Thursday, April 1, 2010

Brushes With Fame

Many moons ago, while attending Brigham Young University, I loved to read The Student Review. It was not technically a BYU newspaper, but it was a fantastic (if a little irreverent) satire on BYU/Utah/LDS life. There was a section that I found hilarious, called "Brushes With Fame", where people would list their connections to someone famous. I've always wanted to make my own list. And yes, I even have my own version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon! I would also submit that every Mormon has Six Degrees of Donny Osmond.

Let me explain some LDS (Mormon) lingo for you...A "ward" is the basic congregation in my church. It is geographically based, much like a high school would have boundaries, and there are usually around 300 people in attendance. Depending on the number of members in any given area, the ward boundaries can be large (several towns/cities/counties) or small (a few blocks--like in Utah). Where I live, it is roughly the same size as our high school boundary. This is why people can "move in" or "move out" of my ward. Make sense? Here we go:

*Edited to add: Please read my siblings comments at the bottom...they clarify my mistakes. :)

In 1984, I babysat for a family who went to see their friend, Peter Vidmar, win the gold medal in gymnastics in the LA Olympics. A few years later, Mr. Vidmar moved to my hometown in CA, into my ward, and taught my brother in the youth group.

I babysat for Brian Nash, who as a child, was on the TV show Please Don't Eat the Daisies.

For two years I lived in one of the towns where Footloose was filmed (Spanish Fork, Utah). It still looks pretty much the same. Those big "Roller Mills" are still in Lehi--another little Utah town. That's where Kevin Bacon did his rockin' dance/gymnastics/angry teenager routine.

See, I told you I had a Kevin Bacon link.

My sister babysat for Donny Osmond's kids (I was unavailable that day) when his family lived in CA in the '80's. He and his family were in my ward at the time.

And there's my Donny Osmond link.

Former NBA player, Adam Keefe, went to my high school and sat next to my brother in science.

One of my sisters won the "Big Deal" on Let's Make a Deal.

Another of my sisters went on Scrabble. She didn't win.

My younger sister went on Win Ben Stein's Money. (I knew I would miss something. I have 5 sisters.)

Louis Sachar signed my copy of Someday, Angeline when he visited my elementary school in about 1983, before he was famous. It's a really great book--I've always loved it.

My third grade teacher, Jenni Samuel, is married to Dave Kunst, who is in the Guiness Book of World Records for walking around the world. She drove the car in front of him across the entire Australian continent, at 3 mph. Now that's love!

Will Ferrell grew up in my hometown and went to the same high school as my oldest sister (about 12 or 13 years later, though).

I know Christmas Jars author, Jason Wright's brother, Jeff.

When my brother lived in LA, several famous people attended his ward--Gladys Knight and Larry King (his wife is LDS) attended a couple of times.

My friend from high school was roommates at Harvard with Gary David Goldberg's daughter. Remember "Sit, Ubu, sit. Good Dog-Woof!" at the end of Family Ties? Ubu was her dog.

My kindergarten friend, Eric Anderson, is a very talented actor on Broadway, and he has had appearances on several TV shows, including Law and Order.

My husband's best friend, Lance, finagled his way onto a movie crew to shoot a film with Justin Long and John Gries. Straight to video, I think...

The drama teacher at my high school was personal friends with John Stamos, who often came to visit.

I know someone who was on First Lady detail in the Secret Service for Laura Bush.

Gleaming the Cube was filmed at my high school. That Christian Slater--he's a dish! My friends all got to be extras, but alas, I was one year too young.

Lucas was filmed at my college friend's high school. RIP, Corey Haim.

My younger sister had her picture taken with Corey Haim. Maybe Corey Feldman, too? (Nope, it was Christian Slater. Sorry--those '80's babes have me all mixed up.)

My friend served Larry Hagman while waiting tables in Virginia. He tipped her very well.

My husband's college roommate is Senator Orrin Hatch's nephew.

My husband's business partner is married to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's daughter (who is also my friend and fellow mom of 6).

This same business partner goes on hunting trips with his father-in-law and former V.P. Dick Cheney. Don't worry. Mr. Cheney hasn't shot anyone we know.

Matt Salmon, former US Congressman from AZ, is in my ward.

So now I feel like I have as much authority to speak on celebrity as People Magazine, don't you? What are your brushes with fame?


  1. I must clarify. The picture is with Christian Slater but I did meet both Coreys. Austin used to wash Gary Coleman's car (and his boss almost got slammed with a law suit because he turned around at the car wash and saw a small black child almost get hit by a car so he ran and shoved the small black child out of the way)

  2. And you forgot I was on Win Ben Stein's Money. Also, the punk surfer Andy you lifeguarded with was on "Temptation Island". Also my friend Shannon's husband worked on Dancing With the Stars and now works on The Nanny.

