My journey to Ireland was indescribable. Please just take a look at this Press Enterprise blog, which sums it up pretty well!
My husband looks a lot like Jack Nicholson. I am starting this blog because I feel this whole experience is a study in human behavior, a social study of sorts. I am going to write about my experiences being married to a “quasi-celebrity,” reflecting on the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. To catch up, I may write about a few past experiences that stand out amongst the rest.
Why does any of this matter? Well, it doesn’t really, but I have found that some people find the celebrity world somewhat fascinating, and my experiences come from a slightly different vantage point.
Norman had an audition in West Hollywood. He was auditioning to play a “Merman” in a 100-million-dollar feature film to be shot in China. It was a speaking role and when reading the “sides” (a small piece of the script), we couldn’t tell whether or not it was a comedy.
It seems like a good gamble that a film with a “Merman” would be a comedy, especially since his lines involved killing someone with an electric eel. So when I was coaching him through his lines the night before the audition, he put a hilarious spin on the role. We thought it was good. He went to the audition and Norman claims the casting director appeared to love him, but she said he was like a “drunk Johnny Depp pirate”. A compliment, indeed, or at least that’s how Norman took it. She also asked him to tone it down a bit and whether or not he had done stand up comedy.
I always wish I could be a fly on the wall when he auditions; he doesn’t always read people very well and I am his acting coach, his publicist, and agent, so it only seems fair I could see my protégé in action. But this is not allowed; I must wait for him to come out after the audition and interpret what happened based on his recollection of the reactions given. He didn’t get the role, but what happened next was really fun.
We took my daughter and her boyfriend out to a lunch place called “The Newsroom”, which is across the street from the famous “Ivy” on Robertson in Beverly Hills.(The Ivy is way above our price range, but we did eat there once.) We had a nice lunch, then left the restaurant.
Upon exiting, we were bombarded from apparently tipped-off paparazzi. The flashes were clicking, my daughter and her boyfriend were very surprised. My daughter started waving to them, and it looked like she was covering her face, which added to the intrique. When the guy with the video camera started asking Norman questions, he asked,”Are you TMZ?” They said, “Yes.” Norman said, “Well…Harvey Levin’s going to kick your ass because I’m not Jack!” (Harvey is the host of the TMZ celebrity TV show.) They said, “No way!”, and starting saying they were no longer professionals because of this. They said they just demoted themselves. They said it was an uncanny resemblance and told Norman they had a whole list of things they were going to ask him, they were so prepared.
Another set of photographers followed us and jumped ahead to get some shots of Norman. It was crazy. We haven’t seen the footage on TMZ yet, but it was sure a fun experience. We could see how it could get old pretty fast though. Heck, had I known this was going to happen, I would have fixed my hair in the restroom before leaving the restaurant.
UPDATE: A month or so later we saw one of our acting friends and they said they had seen us on TMZ. We never saw it, but we pretty much know how the whole scene must have been presented on TMZ.
After my nephew’s fabulous wedding and reception, we decided to go to an English Pub in Redlands. It was fun, people were getting their photo taken with Norman and it was a very friendly and positive experience.
People came up and talked to us about how much he looks like Jack and how cool it was, etc….the usual. We met a nice couple and they said they were going to the Boiler Room, another bar down the street. They asked if we would like to go, too. We said okay and we left the pub. Well, most of us left the pub. I thought, where the heck is Norman? Oh, he is probably getting his photo taken by a large group of people who waited too long and saw him leaving.
This always happens right when we are leaving. And it is true, he had been stopped by a few women on the way out but when I returned, I saw his passage being blocked by what appeared to be a 7-Foot Englishman. He was being really hostile to Norman, like asking him why he tries to fool everyone, calling him “NormJack” over and over and over. I think perhaps he was the only one fooled and he had far too much to drink. I tapped him on his waistline, as high as I could reach, and asked him to let Norman go. Just then the guys at the bar, who knew Norman wasn’t Jack, but wanted their photos taken earlier just the same, started chanting, “Let Jack Go! Let Jack Go!” Other than your routine impending bar fight, my mind couldn’t help thinking this English Giant was about to chant “Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of a fake Jack Nicholson” and tear Norman into little hand-held morsals.
