People I Know You Might Have Heard Of
Posted on March 10, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 76 Comments
I noted a couple of days ago that I knew Howard Wolfson, spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, which led me to wonder who in the real world I know (or knew at some point in my life) who have become notable in some way or another. I’ve decided for the purposes of this list not to list the writers whom I have met since I started writing novels; given my own notoriety at this point, it kind of wrecks the curve. I’ll also throw out all the famous people I interviewed, because it’s not like I actually knew them.
Here’s a list of 20, then, in no particular order:
Howard Wolfson (of whom we have already spoken)
David Auburn (Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; wrote Proof)
Josh Marshall (TalkingPointsMemo.com)
Ivan Brunetti (cartoonist and illustrator)
Jessica Abel (cartoonist)
Ted Rall (cartoonist)
James Lileks (columnist and blogger)
George Marinelli (Grammy-winning guitarist)
Pamela Wallace (Oscar-winning screenwriter; wrote Witness)
Michael Arias (anime director)
Pamela Ribon (TV writer, blogger)
Jean Twenge (author, psychologist)
Helen Childress (screenwriter, Reality Bites)
Ken Hite (RPG designer)
Erin McKean (Chief Consulting Editor for American Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, blogger)
Eric Zorn (columnist, Chicago Tribune)
Neil Steinberg (columnist, Chicago Sun-Times)
J. Freedom DuLac (music critic, Washington Post)
Sari Gruber (opera singer)
Kim Ng (Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers)
I’m sure there are others, but you get the point: just by living, we end up knowing notable people.
Who are the notable people you know personally? Count the people you’ve actually known in the real world. Don’t count me.
What a small world! Sari Gruber was in my dorm at college. :-)
Small world indeed. Sari’s very cool. I knew her in high school.
Good friends with Cliff Burton (1962-1986). Former bass player from Metallica.
Good friends with Jimmy Martin. Former guitarist from Faith No More.
Those are the only 2 worth mentioning as most other notable people I know are only aquaintances. So they don’t count. Right?
Yeah, acquaintances are kind of iffy. You should have gone to school with them/had them in your direct circle of friends, etc.
I did not recognize a single name on this list. Not a comment on the “notability” of these people, of course, but possibly a comment on how out-of-touch I am.
Only one: http://www.echo-x.com but she moved away and we are no longer good friends. :-(
As a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, I think it’s pretty cool that you know Kim Ng. She’s always seemed really sharp, and I think it’s a shame there aren’t more female execs in MLB.
I should add that she is probably only *somewhat* notable…
You know James Lileks? He must be a laugh riot in person. If there’s an interview, please point us at it!
I’m afraid I fall into that iffy “acquaintances” category, but they were fun – so I’ll list a couple. Spent a few hours with Dennis Hopper (drinking), and boy does he know how to drink. Also spent a couple of hours drinking with George Thorogood – and yes, he also knows how to drink. Once got punched by Jean Claude VanDam (I took a martial arts class with him). He doesn’t know how to drink, but he certainly knows how to punch. There you have it.
I know Randy Bachmann, of BTO, although not very well. We had ribs together once. I’m mostly acquainted with his daughter and her husband.
Jerry Holkins can identify me on sight, although he’ll still probably use my handle to do so.
And I was in the same graduating class and stake (a church division in Mormonland) as Lori Hacking. (She had the unfortunate fate of being notable for being murdered by her husband and ending up on CNN.)
Oh, and I guess I know a lot of people in the gaming industry, notably CliffyB and Tim Sweeney. (I have a pic of me in Tim’s Lamborghini.)
Best of the Web’s James Taranto is a very good friend of mine. He’s much younger than me, of course, but he was precocious young man and he was part of a group of us that had a particular Phoenix BBS in common. And we used to hang out together quite often (my wife too, but she was not a member of the Apollo bbs). In fact, he wrote his own BBS program hosted on a TRS-80 at one point. When I met him he was a Computer Science major at the ASU. He later attended UC Northridge.
I like to think that I set him on his path in journalism back in 1985, but I’m not sure he remembers it that way.
I’m wracking my brains, and the only even vaguely notable person I know is Annemarie Moorcroft, who has been the principal violist at the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin since 1996.
