I've had the opportunity to work with, or meet, quite a few celebrities in my day. I bring this up because Stan Phelps, a friend and fellow climber, just sent me a note about his work with Billie Jean King and John McEnroe.
Having endured a most unpleasant experience working with the 'Superbrat' way back when, I was curious to know how Stan had fared (Stan said Mac had been '…..very well behaved.' How 'bout that?).
McEnroe ranks a close second to The Rolling Stones on my personal list of worst celebrity encounters (I helped publicize the Steel Wheels Tour for Showtime Event Television and found Mick, Keith and the boys openly hostile to everyone and everything).
Mac and Mick's maladroit manners aside, I've been fortunate to interact with some genuinely nice celebrities, including:
- Muhammad Ali (he winked at me. Right back at you, big guy.)
- Smokin' Joe Frazier (spent 25 minutes talking boxing with me and said Scrap Iron Johnson was the hardest puncher he'd ever faced)
- Rod Stewart (did everything I asked prior to, during and after a USA Today interview for another Showtime event)
- Phil Collins (see: Rod Stewart)
- Willie Mays (a real gentleman, who got a big kick out of my knowledge of his 1962 S.F. Giants).
- Willis Reed (the captain was all class)
My favorite celebrity sighting, though, occurred on my wedding day. Angie and I had just gotten married on Long Island and then taken a limo to the city and our hotel, the Berkshire House (a mecca for celebrities at the time).
After checking in and stepping into the elevator, we were joined by a scruffy, overweight, long-haired guy and his blond escort. I immediately recognized him.
'You're David Crosby!' I cried out.
'Someone has to do the dirty work,' he replied.
I reached across the elevator, extended my hand and said, 'I'm Steve Cody. This is my wife, Angie. We just got married.'
Crosby broke into a big grin. But just then, the elevator doors opened and he stepped out. After doing so, he whirled around and, as the elevator doors were closing, said, 'May you two find the love and peace that I'm still chasing.' Fade to black. Wow.
Celebrity sightings are cool things for mere mortals like me. They're even cooler when the celebrities behave the way Mays, Frazier and Crosby did. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Stan say he'd had a good time with Johnny Mac. I'd like to think McEnroe has finally figured out that life isn't about how big you become but, rather, how many people you've been nice to along the way.