By Amy Chesler
As a lifelong Los Angeles native, the sheer amount of celebrity run-ins I’ve had is almost innumerable (and truly unbelievable). From Trader Joe’s to Starbucks, Target to the park, you name it, I’ve met a celebrity there. But there are seven celebrities that left a very lasting impression on this hardly-ever-starstruck, pop culture mega fan.
In the days of MySpace, I stumbled upon up-and-coming actor Same Levine's profile. I had seen him in Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and Freaks and Geeks (1999) and had crushed a bit. So, when I found his MySpace page, I sent him a message asking him to meet up (in a very, very public place). Surprisingly, he conceded and ended up taking me to lunch. We had a lovely conversation about life, growing up, and moving to Hollywood, then went our separate ways. Neither of us messaged the other again (until I hit him up for a DVD Netflix interview recently, and never heard back). Still, it made for a great story. Especially since he’s gone on to appear in such films as Inglourious Basterds (2009), Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Club Dread (2004), and Sydney White (2007).
My first contracted job after high school was as a dance teacher for Arnold Schwarzenegger's after school program. He started it in 2002, well after starring in The Terminator (1984, 1991) films, but around the same time as the release of Collateral Damage (2002). At the onset of his program and before he ran for governor, he was extremely active in the program’s development. He threw us holiday parties, presented motivational speeches, hosted lunches at his restaurant, and spent time chatting with each of us. He even donated every cent he made off of Around the World in Eighty Days (2004) to our program. He was pretttty cool.
A bit of an unbelievable friendship started (for me) in 2002. I was working for Corey Feldman (more of that below), and as Corey performed at the near-closing Tower Records, Jerry O’Connell visited to say hello. I recall just standing there and smiling, silently geeking out over all of his projects I’d loved: Sliders (1995), Stand By Me (1986), Jerry Maguire (1996), Can’t Hardly Wait (1998), Joe’s Apartment (1996), etc. Fast forward about ten years and I was working at a summer camp; he happened to send his kids there *and* drop them off every day himself. We had the opportunity to laugh about the past, chat Real Housewives, and forge a bit of a friendship. And since then, I’ve run into him at Starbucks (twice) and a kids’ play place. He graciously remembers me each time (and twelve year old me is still geeking out).
Speaking of summer camp, another awesome parent there was Tia Carrere of Wayne’s World (1992), Wayne’s World 2 (1993), High School High (1996), and True Lies (1994). I had met her years earlier when I worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger's after school program. She had been a big supporter of the program and had been nothing but kind and altruistic towards my students. When we caught up in the camp parking lot she didn’t remember me (of course), but she did share about her life and what a trip it has been to have such success.
Ok, back to Corey Feldman. When I was sixteen, I had the biggest crush on him ever (I just couldn’t resist him in Dream a Little Dream (1989), as a Frog brother in Lost Boys (1987), or Teddy Duchamp in Stand By Me (1986)). When I found out he was hosting a public birthday party for himself, I attended. The E! News channel was so intrigued by my decades-late crush that they filmed us meeting. So, when I attended a couple more of his events in LA, he surely remembered me. And after some time, he eventually hired me on to run his website. We were friends for several years (which included some truly awesome perks for movie lovers, like meeting what was left of the cast of The Goonies (1985)). Crazy, I know.
Then, of course, there was my Starbucks run-in with actor and writer Don Lake. I kept seeing him at the spot by my house, but we finally spoke a day or so after I watched him in Short Circuit 2 (1988), and only a week after renting Best in Show (2000). He was so kind that I went out on a limb and requested an interview, and to my surprise, he happily answered a slew of questions (which can be found here).
A few weeks ago I ran into Devon Sawa of Casper (1995), Now & Then (1995), Slackers (2002), and Little Giants (1994) (to name a few). I recognized him in a heartbeat, but since he was with his son I didn’t want to bug him. However, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say thanks for all the entertainment. It was quick, awkward, and painful. However, I tweeted about the interaction afterwards, and he ended up responding pretty hilariously. But I mean, he looked like he walked off of the Idle Hands (1999) set. How was I not going to recognize him?
Amy Chesler is an author, content creator, blogger, and family woman from Los Angeles, California. Her most recent publications include four different contributions in six different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, as well as her first solo children’s book, A Man and His Books. Follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ABCauthor1), Twitter (@abcauthor), or Instagram (@abc_author) for updates, giveaways, and much more!