Paparazzi and the general public know the typical places to keep their eyes open for celebrities: film festivals in Cannes or Park City, or even just out front of The Ivy restaurant in Los Angeles, for instance.
But a recent column here included the tale of a man who found himself seated next to movie star Renee Zellweger on a flight…and the stories of others who’d been seated near celebrities on airplanes or happened across notables while traveling.
This triggered a series of anecdotes from people who had similar experiences which, for the most part were pleasant and memorable. Greg Capogna, of Baton Rouge, for instance, said, on various flights, sat next to actresses Lauren Hutton and Joan Rivers; and political activist turned television host Al Sharpton.
Speaking of sitting, Richard McLellan, an attorney from Michigan, said a friend of his flew on the Concorde and had to wait while Princess Diana had to use the “loo.”
It was aboard a US Airways flight that Lisa Duncanson was serving as a flight attendant when she noticed one of Hollywood’s funniest women in the cabin.
“Joan Rivers and her personal chef were seated in the first class section. She also had a little dog in her Louis Vuitton bag. It was a short trip from New York to Baltimore, but she was friendly and funny and I had a lot of fun with her,” she remembers. “She had me play a little trick on her chef. She whispered to me what the chef has served the night before at a gourmet dinner so that when her chef asked what we were serving onboard, I could list it all and pretend we were serving the same thing!”
It was just before another short flight, this one from Cleveland to Detroit, that Henry Capogna, from Grand Rapids, spotted what he describes as a “handsome, diminutive, dapper fellow carrying a bag of golf clubs” checking in for the same flight. Capogna recognized the man as Gary Player, the Major Championship-winning professional golfer from South Africa, and could not help but introduce himself.
SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA – NOVEMBER 13: Alex Noren of Sweden receives the trophy from Gary Player after his victory during day four of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player CC on November 13, 2016 in Sun City, South Africa. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)