Even so, I knew her brother Marc much better than her.
I more or less grew up with Sheryl Crow. She lived a block away from me in Kennett, Mo.
Man, factoring out all the people I’ve met through my professional sf life, I find very few notable folks left.
Richard Lederer, author (and father of two famous poker players)
David Barboza, NY Times reporter
Wow. Guess my circle is more limited than I thought. Of course, if we make the circle a little bigger by including acquaintances whom I would feel comfortable calling to ask a question, we get three people who walked on the Moon, one former Cabinet secretary and Congressman, a couple of Super Bowl ring owners….
Bill Gates and Richard Stallman. How’s that for contrast?
Well, I met Michael Moore a couple of times. He graduated from high school with my sister and my brother used to work for him.
I know Tobias Buckell. Is he notorious yet? Hmmm…
My sister-in-law played piano at James Woods’s second wedding, so there’s that 6-degrees-of-separation thing going on, but no, right off hand I’d say any famous people I know are writers that may or may not be all that famous, depending on what circles you fly in.
Differing degrees of “known” depending on who — several merely casually and glancingly — and a rather a compact range of professions, but all known in Real Life: David Politzer (physicist, Nobel laureate), Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (SF authors), Richard Feynman (physicist, Nobel laureate), Murray Gell-Mann (physicist, Nobel laureate), David Levine (SF author), Avedon Carol (Feminist author, blogger, fanzine fan), Geoffrey Wolff (author), Greg Bear (SF author), Greg Benford (physicist, sf author, fanzine fan), Eugene Volokh (blogger, law prof, SF fan), Alice Sebold (author), Charmaigne Craig (author), Alonzo Church (logician), Norman Mineta (Secretary of Transportation), Steve Barnes (SF author), Dave Langford (SF author, fanzine fan), Vonda McIntyre (SF author), Charlie Stross (SF author), Andrew Winer (author), Maile Meloy (author), Jacques Derrida (pseudo-philosophical hack), Ruth Barcan Marcus (philosopher), Todd Johnson McCaffrey (SFF author), Emma Bull & Will Shetterly (SFF authors), Harlan Ellison (futurist), John D. Berry (book designer). Apologies to those I left off.
Oh, and really, I should mention Ted White: author and former editor of Amazing, Fantastic, and Heavy Metal
I was regularly dunked on by Shawn Kemp (former NBA player) in pickup basketball games in high school..
Beverly Cleary, children’s author, my great-aunt.
Pamela Ribon, author, TV writer, met at JournalCon and at a reading where we had a mini-fight
Rob Rummel-Hudson, author, met at JournalCon
Janet Caroll, actor, in a play of mine. Best known as Joel’s Mom in “Risky Business”
Jodi Benson, actress, met at North Shore Music theater and discussed plays with in workshops. Best known as the voice of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.”
Nancy Kerrigan, figure skater, assault victim. Met during junior figure skating competitions, she also was a student of my Dad’s in Jr. High.
Oh, and I forgot one: Eliza Dushku, actress on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She used to swim at my best friend’s pool when she was a little kid. She was a real brat then.
And not that anyone is likely to remember her now, but my high school swim coach was Linda McGuire (nee Gustavson) — she was part of the US women’s Olympic swim team and took a shared gold in freestyle relay, and a solo silver in 400 m freestyle.
I’ve met a lot of showbiz people, but that was simply a consequence of working in retail for a year near Beverly Hills. I won’t count – or name – any of those.
The only “household name” person I ever interacted with regularly and got to know a bit was Quentin Tarantino 20 years or so ago when he was the one working retail in the now legendary, and long-gone, Video Archives store in Manahattan Beach, CA. I used to rent a lot of movies, was a bit of a buff (Hey, compared to Q.T. almost nobody qualifies higher than “a bit of a buff” when it comes to knowledge of film) and spent many a pleasant hour talking movies with him there.
We were both admirers of the work of Sam Firstenberg, director of the first two American Ninja films and much other good low-budget action stuff. This was pre-‘Reservoir Dogs’ when, in retrospect, I’m sure Quentin would have given anything to be Sam Firstenberg. Perhaps the shoe now would be on the other foot.
