Participation Required: Brushes With Greatness

You may also like...

70 Responses

  1. erunner says:

    In the early 70’s I noticed Karen Carpenter in the Los Cerritos Mall here in Southern California Christmas shopping with her mom. I quickly went to the inside bank across from the theaters and asked a lady for a pen and some pieces of paper and then went and got several autographs. I gave one to the teller for her help. Karen was very quiet but happy to sign autographs from a young fan… not all that much younger than her!

    I would love to be able to sit down with Joni Eareckson Tada. She is a hero of the faith to me.

  2. Awestruck Fan says:

    I’m pretty sure I saw Michael Newnham sitting on the opposite side of a crowded In-N-Out restaurant.

  3. Xenia says:

    I’ve run the power point slides for famous evangelical speakers such as David Hocking and Normon Geisler. and this involved a little pre-teaching conversation. I’ve crossed paths with Pastor Chuck down at the Bible college. Here in Monterey you see all kinds of celebs in the distance but I have never felt inclined to go talk to any of them. To tell you the truth, I am not much of a fan of celebrities.

    I already eat lunch every day with my own personal celeb, that is, my dear husband. That’s good enough for me!

  4. Xenia says:

    And of course, I have received the blessings from several bishops and archimandrites who are well-known in Ortholandia. One of them even heard my confession.

  5. erunner says:

    I did get hoodwinked into a business opportunity at Pat Boone’s home which turned out to be an Amway meeting. Thank God we resisted the pressure to sign up.

    Right by our house I ran into Rod Carew at the do-nut shop and he was very kind in signing autographs for me and our kids.

  6. David Crosby & Graham Nash, while I was delivering gear to the studio they were working in. A couple of the nicest guys I’ve met in the music business.

    I was offered some brownies by Graham. David just smiled.

  7. Michael says:


    Doubtful…I’ve only been in one twice.
    Once near Redding and once in San Francisco.

  8. London says:

    I was having dinner at a place that Tony Hillerman the author used to frequent. I knew who he was instantly because he also used to teach at the journalism department at UNM.
    I didn’t want to bother him so I asked the waiter, a kid we knew, if I could bring a book in for him to sign next time he was there.
    The waiter said he’d be happy to ask Mr. Hillerman for an autograph next time he came in, which he did. He said that Mr. Hillerman had been happy to do it, and grateful I didn’t just interrupt his dinner since he liked to eat in peace. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That book became my brother’s Christmas present that year. It was a fun story and a great read!

    If I could have lunch with anyone, it would be Eugene Cho, founder of One Day’s Wages.

  9. Matthew says:

    I was once getting a connecting flight at the Atlanta, Georgia airport when I met Evander Holyfield. I was standing in line at the Starbucks to get coffee and he was sitting at a table within arms reach with a stewardess. I asked him if he was Evander Holyfield and he really hesitated to admit it. Then he did so and I realized that he did not want to be found out or mobbed. So I quietly complimented him etc and shook his hand then moved up the line to get my coffee. I was so glad to have such a chance meeting. I thought he was a great fighter.

  10. filbertz says:

    I’ve never really met anyone famous nor infamous. Oh, Steve Hopkins… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Tim says:

    @3 – “I already eat lunch every day with my own personal celeb, that is, my dear husband. Thatโ€™s good enough for me!”

    That’s awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can second that, regarding my own bride.

  12. Tim says:

    I’ve accidentally run across a few famous figures. My favorite was Steve Cropper, the guitarist from classic Stax days (re: Booker T & the MG’s, Saturday Night Live, etc.). I had already met Bruce Hornsby that night (whom I greatly admire as a pianist), and he took me over to meet Steve, who was backing him up for the concert. It was quite a surprise & an honor to meet such a musical legend.

  13. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    James Gandolfini here in downtown L.A. at el pollo loco. I had just finished street witnessing during my lunch hour and I walked into el pollo loco. I went up to him and gave him a Gospel of John booklet and asked him if he knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. His response was “on some days”. This was in 2011

  14. crownedone1 says:

    What famous figure did you accidentally encounter?

    -I bumped into Edward James Olmos at a convention once. He was a nice guy.

