I have always had an eye for recognizing people. Since my job requires travel, I find myself at airports quite a bit. It’s at the airport where I’ve crossed paths with actresses, singers, sports stars and even one famous lawyer.
At Los Angeles International Airport(LAX), I noticed actress Goldie Hawn inside the terminal as she arrived on a flight and later outside as she left. Hawn is famous for her roles in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and in the movies Private Benjamin, Foul Play, (one of my favorites), Death Becomes Her, and Cactus Flower, where she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. I spotted another actress, Sally Kellerman, sitting quietly waiting for her flight to depart. Kellerman is known for her role as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the film MASH for which she was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. No one recognized her, but I walked up, said hello, and introduced myself. She was personable and nice.
Recently at New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport, I immediately noticed the beautiful Beth Broderick who played Aunt Zelda in the ABC television sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996-2003). The opportunity was there for me to say hello, but since I was with someone I regretfully passed. I did, however, watch her accidentally trip entering an elevator up to American Airlines Admiral’s Club. I later messaged her on Facebook, and she replied back to me! In the message, she had a good sense of humor and referred to herself as a “graceful klutz.”
Standing in line at an airport restaurant next to country singer Larry Gatlin of Gatlin brothers fame, I said a friendly hello. Gatlin was either very hungry or not in the mood to talk and kind of brushed me off quickly like he didn’t want to be recognized. At the same airport, Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW), I saw the talented Canadian singer and songwriter Sarah McLachlan grabbing a quick bite to eat in the food court. She seemed to be traveling with her band, carrying her guitar case in hand.
While waiting for a flight at San Jose International Airport (SJC), I recognized the still strikingly attractive gold medal winner from the 1968 Winter Olympics figure skater Peggy Fleming. She was surprised I knew who she was, but was gracious and took a photo with me. On another occasion, once on the plane sitting in first class, I found myself sitting next to 1996 U.S. national figure skating champion Rudi Galindo. As a pairs skater, he competed with Kristi Yamaguchi. In fact, on the same flight, just a few rows in front of us was the gold medal winning Yamaguchi traveling with her mother. Once we landed and were waiting near baggage claim, Galindo introduced me to the petite figure skater and 1992 gold medal winner. Yamaguchi either was tired from the long flight or maybe a bit shy. She didn’t say much but hello.
Once famed San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott boarded the same Southwest Air flight as I. I also spoke to legendary Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram at an airport check-in counter. Stram, winner of Super Bowl IV, was friendly. At DFW, I stood in line for a flight next to Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback and Fox NFL Sunday analyst Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw was as personable as he is on television. Of all the famous and not so famous people I’ve seen at airports, sitting on a plane across the aisle from criminal appellate lawyer Alan Dershowitz might have been the most interesting. One of his most notable cases was as appellate adviser for the defense in the O.J. Simpson trial. In fact, during the entire flight, shortly after the O.J. not guilty verdict, he was writing page after page in long-hand. It might have been the New York Times Bestseller Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case. Who famous have you seen at airports?