acceptable, if you aren't interrupting. I did exactly that to the famously irascible Elaine Stritch a few years ago as we were waiting for our aisle to clear. She nodded, smiled a bit, and said, "Thanks for saying so."

by Anonymousreply 7110/28/2013

Lansbury has a rep for being nice and gracious. I'm sure a 'it's so nice to see you in person; thank you for responding to my fan letter' would have been fine.

She would have smiled and acted gracious.

But I agree with the posters who believe that it's best in this case -- since OP's pal was WORKING -- it was smart to err on the side of saying nothing.

This isn't about approaching celebs, but about respecting a friend's work and LIVELIHOOD.

I work in the press and brought along a girl (friend) to an event where there were sports figures.

Everyone was on the same page that I was bringing a guest -- not a collegaue. It was cleaered in advance with p.r. reps and my boss.

When we were getting name tags, I gave mine and my outlet's at the check in for the event. My friend (when asked how her name tag should read) joked: "Available!"

She laughed. The girl checking us in laughed. And then she gave her name and that's what went on the tag.

(I saw my career go out the window, but I was overly cautious.)

I covered the event without incident and my friend behaved professionally inside.

The next day, though, I was called into my boss' office. Boss wanted to know why I i.d.'d a 'guest' as a 'co-worker.'

I said I didn't and asked what led to that impression; my boss uttered a name and admitted that person wasn't at the event; who knows how it happened.

I stood up for myself and said it sounds like someone who wasn't there is having a conversation with you, who also wasn't there, about something you think happened. But it didn't. We set up in advance that I could bring a guest and that's what I did.

It was all forgotten pretty quickly, but I thought twice about bringing a friend to an event.

All this said, however, saying hello to Ms. Lansbury at the end of the show, on the way out, wouldn't have been the worst thing.

But moments like that have to be timed precisely so there's no awkwardness.

by Anonymousreply 7210/28/2013
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