    What famous person,( living or dead) would you like to meet for lunch?

    -Not really anyone. I don’t really understand the ‘star struck’ phenomena. I am just as happy to meet a neighbor I’ve never met as I am a celebrity.

  15. Steve Wright says:

    My baseball coach in a semi-pro league for winter ball (our team was all High School players but he had connections and got us in the league) was an extra in a lot of movies. He was the one umpire in Naked Gun arguing with Leslie Nielson. Here is his IMBD page.

    Anyway, he knew Kurt Russell who also used to play baseball – and one game he and Goldie Hawn came out. He took BP with us and then the two of them stayed and watched the game (which I pitched and won).

    That was pretty cool for a high school kid like me. Goldie Hawn wildly cheering for you.

    As a Christian I had a chance to meet Bill Bright and shake his hand and share a few words. His humility absolutely floored me. He was a great man of God.

  16. Steve Wright says:

    I forgot that we had some fairly famous insurance clients over the years in Hollywood since our insurance agency was right in that neck of the woods. But that was not really accidentally bumping into them.

    I have no idea who among the dead I would want to meet. The list is far too long.

  17. In January 1993 at the Sioux Falls SD airport it was just me and Jimmy “JJ” Walker for 3 hours. We had a blast – what can I say but Dy – No – Mite!!!

    Lunch with Sandy Koufax … but I would probably wet all over myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – When I was in college I sat next to Al Eschbach who was a huge voice for Oklahoma Sports back in the day (still is I think) on a flight from LA to OKC. It was the shortest flight I ever had – we talked Sooner Sports the whole time. Awesome.

  19. Speaking of wetting – 1987 Palm Springs stadium for an Angel’s spring training game, there I was shoulder to shoulder at ajoining urinals with Keith Olberman who was the channel 5 sports guy in LA at the time.

    I’m glad he is out of the political stuff now and back to sports

  20. Steve Wright says:

    Iโ€™m glad he is out of the political stuff now and back to sports
    He’s just as incompetent. He called Uribe “Jose” on his big night the other day.

    Good grief talk about phoning it in.

  21. jamesk says:

    My wife and I saw Tammy Faye Bakker on her way to the restroom at the Desert Town Center in Palm Desert CA back in the early 90s after her divorce from Jim.

  22. rick says:

    I would love to lunch with Paul of Tarsus.

  23. j2theperson says:

    I saw Tim Meadows at a tv show taping once. Boring. My most favorite celebrity encounter, however, was not accidental. I called in to Matt Drudge’s radio show back when the DaVinci Code movie was about to come out and Catholics were all up in arms about their portrayal. Needless to say, the point I made pissed off a bunch of Catholics in his audience. After I saw the movie I wrote a review of it for my website and posted a link on a forum I hung out on devoted to Drudge and the Drudge report. I’m pretty sure Matt Drudge lurked on that forum and read my review because I opened my article with a line involving the phrase “Christ and all his descendants” then I later on said that Da Vinci Code was the greatest movie since King Kong (the remake). The next Sunday night Drudge spent the entire radio show using the phrase “Christ and all his children” and he said that Da Vinci Code was “the greatest movie since King Kong”. I cannot fully express how pleased I am to have been ripped off by Matt Drudge.

    A few years ago Drudge would have been the celebrity I would have wanted to have lunch with, but I’m married with a kid now so I don’t need to have lunch with old, celebrity crushes.

  24. Michael Quesada says:

    Early 1980’s, was cutting concrete at a hotel in Santa Monica, my buddy Rudy and I had been working a few hours and were pretty dirty.
    Took an elevator from the basement back up to job site, and the elevator stopped on a floor and Jamie Lee Curtis got in.
    Rudy’s like “Who’s that?? She’s famous…”
    She looked over, smiled and screamed as loud as anything.
    Rudy goes “Oh, yeah! Halloween!”
    She was great. Led us up to the roof where she was doing a photo shoot. Told the guards we were with her, and they let us feast on this fancy food they had up there!
    Gave us bunch of free stuff, too!

    Lunch? Aeneas Williams. But Dave Rolph works!