Finally, I went back outside and asked the guy we were with to help rescue Norman. This guy was the nicest person you could ever meet, mild-mannered, kind, gentle, yet comparatively small. Bravely, he went into the pub and somehow, though a high level of charm or some other magical powers, was able to convince the towering Englishman to let Norman go. Wow, we dodged that bullet!
So we walked down the street to the Boiler Room, where somehow the DJ was already tipped off that Jack Nicholson was coming, and our arrival was “announced” over the loud speaker as we walked in. It was unexpected and slightly annoying. Does Jack really have to put up with this treatment EVERYWHERE he goes? When he goes shopping for groceries at Pavillions, does the senior checker announce over the intercom system, “Jack Nicholson has arrived on aisle 9.”
After the “Make Me Young: Youth Knows No Pain” HBO Documentary film premiere screening and after party, we decided to go downtown and check out Times Square. We had some of the cast members with us, who were mostly black-dress-wearing blondes. Things were going quite well and Norman was getting his photo taken by people as we walked along. The next thing we know, Norman is approached by a small team of policemen. I thought, “What did he do now?” and was concerned he had committed some kind of unique crime that only New Yorkers would know is illegal. Perhaps he wasn’t supposed to go up the red stairs without a paid ticket, or perhaps he isn’t supposed to have a cigarette, even if unlit, in a public place. Nope. It wasn’t any of those things.
Norman was in violation of a little known city code regarding the public engagement of a large crowd. The policemen did a hand gesture behind us. We
turned around and saw that there was a healthy crowd of people following just behind us. Fans of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds, and ages. We said, “Can’t you just break the group up? It’s not our fault.” “No, you must leave this site immediately.” Okey dokey! Now we can say we have officially been kicked out of Times Square.
|We recently went to La Quinta, California for a conference I needed to attend. The temperature was hot, around 114 degrees at times. I brought Norman along to the evening reception and ended up passing out a lot of Norman’s business cards to people who thought he was “Jack” and wanted their photos taken with him. One lady even bought him a drink for a photo, which was a rare experience.The brand new business cards, which have “I’m Not Jack” on one side along with a photo of Norman, his websites, and his art photos and art info on the other side, were very well-received. Later that night, we ventured out for dinner to Applebees in La Quinta, so we could have a great salad. The staff there seemed to be mezmorized by Norman and we ended up having about 13 servers…I think each of them wanted to get a good look at Norman, thinking he was Jack. The manager offered us free dessert and an extra salad (since I ordered the wrong one)…which we turned down, but seriously the service ROCKED!|
|In June, 2009, we attended the CineVegas Film Festival because Norman had participated in a documentary film that had been accepted into the Cinevegas Film Festival. The Director personally invited us and got us passes to the event. We had no idea what to expect, having never attended CineVegas, nor had we stayed at the Palms Place Hotel. We had three days to find out.We got all checked into our suite at Palms Place, and quickly realized, THIS IS PARTY HOTEL. (Duh!) We still didn’t realize the full impact of this fact until we started exploring the hotel. Sure, I had called the hotel before booking, to see if, based on Norman looking like an international superstar, we could get a VIP pass to all of the clubs. Having been successful, this helped us in our “exploration” efforts, no lines, etc. Our first experience was at the “Ditch Friday’s” pool party. We were escorted past all of the lines and straight to the pool area. Never before had we seen so many drunk 20 somethings in the same place. Now we knew how the event got its name.So we thought we’d take a stroll around the pool then, we would head out and sort of stay under the radar the whole time. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Norman was MOBBED by at least forty people around the pool. After about thirty photos, Norman’s business suit covered in water, the VP of the hotel asked if he could “get us anything we wanted”. Okay, so that was within the first hour of our mini-vacation. We never got home earlier than 4 am. The loud party music in the elevators was just as loud at 4 am as it was at 4 pm. We had to be escorted out of a potentially-dangerous mob scene only twice. One woman actually pushed me away while she took a photo with “Jack”. I told her, “Don’t ever touch me again and that was the rudest thing I have ever seen.”
