Welcome to my “I’m Not Jack” Blog


Norman and Lea at the Cinevegas Film Fest in 2009

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.

A Merman, a Drunk Pirate, and a Newsroom in Beverly Hills


This could have been Norman, had he gotten the role.

This could have been Norman, had he gotten the role.

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.

The Unjolly Green Giant


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.”

NYPD Escorts Norman out of Times Square


Time Square after HBO Documentary Film Premiere Party

Time Square after HBO Documentary Film Premiere Party

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

Norman in Life Magazine After HBO Documentary Film Premiere

Norman in Life Magazine After HBO Documentary Film Premiere

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.

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Our Thirteen Servers at Applebees


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!

King Solomon’s Cigar, Jack’s life in College, and the Hamburglar Experience


 

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 thehanburglar 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.