I don’t recall disagreeing with much in the way of Quentin’s cinematic opinions with the notable exception of his – to me – inexplicably high regard for the acting talent of Melanie Griffith. I wonder if he still thinks so well of her.
Anyway, Quentin was exactly the same delightful, enthusiastic, charming motormouth in those days that he obviously still is when you see him guesting on talk shows and such. A splendid fellow who richly deserves his success. I’m pleased to have known him “back when.”
Well, if the list is “know[n] personally” as opposed to “met once at a function” (everybody could claim to have “known” a famous person under those criteria), then my list includes Robert Rodriguez, Steven Gould (who’s gone from obscurity to popularity in one swell foop with the Jumper movie), and several old colleagues from my comic book days, like Jeff Smith, Dave Sim and Gerhard, Los Bros Hernandez, several of the Image Comics artists, and Neil Gaiman. Naturally, now that I write SF/F book reviews, I’ve gotten to know a whole flock of SF/F novelists. Some even cordially.
Don Mancini (wrote the “Chucky” movies–I adore him [Don, not Chucky])
Mike Ramirez (Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist–had a crush on him)
Bert Fields (“attorney to the stars”)
Lisa Edelstein (Dr. Lisa Cuddy on “House”–grew up with her)
Two who wouldn’t necessarily remember me:
Barbara Dare (porn star–used to go swimming in her pool when we were kids)
Doug Liman (movie director–lived above me during college, boy, was he loud…)
Probably others, but these are the notable ones.
Ted Rall is a douche. How do you know him?
Only two that I can think of off the top of my head:
Jonathan Woodard – actor, best known for his supporting roles in various Mutant Enemy shows and for his first starring role in Wit opposite Emma Thompson. My best friend in high school, though we fell out years ago. (I played Colonel Pickering to his Henry Higgins in our high school’s production of My Fair Lady, which is a fairly apt description of our friendship, looking back) He still keeps in semi-irregular contact with my sister, though.
Sarah Goldfinger – writer/producer on the original CSI. We ran in roughly the same circles in college, though I was more immersed in theatre at the time and she was more immersed in writing. I do remember that she was a pretty good writer.
Mike Maronna, best known for playing Big Pete on The Adventures of Pete & Pete and later for his Ameritrade commercials, went to my high school and we hung out in the same crowd of friends. My high school doesn’t tend to have many famous alums, though; we’re usually creative types who end up being struggling artists rather than Big Names.
There are plenty of people I know through my parents, who both collect notorious and outrageous types without even trying: the ones I know best are probably Sidney Zion (infamous New York attorney and columnist), Harlan Ellison, and Joey Skaggs (media prankster and culture jammer), any of whom I could call at 2 a.m. and ask for a favor. More on the “close acquaintance” end are folks like Tom Disch and Jeff Marx (co-creator of Avenue Q), but I could probably call them at 2 p.m. and ask for a favor. *)
Due to an extensive involvment in the music business in England during the 80’s I could drop names for days but suffice it to say that the people I stayed in touch with are probably too obscure to mention now, except maybe in terms of the “do you know who I used to be?” school of thought. So maybe I’ll leave it at that for now . . .
Know a few comics from when I did stand up comedy:
~Dane Cook (I think we hung out exactly once)
~Gary Gulman (was in Tourgasm with Dane)
~Robert Kelly (was in Tourgasm with Dane)
~Bob Marley (Maine comic, was in Boondock Saints) good friends, went to his wedding
Do I know any other “famous” people?
I will have to think about it. (so, probably no.)
OK, here goes. Notable people whom I know and know me by name, most of them authors:
JA Konrath (Drove him around Cincinnati all day two years ago.)
Jeff Jena, comedian
Former WONE (FM in Akron) DJ Mike Rose (My cousin, actually) I suppose that means locally notable.
Sarah Weinman, critic and reviewer
And I suppose some people will come back with “Who?”
Went to college with Bruce Friedrich (PETA).
