Working as a bartender, you will always meet interesting and famous people. Even in the
smallest little towns, there might be local celebrities, like politicians, sports heroes, news
casters and radio personalities. You never know when a national celebrity might even drop
in. Kyle and Kellie share below some of their favorite celebrated people that they met
throughout their careers.
Kellie's favorite celebrity customers:
Will from Black-Eyed Peas: I must mention him first, because he is one of my very
favorites. Always a perfect gentleman and loves to drink Kir Royales, which are made of
champagne and Chambord raspberry liqueur. He actually called to bring me Thanksgiving
dinner when he cooked at his mother's house. This is a good guy.
The Simpson Family (Ashlee, Jessica, Tina and Joe): I had the privilege and honor of
bartending at a party for Ashlee's birthday at her parent's beautiful home. Heaven help the
person who says anything but the kindest words about any one of these wonderful people to
me. I told my mother that I felt as if I was at one of my aunt's homes, because they were so
warm and welcoming. Ashlee and Jessica are very charming and well-bred young ladies.
They are both stunning in person with impeccable manners. Tina and Joe are two of the
most down-to-earth, warm people in Hollywood. They are all absolutely unaffected by their
money, fame and status. Tina even hugged me goodbye. Good people!
Cris Judd: THE NICEST! The first time I waited on him, he gave me his credit card,
shook my hand and introduced himself. He was always very polite and I can see why
Jennifer Lopez fell for him.
Drew Barrymore: She couldn't be sweeter and more normal. Just a girl out to have some
fun. When I asked her to put out her cigarette, she gave a little giggle and immediately
complied. Though in a group, she ordered the drinks for everyone, paid and tipped nicely,
Mark McGrath: Almost too pretty to be real. Seems like one of the guys, with no attitude.
Mark Wahlberg: On a very busy night he hung over the bar with money in his hand to get
my attention. When I finally got to him, instead of being snotty about the wait, his comment
was, "Damn, you're good!" He hung around the bar like anyone else and truly acted unaware
of his superstar, hunk status.
Damon Wayans: This guy couldn't be nicer!
Tara Reid: Adorable little party girl! Sweet!
Ashton Kutcher: The first time he was with Brittany Murphy, who looked like a little doll.
He's another one who is far too good-looking, but oblivious to his hunk status. Another time
he was buying Nikki Hilton a drink, as I lectured both of them about drinking and driving.
They must have thought I was such a grandma!
Vince Vaughn: Before marriage, he was quite the partier and this night was no exception.
The promoter bought his drink, but he courteously dug a crumpled bill out of his pocket and
thanked me. He is very tall and, as I described to my sister, he has that element of danger
that makes girls melt in his hands.
David Schwimmer: He and a few of his "friends" frequented my bar, so I became familiar
with what they drink and always welcomed them with a smile. Honestly, this guy seems like
he just wants to be regular. He seems like a guy every girl would die to have.
Gabrielle Union: I had no idea who she was, but while I was talking with her all I could think
was that her skin was so beautiful. She is always beautiful in her movies, but if it's possible,
she is even more stunning in person and sooooooooooooo sweet!
David Spade: He came to me and asked if I could help him to get a table. I think that he felt
uncomfortable, so I immediately got him seated and soon he was at ease.
Minnie Driver: I didn't recognize her, though she was absolutely stunning. Sometimes you
see celebrities and you just don't associate that they are famous people that you see on
television and in movies. She asked where I got my "trousers" and we exchanged
compliments as girls do and introduced ourselves to each other. When she said that her
name was Minnie, then I realized who this nice person was.
Eva Longoria: This was before she was a desperate housewife and married to Tony
Parker. She was a doll then, too!
Bill Maher: I waited on him at two different bars. He seems very serious, but nice, and
both times he was with Bob Saget.
Bob Saget: He's very tall and also seemed a little on the serious side, but so nice.
Mario Lopez: He asked for one more round of shots for his group after last call. I gave in,
since there was still time.
Rose McGowan: Absolutely beautiful with no attitude!
