I never worked for a Hollywood-type publicity mill, so my encounters with celebrities depended solely upon client sponsorships or chance encounters at trade shows.
Thanks to Showtime’s sponsorship of their tours, I spent time with Phil Collins (nice lad), Rod Stewart (very decent chap) and The Rolling Stones (even way back during The Steel Wheels tour, Mick, Keith & the Boys were angry old men).
Sony Car Stereo afforded me the opportunity to meet celebrities up close-and-personal. I spent a full-day with Willie Mays (a very special guy) and John McEnroe (he was, indeed, a SuperBrat).
But, Jerry Lewis provided me with my best celebrity experience of all.
I was in Las Vegas, along with other members of the Sony team. Lewis had agreed to be interviewed in his dressing room before a scheduled 8pm performance. The subject: his use of Sony audio and video equipment.
I’d never been a fan, so I wasn’t exactly psyched. But, Lewis couldn’t have been friendlier to the reporter or this lowly flack.
And, Jerry absolutely wowed us with his knowledge of photography, videography and technology in general. He held court for a full half-hour, answering every question in an extremely thoughtful, serious and informed manner. In short, he was the antithesis of his zany, low-brow, on-stage self.
Then, just as the interview ended, Jerry asked the reporter and me if we’d like to have our photographs taken with him. We both jumped at the chance.
A nanosecond before this pic was snapped, ‘Serious Jerry’ left and the Sultan of Slapstick returned. Lewis jumped up and down, shouted a few absurd things, squeezed my arm and said, “Smile pretty for the camera, Stevie.” And, I burst out laughing.
Jerry later signed the photographs AND gave a shout-out to the reporter and me in front of some 2,500 people at his show.
Jerry Lewis was far, and away, my best celebrity close-up.
How about you? Feel like sharing your best or worst celebrity close-up?
If so, remember to smile pretty for the camera.