  25. Jim says:

    Lunch with dead people creeps me out, so I’m going with Bono. For whatever reason, he fascinates me.

    Sylvester Stallone supposedly babysat me sometimes when I was really young. Our parents hung in the same crowd, so it’s possible. I’ve met a few celebrities, but nothing notable occurred. I lived in Vegas for 6 months in 77-78, and almost hit Steve Martin’s girlfriend’s limo while I was flying through a parking lot. Bernadette something or other… It would have been expensive. Most notable at the time was getting real close to Ted Nugent backstage at Madison Square Garden in 1976. I was in a band that played his music, so it meant something to my stoned, 17 year old self. He said “hiya” and told my friend with a giant ‘fro that he had cool hair. (yawn)

  26. Jim says:

    oh…oh…oh! I was formally introduced to CJ (!!!), who was very nice. He has this scary ability to make you feel like you’re the only person in the room, which explains a lot.

  27. Muff Potter says:

    Never got within range of any celebrities, never wanted too. I’d love to have lunch and palaver with Wendell Berry. Probably at some eatery in his locale that has good chicken & slaw.

  28. Jim says:

    Nicest Christian celebs I hung a little with was the lead singer of the Altar Boys, Mike Bloodgood, of the band with the same name (the guy is a total encourager), and Guardian’s guitar player. Absolute worst was Darrell Mansfield.

  29. Bob Sweat says:

    Name dropping time!!!

    In sports, I met former L.A. Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. The Rams traded him and he went on to lead Philadelphia to the championship. On the same day, I met defensive end Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb. The Rams traded him as well, and he went on to become all pro for Baltimore. I met Bill Glass, all pro for the Cleveland Browns when he became an evangelist. On the same night I met Glass, I met Terry Meeuwsen, Miss. America 1973. Yes. I’m old!

    I met John MacArthur went he was humble. He came to my church with a gospel team. The next year another young up coming theologian named Josh McDowell brought another gospel team to the church. It has been a privilege to be able to call Richard Foster my friend for almost 50 years. Richard and I began pastoral ministry the same year and ended up serving in Kansas, Oregon, and California at the same time.

    But my greatest experience was having lunch on two occasions with three of the “Big Guys” from Phoenix Preacher: Erunner de BuenO Park, Dave Rolph, and MLD!

    Who would I like to meet? Probably the Apostle Paul. I would want to know if he is Pre Trib. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Nonnie says:

    I worked for Joe Weider back in the early 70’s, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was Mr. Olympia, Mr. Universe, and just about every other title. He had an office in the building and all the women would swoon over him, but I would tease him whenever he walked through our office.. I would say something like.

    “Oh, oh, Arnold, you are so handsome! Your presence here is too much for us. Please don’t do this to us. Oh, we love you so much.”

    He thought it was hilarious and would laugh with us. I think he enjoyed being one of the gang. He was a very nice guy. The other body builders were not so nice and their egos were bigger than their muscles.

  31. Linnea says:

    I once saw Steve Wonder and ZZ Top, both in an airport, but my closest brush with fame was seeing Craig T. Nelson (Coach, dad in Poltergest and various other roles) naked in a hot tub south of Santa Fe. He was. I wasn’t. Long story from my pre-Christian past…

  32. Linnea – did Stevie Wonder see you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. Jim says:

    I’m just grateful that my teenage dreams never came true. I was never a very good guitar player, but I looked the part and had some really good bandmates. I quit the secular stuff when God saved me in ’82, but got sucked into the local Christian music scene. We were playing Christian metal in ’84, opened for a bunch of name acts, and sold our self produced demo around the world. In ’87, we were on a compilation album, and had some label interest. I quit the band the same month the album was released, and they sort of fell apart. I quit because I was too old to play that crazy stuff. I was 29 ๐Ÿ™‚ Celebrity sucks, and I’m thankful to God for His care in keeping me out of that world. Or, like I said, I was never really that good…

  34. DavidM says:

    I was having dinner with my grandfather at the Tahitian Restaurant in Disneyland in August of 1965. He got up and had me come with him, and he proceeded to introduce me to Walt Disney, who was dining there with his wife. My grandfather was a friend of Mr. Disney and was food services manager at Disneyland from the day it opened, for many years.