Dave Navarro: Politely ordered a bottle of water, paid, tipped, gone.
Dennis Rodman: Larger than life, very nice, looking for fun!
Kirsty Hume: Very tall, very skinny. I would never have known that she was a supermodel
if she hadn't paid with a credit card. She was beautiful, but it was another one of those times
that I couldn't connect the famous person to reality.
Jerry O'Connell: He is tall and so handsome. Seems very nice and polite.
Pauley Perrette: I waited on Pauley many times before she was famous. She was blonde
then, tall, gorgeous and sweet as pie. Seriously sweet and stunning!
Jake Busey: Nice, polite, very sexy.
Chastity Bono (before she became Chas): It was open bar, so no money was being
exchanged. After so politely ordering her cocktail, she pulled a tip out of her purse and gently
laid it on the bar. She seems like a dear soul.
David Lee Roth: This was a few years back. Someone needs to tell him that the party's over.
Duff McKagan: At the peak of Guns and Roses' success this bass player seemed absolutely
oblivious to his rock star status. He was quite a drinker and one of my best customers. So
Stephen Pearcy: Speaking of rock stars from the 80s, this guy is very sexy and a good
tipper. Not at all a RATT!
Dave Grohl: I had no idea who he was until I was told. He was very nice and polite.
Johnny Reznik: So cute and very sweet!
Esai Morales: Waited on him many, many years ago and then again recently. Seems very
Tommy Lee: He's hard not to notice. So cool and very nice.
John Stamos: Okay, I never waited on him, but was invited to a party at his house where
he served me. When he approached to offer me a drink, I requested a glass of white
zinfandel, which I explained is actually a pink wine. He was so cute tearing through his stock
of liquor to find me a pink wine. He's a great host and very much a gentleman.
There are so many more and many I didn't even know who they were until I was told. Liza
Minnelli, Suge Knight (yes!), many reality television "stars," soap opera actors, sports heroes
(I would have no idea who they are) and many, many musicians. Not one bad encounter. The
attitudes were usually from the ones who are not famous. "Don't you know who I am?" Well,
if you have to ask...
Kyle shares some great stories about his celebrity encounters.
Leonardo DiCaprio: Back in December of 2012, I was asked to be the bartender at Jonah
Hill's birthday party the Saturday before Christmas at his newly-acquired pad up on Mulholland
Drive in Los Angeles. I brought my entire custom bar and kit and set-up outside on this long
cool balcony that led to the back yard. There were several celebs there as one can imagine.
But sometimes it all depends on who's in town at any given time. The holiday is one thing. But
normally, these actors/musicians can either be on location or on the road. Leonardo was there
hanging right next to the bar, along with Adam Levine, Lukas Haas, Jon Favreau, Joe Pesci, to
name a few. In fact, I overheard Jonah mention how stoked he was that Joe Pesci came to his
party. It was a nice gathering of friends and family celebrating Jonah's birthday. And what's
weird for me, is that Joe Pesci was a member of Lakeside Golf Club when I was a bartender
there. I used to make him his martinis all the time when he would come in from the course. He
was always cool and funny to chat with.
Slash (Guns ‘n Roses): Behind the Gardenia is the famous Record Plant Recording Studios.
This goes back 20+ years now. I get a call asking me to come in a couple hours early. Okay, I
can do that! I get there, and this is way before the doors open, and he says that Rose from the
studios is coming over with a friend, and they just want to have some drinks and talk for awhile.
No problem. So she and Slash roll in. Until that point, it was unknown to me who the other
person was going to be. He had just been there for some time laying down the lead guitar parts
for the Guns & Roses Use Your Illusion I & II albums. That was very cool. I went into silent running
mode for the most part during their hang, setting up the bar and doodling around. As I kept their
drinks full and speak to a minimum, the only way I could get a rock n' roll word in was to
patiently wait for Rose to have to use the restroom. Funny what your mind thinks.
