Encounters with A-listers

Gawkers




Paul McCartney is incredibly laid back, considering the maniacal behavior he used to trigger through no fault of his own. I witnessed my sister fall into hysterical fits at the mere mention of his name.

The fans used to go the airport when the Beatles were scheduled to arrive. They would scream and cry, completely out of control, when a plane came in — any plane.

Paul is a fixture at Indian Wells Beach nowadays. A few years back, he approached my friend Kenny who ran the hot dog truck there while I was hanging out with him talking sports.

They had chatted many times, and Paul wondered if Kenny would do him a favor — let his then-wife, Heather, go behind the truck. Kenny was perplexed, given the public bathrooms were only a few yards away. But he gladly acquiesced.

“She can come in here,” Kenny offered. “I’ll wait outside.” No, behind the truck was fine, Sir Paul insisted.

When Heather came out, Kenny was stunned. Somehow, he did not know Heather wore a prosthetic limb — her left leg had been amputated after a motorcycle accident. Kenny was flabbergasted, but as the pair walked toward the water, he stuttered out an offer: “You can put that thing in here,” he said, motioning to the prosthetic leg leaning against the back of the truck. Paul laughed heartily.

Heather did not.

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I once had a run-in shopping in East Hampton. I saw Sarah Jessica Parker, incredibly sleek, and I was going to say hi but I decided against it.

I went over to John Papas for breakfast and I saw Cynthia Nixon, like Parker, a star of “Sex And The City,” in the parking lot with some friends. After breakfast, I went to Newtown Lane and there was Kristin Davis, yet another member of the cast, shopping.

But nothing prepared me for what was next. I went into Citarella and there was Kim Cattrall at the deli counter. Yes, I had seen all four of the major stars of the hottest TV show in the country within one hour — and they weren’t together. And no, I didn’t tell any of them my name was “Mr. Bigger.”

Years later, I had a terrible falling out with Parker. We printed her address in the paper in our real estate section and she was livid. She got my cell phone number and called incessantly. Once I was playing hoops with the guys and the thing rang for two hours. One of the guys noticed her name on caller ID. “Yeah, it’s her,” I said nonchalantly. “She digs me.”

* * *

Alec Baldwin looked a little disheveled as he tried to balance a smoothie and an infant in his arms when suddenly a photographer (not a local one) got in his face snapping shots. Baldwin went ballistic and I don’t blame him. I wanted to slug the guy.

There is no excuse for rudeness and children shouldn’t have to grow up fearing whether there is some ogre hiding behind the next tree. But his eyes rolled halfway around his head and he turned purple, I swear.

* * *

Jimmy Fallon and his wife and first daughter were shopping in King Kullen a couple years ago. Fallon, it should be noted, is extremely approachable and accessible. We passed them several times in the aisles; they were reading the sides of packages and discussing what to buy like shoppers do.

One lady, though, was obviously fixated on him. Each time we passed Fallon, the woman was directly behind him, hovering. Finally, Fallon turned around abruptly and nearly bumped into her. “Oh my God,” he said with a big smile. “I keep running into you. I’m so sorry. You must think I’m stalking you!” Fallon had deftly turned the tables on her.

The red-faced woman, obviously embarrassed, quickly walked away.

Fallon smiled at me and then continued shopping. I’m quite sure he recognized me.

Nicest people I’ve ever interviewed: Donna Summer, Burt Bacharach, Joan Rivers. Summer, patient, witty, talked for two hours. Bacharach was singing and playing cuts of his new album over the phone. He had to hang up to get his two kids on the school bus: One was 10, one was nine. He was 89. The next night he was featured live on “American Idol.”

Rivers is the only celebrity in 20 years who unflinchingly answered the question: “Have you ever worked with someone you really disliked?” Without hesitating she said, “Yeah, Tommy Lee Jones. What a f****** a**hole.”

rmurphy@indyeastend.com