Nine Celebrities I Have Seen Doing Ordinary Things

A bad photo of me and Amy Adams watching a Journey cover band

I'm not blasé about celebrity sightings. It's one of the fun things about living in Los Angeles; even stars go nuts over seeing each other. And while through the years I have seen many famous people working on movie sets or at premieres, or socializing at bars and restaurants, sometimes I catch them doing the sort of quotidian things you wouldn't expect to see the rich and famous do. In short: celebrities – they're just like us!

  1. Jane Lynch picking up her dry cleaning. The guy behind the counter even spoke to her in the third person, saying her whole name just in case any of us didn't know that the Glee star was in the house. Awkward.
  2. Martha Plimpton in line at the post office. Like picking up dry cleaning, this is one of those chores that only a personal assistant would be tasked with. (And believe me, even people with barely discernible levels of fame have personal assistants.) But there was Martha, right in front of me in line. We chatted a bit, until she realized she left her wallet in her car, so she left her parcel on the counter while she went to get her wallet. She came back and announced that she'd actually left her wallet at home, so she took her parcel and left. Actors!
  3. Keanu Reeves validating his parking at the movie theater. What's even more notable is that Mr. Reeves was catching a matinee. Thrifty man.
  4. Weird Al Yankovic quenching his thirst. It is certainly ordinary to eat and drink in public. But I've seen so many stars doing this that it doesn't count as unusual anymore. Yet it was unusual to see the beloved parodist aggressively chugging an entire glass of water at lunch. As a single final drop fell from his chin, he said "Bingo."
  5. Tobey Maguire eating lunch alone. This happened just a few weeks ago. Again, it's not uncommon in LA to see stars feeding their faces. But stars being stars, they always have company: a date, a handler, would-be collaborators. I'd never seen one dining alone until I caught the erstwhile Spider-Man having a hamburger and fries at a vegan restaurant. (In fact my vegan wife and I have seen Maguire at vegan places on several occasions.) Though the actor recently separated from his wife, it was still surprising that he had no one to eat with, save his mobile phone, which commanded his attention.
  6. Patricia Clarkson going through airport security. This is one of my favorite celebrity stories. My wife and I were leaving New Orleans in 2015 on a quiet Saturday afternoon when I noticed a familiar face in front of me in the security line. So I asked her, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like the actress Patricia Clarkson?" She gave me a stern look. "Are you the actress Patricia Clarkson?" "Yes I am," she admitted. We had a nice little talk about her film Cairo Time, a favorite of mine. Then she had to pose with her hands up inside the body scanner like everyone else. (Side note: I also once ran into my old Claustrophobia star Mary Lynn Rajskub at LAX security.)
  7. Jason Segel waiting to pay for his drinks. This was at the since-closed Dominick's in West Hollywood, a legendary old Italian place that couldn't keep up with the times. It was still buzzing in its last years, as was apparently the very tall actor/writer, who patiently stood at the bar holding out his credit card, just like any other schmo being ignored by the bartender.
  8. Tippi Hedren taking family snapshots. My wife was once nanny to a pair of brothers who went to a private Catholic school. When the eldest graduated from sixth grade, we were invited to the ceremony. One of his classmates was the daughter of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. Griffith's mother, star of The Birds and Marnie and several of Alfred Hitchcock's more private fantasies, whipped out her camera like a good grandma and took a candid photo of Banderas lovingly embracing the young graduate.
  9. Amy Adams enjoying a Journey cover band. I have run into the perennial Oscar nominee twice. The first was while she was grocery shopping with her family. (I have seen celebs at supermarkets, but typically it's at a Whole Foods-type place and they're just grabbing a wheat grass smoothie or some overpriced supplements. In Adams's case, she was full-on stocking up for the week, like any old mom.) The second was at the renowned Whisky a Go Go, where a friend had invited me to see a Journey cover band for free, as they were being filmed for a TV show. We didn't know why Adams was there, daughter in tow, though she seemed to know someone on the TV crew. In any case, the first time I saw her, her dear friend Philip Seymour Hoffman was reported dead minutes later. The second time, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, again just minutes later. Heaven only knows what historic event will transpire the next time I cross paths with Amy Adams.