Clint Eastwood: He was standing at the bar having a glass of red wine with producer, Bud
Yorkin, from a bottle that Bud had brought in from his wine cellar at home, for me to have
behind the bar ready just for the two of them. Clint is just as cool in person as he is on-screen.
Plus he has a son named Kyle, so that helped. When you’re serving drinks to a legend, an
icon of the cinema, you wish you had a seatbelt on.
Joe Namath: What a dream come true. I read Joe’s first book when I was in high school. I was
tending bar at Lakeside Golf Club. He had just finished the course as part of an annual sports
invitational. He wasn’t a member. I had just started my shift. After a few minutes, I looked over
at a table in the distance of the Men’s lounge, and it was him. He looks back, and within a
couple seconds he walks up to the bar, orders a drink, and we end up chatting one-on-one for
15 minutes. The idol of my Dad and I when he was with the New York Jets. What a great guy !
Heather Locklear: I was asked to work the bar at a private party in her home. It was for Jack
Wagner’s birthday. This is all after her split from Richie Sambora. She was very nice, hanging
out, and soon took her heels off and walked around barefoot the rest of the evening. There was
a pianist and a singer next to the bar performing crooning tunes from the American songbook.
The stemware for the wine was so sensitive that I had to be on high alert the whole time for fear
of smash! 25 years previous I was at a club in Hollywood to see a band perform. She was there.
This was just after T.J. Hooker ended its run on TV, and a year into her relationship with Tommy
Lee. I was there alone. For some reason, she walked right over to me, smiled and said hello on
the way to the bar.
Mike Scioscia: How often do you get the chance to talk baseball with a baseball player? I was
Mike’s bartender for his post-season private parties at his home for a few years straight, and
the next day there would be a charity golf tournament. It was great fun hanging with him and the
family. He was cool, and is a very generous guy. I overheard someone ask him about the
Dodgers, and he said “Wow, it feels like a lifetime ago”. Other players I remember serving there
were Mickey Hatcher and Bobby Grich.
Steve Perry (Journey): From the bar I looked to the right and out the window a yellow corvette
pulls up. It was Steve Perry and a friend of his. This was around 1990. They sat at the bar while
waiting a few minutes for a table. It was lunchtime. They had an iced tea and a club soda. I
brought over a thin paper dinner placement and an okay pen. It’s all there was at the spur of the
moment. I usually never do this, but for my girlfriend as a surprise, I lounged back over toward
him during an open moment, and asked for his autograph. I let him know who it was for, and he
asked “Can I write “With Love?” How kind and considerate of him. “Yes, you can”, I said, “She
would love that . . . and thank you so much”.
Salma Hayek: I was called to work a private birthday party on the rooftop of a tall condo
building in Hollywood off of Doheny and Sunset for Salma Hayek’s assistant. It was a very cool
set-up and overlook for the night. A DJ was blasting in the open air. Eventually Salma showed
up and gave the event a new spark of beauty and energy.
Prairie Prince: I was working the bar at Nite Rock Club & Café where we had a stage for
bands to perform on occasion. Concrete Blonde did a show there, and so did The Tubes, of
which Prairie Prince was their drummer. After the show, they came up to my bar and ordered
drinks. It was then that I got to ask him about playing on a solo album of one of my favorite
guitarists of all time, Tommy Bolin. I’m a rocker at heart!
Jim Carrey: Two occasions. The first was at The Hollywood Palladium during a Smashmouth
concert in the VIP section, where Renee Zellweger also showed up. The second was at a
private backyard fundraiser for Autism in Pacific Palisades, where Roger Daltrey performed a
show with his solo band. He’s kind of quiet when he’s out, though. Jenny McCarthy was with him
that night. And he was in full beard.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: Was called to work an end-of-season wrap party on the lot of Universal
Studios, in the production offices for the show “Guys with Kids”. I was bringing up some bar kit
stuff and ran into Jamie-Lynn on the staircase where she was checking messages. Later she
was at the bar, along with Anthony Anderson, Jesse Bradford, Tempestt Bledsoe, and well,
basically everybody from the show that was created by Jimmy Fallon. I got to hang out in their
creative element where they have giant pillows, beanbags, and dartboards. It was very cool !
