If there’s one thing Blaze readers know about, it’s yummy men, and once upon a time I was lucky to meet a legendary one–Cary Grant. I not only got to meet him, I got to spend time in a coat closet with him! Yes, a coat closet. Here’s how it all went down: During the summer between my junior and senior years of college, I got a part-time job with TWA in passenger relations at JFK airport. I worked in the domestic terminal assisting arriving and departing passengers and was basically a walking information counter. Our uniforms were tres spiffy–designed by Ralph Lauren, no less!–and the job was an absolute blast. Part of our job (which was really a perk, if you ask me) was escorting VIP’s. And that’s where I met Cary Grant.
He and his wife Barbara were catching the afternoon flight to LA and my assignment (along with a senior passenger relations rep) was to escort the couple from the fancy schmancy Ambassador Club to their first class seats onboard the 747 (a tough job, but hey, someone had to do it!). Now, company policy was that we weren’t supposed to ask celebs for their autographs, and I’d managed to refrain up to that point, not asking Cher, Ryan O’Neal, Farrah Fawcett, Muhammad Ali, Raquel Welsh or Peter Falk to name a few, but really–Cary Freakin’ Grant?? How many chances does one get to meet him? What am I, made of stone?
So there I am, in the fancy schmancy Ambassador Club, and OMG, there’s Cary Grant. Wearing those trademark black glasses, his silver hair perfect, wearing a white dress shirt and light gray trousers, looking utterly perfect and oozing class and debonair charm. His wife is stunning and wearing some gorgeous dark blue ensemble that undoubtedly cost more than my car (this was back when people actually dressed up to travel, especially in first class), but really who cares about what she’s wearing when Cary Freakin’ Grant is standing there?!
The other passenger relations rep chats up Mrs. Grant, leaving me to chat up the legend himself. And naturally, I’m completely professional. I nearly faint and breathlessly gush, “Ohmygosh, Mr. Grant, I am your hugest fan. Arsenic and Old Lace is one of my favorite movies of ALL TIME. Do you think I could possibly have your autograph?” Smooth–I’m telling you, I was reaaaalllly smooth.
He leans closer to me and says IN THAT VOICE WITH THAT ACCENT!, “Well all right, but I don’t want to give it to everyone. Let’s go in the coat closet.”
Since there isn’t a person on the planet who would argue with that logic, into the coat closet we went. Now you must understand that this being the fancy schmancy Ambassador Club, the coat closet is a walk-in and a pretty good size–kind of long and skinny, probably about 8’X12’ so it’s not like we’re crammed into something the size of a Porta Potty (darn!). Being the walking info counter I am, I carry a clipboard with a printout of the day’s flight information. I quickly turn the paper over and present it to him with my pen, all while gawking at him in my most professional manner. The conversation goes like this:
Carey Freakin’ Grant–What’s your name?
Most Professional Me: Jacquie
(He writes To Jackie then signs his name and hands me the clipboard).
MPM–Thank you so much, Mr. Grant. But, um, you spelled my name wrong. (well, I had to say SOMETHING to keep the conversation going!)
CFG (looking startled)–Really? (takes clipboard back and says IN THAT VOICE WITH THAT ACCENT!)–How do you spell your name?
I spell it for him, slowly as to drag out our closet time together (why didn’t I think to say my name was Jacqueline??) As I do, he crosses out Jackie and spells it correctly, then for emphasis adds a couple exclamation points.
CFG–(IN THAT VOICE WITH THAT ACCENT!) Why do you spell your name like that?
MPM–there was an actress my mom liked who spelled it that way**.
** (note–I’m 99% sure this is what I said, certainly it’s what I wanted to say, but I may have forgotten how to speak English, so there’s a chance I merely blubbered and drooled on his shoe—which was a perfectly shined black leather Oxford, btw).
While we were in the coat closet, we collected his garment bag. Then with CFG’s garment filled with CFG’s clothes folded over my arm, I escorted him from the fancy schmancy Ambassador club to his first class seat (his wife followed with the other rep). We made small talk, he was incredibly charming, and I could have listened to him talk for hours. I still have that autograph, along with the others I collected during my time at TWA–Brooke Shields, Timothy Hutton, Dustin Hoffman to name a few. All of whom were delightful and charming.
But none of them were Cary Freakin’ Grant.
So–have you ever met a celebrity? Were you calm, cool, and professional like me (cough, cough), or did you blubber, drool and gawk? Is there a celeb you’d love to meet? If you met him/her what would say?