Stop the Presses!

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Breaking News: I have finally received a reply to my first and only ever fan letter!

Yes, that’s right. As embarrassing as the truth might be, here it is: you are reading the blog of a 32 year old woman with her very first celebrity crush.

I don’t understand it, really. I made it through the eighties and all those issues of Tiger Beat magazine without ever feeling the urge to put pen to paper for the likes of Kirk Cameron or Ralph Macchio. And “The Coreys”, while charming and funny, were, to me, as fictional as the characters they portrayed in teen movie after teen movie (though, if pressed on the point, I was more a Feldman follower than a Haim fan.) The girls that swooned and sighed over Hollywood heartthrobs baffled me. What was the point? Trying to make contact with a famous person was as rational as trying to build a working spaceship in your backyard.

So I said then.

Fast forward fifteen years. It’s Girls’ Night Out, and I sit in a darkened theater, surrounded by friends, drinking in the newly released, Joel Schumacher-directed feast for the senses, The Phantom of the Opera. I’ve seen the stage production in London, and I already love the story. But from the moment the Phantom appears on the screen, I am captivated in a whole new way. Who is that?, I wonder. This Phantom has an edge to him–a gritty, untrained rawness in his voice and a sensitivity in his face that transform this classic role into something unique. The actor brings the Phantom’s vulnerability and thwarted humanity into stark relief against the backdrop of dark obsession and unchecked violence. Compassion awakens, in both Christine and the audience. For the first time, the choice Christine must make feels like a real one.

His name, I find out later (isn’t IMDB wonderful?), is Gerard Butler, and on my next trip to the video store I rent the decidedly non-glossy UK release, Dear Frankie. Amazing. In his role as the quiet Stranger, Butler illuminates the achingly human drama playing out between the story’s mother and son with subtle depth. His few lines could be written on one sheet of paper, but he uses his face and body language to create a truly multilayered addition to the cast of characters.

Of course, I had to tell him so.

So I wrote my first fan letter. It was nothing fancy. I told him how much I liked his work. I said I was looking forward seeing his upcoming films, Beowulf & Grendel and 300. I asked for an autographed photo.

I also mentioned my wonderful and handsome husband. You know, just to save Gerard from the embarrassment of flying all the way from Scotland to Idaho to ask me to run away with him only to have me turn him down flat. Those celebrity egos are surprisingly fragile.

Anyway, that was months ago. I had given up all hope of receiving my photo, sure that my letter was sitting on a dusty stack in the basement of some management agency, forgotten and likely to end up in a landfill.

Then, yesterday, it came: my very own signed photo of the Phantom, along with a deeply personal and heartfelt letter from Gerry himself. (Is it okay if I call you Gerry, Gerry?)

Here is the picture:

“Best Wishes!” Do you see that? Clearly we’ve made a connection.

Though I value our newfound friendship, I do hope that Gerry doesn’t expect me to go flying around the country to attend his movie premieres and all those pesky awards shows. I’ve got a family to raise here, after all.

Still, it is rather nice having a celebrity friend.

This is my second, if you count Dick Van Dyke, which I do, of course.

Maybe someday I will tell you about Dick and I, and share the riveting tale of our star-crossed meeting in the produce department of Vons in Malibu. The details are a little fuzzy, but I do remember dripping melted ice cream on his shoes, and at some point I’m pretty sure I sang him the entire chorus of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Off key.

Now I know what “star-struck” means.

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17 responses »

  1. I met Jerry Van Dyke once. I was working at a theater and he was getting ready to build his own, so he was at ours getting ideas and such. After teaching him all about the box office and how to sell tickets, I said “So, you’re the guy from Mary Poppins, right? I love that movie.” and he said “No, that was my brother.” That was pretty much the end of our conversation. =)

  2. Oh, this is a wonderful day for you. I am in awe of your chutzpah to procure such a special photo! πŸ˜‰

    What a hoot. lol.