Sam Cassell: Snoop Dogg held a concert fundraiser at an old church in downtown Los Angeles
where only 1,000 people were invited. I was asked to work the bar of the roped-off private VIP
section just to the right of the stage. Many celebs were there that evening, and Sam Cassell
came to the bar with Shaun Livingston, back when they were both playing for the Clippers. It
was loud, as the speakers were right above me. Sign language helped, along with smiles and
David Krumholtz: The star of the show “Numbers”. I was working as Patron Tequila’s main
bartender for many of their private sponsored events around town here in L.A., and I got the call
to work David’s birthday party at his home. I always enjoy working with brands when I get the
chance, and both David and Vanessa were very cool. He has a drum kit in his garage. I wish I
would have had a musical space like that when I was growing up. It was a fun get-together with
friends and colleagues, and I worked a couple other parties after that for them too.
Valerie Bertinelli: Back when I was working at Lakeside Golf Club from 99' - 02', there were
and have always been a lot of celebrity sightings, as this is originally how the private golf club
was formed back in the 1920's. Ed Van Halen was a member there at the time, so in the
summer months during Volleyball season Wednesdays, Valerie would come in often and bring
their son, Wolfie, with her, so he could play with other kids his age within the safe confines of the
property while she mingled with other member friends. She was always super nice, and I would
always try and remember to have ice-cold bottles of IBC Rootbeer behind the lounge bar, as
that was Wolfie's favorite. He was only 11 years old back then. Look at him now, playing bass
for his dad's band. Pretty cool position to have.
Richard Carpenter: Just a couple years ago, I was called by a service to work the bar of a
private party for Richard and his family at their home. It was a cool get-together in the back yard
and a birthday for one of their kids. The property itself is huge. Like Jay Leno, Richard also is a
car collector, with 25 to his name, and has garage space for all of them. I've worked in a lot of
wealthy estates all over Los Angeles through the years, and as far as favorites, this one is in my
Top 5. I went to grab some bottles from his built-in bar inside the home. It is so custom, as per
his meticulous nature, that every bottle he chooses to showcase on the back bar has its own
lighting underneath it. I wish I would have had my digital camera with me. Richard is a very nice
guy, the same for his family. There was a lady sitting at a table next to the kitchen on the inside
of the house I had noticed when I was going in and out for a few things towards the latter half of
the event, and I swear she looked so familiar. She had the Carpenter eyes.
Mel Brooks: A regular at the Cabaret club in Hollywood where I've worked for many years. He
always comes in with Carl Reiner on nights when Carl's daughter, Annie performs, and where
Carl's wife, Estelle, use to perform for decades. Mel always likes to be the first one to pay his
tab after the show. He's very funny in person too. One night I had to work both the bar and the
floor for seating and food. We introduce ourselves. He asked what my last name was and
where I'm from. I said "My last name is Branche, with an e on the end, and I'm from upstate
New York. He says to me "I know a lot of Branche's from New York. Just not ones with the e on
Elvira and Pee Wee Herman: I was working the bar of a private event at The Hollywood
Palladium on one of many occasions, as I had worked on-call at the old haunted venue for
years. They had no make-up on. For some reason they were hanging together. It was kind of
Halloween creepy, though you couldn't help but dig it. Cassandra comes up to my bar, orders
a drink, and orders for Paul as well. He's in back of her. When I mention the total for their simple
cocktails of wine and vodka/soda, Paul moves slightly closer in to hand me the money. I give
him change. He follows with a very generous tip. We acknowledge through the eyes and a kind
head gesture. I say a quiet thank you. He says a silent thank you. I smile at Cassandra, and
they both walk off into the crowd.