    I also ran into Carl Lewis in 1985 in a gift shop at JFK airport. He was very friendly and gracious.

    Too many others to mention ( shook hands with Chuck Berry!)

  35. Reuben says:

    Jim, did you ever get to meet the guys from Living Sacrifice? They were around back then, right? They still rock.

    I met Phil Keaggy once looking for a restroom in the basement of Mile High Baptist. Some really short guy asked me if I needed help finding something. It dawned on me who it was after he pointed me in the right direction.

    I met lots of pastor celebs over the years. Don’t care to get into that. If I ran into most of them today, I would be on the evening news.

    I would like lunch with John Wimber. J. I. Packer. John Calvin.

    Actually, lunch with anyone of those guys would not be sufficient. I would like to spend a day on a porch in the summer getting trashed with John Wimber. A year with Packer. Put me in a time machine, and let me be a John Calvin groupie for the rest of my life.

  36. Linnea says:

    MLD…not likely!

    You know, with the controversy surrounding Lonnie Frisbee, I’d like to have lunch with him….maybe with Kathryn Kuhlman. I’d rather get an impression myself .

  37. I lived in France from 1960 – 1963. Sometime in there we were in Italy and went to a restaurant and were seated next to Vincent Price. I felt like I was in The House on Haunted Hill.

    I was facinated – I don’know how he felt sitting next to a 12 yr old.

    Same trip we ran into Claude Rains – the original 1933 Invisible Man.

  38. Glen says:

    Early 1960’s, Alpha Beta parking lot near my house, the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile was there and I won a bumball machine from Little Oscar and shook his hand.

    A couple of years later I was at a wedding reception for a cousin in Palm Springs and met one of the other guests who happened to be famous. I also got his autograph. He was ordinary looking and very nice. Would you believe Harpo Marx…………

  39. Met Arnold Schwarzenegger while I was in Bosnia, We gave him and some generals a tour of our FOB (Forward Operating Base) Connor.

    Don’t really have a list of famous people I want to meet.

  40. Ok,
    Glen tripped my memory.
    I would like to have lunch with Groucho Marx.

  41. Xenia says:

    Arnold gets around! When he was the governor he stopped in the local Starbucks where my daughter was a barista. He was very charming, she reported.

  42. What surprised me was that I was an inch taller than he was.
    Dude had massive sized hands though!

  43. Chile says:

    Oh, which names to drop … there are so many … (cough!) by which I mean few:

    Reporter question lobbed to Dan Quayle during the election of ’88
    Covered Jim Baker on trial
    Phil Keaggy twice
    Radio interview of John Wimber
    Airport convo with Beth Moore
    Stranded in an podunk airport near Indonesia, because Prince Charles was there
    College with Paul Copan, who wrote, “Is God a Moral Monster?”

    Lunch? I’d like to have the top missiologists in the same room, along with some people with some common sense, a real walk with God, and no money/position/fame to be gained from the outcome; then just listen to them hash it out. Wow, that would rock my world! I have a suspicion that some secrets would find the light of day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  44. Chile says:

    Oh, I’m being told I must also say Tim Tebow in our grocery store.

  45. Dude says:

    The year was 1969 and I met Woody Hayes……the long time coach of the Ohio State football team.It was the high light of a 10 year olds life.

  46. About 2 years ago, my family and I sat a couple of tables over from George Takei at a little diner in the White Mountains of AZ. Didn’t meet him though as I don’t think it’s cool to interrupt a celebrity’s lunch.

    Not accidental, but as a high school kid, I figured out how to sneak backstage at San Diego Symphony concerts. Met some of the great concert pianists, Van Cliburn, Andre Watts and Lorin Hollander, to name a few.

    Met Steve Hopkins for Mexican, Ryan Couch for BBQ, Daniel Fusco for coffee and had London over for dinner. That’ll hold me for a while.

  47. Chile says:

    Dude, you beat me with Woody, but I knew Art Schleister at OSU in ’80, like everyone did.