Went to HS with Patti Carr and Lara Runnels (writers for Boy Meets World, Reba, and a few other tv shows)
Went to HS with Andy Cohen (Sr VP of Production and Programming at Bravo)
hehe, at first glance on this post, I thought you know Jessica Alba! :)
I’m not anywhere near as well connected as many of you…but lets see:
Jenn Crowell (Author) friend, lives down the street from me.
Dana Eclar (actor, McGyver)
Amy/Matt Roloff (Little People/Big World)
Justin Dart (deceased? does that count? One of the authors of the ADA)
Marlee Matlin (actress, this falls more into the acquintence category…I’m reaching here)
Tonya Harding and I have shared ice many times, but have never really officially said more than saying “excuse me.” (I add her because of the Nancy Kerrigan reference above. Tee Hee)
Didn’t you ask some starlet on a date? or propose marriage or something? (Aside from the actual starlet living with you currently?)
I can’t claim I hang around with anyone famous enough to warrant the title of friendship, unfortunately. Perhaps I need to get out more often.
I know people no one else has ever met.
Alexandra Paul (aka the Virgin Connie Swail from Dragnet and Stephanie “The-Only-Baywatch-Babe-Who’s-Actually-A-Lifeguard” Holden. Very sweet woman, and my only friend with a criminal record (that I know of).
Lanna – I met Gary Gulman a few times, as well as a few others from their early days in the Boston comedy circuit, like Dwayne Perkins, who I’ve seen in a few Verizon commercials lately.
I have to say that’s weird when you are watching TV and you see someone you used to run into every wed, thur, fri for a few years. I wouldn’t say I was friends with either of them, but I certainly knew them.
I went to elementary school with Sarah Jessica Parker. I was in Brownies with her sister Rachel.
According to my grandfather, Cybil Shepherd once babysat for me – I do not remember this, my grandfather remembered it very well. She was a teenager at the time and was winning beauty pagents.
That’s it for me.
My dad used to borrow magazines from Carl Sagan when they were at U of Chicago together. I think that’s kinda cool.
I’m not sure if I should count people I know professionally, any more than you count other book writers; I know a lot of TV, movie, comic book, and book industry people because I had some sort of business dealing with them or we met in a convention or we volunteer together in entertainment-related work, but if you toss those out, the famous people I know for other reasons are…
Jeff Maguire (Oscar nominated screenwriter; former housemate)
James Yabe, the late Dan Ivan, and other karate people well-known within the field (trained under them or met them in training.)
I think that’s it. I don’t know any politicians personally, though I got hugged by Indira Gandhi when I was seven. Though I do know two people who are closely related to important or formerly important political figures in other countries.
In the “I went to high school and hung out with…” category, there are two:
Erin Hart, author of “Haunted Ground” and “Lake of Sorrows”
Ted Johnson, current commander of the USS Enterprise
In the “I took a class from her and then we became friends” category is Cass Dalglish, author of “Nin”.
And that is the extent of my brush with the famous.
Lesse, Nick Lachey, of married to Jessica Simpson fame. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Scalzi should recognize that name. My mother went to college with Avery Brooks and I knew him a bit back in the day. That’s about it…
J. Kenneth Blackwell? Oy!
I refuse to google my high school classmates to see which (if any) of them did anything interesting.
I think one of them ended up in local politics in the New Orleans area but I can’t remember his name. :-)
Gharlane of Eddore was a close friend of the family (In fact, my mother was the one who found his body— put her off mysteries for years.)
Through him, we’re pen pals with Brit author Tom Holt. He even dedicated a book to my mother— something she found out when checking the dedications at the San Jose WorldCon. She was literally bouncing when I saw her next.
Author Mark Anthony, who worked with Evil Rob for a couple of years before we found out that he’d written anything. He seemed rather embarrassed that we sought out his books. (Really, his style reminds me of David Eddings, if a little more personal and not quite so long-winded.)
Aside from that, a scattering of actors— one Broadway (Jennifer Foote, grade school compatriot and minor nemesis (I got over it years ago, but it’s still fun to say)) and several in bit roles in movies and commercials. Nobody really huge yet.
