I've came across several celebrities in my life by way of working at prestigious hotels and as a valet in several hi-rise condos of the Wilshire Corridor. I've been working off/on in these kind of environments since the year 2000. It's nothing to brag about but my run
ins with celebrities are always an interest to the star-struck folks out there. To me, it isn't a big deal. They're not what they seem in person as they appear in the movies or television. Its not that they look thin or fat in person, its just that they look like any 'joe' off the street. In my life time I've been star struck only twice, and I'll get to them in a minute. When I dealt with a famous 'joe' here and there and when I realize who they are I say to myself "That's so and so? What do they have that I don't? What makes them so special?" Besides the only fact that they have money and notoriety, they're really nothing. I'm taller than most of them and only a few of them come to my 6 foot eye level.
This is my story with the famous.
I don't have a random order when I served these folks. The experiences just comes to my mind when I think back as I'm writing this.
I remember when I worked for this independent valet company and we were hired by the Chateau Marmont on Sunset blvd. That night I had a brief encounter with John Leguizamo, who gave me a strange stare. I never thought that this midget was funny to begin with, and how he has a fan base is a mystery to me. By the end of the evening I brought up Arnold Schwarzenegger Mercedes ride. He was with Maria Shriver and 'The
Terminator' gave me five bucks. I used to pay more to watch his movies at the theatre, and "I'll be back" better not come back again. When I worked at the Marriott in Marina Del Rey, I brought up Ike Turner's car and he gave me 2 bucks. He was nice to me and had on a smile as he handed me the cash. I couldn't picture him beating Tina Turner
because that man was tiny.
Rick Fox, who played for the Lakers gave me 20 bucks one time. He made my day for that and not all were as giving as him.
Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard who lost his arm in a car accident on December 31, 1984. He came up to me asking for directions. He gave me nothing for my road map service.
Todd Bridges showed up once in a beat up mini van and that guy was just lost. I didn't expect anything from him and my gut feeling was right.
'Macho Man' Randy Savage, the super star wrestler gave me the 'brother' talk. That was cool but he didn't tip. I got a autograph from Eddie Guerrero(R.I.P.)
Corey maggette, another NBA player for the L.A. Clippers never gave me a damn thing for keeping his Caddy Escalade in the driveway. None of the valets at the time liked him and we couldn't wait for him to leave the Marriott.
I've worked on several film sets and I worked with Jeremy Sisto, Ernest Harding Jr., Billy Campbell, Oliver Stone, Al Pacino, Thomas Kopache, James Earl Jones, and Eric Edwards. It's a tough business to get into but I'm just not consistent. This is a topic for another time or maybe never.
Back to my story as a servant to the famous... I was working at another hi-rise condo a few years back, but this time as a front desk personnel. A job that's totally out of my range because I'm not catering kind where you offer more of yourself to the elite. The less I have to deal with somebody the better, especially when they get demanding. I don't have the patience for their non-sense. As a front desk guy you don't get tips like the valets do except on certain occasions. Like Suge Knight, the owner of death row records gave me $50 bucks on Christmas.
I've met some legends like Milton Berle and Red Buttons. I told Red that I enjoyed his work on the film Sayonara, he said 'thank you'. I got a hand shake from Jerry Stiller but he gave me a look like I'm a peasant. Not a real funny moment if you ask me. Living at Suge Knight's unit was Lisa 'left eye' Lopez(R.I.P.) She gave me nothing but a pain in my ass.
Puff Daddy came to the building looking to buy a unit, but I guess it fell through because I never saw him again. Thank god, because I know he was going to be a handful.
At another valet job that I had was at a restaurant and Jennifer Lopez was filming a blockbuster failure called 'Enough'. At that time she was dating Chris Judd. She always had an entourage of people around her like she was a queen as oppose to Juliette Lewis who walk on/off the set by herself like a warrior.
As I said before I've only been choked up over two famous dudes. Henry Rollins, who tours around the U.S. and Europe doing spoken word shows. He's a real down to earth guy and he speaks his mind. He used to be the vocals for the punk band, Black Flag. The other is none other than Jake Lamotta, who I wrote about in a few of my articles. If you think that Jake has a nasty attitude? How about Keyshawn Johnson? Every time he calls for his car and if it's not brought up right away he starts using the black and white thing. Like us valets don't take care of him like we do with the white folks, he says. He's just stupid if you ask me. He made his fortune playing professional football and won a super bowl ring when he played for Tampa Bay. (My home town)
One of the best advice from a celebrity that I ever received was from SNL's Rob Schneider. He came to this restaurant in Manhattan Beach and I just walked up to him and I asked him for his autograph and talked with him for a moment. I asked him "what do I have to do to get where you're at?" he tells me "Write a screenplay". I've been doing that ever since. Another story for another time.
In the boxing scene I've gotten a few autographs such as Sugar Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron, and of course Jake Lamotta. I've also have my photo taken with them too. These gladiators believe it or not are the nicest people unlike the movie stars that I came across over the years. They appreciate that they're being remembered for the contribution to a great sport because it's hard work and determination.
Oh, before I forget...my latest encounter was Hilary Duff. She's been coming to the building that I work at because the guy she's dating is Mike Comrie, a professional hockey player who plays for New York. He's a nice guy who tips me $20-$50 for opening either the lobby door or his Range Roverdoor. I chatted with Hilary on several occasions and I helped her out with heavy luggages in/out of her Mercedes G wagon when she visits. So here's my tip on Hilary Duff... She doesn't tip.
A lot of the films that I've worked on I was a background actor. Just a star with a small amount of glitter who's out-shined. A warrior working hard to polish his craft. A little rough around the edges, but still a star. If my jewel is not shiny enough, then I have no choice but to be an uncrowned champ with memories.