Golly, aren't you General Schwarzkopf? Celebrity look-alikes command attention

May 30, 1991|By Susan Baer | Susan Baer,Washington Bureau of The Sun

Washington -- What a gathering of might we have here! A uniformed Gen. Colin L. Powell gabbing to D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon on one side, Gen. "Stormin' " Norman Schwarzkopf on the other.

But wait! Something's wrong with this picture. Mayor Dixon's big, signature glasses have no lenses in them! This woman must be a fake.

And Stormin'! Stormin', what's with this white clown makeup around your temples? Uh-huh! An impostor.

And General Powell . . . Well, gee, Gen., what happened to your stars and Vietnam War decorations? Just as we suspected. A look-alike!

But such an amazing look-alike that Powell-double Martin Barbour of Great Falls, Va., walked away with first prize yesterday in a Powell-Schwarzkopf-Dixon look-alike contest at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel, put on by Ron Smith's Celebrity Look Alikes of Holly- wood.

The concierge said 'Hello, Mr. Powell' when I came in," said Mr. Barbour, director of materials management at the Columbia Hospital for Women in D.C.

But that's nothing new. Ever since General Powell -- the real General Powell -- became a public figure in the Reagan administration, Mr. Barbour, who bears an uncanny resemblance the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has gotten his share of stares and double-takes.

"I was down in New Orleans at the Hard Rock Cafe five years

ago,and the waitress said, 'Aren't you that general up in the Pentagon?' I said 'Yes.' " He got a free meal.

Yesterday, Mr. Barbour got a one-year contract with the 16-year-old agency that provides celebrity look-alikes for conventions, parties, commercials, films, TV, video companies and advertising agencies. "If they can't get the real celebrity, why not get the next best thing?" says Mr. Smith, who has a stable of 30,000 look-alikes and sound-alikes including everyone from Henry Kissinger to Madonna.

The Washington contest was the second stop on a five-city search for Schwarzkopfs, Powells and assorted big city mayors.

"I could use a Schwarzkopf in every region of the country," says Mr. Smith. "He's as hot as Michael Jackson was -- and he's a sex symbol."

At least that's what they've been telling Conrad Miller, a retired glass manufacturer from Warrenton, Va., and dead ringer for General Schwarzkopf. He's been mistaken for the Desert Storm hero everywhere -- at restaurants, at the Rotary Club, even at West Point where he visited his son-in-law and was called "general" by several soldiers.

But it was the well-dressed, bespectacled Sharon Pratt Dixons who were out in full force yesterday. Marjorie Stiely, an antiques dealer from Sterling, Va., and yesterday's top mayor look-alike, says she's used to the confusion. "People come in my shop all the time and say, 'Is that the mayor?' I started to think maybe I was after about 100 times."

Dixon-clone Patricia Williams, a personnel specialist from Suitland, says she gets first-rate treatment around town because of the likeness. In line at a supper club several months ago, "They called me up to the front right away, put me in a VIP box right over the stage. The manager comes over, offers me a drink. I thought, 'What's going on here?' And then I realized, 'They think I'm Sharon Pratt Dixon.' "

But the mayors and the generals weren't the only celebs parading before the bank of judges -- who also were look-alikes for celebrities Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Mae West, George Washington, Ronald Reagan and MC Hammer.

Anyone who thought he or she looked like anyone showed up for the contest.

There was 6-foot-6 Michael Jordan look-alike Rene Romain of Bethesda, a recent Howard University law school graduate who also won a one-year contract with the Ron Smith agency. There was legal secretary Martha Parker of Temple Hills, a Whoopi Goldberg double who'd love to do stunt work for the comedi

an and actress. And Normand DesJardins of Arlington, Va., who says he looks like "Robin Leach or Neil Diamond from the nose up." You decide.

Even Nick Manos, a 74-year-old retired statistician from Bethesda, showed up for the contest. He did look very familiar. Something about the mouth . . . No, wait a minute . . . It's the jaw . . . OK, we give up.

"Jay Leno's father," the white-haired gentleman explained. "I went to one of Jay Leno's shows when he was here and created havoc!"

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