CELEBRITY RECALLS

Long before it became a song or included in quizzes, “Do you know who you are?” was one of those instantaneous, absurd (yet common) questions most starstruck fans would ask a celebrity encountered on the streets of New York City. Not that I knew it in March of 1973 and not that I’ve made a fool of myself by uttering the question ever again. In fact, I was embarrassed and surprised I did the one time.Scan 2019-3-12 15.14.08

But we were young and giddy and on our way to Julius’ in the West Village to celebrate our anniversary with out-of-town friends when I spotted Lily Tomlin walking towards us on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village.

“Do you know who you are?” The words just gushed out.

“Gee, I think so,” was Lily’s reply, and “sure” to my request to take her photo. The shorter girl with blonde hair accompanying her hurried back out of frame range and, even though I waved her back in, she’d have nothing to do with the invite.

Apparently gaydar was down that day because none of us picked up on the other as being a couple. Or maybe an over abundance of happiness was drowning the frequency out? Because they would have been enjoying their first year together around then to our third. Which means this must be their 47th anniversary year to our 49th.

Oh happy daze!

~ ~ ~

I rode in my first limousine on New Year’s Eve, 1973. Our friend, Tom Dale, was a market research specialist and producer of television commercials who lived in a penthouse on East 48th Street and needed to be seen on the town with arm candy as a guise for his closeted true self. Elizabeth and I were his go-to-gal-pals and happily so. It afforded us the luxury to eat at the most trendy restaurants, attend posh events, and always have third row orchestra seats on the aisle at Broadway shows. That New Year’s Eve we’d seen Pippin’ at The Music Box Theater on West 45th Street.

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The show let out to throngs of partygoers who had already gathered in Times Square and beyond anticipating the ball dropping at midnight to welcome the start of 1974. At some point the limo needed to cross Broadway to the east side. When the police separated the crowds enough for traffic from the theater district to pass through, the people began to touch the darkened windows, hoping to get a glimpse of a celebrity hidden inside.

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At that moment I realized how much more we identified with those oozing joy on the outside of the limo freezing in the streets than we’d ever be like those presumed to be riding within. I’ve never ceased wondering who’s hidden behind the tinted windows of limousines — but I stopped assuming it was anyone famous long, long ago.

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Three weeks later, after attending Liza Minnelli Live At The Winter Garden, we joined Tom’s chum, Ted, for dinner at his private table in Ted Hook’s Backstage Restaurant next door to the Martin Beck Theater. Besides being a former hoofer in the chorus of more than 400 movies, Ted served as Talulah Bankhead’s personal secretary for five years and regularly entertained friends and customers with intimate stories of the star.

……

THIS POST REPRESENTS AN EXCERPT FROM:

Seriously, Mom, you didn’t Know? by Marguerite Quantaine Copyright © 2019

currently available on Amazon, Kindle, and in bookstores nationwide.

 

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12 thoughts on “CELEBRITY RECALLS

  1. Susan Cicero

    You had me at Richard Burton, but George Hamilton …whew! Fun life, but I know it was hard work too. And so sorry about the loss of so many friends to that devil, aids. Hugs!

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      Elizabeth Taylor and George Hamilton had that incredible truth in common, Susan. i.e., looks so stunning, the camera didn’t do them justice. They both, literally, took my breath away! Aristotle Onassis, too, but for exactly the opposite reason. His head was disturbingly too big for his very small stature and his face like a Halloween mask meant to scare. Richard Burton’s face was deeply pitted and severely scarred with skin was much, much worse than appeared in photos. As was Hayley Mills’ facial skin (The Parent Trap, Pollyanna). I met her with her famous actor father, John Mills (Ryan’s Daughter) by accident. If he was taller than me (5’1″) it certainly wasn’t by much!

      Reply
  2. Helen Darzanos-Griffiths

    Enjoyed reading this very much..Your encounter with Hugh O’Brien made me laugh, and your beautiful reply to Caroline made me sigh………

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      Thank you, Caroline. I like to pretend the energy the four of us exchanged in that brief chance encounter magically guaranteed our lifetime of happiness. We were all so in love without recognizing we were all so in love.

      Reply
  3. Mary Anne

    Sounds to me that Dr. Seuss had you in mind when he penned the phrase “Oh, the people you’ll meet!”.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      Just the luck of the draw, Mercedes. I always seemed to be in the right place at the famous-person-crossing time, as the ones I left out of this piece would prove. (Did someone say Hepburn?)

      Reply

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