John Mendoza: While working the bar as a part-time fill-in at the Riviera restaurant in
Calabasas, comedian John Mendoza was a semi-regular who came in alone and hung at the
bar usually for a drink and a bite to eat. We would talk. He loved the fact that I would participate
in a Native American sweat lodge from time to time, either in Malibu or out in Oxnard. He
wanted to go and do one with me. I loved his offbeat humor. He enjoyed being the observer of
other people's strange conversations. He wasn't alone in that matter. Calabasas is a
neighborhood of wealthy people and their spoiled children. He loved making fun of the stepford
facade. As a non-Jew, he often heard what all of us hear in the bar area. But he said something
about it, to a Jewish bar patron, and it went something like this: "How come Jewish people
always have to let other people know, in whatever way or form of communication at some point
in time, that they're Jewish?". That conversation ensued for the next half-hour. I laughed inside
for the rest of the shift.
Pat Riley: The Hollywood Palladium had a sporting event and fundraiser, where many athletes
from all popular sports were in attendance, that happened to be in town. Pat Riley was one of
them. The Heat had just played either the Lakers or the Clippers. He came up to the bar, asked
for a double-pour of red wine in a large cup. He told me he was getting ready to leave and
needed a roadie. That I didn't need to know because it wasn't my job to be the enforcer, just the
bartender. If he made it out of the building and into the limo safely with cup in hand or not, isn't
my business. He tipped well, but you could tell he had a busy mind going on, and I wasn't about
to engage in depth or interfere with what he was occupied with. All I said was don't beat up on
my team too badly tomorrow night. Miami was headed to Phoenix to play the Suns.
Sally Struthers: Once in a while I work these fun dinner parties in Hollywood that are put on by
a legendary L.A. stage and theater director. One night Sally was an invited guest. She was very
cool and down to earth, and was recently in a show back east, I think somewhere in Rhode Island.
Anyway, after dinner and drinks, I was busy in the kitchen as the bar was all cleaned from the
early mess it was in during the initial cocktail reception when people arrived. I'm washing
glassware and dishes, and Sally calmly leaves her seat in the living room, slides right into the
area where I'm at, grabs a dry towel and starts helping me, and we engage in a conversation
about each other's lives.
Martin Landau: The Gardenia is a celebrity mecca for people who work in theater, stage, film,
television or music. It's like a comfortable living room where you notice that everybody knows
everybody in the biz. I'm pretty good with faces, and the bar is close to the speakeasy-style
entrance. I noticed Mr. Landau was in the room earlier on in the evening, but I don't always
know exactly where the drinks are going to in this supper club setting, even though there are
seven seats at the bar. At the end of the night and after the show was over, as he was leaving,
Mr. Landau made a quick stop at the edge of the bar, shook my hand, smiled and said "That
was the best martini I've ever had". All I could say was "Thank you very much, glad you enjoyed."
Considering all the places and bars around the world where he's had a martini, I couldn't speak
for awhile after that acknowledgement.
Bud Cort: At another Palladium event many moons ago, this guy comes up the bar with a lady
friend of his. He looks so familiar, but I just couldn't place the name to the face. But I was curious,
so I created a sly inquiry. We ended up introducing ourselves after sharing kind words of the
event as I was making his and her drinks. The thing about people in showbiz is many of them
have waited tables or tended bar at some point early in their careers, so they have a tendency
to appreciate the positions instead of looking down at them. Not everybody had it handed to
them. But I always hold my head up high with whatever I do, because if I'm going to do something,
I want to do it well. I think Bud noticed that with me. We chatted for a couple minutes, and
amongst other things I already knew about his career including playing the lead actor opposite
Ruth Gordon in the 70's cult classic film Harold & Maude, he was also a live-in caretaker to
Groucho Marx in his Bel-Air mansion. He was there in the house and next to Groucho when he
died in 1977.
Raquel Welch: One night at the club I ended up answering the phone behind the bar on a
packed night. When you hear that distinct, sultry voice on the other end of the line, you know
who it is. It stopped me in my paces. I couldn't believe it, it was so surreal, like out of a dream
or being hypnotized. It was her. The stunning one. I knew from the reservation books that she
was coming in. I just didn't expect her to be calling the club. But she was running late, and
wanted me to let her friends know that she was going to be sitting with, of the news. So we did.
