Here are some of the so-called "celebrities" I have seen, caught sight of or met over last 70 years or so. One thing I have noticed as the years go by (I am now 82) "name dropping" gets less fun as you grow older for the simple reason that people you are trying to impress don't even know who you talking about. The names are not listed alphabetically and I tell short stories about the person named if I remember some details, however trivial they may seem to the reader.
ROYALTY AND ARISTOCRACY
Duke of Redford and Peter Reynolds in Regent Park, London
Prince George,The Duke of Kent,
He was the brother of King George the 6th ( the father of Queen Elizabeth11). In 1941 I saw him drive by in a cortege in front of Westdale Collegiate during World War 11. I seem to remember he was wearing a uniform of an RAF air Marshall. A year later he was killed in a plane crash in England. Speaking of the war, I also remember seeing Mosquito bombers flying over the city (and many years later. I saw the short-lived Avro Jetliner passenger plane flew over).
Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent (son of George)
I saw him in former British Guiana where he and Duchess represented Queen Elizabeth 11 on the South American country's independence day, celebration, February 23, 1970. I was on a tour of Central and South America to gather interviews for my CBC radio travel series "Traveller's Check" I was based in London and living in Hunt Cottage with Liset Claus.
.I met and talked for a few minutes with Charles in the BBC's "World at One" studio at Broadcasting House. He was in or just out of his teens as I seemed to remember and was friendly in a formal, royal way. I was a staff producer in the CBC London office on Great Titchfield Street and was there with CBC radio producer Val Clery who was studying the program which pioneered the use of the telephone for gathering interviews and served as a model for CBC radio's "As It Happens" which Val created (not Mark Starowitz as some think).
Ian Russell, 13th Duke of Bedford
Owner of the stately home Woburn Abby, one of
first such homes opened to the public to make money
for upkeep and restoration. The Duke gave me a private
tour of the building. We met when I accosted him
leaving Sothebys or Christy's auction
house in London. I was a producer for the
External Services of the BBC .
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
POLITICIANS AND PUBLIC FIGURES
Jimmy Carter interviewed by Peter Reynolds for CTV
Sadly missing from my jumbled photo collection is my first "celebrity" photograph, a black and white shot of convicted murderer Evelyn Dick in 1947 descending the old (now demolished) courthouse steps in Hamilton, Ontario with her lawyer, the famous J.J. Robinette.
I remember jumping a police line to get the photo with my Kodak bellows camera. I lost the pictures years later. (I could be in the crowd shown in these photographs taken outside the now demolished courthouse.)
I was 15 or 16, living in a second floor duplex on Dundurn St. South with my mother Lorine and her second husband Art Bedwell. That's when I attended Lord Kitchener Public School and Ryerson Senior Public School ( Since demolished and replaced with new building) before moving on to Westdale high school.
I saw Churchill once. I was sitting in the press gallery in the House of Common in London as a reporter for Radio Press International when suddenly the great man appeared at the Bar of the House, signaled the speaker, then took his place on the front bench. He remained there for some time reading his Order Paper. Then he rose, signaled the Speaker and shuffled slowly out of the chamber. I believe Harold Macmillan was prime minister. I was impressed by how casual the whole thing was. Nobody paid any attention to Churchill. His appearance was of no consequence. Very British.
Field Marsharl Earl Alexander
Labor leader and deputy prime minister in Churchill's Wartime cabinet. Saw him once at CBC London Office in former Langham Hotel ( now restored as a hotel). Remember him looking lost and a bit sheepish.
I interviewed Otto Frank at the Ann Frank House in Amsterdam, road a streetcar with him to the center of the city, and had lunch at a restaurant that Frank last remembered having a |"Jews Forbidden" sign on it. Fellow freelancer Ray deBoer and I were in Amsterdam to do a film on the Ann Frank and lucked into Mr. Frank making one of regular visits from his home in Switzerland.
