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Thursday Thirteen - Famous People I Have Met

September 6th, 2007 (07:58 am)

current mood: tired

Have you heard of the the ThursdayThirteen? It's an informal movement to come up with lists of 13s - covering any topic - on Thursday blogs. Now that I'm trying to do it, I see that it's harder than it sounds. Some topics I've tried I just can't come up with 13 items for. Others are too broad and want to go way past 13.

Here, for my first official Thursday Thirteen, I'm listing 13 famous people I have met. 

For the purpose of this list, "met" means actually exchanged words, though in some cases the conversation was brief. Just seeing someone in concert or hearing a famous person's lecture does not count; there has to have been a personal contact, even if the person was unlikely to have remembered me afterward (though some I know better than that). For a few of the 13, I've lumped several people into one item. Actually, this turned out to be one of those topics that wants to go way past 13.  I didn't realize I'd met so many famous people (mostly writers) before I started trying to list them, so I'll just have to stop at 13 and leave out some.

Here goes, in no particular order:

Famous People I Have Met

  1. Katie Couric. We talked about the Today Show, which she was hosting at the time and which I had to admit I wasn't watching -- and about our common alma mater, the University of Virginia. She was there a few years before I was, but we did both live on the Lawn.
  2. Al Gore. He was Senator Gore then. I spoke to him after a talk about the Internet, though at the time we were all calling it The Information Superhighway. It seemed so ... futuristic.
  3. Anne McCaffrey. Ohmigosh. I'm still in awe. I met her at the Nebula Awards. (My photo on this page was taken that night, with the dragon that was part of the table decorations in her honor.) She was witty and fun and approachable, and readily agreed to be interviewed for my book on dragons. If you don't know who Anne McCaffrey is, get to a library and find one of her many, many many novels, most of which are about dragons. She is THE author of dragon-related books.
  4. The King of Jordan. I know, this one requires some explanation. He wasn't the king yet; he was the prince. I was a passenger in a car that was involved in a fender bender. My friend was parallel-parking and rolled forward a bit, denting the car in front of us. The person in that car jumped out and started screaming at her. She assured him that her insurance would cover the (very slight) damage and tried to politely exchange insurance information. He wasn't listening. He was too busy ranting about how his father was the King of Jordan and she was going to be in terrible trouble for daring to crash into his car. I later saw a picture of the prince, and sure enough, it was him. A royal pain.
  5. Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole. I met them separately. Bob Dole, a Senator running for president at the time, spoke at a National Federation of Press Women luncheon here in D.C. As president of the hosting affiliate, I was seated at the head table, right next to him. Politically, I'm about as far from Bob Dole as you can get , so I wasn't expecting to like him. But he was kind, funny, and gracious, much more like the humorous, self-deprecating Bob Dole who surfaced on the late night talk shows after sour-faced candidate Dole left the political scene. I wrote him a note later, thanking him for speaking to us, and I received a lovely, handwritten reply from the Senator himself. Elizabeth Dole was a cabinet secretary when I interviewed her for Training & Development magazine when I was Managing Editor.
  6. Maya Angelou. The most neurotic person I've ever met. But magnificent. The lady opens her mouth, and magic comes out. Incredibly wise, with a presence that wraps around the room like a hug.
  7. Helen Thomas. I'm lucky enough to count the "dean" of White House Correspondents as a friend. She's brilliant, fascinating, and courageous. A trailblazer. The press corps could use a hundred more like her.
  8. Ann Brashares. For years, I had an e-mail/telephone/snail-mail relationship with Anne without meeting her face-to-face. She was one of my editors when I was writing Sweet Valley High books. Now she's better known as the author of the wonderful and successful Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books (the first one was made into a movie; the second one is filming now). I finally met her in person a few months ago, and felt an instant connection. She talks about writing exactly the way I do.
  9. Star Trek actors, including Marina Sirtis, Nana Visitor, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, Robert Duncan McNeill, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and others. Yes, I attend science fiction conventions and get actors' autographs. Sue me.
  10. Diana Gabaldon. She wrote the best-selling Outlander books. We were both speakers at a writers' conference in Arizona. I'm still reeling from being listed on the same bill with her! She shared entertaining and illuminating stories about the business of writing.
  11. Kevin Clash (and Elmo). My son and husband and I met them and had our pictures taken with them at the Library of Congress book festival. My son was thrilled to meet Elmo. I was even more thrilled to meet Kevin, the man behind Elmo. I've since read his autobiography. What a cool person!
  12. Heloise (yes, from the Ask Heloise column). We both belong to NFPW.
  13. Celebrities-Turned-Children's-Book-Authors. Mostly, when an actor or a singer writes a children's book, I avoid it. This is a trendy way for entertainers to get good publicity and make extra money that could be paying book advances to talented but unknown children's book authors. Most of the books are lousy. But there are exceptions, and I've met three of them personally, at book signings. Jamie Lee Curtis's picture books (my favorite is Today I Feel Silly) deserve to be classics -- funny, loveable, and real.  Debbie Allen, the actress, dancer, and director, has also done some terrific work, including a fairy tale retelling that captivated me. And Sonia Manzano (she plays Maria on Sesame Street), has a great picture book called No Dogs Allowed, a favorite in our house.  If you're looking for recommendations, I also love children's books by John Lithgow and by Julie Andrews, though I've never met the authors.


Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
Thursday Thirteen


Lovely first thursday thirteen list! I always enjoy reading of others' encounters with others. Anne McCaffrey sounds intriguing - I must look her up. The King of Jordan sounds like a typical - - well, I get it.

Bob and Elizabeth Dole are two people I would adore meeting and talking with. I'm curious about why you thought you wouldn't like Mr. Dole?

Maya Angelou's words are magical indeed. These are all truly interesting people in their own way...

Take care - do come visit my little blog anytime - I'm at www.shelbydupree.blogspot.com

Shelby Dupree

Posted by: petrini1 (petrini1)
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Thursday Thirteen

Thank you, Shelby! You're my first Thursday 13 response! As for why I thought I wouldn't like Mr. Dole, it's because I'm a liberal Democrat and disagree with almost everything he ever said when he was in politics - though I saw afterward that I was wrong to have assumed I wouldn't like him personally. I have good relationships with many friends and relatives with whom I disagree politically; I enjoy that kind of discourse. And normally I don't have trouble separating the person from the viewpoints. I guess it's harder when I know someone only as a politician to remember that he is more than his Senate voting record. It would be a boring world if we all agreed with each other on everything, wouldn't it?

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Thursday Thirteen

Hi again - THANKS for coming my blog too!! No - I didn't get an email response of your response.. I just clicked back over to read it.

By the way - Of course I wasn't insuating that you should agree with Dole (or that any of us should all agree on all things), it was just curious that you actually found him personable after all. Great reflection! :)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)

Cool list..Im most impressed with Maya Angelo



Posted by: MissMelysse (missmelysse)
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)
Great List

I don't use my LJ much these days, just to cross-post to my regular blog...I also keep a bookblog (http://www.bibliotica.com) which features a T13 on Laura Ingalls Wilder today.

I loved your post. Anne McCaffrey, Trek actors, Diana Gabaldon...v. cool.

Posted by: petrini1 (petrini1)
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Great List

Thanks. And I love your Laura Ingalls Wilder list!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)

wow! what an interesting life you have! I've never met anyone famous yet and neither did I talk to anyone special,lol! that is soo cool!

jenny at http://jendavid.bravejournal.com

Posted by: petrini1 (petrini1)
Posted at: September 8th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)

An interesting life? Me? Now and then I try to go somewhere to meet interesting people. Unfortunately, I spend a lot more evenings sitting on the floor picking Legos out from under the furniture....

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 6th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
Your TT

An interesting list. I haven't heard of all those people but it's fun to read about your experiences. Welcome to TT!



Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 8th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
cool list :-)

Very cool list! Always thought I would enjoy meeting Katie Couric one day :-)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 13th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)

I'd love to meet Maya Angelou. :) Your list is very impressive!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 11th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)

Great first TT! Hope to see more from you!


Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 11th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
Powerful List...

You've met a lot of very interesting people. Most celebrities I have met are country music singers, as my father is a musician. None of them are terribly exciting, lol. On occasion I'll get a good one...
Happy TT!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 11th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Powerful List...

Oh, yeah, that was written by me, Samantha_K of http://xmomk03.blogspot.com

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