As I'm making drinks in a mad skills way, she walks into the club. The first thing she does is
come to the corner of the bar and says "Hi Kyle" and waves. I pause my prep movements in
shock, waved back, smiled and said "Hi Raquel". I mean, at that point, what else could I do
that was appropriate but less formal of a response. She walks over to her table on the main
floor of the room, and the patrons in to see the show and filling up all the bar seats were sitting
there looking at me going "Huh!".
Willie Shoemaker: One of the more interesting places I've ever tended bar on an on-call
basis was at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center over on Riverside Drive in Burbank. One
early evening I was called in to work a nice, simple birthday gathering of friends in a room on
the property fitting for about 30-40 people. Later did I find out that it was for the legendary
jockey of horseracing. Willie walks in after about a dozen people had already arrived. He
comes to the bar and orders a Johnnie Walker Red on-the-rocks. It was an honor to meet
him. Small guys don't have too much luck in the world, so it's nice to know that there's a place
for them here in this sport that requires such. He couldn't have been nicer, and before it got
busy, we got into a chat about the center and everything that it does as far as events and what
it means to the community of so many Hollywood equestrians.
Rick Dees: Mr. Dees was a member of Lakeside Golf Club as well. And in this place, we
called everybody-leading off with either "Mr." or "Dr.". There was quite a cast of characters
that we're part of this special place. They wouldn't let just anybody in. Rick always ordered
cranberry juice. I don't think he ever drank alcohol, at least not in front of us. He was always
in good spirits. I remember my executive chef rock & roll buddy at the club, Markus Kohn, at
times having to put together a set of specially-prepared meals at Rick's request, and then
drive over to the airport to deliver them to his private jet just before take-off to Kentucky.
Adrienne Barbeau: She came into the Gardenia one night with husband, Billy Van Zandt,
to see a sold-out show, but there wasn't any room on the floor tables, so they sat at the bar,
where I also serve full dinners. At that time she was in one of my all-time favorite cable shows
on HBO called "Carnivale", that shamefully only lasted two seasons. It was such a packed
house that night. But when you sit at the bar, you can get more attention, plus you're sitting
higher, so in some thoughts, it can actually be better as far as service. And I made it a point
to take extra care.
Joffrey Lupul: For the last couple few years I've been asked to work Joffrey's special
holiday parties right on the sand in Newport Beach of his awesome pad. These gigs are
basically 10-hour hauls, but he makes it worth the drive down. He's such a cool guy. We
get to see him in the off-season when he's healing injuries and bruises from being the left
wing for the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL team. For me, these parties are like hanging in
natural babe city for what feels like an entire day and night. By the time I'm through, it's
close to exhaustion, but I'm so wired from the amperage I've had to exert over those long
busy hours, that I just have enough left in the tank for the drive home.
Marv Fleming: This goes back to my days working the bars at the famous Denim &
Diamonds in Santa Monica. Back then it was like the Studio 54 of country music. This
gentleman comes up to me at the bar and orders a beer while he leans his pool stick
against his shoulder. Handing me his money, I notice this monster of a ring on his finger.
We introduce. Holy shite, it's tight end, Marv Fleming! He takes the ring off and plops it in
the palm of my hand. Wow. It's like the weight of a miniature barbell. Just like when Lakers
announcer, Chick Hearn, did the same thing to me a couple years previous at Stanley's Bar
& Grill. Those NBA Championship and Super Bowl rings are like nothing you've ever seen
before when you eye them firsthand close up and hold them. And Marv was just hanging out
sort of incognito digging the music and playing pool, because he's from Texas. He has Super
Bowl rings from both the Dolphins under Don Shula and the Packers under Vince Lombardi.
He's also the first player in the NFL to play in five Super Bowls. That's impressive. And so
was he to be so humble and cool with me after accomplishing so much in a storied career.
