Currently in the Twitterverse, everyday people are posting succinct messages about their encounters with celebrities using the hashmark #lameclaimtofame. Hence, my recollection of riding an elevator with Ruth Buzzi, hoping that she wouldn’t hit me with her purse.
However, this brings to mind a much better story that I could scarcely detail in 140 characters or less.
In the early 1980’s, when I lived in Los Angeles, I was friends with a young lady who was the personal assistant to Stella Stevens. I met Stella a few times and she was always cordial and lovely. My friend Joyce confided in me that Stella was secretly dating musician Meat Loaf. This was all very hush-hush because Meat Loaf was still married at the time, but separated from his wife. Also, Stella Stevens was a glamorous movie and TV star, and Meat Loaf was, well, Meat Loaf, an overweight has-been whose own biggest Hollywood claim to fame at that time was a bit part in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Even though I knew their secret, I was still not prepared for the scene that greeted me when I went to pick up Joyce from Stella’s house. I rang the bell, and when the door open, there stood Meat Loaf in a bathrobe (and, from what I could see, nothing underneath), unshaven, unkempt, and holding a can of beer. It was probably 4:00 in the afternoon.
“Yeah?”, he asked. For just a moment, I was utterly speechless, then I finally blurted out “Um … I’m here to get Joyce.”
Joyce bounded out wordlessly past me, and I turned to see Meat Loaf staring at us from inside the house. I think I must have woken him when I rang the bell. I said “Nice to meet you…”, and stopped right there, because I had no idea what to call him. “Meat”? “Mr. Loaf”? He just waved his beer can at me and closed the door.
I’m happy to report that Mr. Loaf’s career has since had several revivals, and his seminal album, Bat Out Of Hell, continues to sell copies even more than 30 years after its release. I think I just caught him on a bad day.