Close Encounters of the Gilda Kind

There are people in this world and then there are people in this world.

You know, the kind that you are drawn to and just being around them makes you happy and comfortable. The ones that the sun shines a little bit brighter on and some of that special something spills over onto you if you’re lucky enough to be around them.

I had the immense pleasure this week to bask in the light of one such person.

Mr. Bill Murray. Yeah, that Bill Murray, an original Saturday Night Live cast member and star of way too many movies to count.

While my little sisters were raised on Sesame
and Mister Rogers, I was being raised on Saturday Night Live and Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, which thankfully saved me from the likes of The Donny and Marie Show. Am I the only one who didn’t buy into Donny being a little bit rock and roll?

I am not a big, “OOOOooo, gotta have my picture taken or have an autograph from every famous person, kind of gal. In fact, I pretty much see them as regular folk, its just a lot more people know their names and faces. They are doing a job, same as you and me.

I won’t bore you with the long list of celebrities that I have met, or seen because that is just what I think it is – boring.

I’ll just run by the most recent. The Hubster and I were having a weekend of coupling in NYC at the beginning of April and as we are walking across 14th street heading east to First Ave. to Luzzos for dinner, when a woman coming towards me is looking frustrated as she closes her mobile phone and shoves it into her purse. I’m looking at her and my brain is saying, “Huh, she looks like Susan Sarandon.” She picked her head up and we locked eyes and it was indeed Ms. Sarandon. She got this panicked look on her face as she realized I recognized her. Probably because she was alone and there were a bizzilion people on the streets that day because it was a perfect spring day in the city. I just nodded and smiled and kept on walking and after we had past her I told The Hubster about it.

I mean, I enjoy the woman’s work and I think she’s got chutzpah to stand up and speak out about her beliefs in a country that prefers to keep its head up its arse, but I felt no need to make a scene and pose for pictures.

In fact The Hubster’s job puts him in a position to meet and work with famous folk all the time. His list of the famous he’s worked with over the past 15 years would make your jaw drop. If not for The Hubster, I would not have met Bill Murray.

If truth were told, I actually jumped at the chance to ask Mr. Murray about one of my biggest heroes, Gilda Radner. Not that I’m not a fan of his, I am, but Gilda, I loved everything about her. Her unconventional beauty, energy, vulnerability and passion for life, at least that’s how I perceived her. My lunch table in high school was very popular because I would do impressions of Gilda’s characters from SNL. Lisa Lupner, (especially while eating soup), Roseanne Rosanna-Danna and Emily Litella.

So when Hubster was home last weekend and mentioned that Mr. Murray was going to be at OCC, (Orange County Choppers), on Monday and Tuesday I dropped everything and made tracks to NY.

Life is a funny thing and sometimes when you have one goal you are pleasantly surprised by the gifts you receive along the journey. Such was the case with my quest about Ms. Radner and my encounter with Mr. Murray.

I arrived at OCC on Monday afternoon and planted myself in The Hubster’s audio cave and busied myself finishing the plans for our barn with second story living accommodations. (Can the whole relocation to NY thingy be over already?) Mr. Murray and the guys were hashing out plans for the Caddyshack charity bike and it was late in the day before I got my first glimpse of Mr. Murray.

What I saw surprised me. My first impression was that he looks exactly as he does on film. But after a while I realized that I was wrong, he looks better than he does on film. I was also taken by his manner. He is a laid back, easygoing guy who is more than comfortable in his own skin and I am now becoming very intrigued.

I expected, (my bad), a manic comedian who was on for the camera and people. No. Not. At. All. His wit is quick, natural and flows from him, it is who he is. His manner is steady, sure and warm. By Tuesday afternoon I wanted to know him. Not for who he is, but for what he’s like.

Two o’clock-ish, I was afforded a chance to meet him. The Hubster asked if I could have a picture with him and out I came. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to get nervous until I was standing next to him. He pulled me in and put his arm around me, turned to me and looking into my eyes said, “Hi, I’m Bill.” To which I replied, “Hi, I’m Dawn.” And you can tell by my face in this picture, I was officially smitten and quite by surprise.

What happened next was Mr. Murray’s suggestion and while I was in fear of being the woman who caused Mr. Murray the need for hernia surgery, I was hopeful that Sr. was bearing the brunt of my, erm, um, extra weight. I have not read any reports of Mr. Murray's hospitalization, so I think I can stop worrying.

Pictures taken, I seized my chance and asked Mr. Murray if I could ask him a question while nudging him away from everyone. “You just did,” he replied, “ask another.”

“It’s kind of a loaded question I think, like, ‘Does my butt look big in these jeans?’” And I saw a brief flicker of worry cross his face, “Was Ms. Radner as lovely, vulnerable and wonderful as she seemed?”

The worry faded as the question registered and his eyes lit up as he confirmed what I thought I knew about her.

Content in that knowledge, I swallowed back my emotion and thanked him for that, extended my hand and told him, “It was nice to meet you.” He again looked me in the eyes and said, “It was a pleasure meeting you too Dawn.”

He had me at, “Hi, I’m Bill.” but he earned my total respect after calling me by name as we parted.

As I drove home I replayed what he said about Gilda again in my head and the tears that ran down my cheeks were bitter but also sweet, thanks to Bill.

I was always a fan of his work and after my encounter this week I became a fan of man as well.

You would too if you looked into those eyes.

Dedicated to all of us who are ballerinas in our heads. RIP Gilda you are loved and missed.

Dawn Marie Kelly 2006 ~ all rights reserved
posted by Angel @ 12:58 AM |


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