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  4. Well, if my brushes with fame count for you (and I feel honored to be mentioned several times), then here are a few others, mostly from my 6 years of living in L.A.:

    - My friend Mark Walton (an animator at Disney) was the voice of the manic hamster in "Bolt."
    - Jenni and I sat next to Tim Curry at a restaurant in L.A. when we were dating.
    - Some friends and I shared a table with Diane Keaton at an outdoor Karaoke thing (also in L.A.)
    - Aaron Eckhart would occasionally attend my L.A. ward.
    - One of my friends from L.A., Ryan C. Benson (the "C" is something of a trademark for him) won the first season of NBC's "Biggest Loser." American Idol finalist Brooke White was nanny to his twins before being selected for that show.
    - In the interests of accuracy, Gladys Knight only attended my ward one time, shortly after she joined the Mormon Church (this was before her conversion was widely known). She sat right by me, and I did have an extended conversation with her. She was incredibly nice. I did see Larry King somewhat regularly, but he was attending the family ward that met in the same building, not my ward. Gladys Knight attended our singles ward that one time because it had a convenient time slot for her schedule.
    - I went to a party at Glen Larson's house (legendary 70s/80s producer of t.v. shows like Magnum PI, Knight Rider, and Battlestar Galactica, etc.). His son was in my ward too.
    - I also have been to Jacqueline Smith's (of "Charlie's Angels" and Kmart fame) house. My friend lived there for a while working as a nanny. I did meet J.S. while helping my friend move some stuff. Interesting factoid: her upstairs hallway is lined with framed T.V. Guide covers and other magazine covers that feature her.
    - If you have seen the indie documentary movie "New York Doll," about former glam-punk rocker-turned-LDS-family-history-library-worker Arthur "Killer" Kane, the producer/director/narrator of that movie, Greg Whitely, is someone I know from my ward in L.A. By the way, if you haven't seen that movie, you should. The story is pretty incredible. Greg was able to interview a ton of big name musicians for the movie, and he even got Morrissey to agree to be interviewed on camera, which almost never happens. David Johansen aka Buster Pointexter (the former New York Dolls lead singer before his "Hot Hot Hot" days) sings a couple of cool LDS hymn arrangements at the end of the movie.

  5. You're hysterical . . . that makes two of you now who have mentioned Gladys Knight but not one of the poor Pips . . . see what happens when you're just a backup singer??? :)

  6. Wow Cheryl! That LA life certainly afforded you some fun encounters with celebrity. I was racking my brain last night to come up with any, but it took a while.

  7. I doubt my mom knows that Will Ferrell went to her high school. She might not even know who Will Ferrell is...

    I took a dance class through BYU with Marie Osmond's daughter.

    Donny's kids go to my high school and I once sat next to him at a choir concert.

    I'm pretty good friends with painter Greg Olson's daughter.

    I've also been inside Larry King's house in Provo. He wasn't there but we went caroling to raise money one time and some house keeper invited us in for a minute. I'm not sure how Larry would have felt about that...

    One time during early morning driver's ed, I saw Susan W. Tanner (former Gen YW Pres) jogging by my high school. Her kids also went to Timpivew.

    My best friend saw polygamist leader, Warren Jeffs at Cabellas a few days before he fled into hiding and the police put a reward for his arrest. She was so disappointed.

    Elizabeth Smart lived in the same dorms at BYU as that same friend and one time while eating at the Cannon Center, she came in line behind us and we chatted while getting our cordon bleu.

    Mine aren't as cool as yours, but for Provo Utah I think it's pretty cool. :)

  8. OOh, I know Susan W. Tanner's daughter Bobbie. My friend worked with Sherry Dew. This is fun. My friend Linda was on Broadway and she also choreographed the Buzz Lightyear show at Disneyland and her husband Bret worked at Disney for several years, writing several scores for several of the shows at Disneyland and for some of the movies. Oh, I know I have more. I go by the Lehi Roller Mills about every other day taking my son to baseball.

  9. Oh yeah, re: the Will Ferrell thing, I went to middle school with his brother Pat.

  10. Now we move to another venue. I grew up in the same ward as Elder Jeffery R. Holland. My dad was his explorer adviser.
    I cleaned house for Elder Bruce C. Hafen's mother and graduated from high school with his sister.
    John and I had lunch a week ago with Elder Lowell M. Snow and his wife. They were visiting for our stake conference and John was Elder Snows trainer in the mission field, so the Stake President knowing this invited John and I over to his house for lunch and a visit before the Conference meetings started. It was great.

  11. So I was listing a few here and then thought, "I should just create my own post." So here you go!

  12. This is late, I know, but I was an aide to Jimmy Osmond's youngest daughter this past school year. Kelsey is friends with his older daughter. He came to the 2nd grade class and told us all about his different jobs. One of them is being an antique dealer--who knew? Jimmy's wife is really nice--we had lots of fun together on a farm field trip with 2nd grade. Jimmy's son and Donny Osmond's youngest son also attended this elementary, but will be moving on to middle school this fall. I have seen lots of Osmond family members around Provo over the years. One of my college roommates had Marie in one of her classes. Larry King's ex-wife, Shawn and her family were in the production of Saturday's Warrior that I was in back in 1975.