Oddly enough once I subtract out the writers I have had contact with from having worked on SF cons I know nobody of any degree of fame. I am sure I must have had some contact with someone at sometime that the rest of you may have heard of but I don’t know about it. Closest to it was back when the movie “Deep Throat” was making porn chic was a conservation at a family reunion. A branch of the family is actually named Lovelace (we say it “Love-less”) and we spent an hour or so trying to figure out if Linda Lovelace was kinfolk. Assuming that was her real name, which it wasn’t. That is it for fame & me. Until the bodies are discovered, I guess.
Due to volunteer work I have done, I know more convicted sex offenders than anyone else outside the correctional system. Does that count?
How do you know Lileks, who’s 10 years older than your own cohort (Josh Marshall et al.)? When I was an editor at the Minnesota Daily he spoke very humorously at the annual alumni dinner in 1989 or ’90; he was by then a veteran of both the Daily and City Pages, had already been getting some of his columns picked up nationally, and had had a novel published, Falling Up the Stairs. Do you know him simply because you’re both among the few who’ve maintained a daily blog since the late ’90s?
Oh yeah – not that I knew Jonathan Frakes myself, but in the 1960s my dad was his orthodontist.
Omitting the science fiction writers, editors, publishers, and directors that I know (as Mark notes, above, through convention-running), and also omitting the newspaper and magazine editors, radio and television personalities who used to be my students, that leaves just a few:
The late Gerald R. Ford (We first corresponded when he was a Congressman for Michigan, and then later in his two White House jobs. I worked on his election campaign and met him briefly. He was an amazingly good man.)
The late Paul Simon (The Senator from Illinois, not the songwriter with much smaller ears and no bow ties. In grad school, I worked on his re-election campaign as a Congress critter. We were at the same small dinner one night (to work on Illinois higher education issues).
Nancy Cartwright. (The voice of Bart Simpson — we were on our college speech team together at Ohio University, before she transferred to the left coast.)
Eliza Dushku. (I teach at the same institution that her mom does, and I first met her when she was about as tall as my waist — she was 6.)
Oh, and two of my former students (that I know of) are spooks (one for the U.S., one for Interpol).
Went to high school with actress/cabaret singer Susan Egan (a.k.a. the voice of Megara in Disney’s Hercules); have spoken very occasionally and casually with Nancy Kress.
(Family connection: my father is an old friend of Harry Turtledove’s.)
“How do you know Lileks, who’s 10 years older than your own cohort (Josh Marshall et al.)?”
He used to write for me when I was an editor at AOL. I sought him out because I thought he was funny as hell.
Gharlane also had so many Internet friends that I imagine a lot of us would probably be connected through him that way.
I was an elementary- and high-school friend of Robert Balder, the filker/web cartoonist (PartiallyClips and writer of Erfworld).
I have been directed on the stage by the guy who invented CAT TOWN.
I knew a lot of prominent scientists when I was in school, but I don’t think that counts exactly. There were some who went on to become better-known than they were at the time, such as string theorist Eva Silverstein (who was still an undergrad when we were in the same graduate-level classes).
Probably the most famous person who I should have known but did not was Patton Oswalt. We went to the same college at the same time, we wrote humor columns for the same campus magazine, and he beat me out for a cartoon slot in the newspaper. But, to my knowledge, I never actually met him.
Holy cow, I’m following Matt McIrvin in a comments thread, just like I spent half the ’90s on the USENET!
“Count the people you’ve actually known in the real world. Don’t count me.”
But, but, I *know* you, John!
Oh, alright. I had college classes with authors Kevin Guilfoyle and Tasha Alexander.
Also, does the inventor of Godwin’s Law count? Because I’ve crashed on his living room couch.
…I also have a friend who is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, but she’s not in the headlines much, and probably likes it that way.
I swear I submitted this earlier…
Within my extended group of friends is Keith Baker – creator of the Eberron setting for AD&D, that’s about it.
Steve Hockensmith, mystery author (“Holmes on the Range”), has been a pal since college.
Arthur Lyon, comics colorist, (JLA, other stuff), has been a pal since high school.
Gil Loescher, refugee expert & survivor of the 2003 Baghdad UN HQ bombing, was my neighbor when I was growing up.
John Noonan, Appellate court judge, is a law-school classmate and lifelong friend of my father’s.
