As promised, I wanted to write about the Los Angeles years. I moved to the city of angels when I was 28, and happily lived there for 10 years. I arrived on there as a doe eyed ingenue, searching for stardom.
And left 10 years later, a born-again Christian, married, and looking forward to starting a family, having left the spotlight far behind.
What a wild ride those 10 years were. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
The Los Angeles Riots of 1992 – I had thankfully moved from the heart of Hollywood to the valley, so I was fairly sheltered from the turmoil just over the hill. I remember smelling smoke from the fires, and staying glued to the news. And not going out. For a really long time. The fear was nearly crippling.
The 1994 Northridge Earthquake – I had experienced smaller tremors while living in Los Angeles. I remember one smaller earthquake that awakened me one night. I looked out of my 2nd story apartment window and watched the water slosh from side to side in the pool.
But nothing could have prepared me for the much larger Northridge quake. I was spending the night with my best friend Kathy in Santa Monica. The quake struck in the middle of the night. We dove for the door jamb and hung on. I really thought we were going to die. The quake was well felt in Santa Monica because evidently there was a fault line extending from Northridge and heading south into Santa Monica. There was so much destruction along that line. That was why the IH 10 overpass collapsed.
Kathy’s apartment didn’t suffer much damage. But her refrigerator was thrown across the kitchen. And while all about us lost power, her building was the only one within miles that had electricity. A little blessing for two high strung Texas girls.
My little house in Burbank had no damage whatsoever. Well. Except that the cat soiled the carpet. But had I been there, so would I.
Anyhoo, on the lighter side.
A Brush with Greatness:
One of the perks to living in Los Angeles (besides a Starbucks on every single corner) was the unexpected sightings of the famous. That just never got old for me.
And now I will commence with the shameless name dropping.
• I attended a Sunday afternoon BBQ that included as a guest, Keiffer Sutherland. I KNOW! Jack Bauer! This was during the “Young Gun” years. Long before he became THE TORTURER OF ALL EVIL AND DEFENDER OF WORLD PEACE. I remember he was very soft spoken and polite.
• When I was performing children’s parties, I was able to ogle some interesting stars. Without them suspecting. I played Minnie Mouse once and saw Demi Moore (with Rumer as a toddler) at a swim party. Demi wore a red bikini. And she had a “mom body.” She was adorable with her daughter.
Also, at the same party I saw Rachel Hunter. She DID NOT have a “mom body.”
My vision was a bit hampered, due to the giant Minnie Mouse head and all the sweat pouring into my eyes.
• I also performed for a couple of kids parties for Barbra Streisand’s god daughter. I met Babs. I have a picture, but doggone it, I have no idea where it is.
At the same party I also had a conversation with George Hamilton. Very nice. Very tan. Awesome smile.
• I did a little movie with Vince Van Patton. We were both awfully long in the tooth playing teenagers. He was very easy to work with. Not to mention easy on the eye. And btw, that movie never even made it to the can, much less a release.
Me and Vince Van Patton, 1989 ish
• Once, after a trip to the grocery store I called my Dad. “DAD, I JUST SAW ‘DRABBY’ AT RALPHS!” And he knew who I was talking about. When I was growing up, I religiously watched “The Young and the Restless” with my mom. My dad would wander through and rename characters for us. ‘Drabby’ was Jill Foster’s mother (before she found out her mother was Kay Chancellor, who really isn’t, so now I guess ‘Drabby’ is her mother again). I can’t believe I really know that stuff. Dad named her thusly because she always wore gray.
• Other soap sightings included Drake Hogestyn from DOOL. I heard is voice while I was shopping in Michael’s. I peered around the corner, AND IT WAS HIM.
• I also did a step class at a Hollywood gym with ‘Luke Spencer’ (GH) two rows away from me. I almost broke a femur paying more attention to him than to the instructor.
Because I’m a dweeb.
• One of the first Bible studies I attended included Patty Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond). I adored her. Very real. Very candid. I attended her wedding and a baby shower or two. I hate that I lost touch with her. Some of those girls from that early Bible Study are still some of my closest friends in life.
• Lisa Whelchel and her family became good friends a million years ago. They were one of the many perks to my meeting Fiddledaddy. He was a buddy of Lisa’s husband, Steve. And thankfully, we still count them as very very good friends. So she’s not really a brush with greatness, since she hasn’t been able to shake me for all these many years. 🙂
• Well. Y’all know I belonged to a rag tag group of friends that played poker every week in the early 90’s. And that Brad Pitt some times made an appearance. (Once even at my Hollywood apartment when the game was hosted there.)
Brad, sitting on my floor, touching my couch
A couple of other players went on to bright futures. Lou Diamond Phillips was one. But I just accidentally saw him on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” and I have to seriously question who is giving him career advice.
Anyway. Lou was one of the sweetest, most giving human beings I’ve ever known.
Lou Diamond Phillips, enjoying some birthday cake
Another player was Brandon Lee. As in son of Bruce. His bright future was cut short on the movie set of “The Crow”. A very dark day for our little band of friends. Brandon lived life to the maximum. We was funny, witty, smart, and a fiercely loyal friend. He is still missed.
One other player, Chris Lindsey, went on to become a Grammy Award winning songwriter.
Another friend, who never played poker, but hung around with us was John Hancock. He went on to become a much sought after director (think, The Rookie) A bunch of us from the poker group did a play together that he wrote and directed. I don’t think we made it past the previews.
That’s show biz.
• Now this is really dating me, but I once saw David Selby (Quentin Collins from Dark Shadows) at an airport. I almost peed on the tarmac.
• When I painted furniture and hocked my wares at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and various art shows, I always spotted celebrities. A few that were regulars were Dr. Green (from E.R.), Drew Barrymore, Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna, John Malkovich (even though he scared the tar out of me on-screen, he was always very nice in person), and Diane Keaton.
OH! This is big. One of my regular customers was the guy from Extreme Home Makeover, Michael Maloney. He was a buyer for a big hoopty ploopty store on Melrose. Very very nice guy!
As a middle aged mom of 3, now living in the suburbs of Armpit, Florida, all of this makes me giggle. Some day I’ll have big stories to tell my children.
Too bad they’ll have no idea who I’m talking about.
YOUR TURN! Please tell me about any brush with greatness you’ve had! And I totally expect my friend Gretchen to chime in, because we have a lot of shared history in Hollywood.