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The Very Model of Fame

Celebrity SpotlightThis week’s Spin Cycle is all about celebrities.

I’ve already written about my mother’s appearance on the David Letterman show, so I won’t bore my long-time readers with reposting any of it – however, if you’re a new reader, you can read the story of how Mom got on the Letterman show and watch the video if you want.  Both are pretty entertaining.

I have a couple more celebrity tales – one amusing and one personal; I’ll give you the amusing one first.  I’m saving up the personal one for when I’m in the right frame of mind.

Anyhoo, my maternal grandparents owned a small market research business when I was growing up.  You know, back in the days before the internet they were the people that had people call your house during dinner to get an opinion about a politician or television show, or sent someone to your house on a Saturday afternoon with a free bar of soap only to return a week later with a 47-page questionnaire on how you liked it, or were in charge of the people who tried to grab you either entering or leaving the mall so they could “ask you a few questions.”  Companies would sometimes have her pay people money to do things like watch an episode of whatever show was popular at the time so they could ask them questions about the commercials that were shown.  It was a pretty successful business with my grandmother handling the clients and coordinating her staff while my grandfather, who was agoraphobic, stayed at home and took care of the money side of it all.

The most interesting, to me anyway, of the “get paid to do this” jobs was the attendance of the sneak-preview of a movie that was about to be released.  I never actually got paid for those – my grandmother claimed it was unethical because I was related to her – but she roped me into this one by telling me I would get to see someone famous in person.  At 17 or so, I wasn’t going to pass that up, even though my grandmother refused to tell me who the someone famous was.  The film itself was boring – it was all about very young women trying to break into professional modeling and what a hard life it was.  Being a short, chubby teenager, I didn’t have a lot sympathy for staggeringly beautiful, rack-thin girls that got to jet around the world and wear designer clothes for a living.

However, as everyone was filing into the theatre, I took my seat before I realized I was about six rows behind the famous person my grandmother had hinted about – that very famous person was, at the time, dating a supermodel who happened to be a producer and consultant of the film and both were already sitting in a roped-off section near the front of the theatre with a few other people and flanked by security guards.  I grabbed my grandmother’s arm and squealed, “There he is!  LOOK – THERE HE IS!!”

My grandmother leaned forward and peered into the gloom.  “Who?  That man with the leopard skin pants who needs to comb his hair?”

“Yes!  Yes!” I gushed.

“Don’t be silly – that’s not Rod Steiger.”

I just stared at her for a moment before I said:

“Nona, that’s Rod Stewart.”





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