  48. gomergirl says:

    I have had some brushes with greatness…. the best for me was meeting Emerson Fittipaldi at a breakfast at which he was receiving an award. Bob Varsha too, same breakfast different year. (Mario Andretti at a race once and Paul Newman, and Paul Tracy but they were just fleeting handshakes) I also waited on Garth Brooks and his first family once in Nashville. That was also a good place to “see” people. We used to to get all sorts of music people. They became just normal people when you see them enough.

    I would love to have a meal with Rich Mullins, or maybe Kathy Reichs. They both are so interesting in much different ways. I really don’t know. Maybe Orson Scott Card. I think that would be a great dinner. Oh… Peter Davison and David Tennant. THAT would be Superb!

  49. Jeff Hensley says:

    I met Michael Jordan. Twice. And Dean Smith, Kenny Smith, Sam Perkins, Brad Daughtery, Tory Holt, and if you are into left turns, Dale Earnhardt. Grew up in North Carolina around alot of sports…. Also met Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. But I’d rather brag about the athletes

    Lets get the jesus-juke out of the way: I’d like to have lunch with Jesus.

    That being said, I’d like to sit down with C.J. Mahaney.

    Kidding. Just seeing if anyone was listening.

    How about Billy Joel. He would have some stories to tell. And my all-time favorite musician.

  50. dewd4Jesus says:

    During my senior year of high school, my best friend and I went across the border and down the coast to Rosarito Beach to purchase some illegal fireworks. While we were in a store looking at prices, first in walked this huge German looking dude in a 3 piece suit with an obvious gun in a shoulder have holster bulge. Then behind him enters J. R. Ewing (Larry Hagman)cowboy boots and hat and all. Turns out he owns/ed a bunch of property in the area and helped finance a number of the businesses in the area. Seemed to be a very nice guy. As we made our way through 4 or 5 shops we noticed that they all had pictures of him up.
    And yeah, in the restaurant industry in Nashville you run into quite a few Country and Christian Artists. Garth, Reba, Alan Jackson with his hairy chest hanging out. Oh let’s see, forgot about Gary Chapman when he was doing a TV show on CMT. Brought the crew/staff into the sports bar I was running. Likes his whiskey. But it does mostly become just like they’re normal people. Some still run around like it’s sooooooo cool. But even most of the Stars/Celebrities just want to be treated like everyone else. Mostly. There are of course exceptions. Usually those who have gained some fame, but haven’t really made it yet.

    Lunch, hmmm. Jesus, but I’d like all of his boys to be there too. If I don’t rate that high level a meeting, then Watchman Nee.

  51. Babylon's Dread says:

    My lunch encounter would be the Manning family. Yes all of them.

  52. jlo says:

    My mom worked with Vicky Car, so I met her a few times.

    Ran into Mel Gibson, while at a screening for PayBack.

    Was with my husband while he witnessed to Keanu Reeves while they were filming Constantine on Hollywood Blvd, needless to say we got kicked off the set.

  53. filbertz says:

    Brennan too? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  54. Babylon's Dread says:

    My fun encounter was an afternoon in the Winter Haven Red Sox spring training park in the stands with Bill Lee and Dick Radatz

  55. Steve Wright says:

    I didn’t think of all the Sooners I knew from my time there…all you guys with the sports references made me ponder some you all might know.

    Bosworth was a real jerk in my lone encounter with him (and the football players I actually knew from class or baseball never really spoke highly of him)

    Keith Jackson on the other hand was a VERY nice guy and I had to actually guard him in an intramural basketball game once. He was so huge it was somewhat laughable (and I’m 6’4″) but I was a shooter and didn’t have to bang with him inside. (We won the game too)

    Jack Armstrong was a teammate and fellow pitcher one year and later started the All Star game. He was so dedicated, and a tremendously built specimen – no wonder he made it to the show but even then he did not last long.

    Stacey King was ineligible his freshman year and I played pick-up hoops with him just about every night my freshman year.

    Only played one game against Mookie Blaylock. Words can’t describe just how quick he was with his hands and feet.

    And I ran into Barry Switzer a few times over the years and he always, always was friendly to the students – whether they were athletes or not.

