Lifestyles of the rich and famous

Kevin Cowherd

May 06, 1991|By Kevin Cowherd

PERSONALLY, if it were up to me, I wouldn't even bring up the incident because it's just sounds like name-dropping.

But you know how it is. You're standing there and all of a sudden you notice someone staring at you.

Then pretty soon another person is staring, and another and another and another, until there's maybe . . . let's see, one, two, three . . . 500 or so people gawking at you.

Finally someone from the crowd approaches hesitantly and asks: "Excuse me, but isn't that the guy from "Gilligan's Island" behind you?"

So that's pretty much how it went privacy-wise when I found myself on a harbor cruise not long ago with three members of the old "Gilligan's Island" TV sitcom: Bob Denver (who played Gilligan), Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) and Russell Johnson (the Professor.)

The cruise was a promotional stunt by a local radio station, allowing the local riff-raff to rub elbows with celebrities, which I have done many times in the past (we'll get to that in a minute).

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: Wow, Gilligan and Mary Ann and the Professor! How'd they get three show biz heavyweights like that together?

Beats me. Paid them lots of money, I guess. Anyway, Gilligan and Mary Ann looked great and the Professor looked, well, sort of great but also sort of . . . older. Then again, don't we all.

Bob Denver, by the way, was as nice as can be. We really hit it off. At one point in the cruise he turned to me -- I'll never forget this, we were standing starboard, or maybe it was aft -- and he said: "Waiter, can I get a Diet Coke?"

And I said . . . well, never mind what I said. If the supermarket tabloids get a hold of that conversation, they'd have a field day. Suffice it to say that the next time he turned around, Bob Denver had an ice-cold Diet Pepsi in front of him, which he graciously accepted when informed there was no Diet Coke.

It reminded me of a conversation I once had with Mick Jagger (here come the good stories) in a hotel in New York some years ago.

The occasion was a luncheon for a professional soccer team that I covered for a local newspaper and that Jagger, an ardent soccer fan, followed with interest.

Anyway, midway through the luncheon, I went out into the hallway to make a phone call. And who should I see lurching toward me but . . . Mr. Rolling Stones Himself!

Well. You talk about your Kodak Moments. I had to pinch myself. Apparently, Mick had had a couple of cocktails. (I know, I know . . . Mick Jagger? Booze? Hard to believe.) As soon as he spotted me, his eyes lit up and he said -- this was unbelievable -- "Where's a bloke take a pee around here?"

Admit it, the man has star quality. And that's something you're born with, if you ask me.

So I said (oh, you'll love this): "Down this hall until you come to the elevator, and it's the first door on your right."

With that, Mick stumbled off with a wave of his hand. Me, I had tears in my eyes, the moment was so touching. Mick, he's the greatest.

Then again, so is Tony Danza. Oh, yeah, I met him, too. Well, I didn't actually meet him, at least not in the sense where you're formally introduced and shake hands and all that.

What happened was, I was out in Las Vegas covering a fight. And one day I was standing in front of my hotel when who do I notice standing next to me but Mr. Tony Danza.

Mr. Danza -- oh, hell, Tony -- broke the ice first. Pressing a $5 bill in my hand, he said: "The silver Mercedes in the second row."

God, it was a beautiful car! Black trim, red leather interior, no furry dice hanging from the rearview mirror, either.

I had a little trouble getting the damn thing into first gear -- had to bang it pretty hard, even with the clutch down -- but what's a new transmission to a big star like Tony Danza?

Maybe what I'm trying to say is that these celebrities are just like you and me, except they're a hell of a lot richer, a lot better-looking, live in nicer homes and have servants at their beck and call while we break our backs for 12 hours in some dreary sweatshop and come home to a gloomy, roach-infested apartment where we end the day eating a tuna melt and Sprite off a tray table while watching 'Jake and the Fat Man."

Boy, that burns me up.

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