Barbara Bain: I also see Ms. Bain come into the club whenever Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks are
there for the twice-a-year shows they come to. One time she
came in late and had to sit at the bar. Fine with me! Barbara was also married to the previously-
mentioned Martin Landau for 36 years. She's still as beautiful today as when she starred as
Cinnamon Carter in the original Mission Impossible TV series from 1966-1969. She reminds
me a lot of Lauren Bacall. I love Old Hollywood. I don't ask much of them. I just like being
around. And in a bartender capacity for them, well, it just doesn't get better than that.
94’-95’ Los Angeles Dodgers: After leaving Denim & Diamonds, I was working the bar at
Cafe Bellissimo in Woodland Hills, walking distance from where I lived. I wasn't supposed
to work this day, but Kelly had called me in as the restaurant was closed for this event of
Reggie Smith's birthday, of which I wasn't even aware of. Everybody was there, including
Tommy Lasorda. It was a busy fun party, and I served everybody. I'm a big baseball fan, so
this was right in my wheelhouse. And it was during the strike where they only played 115
games out of a regular 162.
Vanna White: I'm working a private party at a home out in the Oak Park/Westlake Village
area in the back yard with my custom bar set-up, and my wheel of fortune appears before my
eyes. Sometimes I know in advance, but most of the time I don't. And even though the client
has put out the invites/RSVP's, there's still a percentage of the unknown. I had a couple
different tequila's behind the bar, but Vanna went with the Patron Silver over ice with a
nice-sized wedge of fresh lime. What I love is when they come right up to the bar regardless
of who they're with that could get the drink for them. She's still a tall, thin beauty after all these
Dale Olson: Dale is not your normal household celeb name, but he was one of my favorite
private clients. Though he passed away a few years ago at the age of 80, I worked his
Christmas Eve parties for many years, and some Summer gatherings as well, as he was
Hollywood's veteran PR guy for decades, representing such greats as Marilyn Monroe,
Gene Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Steve McQueen, Rod Steiger, Laurence Olivier, Shirley
MacLaine, and Steven Spielberg, to name a few. A lot of history in his home, it was like
walking into a museum. I really miss him.
George Chakiris: About fifteen minutes before a Janis Paige show at the Gardenia, George
comes through the door of the club alone. sits at the bar and orders a drink, then orders a
coffee cocktail. We chatted a little bit about the club, as he was thinking of puttting a Cabaret
show together. In case you don't know or may not be aware of his name, George won the
academy award for best supporting actor for West Side Story in 1962. This goes back a
long ways. But he also was one of the dancers with Marilyn Monroe in "Diamonds are a girl's
best friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953.
Frank Strazzeri: Frank was hired as a pianist through the local L.A. musicians union to play
a show one night at the Gardenia with a performer, as several West Coast jazz cats from back
in the day still do. Frank was Chet Baker's pianist for a few years in the early 80's. I'm a huge
Chet fan, and was able to speak with Frank after the show when he came up to the bar for a
drink. He said he really knows what happened and how Chet died in the hotel in Holland.
Snoop Dogg: On two occasions I worked for Snoop. One was at an old church in downtown
L.A. for a concert fundraiser where I worked the bar in the VIP section right next to the stage,
for 1,000 people attending. That was a jamming, busy night. The other was just a couple years
ago when I was hired to work a bar in the recording studio for a radio publicity party with a
bunch of FM people flying in from all over the country to hang and help promote his latest
album at the time. He came over to the bar as he made his rounds, and said "Hey Bar Man",
shook hands, and I said "Hey Snoop". I had a drink already made for him, a Dark n' Stormy,
but he said "Man, if I drink that, I won't make it back to Long Beach".
Tom Morello (Audioslave): During Audioslave's first tour, they came into The Hollywood
Palladium for a show. I got into the club early to set-up the bar in the VIP section, but also to
hang out on the back stage while they were doing their soundcheck, of which I was able to
do. But I had to move in and out to avoid the GM walking around. Though I missed Chris
Cornell, I did get Tom Morello to sign the CD jacket of the debut album. That was cool
enough. And then the show kicked ass with them doing a cover of "Working Man" by Rush
as an encore.
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