Surprisingly, in spite of her over-consumption of alcohol, after I said that, she instantly transformed from a fierce stalker from hell, to an apologetic business woman. I told her, “I forgive you”, and all was well again.Strangely, a few minutes later, another extremely rude person walked up to “Jack” (most people are really nice!) and asked to get his photo taken. He obnoxiously handed Norman his drink to hold, which I quickly took and placed onto a table. Meanwhile, he asked “Jack” for a cigar, and Norman gave him one. Then this fine gentleman turned around and started yelling at me for putting his (empty) drink on the table. Okay, then I turned ridiculously rude myself. I actually tried to take the cigar back from him. I didn’t think he deserved it. It was like King Solomon and the baby; we were fighting over the cigar in a way that was surely to rip it in half. I finally gave up, like every good cigar mother would do. Okay, yes, I hit a low point, but he deserved it.Later he tweeted that he had “partied with Jack” all night and I burst his bubble. Okay, another low point, but he was the second rudest person I had ever met, two in one night!The overall mob situation escalated, so a gentleman decided to play our bodyguard and escort us to another part of the club. Astonishingly, this man, convinced Norman was Jack, and carried on as if he went to college with Jack, for about an hour. The price you pay for protection! I don’t think Jack even went to college, did he?Next we were off to the club at the top of the hotel. An older gentleman, very sweet, bought us both drinks and talked to “Jack”, as if he had known him for 20 years. He didn’t make a big deal about “Jack’s” celebrity status, it was more of a man-to-man discussion about life in general.When Norman told a newlywed couple sitting next to us that we had met and married in 5 days, which is true, the older gentleman assumed we had JUST MET AND MARRIED WITHIN 5 DAYS. So he leaned over to me and in a hopeless tone, said, “Well I hope it lasts.” I couldn’t tell him we had been married for 17 years. I just couldn’t wreck his day by telling him Norman was Norman and not Jack. It’s a slippery slope and once you start pleasing people to the level like this, unless they ask, we don’t tell. It is our “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. There is a fine line between making someone’s day and ruining it. We prefer to make it. Is this unethical? What are your thoughts?
By the third and final day, we had hit every club at the Palms and many more outside the Palms and had been written up by numerous reporters, bloggers, celebrity review sites, and more. Some reporters took the whole “Jack” thing very lightly and others who showed a bit of repressed anger that they were “fooled” by Norman’s look, but each had their own angle on why Norman was at the film fest. Watching Norman get interviewed by reporters on the red carpet was a hoot, he is always entertaining and makes everyone laugh. Part of Norman’s humor is that he can’t hear very well (remember, he is a full-time high school art teacher) and he tends to sometimes, well, um, misunderstand the questions being asked due to his hearing problem. So his answers are even more bazaar than they should be!
On our return home, we stopped at McDonald’s in god-only-knows-where, a small town with a lot of trucks. We got to the front of the line and Norman ordered a hamburger. I ordered a salad. Norman said he had to go to the restroom, he gave me $20 to pay. While Norman was gone, I noticed the pimply-faced teenager behind the counter looking at me in a strange way. As I pushed the $20 across the counter to him, he slowly pulled it toward himself. The whole money exchange seemed to be in slow-motion and very surreal. The teen just kept staring at me, it was like an eternity, then finally he reached into the cash register and pulled out a pen. He marked the $20 and said, “I’m saving THAT one for later” and he slipped it into the drawer. It didn’t occur to me until a few minutes later that his odd behavior was because he thought Norman was Jack. If that was his thought process, why would Jack be eating at a McDonalds instead of being at the Lakers Championship game at the Staples Center? I guess that made the whole thing even more bizarre to the poor kid. The historical basketball game continued to play as we chowed down our burger and salad.