Mike Hurtt, Rockabilly singer/guitarist (Royal Pendletons, Haunted Hearts), was one of my best pals in high school. Back then nobody even knew he could sing until he brought the house down playing Pharoah/Elvis in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Very cool guy, turned me on to punk music and jeans-ankle-rolling. This was Indiana in the early 80s, so we were the SHIT.
I worked on a couple of TV shows, so I’ve worked with Tatum O’Neil, Joan Severence, Debbie Dunning, Joe Mangianello, Marshall Teague, Christopher Bello and a host of bit players who may or may not remember me by name if you were to ask them.
During that time, I met George Huang who wrote, produced, and directed Swimming With Sharks, who I email occasionally about a film I would like to do. He writes back, too. He is currently working with Robert Rodriguez on MadMan.
I used to live in the same neighborhood as Rob Halford. I’d see him walking around, and once talked to him at a record store about a film I just saw him in. He was shopping in the used bins.
And Cameron Diaz once slid her chair into me at a restaurant in LA and she didn’t even say “Excuse me.”
Oh, and I am friends with Nancy Holder, who I took a short story writing class from, and have known for a couple of years now.
Apart from various politicians, the only guy I know who has any fame at all is the owner of Jelly Belly, since we’re family friends. This doesn’t do me much tangible good now, but when I was in junior high school — when Jelly Bellys were at their Reagan-esque peak — I got one of the first prototype bags of Jalapeno-flavored jelly bellys. That, my friends, was an unstoppable amount of fun.
I used to see Joe Perry (Aerosmith) all the time when I lived in Duxbury. I also went to the same high school as Bill Curley (former NBA center) and Juliana Hatfield (low level rock star).
I used to work with Lingerie Bowl defensive end Lana Kinnear, but we don’t know each other.
I rented my house to both Tom Brady (Patriots QB) and Kevin Stevens (former NHL star). My husband did the business, leaving me to merely hand them the keys.
If you count Mafioso, my list doubles.
I don’t have that much.
The aforementioned Jean Twenge
Jeff Crosby, artist and illustrator
Michael “Heckuva job Brownie” Brown
David Bromberg, musician
I’m good friends with Tony Isabella, comic-book writer and creator of Black Lightning.
I went to college and was good friends at the time with Andrew Pepoy, comic book writer and artist.
My sister went to school with Nelson Diebel, 1992 Olympic Gold medalist in swimming. We had some nice chats at the YMCA where I worked and he showed me how to make a proper rat-tail.
I used to rent videos to James Young of Styx, but I doubt he’d remember me.
In the course of business, I’ve met many national journalists, military leaders and poiticians, but I don’t call any of them friends.
Oh, wait! I forgot by far my best “I used to know…!”
When I was an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz, I used to meet Tom Lehrer a couple times a week for bagels and coffee at one of the college cafes. We met at some school function, and later we both had (different) early-morning classes at the same time and area (he was teaching, I was attending) and so would meet and chat at the cafe. It was awesome. I already knew his music via my father, who was a fan.
Well, I know Lawrence “Larry” Schimel… does that count?
I went to college with a lot of now-famous people, including Jennifer Connelly and Theo Epstein, but wasn’t on more than a “Hi” in the lunch line basis with the rest of them.
I’m sure there are more than come to mind right now, but I went to school with Eric Allan Kramer (played Little John in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, among others) and the musician Tippy Agogo (I knew him as Damien Mark), and I also know the writer Frank M. Robinson (and watch for him to make a splash playing himself in Gus Van Sant’s MILK), actor Rick Roberts (best known in the US for two seasons in a show called LA DOCTORS), and Guy Gavriel Kay (we first bonded over sports, well before I was writing).
No writers from when I started writing.
Couldn’t resist joining in, even though my list is short and all writers (I’m a failed writer, myself):
Kimberly Cates, romance writer (went to college with her, worked in the college library with her, had a crush on her)
Patricia Anthony, rising SF novelist during the 90s (attended a weekly writing workshop in Dallas with her from 1986-1989, maybe a little longer)
Warren Norwood, SF writer (RIP; took a writing class with him back in the late 80s)
to a lesser extent:
Lillian Stewart Carl, fantasy & mystery writer (occasionally debuted work at the workshop I attended with Patricia)
Amy Sterling Casil, SF writer (online course and email contact)
Had a very very brief “brush with greatness” back in college when I interviewed Harry Chapin for the college radio station.
