Desperately seeking Winona, the heartthrob of her generation

October 10, 1994|By Howard Henry Chen | Howard Henry Chen,Sun Staff Writer

It's 9:02 p.m. Thursday. While most of the nation is tucked into its collective living room watching "Seinfeld," I'm hunched on a street corner at the intersection of two tony, tree-lined Guilford streets, writing in my notebook. In it, I have a detailed description of a house. Winona Ryder's house.

And I'm sitting 20 feet from her front door.

Lights are on. She's home. I pause before raising my hand to knock. I know she's here, and the only thing separating me from Winona, the hottest actress of my generation and the secret girlfriend of millions of other 23-year-old men, is this door.


Winona is in town filming "Boys" and has been spotted here and in Annapolis.

People have told me they've seen her at Eddie's Supermarket on Charles Street; Donna's Coffee Bar; Borders Bookstore at the Towson Commons; the Vanguard Cafe; and Dreamland, a Charles Street thrift shop where she bought five men's shirts, a pair of jeans and a leopard skin coat. Up the street at The Zone, I am told, she bought three dresses and a pair of jeans. (How do you people remember this stuff?)

Armed with hearsay info and a Super Big Gulp, my quest begins.


My spies tell me she is renting a home in Guilford. She's living with her boyfriend, David Pirner of Soul Asylum, and her mother. Hmm. You'd think that someone with as much money as Winona would put her mom up in a Motel 6 or something.

My quest takes me to Guilford.

As I'm driving, I think, she doesn't even know I'm coming. Will she run around throwing everything in the foyer closet like everyone else? Would I be interrupting her while she was watching the Simpson trial?

More germane questions: How must it feel to be 23, have more money than Mexico, and have reporters always harking about her vapid role in "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

And so in Guilford, I track down probably the only person who might know where Winona is.

The mailman.

He's sitting in his truck. I smile at him. He smiles back. He seems nice.

"Hi, I'm a Sun reporter." (I try a little subterfuge). "I'm late for my interview with Winona Ryder, the actress. Do you know where her house is?"

He doesn't say anything. I'm thinking, yeah, he's probably just getting ready to yell at me for the story The Sun ran on mail service in this city.

"You know, she was in 'Heathers.' "

"I don't know an actress by that name," he says, "but I know a director that lives around here. His name is John . . ."

"Waters, yes, I know."

I decide, on purely moral grounds, that I can only bother one celebrity at a time.

The quest continues.


The kind people who work at Borders say that Winona has indeed been there, buying Soul Asylum CDs. (She's dating the singer and she has to buy the albums??) She's been spotted there about three times in the past three weeks, hovering around the film, psychology and art books. Someone tells me that Winona and Mr. Pirner were spotted skipping (no hyperbole here -- they were literally skipping) through the mall. At Borders, she also hangs around the magazines.

Maybe she's been looking for a copy of The Sun to see if any enterprising reporters have been trying to find her.

As I'm walking out of Borders, I catch a glimpse of Movieline magazine. I usually don't have time for such pulp, but that darling Johnny Depp, Winona's former fiance, is on the cover. He sports a tattoo on his right shoulder that reads, "Winona Forever."

Actually, it doesn't say that. I remember reading that he was getting the tattoo removed, one letter at a time. I look closer; two letters are missing.

It reads, "Wino Forever."

The quest continues.


I am getting frustrated, but then on Thursday, my spies provide a neat description of the house, the cars, the street names.

I park at the intersection and head toward a house. I need corroboration from the neighbors. A man wearing emergency room blues comes bounding down the steps and smiles at me. He seems nice.

"Hi, I'm a reporter looking for Winona, and was told she lives around here, and yes, I know where John Waters lives."

"Winona?" The man gives me a sheepish smile. "That's the first I've heard of it."

OK. I think I'm onto something here.

The next door I knock on, a woman's voice echoes from behind it.

"Hi, I'm looking for Winona," I say.

She yells that she can't come anywhere near the door because of the alarm, but yes, she moved in "right next door" a few weeks ago.

"To the left or right," I ask, expecting to be zapped as I stood.

"That way," she says. Then silence. (Probably went back to "Seinfeld").

I go left. Suddenly, I hear her voice.

"The other way," she says.

"Where are you?"

"I'm at the window."

And, of course, this house has 45 windows.

I put up my left arm. "This way?"


My quest is almost over.


At the door, a second before my knuckles scrape the wood, I suddenly stop.

After trying to reach her for days, I'm confused. I've chased her for a week. But do I need to bother her? I had found her.

And I decide, as the angel on my left shoulder scoffs at the shrinking devil on my right, that the door really doesn't need to be opened. I've finished my assignment. I've found Winona Ryder . . . sort of. She can keep her privacy. Strike one up in the decency column.

And, I'd probably be interrupting "Seinfeld" anyway.

I bound back down the steps, toward my car. Then, turning the corner beside her house, I see the blue recycling canisters.

Could I bring myself to root through Winona Ryder's recycling bins? She'd never know.

I stop, look down at them.

And keep walking. Nah, my quest is over.

And besides, if I drive fast enough, I'll make it home in time to catch the end of "Seinfeld."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.