|We went to Toast Café on 3rd in Hollywood to have lunch yesterday while we were in the area. While waiting for our table, Norman met someone who went to high school with Jack Nicholson’s daughter.We got seated and, due to the heat, I took off my jacket to reveal my not-often-presented arms to the world. I thought, who really would care about, or even notice, my flabby white limbs? “I got nothin’ to lose”, I felt at that weakened moment in the heat. Our daughter, Paris, is becoming gifted at spotting paparazzi. While we were eating lunch, she said, “Mom, there is a paparazzi standing over there.” I turned and didn’t see anyone suspicious looking. She said she had identified someone with a large bag who appeared to have no real purpose but kept moving to different locations along the sidewalk. Anyway, we proceeded to talk to the man behind us who had custom made jeans for his dog, pocket chains and all. I even took a picture of the spoiled critter. It turns out the dog’s owner was an international DJ who said he would love for Norman to attend some of the parties he works. We handed him one of Norman’s business cards, then we watched him and his blue-jean-wearing dog and model girlfriend drive away in their Ashton Martin vehicle. After we finished eating, I decided to walk alone to get our car down the street and offer curb-side pickup to my family. So I am walking down the street and I heard someone running behind me, then along side of me, then in front of me running backwards. I said aloud, “Oh no!” The experienced backward-runner pulls out his camera and starts flashing. I put my head down and let my thick blonde mane fall forward, because…well…it seemed like the right thing to do to try to hide the large pimple that erupted on my forehead earlier that morning. Perhaps the blocking of my face only added to the scene. I got into my Prius with newly darkened windows and drove around to pick up my family. They were photographed non-stop until we sped off down a side street. “Why are we speeding down a side street?”, I thought.Later that day, after attending an art gallery show and going shopping at The Grove, we went to check out the ArcLight Los Angeles movie theater, since Norman will be attending his HBO Documentary film premiere there mid-week. We wanted to investigate the location we have heard so much about. The theater has a completely different feel from any we have attended—very high end. The gift shop, alone, is a worthwhile event. We saw at least one celebrity—Indian beauty Mindy Kaling who plays chatty Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom The Office. She was just hanging out with her friends, with her cute higher-than-normal voice.
After watching the tear-jerking “The Time Traveler’s Wife” film, we left the theater. My daughter and I were ahead of Norman, and we realized when we got to the elevators for the parking structure that we had lost Norman altogether. We waited, and then around the corner came Norman with a security guard. I said to Paris, “Oh great, what did he do NOW??” Norman then proceeded to tell me that he had “special security detail” assigned to him who would be escorting us to our car. Now that’s what I call a theater experience.
At 10 pm, our final event was to attend an invitation-only underground art opening on Melrose. It was a surreal experience; it should have been filmed for your stereo-typical goth party scene in a movie. The art was all creepy with lots of skulls, bones, and blood, with death-to-everyone rock playing loudly in the background. Some of Norman’s darker sculpture work would have actually fit in quite well. Being the only blonde in the place I stood out like a sore thumb, not to mention the fact that, while everyone else was in scantily-clad leather, tattoos, and nose-rings, I had a business jacket on. At least my jacket was black. Well, I tried to fly under the radar, but unfortunately, I got the attention of the whole place when I toppled over a glass of white wine onto a table. I understood how Pee Wee Herman felt when he knocked over the row of Hells Angels motorcycles like a cheap set of dominos. Needless to say, we quickly left the place and drove home to see our happy puppy. That was enough excitement for the day.
One fine fall day in 2008, we were walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and there drives by Larry King, who couldn’t help but notice “Jack” (Norman) was walking outside of Harry Winston’s diamonds. Perhaps this bothered him that Jack had someone important to purchase diamonds for, or perhaps Jack owed him some money.
This scene became so distracting to Larry, that he backed up into a Maserati when trying to quickly park.
So, like any good enterprising citizen would, I whipped out my iPhone and snapped a photo of the security guy checking out the damage Larry had done.
One hour later, I had myself a deal with TMZ. So yes, I am officially a “paid paparazzi”, and the photo above is the proof.
You are a quasi-celebrity sitting in a cafeteria-style lunchroom with hundreds of pre-teens. This group, in general, behaves without any form of self control, precisely the way all humans would if they could. For this reason, “tweens” are probably the best study group on human behavior. The tweens spot you and word spreads like an audience wave at a baseball game. The tweens now engage in an unusual, yet telling human behavior, directed at you and your family. Their behavior implies the following:
1) You are completely deaf:
They talk aloud about the you within a 10-foot range. Are they assuming you are sitting inside your fan-suppressing housing unit with your sound shield fully engaged?
2) You are completely blind:
They stare, photograph, videotape, giggle, whisper, and then plot to waylay you in a Lord-of-the-flies-style takeover. They do this with the sincere belief that neither you nor your family can discern their stealthy operations.
3) You are now their personal property:
Once their takeover operation is complete, they follow their captive around like bees protecting their queen. They are fully responsible for your safety and will defend you against all unknowing fans.
Fully-grown tweens carry on similar behavior but much more surreptitiously. They have developed their operations over years of real-world training, and now have the discipline and craft refined to a level only discernable by a few of the best and brightest quasi-celeb spouses out there.