I saw Truman once, delivering a speech on the steps of Detroit City Hall. It may have the US Labor Day. I know the square was crowded with people. I was working as the one-man newsroom at CBC radio in Windsor (CBE). Truman was no longer President (Eisenhower was) and it was the first time I had seen the heavy security that is provided to former Presidents and Presidential candidates. The others I saw were Reagan and Eisenhower and Gerald Ford.
Saturday Live original cast
Harry Reemes, "Deep Throat"
Donald Campbell, speed racer.
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Lewis Garnsworthy
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LITERARY
Vittorio De Sica
The Rolling Stones
Dame Elizabeth Schwarzkopf
John Le Carre
Met Richler at his lakeside home in the Eastern region of Quebec. I was with CTV's W5 and was producing an interview with by W-5 reporter Ruth Freems. It was part of a profile series that included the Empress of Iran and J.B. Taylor.
Jim Hansen (Kermit the Frog)
I did a freelance interview for CBC radio with the Nobel prize winning novelist ("The Good Earth", etc. in Stockholm while working as a producer for the international service of Radio Sweden. The interview was available in the CBC radio archives for many years but I don't think is there any longer. I can't remember a word she said.
Directed an interview by CTV W5 host Ruth Freemes
with the Nobel Prize winner at his home in California. Ruth, a nutritionist did not buy into his claims for the benefits of taking vitamin C and tried, unsuccessfully in my view to challenge him on this. I remember Pauling giving us a handful of vitamin C tablets to take away with us.
Max von sydow
Curt Siodmak was a director of horror movies ( "The Wolf Man", "The Invisible Man", etc.) and the author of of the classic horror novel "Donovan's Brain". I was working for the international service of Radio Sweden in Stockholm and was hired by him to play a small roll as a Swedish police detective inspector in a tv series hosted by Lon Chaney Jr. titled "13 Demon Street".
My strongest memories of myself as an actor was having trouble remembering my lines. There was a scene shot outdoors in the old city of Stockholm and another in fake morgue inside the studio and several takes were necessary before I got it right. I remember the camera man worked for Ingmar Bergman.
Some of the episodes are available on YouTube, none with me in them that I can find. I also remember writing a script for Siodmak which he said he liked. The story-line actually scared me as I wrote in my Stockholm apartment late into the night. I wasn't paid for it and left Sweden shortly after, so I never knew if it was produced (probably not). Siodmak paid me $100 for the acting gig.
Got to know this British thinker former British spy and broadcast personality while with CBC in London, England. I particularly remember a "Viewpoint" on pornography in London in which we filmed him in the city's "red light" district of the time. "Viewpoint" was a person essay talk carried after the CBC television National News. I produced several of them from the London office of the CBC. One was a poem by Canadian Ralph Gustafson about pictures of refugees of the Bangladesh war of independence. It may have been the only time a poet was commissioned to do a political commentary on CBC television.
I briefly encountered the British film star on three occasions: hurrying past me (with wife Lilli Palmer) to a theater performance in Detroit that I attended. pushing loudly passed me in West End London "crush" bar, and loudly visiting Christies auction house in London. On all encounters I heard the famous "loud" voice before I saw him.
Tried and failed to interview him for radio on the set of "Dr. Strangelove" in London. Seemed very grumpy, very "Jamesmasonish".
Tried and failed to interview Guinness at Stratford Festival in Stratford,, Ontario. Met him at his dressing door. Orest Ulin, my friend from CBC Windsor who may have been working at the Festival at the time, was with me. Like Mason, he was not friendly, just a curt "no and go-away. you are bothering me" look. In my view, actors famous for playing ass-holes on screen are the same in real life.
I was a big fan of this pretty American comedian and singer. She starred in the "Sid Caesar Show" in the early days of television and, most memorably with Fred Estaire in "Band Wagon ". Fabray, who was partly deaf, presented me with a media accessibility award at the ceremony in a Hollywood hotel. I accepted the award on behalf of "The Disability Network", the CBC tv series produced by people with disabilities. I was the series' creator and first executive producer.