Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Zero Degrees of Separation? (A Meme)

I was reminiscing today about a dear friend who I haven't seen in a few years, wondering how she's doing. Perhaps in LA, working on a kids' show, I thought, or touring in Europe. My friend, Courtney Campbell* is by no means a household name, but to thousands of children (including my own) she's a magical goddess for her storytelling and singing talents and charming goofiness. The night that she came over for dinner and sang Elisabeth and Peter (ages 5 and 3) to sleep with her glorious lullaby voice still brings tears to my eyes. I don't think of Courtney as famous; I simply think of her as my (extraordinarily talented) friend. But remembering her this evening made me wonder whether I do know any famous people.


But as I pondered it, I realized that I have met people in my life whose names might be recognizable to more than just their family and friends. And the more I thought about it, the more names came to mind. And of course, being such a blogger at heart, I thought it would make a fun blogging "meme" (where did that word come from?) to pass on. Who do YOU know? I'll bet you know more "famous" people than you realize! So here are mine. Tag -- you're it!

The Romper Room Lady: Yup, around 1961. All I remember is that I was there with my brother, Stephan and a family friend, Luki, who was quite the brat then. Luki pushed the RR Lady to her wits end, Stephan wouldn't talk at all, and I wanted the Baby Ruth bars that were too high for me to reach.

Ducky Nash: The voice of Donald Duck. I met him at a voice-over recording session when I worked at Disney. Dirty old letch of a man!

Hal Smith: The voice of Winnie the Pooh in the 80's. I also met him at a VO session (for a computer game our team designed, called Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood). Adorable, sweet old sweetheart of a man!

"Screamin' Scott Simon": Of the oldies rock group Sha-Na-Na. Did the music for 10 games I designed for Panasonic in the 80's. They never saw the light of day. Funny, funny guy.

Dave Scott: Champion Ironman Triathlete. Was a consultant for a game we designed at Disney, encouraging kids to move. It also never saw the light of day, but was apparently ahead of its time. My favorite memory of Scott was his refrigerator when he was in training. It contained about 50 fresh oranges and nothing else!

John Naber: Five time Olympic Gold medalist (swimming, Toronto, '76) and the first man who broke my heart.

Claud Mann: I played in the sandbox with Claud. We were next-door-neighbor buddies for years as children. At that time he was "famous" because his dad was the local newscaster. He later became famous in his own right as the charming chef on TBS's Dinner and a Movie. He was kind enough to donate his time in 2004 at the national launch of FUEL. What I want to know is, how the hell does he look so great at 50?! Man!!!! :-o

Mike Love of The Beach Boys. Apparently I danced with him at a nightclub in Santa Barbara when I was in college. I had no idea it was him till afterwards. I have very little recollection of this occasion...

Bill Dorfman, the dentist on Extreme Makover: I met him when we were contestants together on Press Your Luck, a TV game show in the early 80's and he was at UCLA dental school. He won big and I lost big. I got an ice chest; he got a windsurfer. I shared an elevator with Willie Nelson that day, but was too shy to talk to him, so I don't think I can count that.

Jeffrey Wigand: The subject of the movie The Insider (played by Russel Crowe), about the tobacco industry. He was a consultant for us at the non-profit health education organization for which I worked. Great guy. The stories he has to tell about the stuff that goes (went?) on in that industry would scare you to pieces!

LouAnne Johnson: Author of My Posse Don't Do Homework, on which the movie Dangerous Minds (Michelle Pfeiffer) was based. The influence LouAnne had on her classroom of at-risk high schoolers, and how she turned them around, is absolutely inspiring! I hired LouAnne as a subject matter expert for CHILL, but for the paltry amount we paid her, it's safe to say that she volunteered her time.

Erin Gruwell: Author of The Freedom Writers' Diary, which was turned into the movie The Freedom Writers. Another inspiring story. Erin spoke at the symposium that our organization sponsored. I was riveted! Great woman!

Harrison Ford: Or as we lovingly call him, "Uncle Harry." Tom's cousin is married to Harrison's brother Terrence. My kids have met Terrence; none of us have met Harrison! I can hardly count this, eh?!

Dan Crow: Children's entertainer and songwriter, who did music for us when I was at Disney. He also did the music for the kids' movie The Adventures of Milo and Otis. I introduced Dan to Courtney in 1987 when I organized a small little concert at Peter's pre-school (where I taught very part-time). *Courtney refers to this little gathering in this interview... (!!)

Which kinda brings it all full-circle...

So tag -- you're it! Think! I promise you'll come up with way more than you might think...

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Maria said...

All of my "famous people" are athletes. That'd be one boring meme!!! LOL!

Valbee said...

All of my famous people are in bands that I've roadtripped around the country to see.

And most of them turned out to be people I don't like very much. There are a couple of exceptions, but as a rule I find that rock musicians are kind of a PITA. Even my boyfriend gets on my nerves when he's in "band mode," though he's not as bad as others I've had to deal with.

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