I thought I wasn’t going to have an answer to this and then I sat down and thought about it…
Steve Frech (actor) – roommate for about 6 mo.
Michael Coles (started The Great American Cookie Co, was CEO of Caribou Coffee) – had a daughter at my HS, spoke at my graduation, friends with my mom.
Chris Wyatt (producer, Napoleon Dynamite) – went to my HS. He made a speech at his graduation in which he promised free coupons for human bile and then passed out scribbled notes that said “Good for Free Human Bile” after the ceremony.
Aaron Solomon (tv/gameshow writer) – met him via a friend in college, became fast friends.
Cate Fopma-Leimbach (mother of Nick and Drew Lachey, 2/4 of band 98 Degrees) – she was one of the advisors to the peer education group I was in. I didn’t know her sons were in 98 Degrees and for months I couldn’t figure out why she had this beefcake promo poster of them over her desk.
I grew up with Aaron Archer – not widely known outside of most geek circles, but he’s the artist/toy designer in charge of Hasbro’s Transformers.
I also shared some writing courses in college with novelist Martha O’Connor and sort-of-kinda know Ryan Drummond, actor and longtime voice of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Ron Hogan (#54) mentions Mike Godwin, who I worked with back in the early days of the EFF. That also put me in contact with people like Mitch Kapor, John Perry Barlow, Clifford Stoll, and other net luminaries of the time, plus (of course) Steve Jackson.
Oh, I forgot. She wouldn’t know me from Adam these days, but I used to grace the record store where a young Kathy Dawn Lang worked the counter, and we would briefly chat now and again. She apparently still has a career in music.
So, I’ve been thinking about this, and the only person that I know whose name is generally recognizable is Cory Doctorow, and I don’t know him that well.
I also have met TNH, PNH, Elizabeth Bear, and Steven Gould, but those names aren’t so well known.
Back in HS I knew Fr. Stephen Rossetti who runs the facility in Silver Springs Maryland that treats pedophile priests. I knew Jim Manzi (Lotus CEO) in college.
Life has funny connections. A friend had Emmyou Harris as a baby sitter. Another friend played tennis with Leonard Weinglass in Iceland. He also smoked dope with the Merry Pranksters on the bus and crashed on floors in Houston with Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt trying to make it in the music business. Pat, you are missed.
Working security at the local Big Concert Arena, I met many famous folks (but I woudn’t call them friends). Let’s see…
I shared a dorm room in high school with Laura Harring, former Miss Texas, Miss USA, and now actress. (We didn’t get along.)
Took an RTF class at Midland College with Spud Webb.
Went to high school with Richard Brooks from “Law and Order” and “Firefly” for a year.
Worked for Steve Jackson for 2 years. :-)
I hired John Kovalic for Steve Jackson Games when nobody knew who he was. I like to remind him of this.
I knew Richard Garriott when he was still trying to make a go of video games early on. Many of my friends worked for him.
David Cherry and I are good friends.
Stephen Dedman once dedicated a book to me.
Steve and Jan Stirling are good friends of mine.
After many years of working as an art director and volunteering/vendoring at conventions, I know a great many writers and artists in both the SF and mystery fields. Aaron Allston, Glen Cook, Carole Nelson Douglas, PC Hodgell, Terry Pratchett, Ingrid Neilson, Don Maitz, Nene Thomas, Ruth Thompson….(Frankly, many artists remember me because I paid on time. Which is not a bad thing to be remembered for.)
Yeeeah wow. I guess I’m too young to know anyone famous. Ask me again in 20 years.
Worlds colliding — John and Larry, you know each other??? I feel honored to have made your list, John. Thanks. Congrats to both of you on your success! You are BOTH on my list. And, BTW, while we are name-dropping, my grandma used to babysit for the Eisenhowers on the army base in Honolulu in the 1930’s, back before Ike was Prez. Not that I ever met Ike, but still…pretty cool.