Spot a celebrity, while shopping or traveling?

September 30th, 2011
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Surely you’ve seen media coverage about first lady Michelle Obama, in casual gear and behind dark glasses, shopping quite anonymously at the Target store in Alexandria, VA.
Amazingly, the reports indicated that other shoppers didn’t recognize her; they must be blind or simply disinterested. It was a checkout clerk that placed Mrs. Obama's face and her White House identity.
It’s fun when you encounter a Somebody on an outing, whether you’re at home or on a vacation.
It was always a trip for me, when I used to spot the late Jack Lord at the height of his reign as Steve McGarrett on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” shopping at the old Star Market (now Whole Foods) at Kahala Mall. He’d pick up an apple, give it such scrutiny as if it was a crime-scene item, yet he’d smile and be engaging if someone noticed him. (I suspect he was fishing for attention, but so what?)
On my last summer trip to New York, it was kinda a kick to recognize Alton Brown, the Food Network celeb, trekking down the stairway en route to catch a subway. On another Broadway visit earlier, I noticed Dianne Wiest with dark glasses and a light wrap-around, sitting in a train, en route to shopping or work (she was playing the district attorney on “Law and Order”).
At a performance of “Spamalot” a few years ago, Liza Minnelli was in a row behind me; at “How to Succeed in Business Without Trying” this past June, I ran into magician David Copperfield, a friend from his Pagoda Hotel show days, outside the theater and talked story afterward.
It’s all a matter of being at the right place at the right time.
When you’re a celeb, you’re entitled to do what we all do: day; about your daily life without being bothered.
I recall, years ago, when Michael Jackson left the Kahala Hilton to go on a quick shopping trip at Kahala Mall, an excited observer called me at the office to inquire if he was visiting. Surely, MJ must’ve been noticed, but there was no discomfort or intrusion of his private time.
Have you encountered a chance meeting, or sighting, of a celebrity? Who? Where? Anything interesting happened?
Share your recollection here...

7 Responses to “Spot a celebrity, while shopping or traveling?”

  1. theDman:

    It is common to catch many of the stars of the myriad of TV shows that have shot here in Hawaii, out and about. I'm not sure that counts as "celebrities".

    I did hear stories about how a few actors from a recent TV show would actually disguise themselves (wigs, etc.) when they went out. Hoo-boy, talk about taking yourself too seriously!


  2. Hedy Harrison-Anduha:

    De-planed at LAX with Jodie Foster; sat next to Natalie Cole at a performance; see Peabo Bryson after Colors of Christmas performance every year at the Sheraton in Cerritos.


  3. Greg Preddy:

    In the mid '70s ran into Kenny Loggins and his wife at the time at Kahala Mall then fast forward to 2010 I ran into him again at the Phoenix airport while I was catching a flight to Honolulu...Hung out with Pat Morita at the Tropics Bar at the Hilton and hung out with Freddie Hubbard at the old Trappers club at the Hyatt in Waikiki...Saw Dolly Parton at LAX..Ran into Elton John at a bookstore in Atlanta and finally saw Slyvester Stallone and Bridgitte Nelson at the Beverly Center mall in Beverly Hills....


  4. MC96816:

    De-planed with Margaret Mead in HNL many, many years ago.


  5. tomatotomahto:

    Several years ago I saw Jim Nabors at Kahala Mall walking with a friend toward Longs. The only reason I looked his way was because he was talking in a very loud voice, I took this to be his normal voice being that he was old and maybe a bit deaf.

    I also used to see Jack Lord in his signature long sleeves and hat near Star Market, Kahala Mall. I believe his car's plate read 'Five-0'.


  6. SML770:

    I saw Alex O'Loughlin at Iolani School Campus Monday morning. A couple of students told me his son is applying.


  7. 60s Guy:

    Flew United to Honolulu last Saturday sitting across from Richard Chamberlain. Think he used to live here, but now is back on the mainland.