  3. LOL You are too funny sister! πŸ™‚
    I guess we’re never too old to have crushes.
    Hmmm and with that, I’m off to write Brett Favre a letter & pray like the dickens.

  4. This is like six degrees of separation from…the Van Dykes? My older brother’s claim to fame is that when he was four, he met Dick Van Dyke outside the Broadway theatre where he was performing in “Bye Bye, Birdie.” I think my aunt made him (my brother) do his Elvis imitation, which would have easily been trumped by your “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” since my brother can’t sing.

  5. Yeah! I am so happy for you. I can just see the smile on your face and the little dance you did when you realized what you were holding. Hope remains for all of us “old ladies” with celebrity crushes.

    P.S. Vin has a cameo at the end of Fast and the Furious 3. Does that mean I have to watch the whole movie or can I just fast forward?!

  6. Tell Gerry I said “Hi” the next time you see him…

    Thanks for stopping by MiM! Always fun to have new visitors!

    Oh… and “Best Wishes!” (I know it’s not the same… but, well, it’s all I got.) πŸ˜‰

  7. Slush–Haha; that’s priceless! I’ve always wanted to bump into Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise so that I could pretend to mistake them for someone else. That probably doesn’t happen very often; it might be good for them!

    Ally–Thank you! Yes, I will remember this day always (thanks to the scrapbook page I’m going to create about it!)

    Cuppy–Ummmm… ;P

    Koyama–Don’t tease me like that!

    Jules–Just send him some of those pics of you wearing his jersey; you’re bound to get a reply. πŸ˜‰

    Sisiggy–Sounds like your brother and I are in the same league. Apparently, our only hope for singing fame lies in being heinous enough to make the rejects clips for American Idol!

    Jen–If you like, when it comes out on DVD, Paul can edit it down to the pertinent fifteen seconds for you. πŸ™‚ He seems so nice in interviews, I bet you’d have a good chance of getting a response to a fan letter of your own! πŸ˜€

    Ben–I appreciate the effort. Can you do a Scottish accent? That might help.

    Kassi–Heehee.

  8. Thats rad!! I got a signed photo of Eric Stolzt once. I entered a contest for the movie “Some Kind of Wonderful” where we could send in a postcard sayin how somekindawonderful eric was. I sent in a zillion. I didnt win but got a pic. I wonder if that is why i have been a fan of his work all along…. that and the fact that hes really cute.

    My latest celebrity crushes have fallen to stars on the food network. Watch out Bobby Flay! Maybe he would send me a signed spoonula?

  9. That is hilarious! And, ooh he’s hot! I don’t blame you for the fan letter. I’ve never been brave enough. Perhaps you’ve inspired me. Now I gotta get a crush on someone other than Brad cuz he’s totally pussed out since being with Angelina.

  10. Oh my.

    I am SO linking this blog to mine! (And as to the Coreys? I’m with you – Feldman – absolutely!)

    When I was a kid I met Martin Sheen. I might have only been about 9 but I knew hot when I saw it. (And there perhaps we have the start of my thing for older men.)

  11. I was never much into the Corey’s either…Ricky Schroder was my big crush. I just knew that if I wrote him a letter every week, he’d eventually want to meet me. As for celebrity encounters, Caesar Romero is the only one I ever met, and I was way too young to care about him. My parents made me go ask for his autograph while on a flight from Houston to Hawaii. I still have it tucked away in my diary someplace.

  12. Congratualtions on that photo! Even now I’m sure that, swept away with your delightfully different letter, Gerry is reading this blog after having googled YOU!

    And since everybody else is sharing their “brush with fame” stories, I feel it is my obligation to refer to mine, although my “brush” was more of a bump involving Pierce Brosnan, the Malibu deli, a Jeep and, thankfully, no ambulances or lawsuits.

  13. Don’t be embarrassed, I’ve sent my share of fan letters….well, in the past of course! ha ha! Just kiddin’!! πŸ™‚ I think it’s awesome!!

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