    I miss college sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Sarah says:

    I have run into several, especially living in Nashville, but I have to throw this one out there for Nomans in case she stops by…

    when I was working for a recording studio here I answered the phone one day and almost fell out of my chair. I was used to getting calls from artists who wanted to talk with the owner about booking time in the studio, however usually the more important artists had their agents book the studio…so when this artist said his name, I was quite surprised.

    Neil Diamond.


    I only got to talk with him for 5 minutes, and he ended up not booking with us, but it was still fun.

    Lunch…I’d still take another lunch with Gordon Fee, for multiple reasons. Mostly because I hate diseases that attack our minds, and I would give much to have another lunch with him in his full wit and humor and sharp mind.

  57. Sarah says:

    Dread…I think the Manning family would love you!

  58. victorious says:

    Dewd4Jesus. You forgot to mention John Wooden. Ok I met John Wooden when I was 12 and a basketball nut. You probably have the memory but it was maybe not as significant to you at your age at that time. Our street of new houses was named after him and the city had a ceremony honoring him.

  59. victorious says:

    Lunch. Would have loved to take a hike and share a picnic lunch with John Stott as he was also an avid bird watcher.

  60. erunner says:

    “if you’re into left turns” Love that!! Unfortunately I’m not! ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. erunner says:

    Bob Sweat stated “But my greatest experience was having lunch on two occasions with three of the โ€œBig Guysโ€ from Phoenix Preacher: Erunner de BuenO Park, Dave Rolph, and MLD!”

    Should have been stated “But my greatest experience was having lunch on two occasions with three of the โ€œBig Guysโ€ from Phoenix Preacher: Erunner de Buena Park and those other two guys!” :mrgreen:

  62. Nonnie says:

    My son ( with his basket ball team) met John Wooden and he really encouraged those boys in sports, but even more, in their walk with the Lord.

  63. PP Vet says:

    Fame is an illusion.

    It is nothing.

    I know we all know that already. Just needs to be noted in here somewhere.

  64. Ixtlan says:

    Well, since its required:

    There is a hall of fame football player that lives close by. He seems like a real person. I see him out and about 5-6 times a year.

    Visited Pat Paulson’s winery several years ago. He was really funny.

    I attended school with Rick Warren. He’s a genuinely nice guy.

    There is so many people I want to have lunch with. Packer, Sweet, Belcher, Newnham, covered, erunner, Bob S., Jackie, cas, victorious, Broderson, Laurie, Stipe, Piper, Keller, Trueman. R.K. Hughes, and of course Eugene Peterson…… but not at the same time.

  65. Chile says:

    Re: Jeff Hensley @41

    I was listening! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Met Eugene Peterson, my aunt’s pastor, back in the day.

    Just for fun … We had a condo that shared a wall with Pete Rose’s condo. Interesting noises!

  66. Bob Sweat says:


    Next time your in Sac. Town, lunch is on me.

    Erunner, ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Chile says:

    If we played 6 degrees separation (Kevin Bacon style) I know the names you’d all come up with would be very interesting!

  68. Oh yeah…I remembered a couple of others.

    This past summer, Gayle Erwin spoke at our church. I purchased a couple of items at his book table, but his wife, who was manning the table until he got there, forgot to get my address for the credit card. So before I could get home that night, Gayle called my house, and one of my kids answered the phone. She was so excited because Gayle Erwin actually called our house,

    Back around 1987, I was working security at Oceanside High School (San Diego County), and one of the kids with whom I would often come into contact was Junior Seau. Later on, when he played for the Chargers and would give interviews, I could hardly believe it was the same guy who just a few years prior could barely string together a complete sentence in a casual conversation.

  69. DavidH says:

    My son, Caleb, was dedicated by Greg Laurie at Harvest Christian Fellowship in 1999. I met Dave Rolph at one of our church’s men’s conferences.

    My guitarist moment was getting to meet Pat Travers. He showed me how he tuned his guitar. He was one of the most humble people I’ve ever met.

  70. Jeff Hensley says:

    I forgot one. I spent a whole night hanging out with Hootie and the Blowfish in the early nineties. Darius Rucker owes me 10 bucks. Nicest guys ever. Darius used my money to buy beer and we snuck onto a closed golfcourse to hit glow-in-the-dark golf balls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading