Remembering Nelson Page Aspen (January 19, 1925 – October 3, 2018)

Now I’m the “only” Nelson Page Aspen. My father, for whom I am named, is gone after 93 years and for 55 and a half of those, I never knew a world where I wasn’t “JR” aka “Junior.”

Nelson Senior wore many hats. Husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather. Student, soldier, surgeon, numismatist. He saved lives and enhanced lives. He was larger than life. Demanding and strict some times, beyond generous and affectionate at others. He not only looked like Ernest Hemingway (Mariel agreed), he similarly seized life in great handfuls. He may have only stood 5’10, but he always cut a powerful, towering figure with his immaculately trimmed white beard, barrel chest and booming voice.

Everyone in town knew my Dad. Since moving to West Chester sixty years ago with his mother and two daughters, he became a local fixture in all aspects of the community. When he married my beautiful mother and brought her two sons into the family, it was like a Netflix version of The Brady Bunch…and then I arrived (my father actually delivered me because the Obstetrician had gone on a dinner break!) and was christened with his name. Heavy is the head that wears the crown of the “Prince of Pennsylvania!”

My father was an animal lover.  He told me he had considered becoming a Veterinarian, but his patients wouldn’t have been able to communicate with him.  Being an Orthopedic Surgeon suited his macho personality and well into his 90s, people would approach him in the supermarket or hardware store and thank him for saving their lives…fixing their backs…mending their broken bones.  Even without his distinguished naval service, he would have been a hero.  Back to the animals: after we moved off the farm and said goodbye to the horses (and goats, chickens, donkeys and ducks), there was an endless parade of dogs with whom my dad shared a special bond.  The mastiffs, Kleine & Shasta, got daily rides to the drive-thru window at McDonald’s for hamburgers.  Logan the Labrador was treated to steak every Friday night.  Dad is survived not only by his loving family but his beloved pit bull rescue Craig who landed in the proverbial pot of jam the lucky day my folks decided to stop by the SPCA.  The canine list goes on and on….
A self-made man who put himself through medical school and supported his family by driving a horse-drawn cart to deliver milk in the pre-dawn hours, he not only became a successful doctor but the author of two books, founder of the esteemed Chester County Currency Club and served on President Gerald Ford’s Assay Commission.  Dad was instrumental in the reissue of $2 bills into our currency.  His passion for Bermudian Coins and Currency resulted in his serving on their Board of Governors and earned him a place of honor in their historical museum.
A man of his generation, he was smart and sensitive enough to evolve and change with the times.  He was great company right up until the end and had a wide circle of friends of all ages and backgrounds.  “Doc Aspen” was well known, well respected and well loved.
We almost lost dad in 2015 but a drug called “Entresto” blessed him (and us) with an additional three years of good health and vigor.  When its benefits finally faded, so did he…but relatively quickly and, thanks to the loving care of my mother, brother Reese & his wife Mary, in the home he had loved for decades.  We got to spend lots of quality time together, as we always had, and nothing was left unsaid or unresolved.
Nelson Page Aspen, Sr. passed away quietly at home, in his favorite chair overlooking his beautiful back yard filled with the beloved birds, squirrels and fish he tended to over the decades.  I will strive to continue living up to his name.  I love you, Dad, as I have from Day One as I will until my own Last Day.
Advertisements

My new cabaret show will premiere…”Just in Time!”

Here’s the press release for my new cabaret show.  If you’re in NYC this April, I hope you can join me.  Reservations are a must!

Veteran Entertainment Personality/Author Nelson Aspen opens his new cabaret show, "Just in Time," at New York City's iconic Don't Tell Mama, April 5 and 12. 

Known to millions of international TV fans as their "One Degree of Separation" from Hollywood's A-list, Nelson Aspen returns to the cabaret stage after sold out runs in New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and around Australia including the world-famous Sydney Opera House. "Just in Time," featuring Musical Director Gerry Dieffenbach and his band as well as guest stars from the Broadway stage, traces Aspen's musical path through various genres as he carved out his unique niche in the showbiz community. At December's preview of the new production featuring guest Ilene Kristen, he packed the house to SRO and enjoyed several ovations.

With humor, heart and expert storytelling skills, Aspen shares songs and stories everyone will recognize from their own pop culture experiences. "Just in Time" follows up his popular "Full Circle" show from 2015/16, which included appearances by Anita Gillette, Shelly Burch, Deven Green, Monica Horan and other stage/screen stars. You never know what famous faces might turn up onstage or in the audience when Nelson Aspen performs.  According to Don't Tell Mama manager and cabaret vet Sidney Meyer, Aspen's performances "are like giving the audience a hug!"  TVNZ's Rebecca Wright proclaimed the show "polished, at times poignant and ultimately riotous." 

For more information or interview requests, visit www.nelsonaspen.com or email nelsonaspen@yahoo.com

Asked to describe his eclectic mix of music and merriment, Aspen said, "Imagine going to Studio 54 for a dinner party with Irving Berlin, Julie Andrews, Barbara Eden, Harry Connick Jr and The Captain & Tennille!" He ought to know...in addition to his long TV career, he has authored books including "Let's Dish Up A Dinner Party!" "Hollywood Insider: Exposed," "My Prime Time" and "Dinner at Nelson's."  

"I used to think I was born 40 years too late, but my musical experience has shown me I was actually born...Just in Time!"

Nelson Aspen: Just in Time, April 5 and 12, 7pm at Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46 Street (Restaurant Row), NYC. $20 Cover, 2 drink minimum (Cash only). Reservations after 4pm Daily, 212-757-0788. www.donttellmamanyc.com

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

February 2018 marks my 15th Anniversary with Australia’s morning show, SUNRISE.  In “TV time,” that is a great milestone.  It seems like only yesterday I was on the Oscars Red Carpet with Melissa Doyle commemorating my 10th year.  My very FIRST appearance, February 2003, was chatting to “Mel & Kochie” (I didn’t know who was who!) about that year’s Academy Awards and a long love affair with Aussie viewers was born.  Later that year, my reports became daily (hourly, in fact) and I started to cover more than just showbiz headlines but breaking news (arrests, deaths, births, you name it!) and conducting celebrity interviews.  I have interviewed hundreds of A-List’ers and been privileged to report from not only Tinseltown’s most glamorous red carpets, but from important news scenes for stories like Superstorm Sandy and the deaths of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
It’s afforded me unique opportunities to live out so many adventures on camera with famous friends & fans all around the world.  Driving lessons in 007’s Aston Martin in London…climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Edwina Bartholomew…stuffing Christmas stockings with the Victoria’s Secret Angels…singing onstage with the Wiggles…taking hula lessons in Waikiki and playing with white lion cubs in Las Vegas.  I’ve gotten to share my musical passions, performing at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Sydney Opera House, promoting my books HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: EXPOSED and DINNER AT NELSON’s around Oz and even sharing my love of running as Aussie audiences helped cheer me on through 20 marathons and having Foreign Minister Julie Bishop among my favorite running partners.  Where else could I have had a tea party with Dame Julie Andrews one day, a football lesson with the Sydney Swans the next and then scale a skyscraper with Martina Navratilova after that!?
In addition to challenging, rewarding reporting, I’ve gotten to see the world and (best of all!) make enduring friendships with colleagues and viewers, alike.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring at the next “Sunrise!”  Thank you & Good On ‘Ya, Australia!
For a look back at my first 15 years with “Sunrise,” check out the highlight videos on my YouTube Channel!

Running Report 2017!

Running Report 2017

At the end of last year, I felt I was getting burned out on organized running events and pledged to spend more time running on my own. Ironically, a sprained ankle (not from running!) and the flu prevented me from the only two races I’d planned with the New York Road Runners.

But thanks to my running coach, Baker, and trainer, Frankie, I kept challenged all year long and took full advantage of my beloved Riverside & Central Parks for workouts. In fact, I think I spent the least amount of time inside Gyms than any year since I became a runner! Not only do I get to savor the Great Outdoors, I’ve turned the whole world into my own Health Club.

Work assignments keep me on the move in addition to all the travel my Partner & I enjoy, so I got to experience some scenic runs in 2017.  In addition to old favorites like East Hampton, the canyons in and around Beverly Hills, Downtown LA & Santa Monica and my hometown in Pennsylvania, I spent time running around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak, Singapore, Northern California’s Napa Valley and San Francisco,  Atlanta’s “hot, hilly, humid” Piedmont Park, Boston Harbor and exotic Amanoi in Vietnam.

Of course, occasionally I do enjoy the company of a running companion.  Especially when it’s a charming, brainy lady like Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop or Meteorologist Amy Freeze.
When it came time to tally up the Mileage for 2017, I was happily surprised (see sidebar with total) and as fun as it is to see High Numbers, Quality trumps Quantity.
With Australia’s Fabulous Foreign Minsiter, Julie Bishop:
Baltimore Harbor:
Hot-Lanta, Georgia:
Central Park, NYC:
Beverly Hills:
Boston Harbor:
Amanoi, Vietnam:
Singapore:
Riverside Park, NYC:
Napa Valley:
With my pal, Ultra-Marathon Man, Dean Karnazes at his home in Northern California:
San Francisco:

MILES LOGGED

2017 – 1160 (1866.83 km)

2016 – 1212.5 (1951.32 km)
2015 – 1092.8 (1758.69 km)
2014 – 1169.5 (1882.12 km)
2013 – 1323.6 (2130.1 km)
2012 – 1175.2 (1891.30 km)
2011 – 1200 (1931.21 km)
2010 – 1105.6 (1779.29 km)
2009 – 1070.1 (1722.16 km)
2008 – 1152 (1853.96 km)
2007 – 1300 (2091.7 km)
2006 – 1064 (1712.34 km)
2005 – 1143 (1839.08 km)
2004 – 944.9 (1520.34 km)
2003 – 834.2 (1342.22 km)
NELSON’S MARATHON TIMES

In addition to dozens of 5ks and 10ks, here are Nelson’s marathon times:

*PERSONAL BESTS!
2007 DC National Marathon: 4:03:46
2006 Palos Verdes Half-Marathon: 1:47:47
2011 Ted Corbitt 15k: 1:21:42
2005 Run for the Bay 10k: 45:38
2007 Santa Monica Mountains Trail 9k: 52:14 (1st Place Men 40-44, 9th Overall)
2011 Achilles Hope & Possibility 8k: 41:01
2009 Run for Central Park, 4 miler: 31:22
2006 Achievable Foundation 5k: 21:58

2014 LA Marathon: 4:42:22
2013 Hamptons Marathon 4:27:55
2011 NYC Marathon 4:21:37
2011 San Francisco Marathon 4:25:37
2010 Hamptons Marathon 4:19:48
2009 Hamptons Marathon 4:24:00
2008 Hamptons Marathon 4:26:11
2008 Bermuda International Marathon 4:17:51
2007 Catalina Eco-Marathon 4:41:30
2007 San Francisco Marathon 4:15:55
2006 Florence Marathon 4:22:11
2005 St Jude’s Memphis Marathon: 4:11:39
2006 LA Marathon: 4:13:37
2005 LA Marathon: 4:14:01
2003 LA Marathon: 4:23:35
2002 LA Marathon: 5:08:11
2003 Honolulu Marathon: 4:47:55
2002 Honolulu Marathon: 4:32:53
2001 Honolulu Marathon: 4:51:31
2014 Grete’s Great Gallop (NYC): 2:08:22
2013 NYC Half-Marathon: 2:03:41
2012 Grete’s Great Gallop (NYC): 2:04:28
2012 Hamptons Half-Marathon: 2:03:05
2008 Palos Verdes Half-Marathon: 1:54:26
2005 Palos Verdes Half-Marathon: 1:48:29
2004 Palos Verdes Half-Marathon: 2:06:47
2002 Santa Barbara Half-Marathon: 2:06:50

 

My 2017 Showbiz Year in Review!

Lucky me! Yet again, I’ve had a front row seat for the biggest showbiz stories.  Whether I’m in Hollywood working the Oscars, covering Red Carpet premieres or taking audiences behind the scenes for set visits (this year included GODZILLA in Atlanta, DADDY’S HOME 2 in Boston and WILL & GRACE in Los Angeles), my favorite assignments usually involve the Art of Conversation.

This year, I was privileged to have scores of 1:1 sit-downs with some of the biggest stars in Entertainment.  Among the A-List’ers I interviewed:  Matt Damon, Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Kate McKinnon, Steve Carrell, Charlize Theron, Vin Diesel, Jodie Foster, Jeff Daniels, Liam Neeson, Jamie Foxx.  It’s always a treat to meet and speak with “Legends” of the industry and in 2017, that included Mel Gibson, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford, Lynda Carter, Morgan Freeman, Ann Margret, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and a reunion with Warren Beatty, with whom I worked in one of the most notoriously “bad movies” ever made: 1987’s ISHTAR.
I had a big year in Music!  Not just my own singing gigs in Los Angeles, NYC and Philadelphia (see the “Music” page of my website) but shoots with some of the biggest names in the Biz: Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Fifth Harmony, Carlos Santana & The Isley Brothers, Postmodern Jukebox, Katy Perry, Sheryl Crow, The Chainsmokers, Lea Michele.  Fascinating and fun!
I’m always a very frequent flyer for both business and pleasure.  2017 saw my passport stamped internationally in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore in addition to all my US travels that stretched from South Beach Miami to Napa Valley, California.  Wherever I travel, my running gear goes along and it’s always a treat to meet up with like minded fitness fanatics like “UltraMarathon Man” Dean Karnazes and Australia’s fab Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop.
Of course, showbiz news isn’t always pleasant.  The passing of great stars (Jerry Lewis and Roger Moore spring to mind), disasters like the California wildfires and shocking revelations such as the Weinstein & Spacey sex abuse scandals kept me on my toes.
Thank you for all your enthusiastic support for my endeavors…it’s always fun to communicate through social media (Twitter & Instagram) and I look forward to more great adventures together in the New Year.   For now, here’s a look at my 2017 Highlights.  Let me know what were your favorite moments!

Weighing in on Weinstein

Hollywood was built by Bullies. The caricature of the fat-cat movie mogul, chomping on a cigar and bossing around film crews before returning to his gilded office’s casting couch to “audition” the latest round of aspiring starlets has long been spoofed by the industry itself. The Power Players in Tinseltown from its earliest days were renowned misogynists, abusers, pill-pushers or worse. Most victims of these actions remained silent out of shame, coercion, fear of repercussion or in exchange for payoffs. Business as usual in La-La Land.

But the Harvey Weinstein Sexual Harassment Allegations and his subsequent firing from his own mega-studio may be the beginning of significant change. We now live in a world with a ceaseless 24 hour news cycle and technology that makes secrets harder to keep.  Reputations can be made or unmade in 140 characters or less.  Politicians who were pleased to accept his donations have been quick to move those dollars to charitable coffers. Celebrities have been slower to distance themselves and even the venerable “Saturday Night Live” wimped out of addressing the controversy through its usual use of Lampoon (There’s always next week…) Filmdom’s Grande Dame Meryl Streep, who once famously referred to Weinstein as “God” in an Awards speech, released a thoughtfully prepared statement today, pointing out that “not everybody knew.” You can read the full statement here:
Meryl Streep Condemns Harvey Weinstein Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

When famous folks, especially those we perceive as “lovable,” become embroiled in a scandal, tragedy or controversy (there are plenty!) we are shocked and disappointed…sometimes outraged.  But when abuses of power/privilege are executed by people “behind the scenes,” it usually remains relegated there: Out of sight.  Star-makers like Jack Warner, Howard Hughes and William Randolph Hearst were known for lascivious behavior, while simultaneously being publicly loved and lauded by the very stars they created.  My cousin, Darryl F. Zanuck, co-founded the 20th Century Fox studios and is credited with not only making some of the finest films of his time, but by being as much of a showman as any of his stars (such as Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Temple and Henry Fonda).  A biography on his life, “Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking” tells you a lot about his personality.  The roly-poly papa of MGM during its Golden Years, Louis B. Mayer, may have espoused family values and wholesomeness on-screen, but worked children in ways that would be illegal today and, in some cases (read any reputable biography of Judy Garland) exercised psychological and pharmaceutical abuse.  Over the decades, it has trickled down into a pervasive pattern in Entertainment where it’s deemed “perfectly acceptable” for those in positions of power (male or female) to demean, belittle or berate their “underlings.”
Of course, nepotism and “office-politics” exist almost everywhere from Wall Street to Washington DC to the Vatican.  But nowhere else does “climbing the corporate ladder” or “paying one’s dues” manifest itself the way it does in Hollywood.  I think that is because the perception of its product is Creative…Artistic…almost Altruistic.  I always remind people that “showbiz” is defined as TWO things: SHOW and BUSINESS.  “It’s Not Creative Unless It Sells,” as I so vividly recall from my very first TV job in the 1980s; would you believe that was the company motto literally printed on our paychecks!?
So while the Weinstein story plays out and more sordid details emerge, let’s aspire to make it an example of how NOT to go forward.  With the issue of gun violence so pervasive in America, I’d like to see Hollywood exercise some leadership by ceasing to glorify it for dramatic/box-office purpose.  So, too, would I like to see restraint exercised behind the scenes: using respect, diversity and fairness to lead the future of the industry.  “That’s Entertainment!”
Note: For an excellent new read on the early days of the Movie Business, I highly recommend “Warner Bros” by David Thomson.  Interesting and thoughtfully researched.

Thank You for Being a Friend!

Los Angeles, 1991.  I’d been living full time in Hollywood for about a year, couch-surfing from one apartment situation to another until finally landing in a tiny studio apartment in an old walk-up building on South Detroit Street. Just me & my cat, Henry, sleeping on a futon with make-shift furniture made from cinder blocks I’d pilfered from a pile on the street. Tinseltown glamour, right? With plumbing to match! So one night when I needed a plunger for the bathroom and realized it was not a gadget I had in my possession, I went downstairs to my knock on my neighbor’s door. I’d seen her around: a gregarious, piano-playing photographer and aspiring filmmaker with pets of her own. I figured she would not only have a plunger, she’d be OK with my asking to borrow it!

And that was how I met Julie “J.D.” DiSalvatore. She was not only one of my favorite neighbors ever, but one of my most fun friends…even after I moved out of the building (first across the street and then to a small house in the Hollywood Hills). She and I saw each other almost daily and were constantly coming up with ideas for finding fame and fortune. We wrote screenplays, started a “Movies & Margaritas” night at a local bar and worked the LA nightlife scene in search of our proverbial “big breaks.” She took my headshots and ran around town the way only 20-somethings could do in 1990s Hollywood. I remember we were invited to my pal’s Birthday party whose theme was “Come As You Are…or As You Wish to Be.” We wore our pajamas and came as “Retired!”   When the Northridge Earthquake hit in January, 1994, we ran to each other immediately.  There was no electricity or phone service…so we made pitchers of Bloody Marys and played “Monopoly” while waiting it out.

She was a younger version of Bea Arthur’s “Dorothy” and I was certainly a “Blanche,” so the Golden Girls had nothing on us! (She lovvvvved Bea Arthur and was always flattered by the comparisons.)  In 2007, she wrote that she thought of me as the “Vera” to her “Auntie Mame,” (if you get that reference) and that she is Martha Raye to my Bob Hope.  We produced play readings, cooked big meals on a shoestring budget, watched old movie classics and commiserated over our love lives. When she got a job a directing an indie film, she cast me in a supporting role. When I did my first LA Cabaret show, she joined me on stage for a musical comedy improv. Most memorably, in the late 90’s, she directed me in a great production of the Lanford Wilson play “Burn This” at the Coast Playhouse. Alongside 3 other actors (Jane Clark, Kirk Geiger and Craig Damon), JD & I had a lot of margaritas and a lot of laughs….even/especially in times of stress, worry and trouble.  A true friend and “partner in crime!”

JD went on to become a well known personality in the West Hollywood LGBTQ community and a passionate advocate for Pet Rescue.  Even throughout her long battle with cancer, she devoted her time and talents to helping shelter animals, filming artfully produced profiles to encourage their adoptions.  I saw her for the last time when I was back in Hollywood for the 2017 Oscars and we had a “Burn This” reunion at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  Although frail, she was in great spirits and her indomitable humor made us all feel more comfortable about the inevitable outcome she faced.  Thank goodness for email as it was a great way to stay in touch across the years and miles.  I’m going to miss swapping funny anecdotes and shared memories with this outrageously smart and funny lady.
Jane told me she saw JD the day before she died and that she was in bed watching the soap GENERAL HOSPITAL.  She explained that she had started tuning in when she got sick from chemo because “it was easy and entertaining to watch and you could miss days and it didn’t matter.”  She was amused by the fact that most of the characters and actors had been around since the 90s and looked exactly the same…which must have been comforting somehow.  Jane said she drifted off for a few minutes and then came back, looked at the TV for a moment and said, “I think I missed a plot point!”   Jane replied, “Yup…they just found out Sonny was alive.”  Same storylines as the 90s, too!  
I can imagine JD in Heaven, her wild mane of Salt & Pepper hair restored to its 1990s glory, wearing a head-set, carrying a Walkie-Talkie and telling other Angels where to position themselves to find the most flattering light.  She’s surrounded by all her animal angels and, knowing her as I do, when it’s my turn to come through the Pearly Gates, she’ll push St. Peter aside to make sure she’s first to greet me.  We will sing show tunes, drink Margaritas and laugh til it hurts.
Love you, JD…26 years flew by!

The Gift I Received from Princess Diana

As the world remembers the 20th Anniversary of Diana’s death, most adults are recounting the stories of where they were when they heard the terrible news out of Paris. (I had just bought my first house in Los Angeles and was having a backyard BBQ with friends, a UK journalist among them. It was surreal when a satellite truck arrived in my driveway so that we could live-broadcast commentary from my living room…unpacked moving boxes stacked just out of camera range.)

But what I still remember most about Diana isn’t the soap opera of her very public/seldom-private life, nor even her winsome face…dazzling smile…glamorous style. It is the inadvertent gift she gave me: a career.

Having moved to Hollywood from NYC in 1990 to further my career as an actor, I was paying bills by working as an aerobics instructor.  Those were the days of that hot new workout, “Step,” and I had a lot of hair and a lot of lycra.  Teaching in a popular beachside studio in Santa Monica, I had many celebrity clients in my classes (Margeaux Hemingway, Kristin Davis, Helen Hunt, Pia Zadora, Alfre Woodard spring to mind) as well a slew of British tourists and flight attendants who stayed at the hotel down the street and were keen to try out new workout trends.  I was approached to travel to the UK and personally deliver a Step workout to everyone’s favorite Royal, Diana (we share “July 1” birthdays, so I thought this was certainly destined in the stars!).
To say I was excited was an understatement and off I flew to Merry Olde England.  Once on the ground, however, I learned that I would only be enlisted to train her own Personal Trainer and teach Master Classes to the staff of instructors at her posh gym.  I may not have gotten to meet the Princess, but I had a ball!  I even got an invitation to Princess Margaret’s country home that still ranks among one of the most wild weekends of my youth…and that is saying something!
I was also asked to appear on the British breakfast show, “This Morning,” demonstrating “Diana’s new workout” and in true “wacky Morning TV” style, I had to do it in the middle of Liverpool’s Mersey River…on a floating map of the United Kingdom.   I still get a little sea sick just thinking about that!  Maybe it was my mullet hairdo or American accent, but I somehow struck a chord with the audience and was immediately signed up to be the show’s “Fitness Correspondent” from Hollywood.  My first assignment was a story on “Pet Fitness” that included my very first celebrity interview with gorgeous Golden Girl, Betty White.  (Recently unearthed you can see it here: https://youtu.be/HdPUScCbzb8 )  “Ladies Boxing with Michelle Phillips,” “How to Hypnotize Your Boobs Bigger” and so forth.  It was tons of fun and eventually led me to another UK show, “GMTV” and then on to national morning shows for Ireland, New Zealand and Australia’s “Sunrise” where I have been working since 2003.
I’ve covered big news stories ranging from the deaths of superstars like Michael Jackson & Whitney Houston to Superstorm Sandy.  I’ve walked Oscars red-carpets, interviewed world leaders and movie stars, authored books and performed at the Sydney Opera House.  I have an extraordinary life and career that can be directly traced back to the late great Lady Di.
I thank my lucky stars that, like me, she had such a keen interest in fitness and fun.  In addition to her already rich legacy, isn’t that a wonderful thing to remember about her?

Superheroes & Supermodels

Like most adolescents of the 1970s, “Wonder Woman” was must-see TV and, with all due respect to Gal Gadot, no actress could better embody the charm, power and pulchritude of the Amazing Amazon than Lynda Carter. Even today, she still sparkles with the same ageless appeal she had decades ago.

Perhaps that’s why Australian sleepwear designer Peter Alexander enlisted her to front his latest campaign and I was gobsmacked to spend an afternoon with them to discuss their affiliation as well as Lynda’s long career and enduring star-power. As a teenager with posters of her adorning my bedroom walls and her album on the record-player, it was a thrill for me. (Peter and I must have had similar childhoods because a couple of years ago he introduced me to another ageless bombshell, supermodel Christie Brinkley.  He’s a super sweet guy…even outfitted me with some comedic comfy costumes for my concert at the Sydney Opera House!)

I’ve always been a “fanboi,” so I never cease to get star struck. Come on, my big sisters had me singing the soundtrack to “The Sound of Music” before I could talk…and now I’ve gotten to interview Julie Andrews 8 (!) times, Pinch me! I was the little farmboy who used to write to movie stars requesting autographed pictures (I amassed quite a collection over the years…) I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to meet so many great stars, but even when it’s not work-related, I enjoy being around personalities whose work I admire. You don’t need to have a job in show business to do this; more than ever, stars are accessible to see in person whether it’s through speaking engagements, charitable functions, concert & theatrical performances and even autograph shows. While I may not fully have appreciated the historical significance at the time, I’m forever grateful that as a kid I got to see icons onstage like Yul Brynner in “The King & I,” Anthony Quinn in “Zorba,” Geraldine Page in “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” Harvey Fierstein in “Torch Song Trilogy,” Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin in “Evita,” Mickey Rooney & Ann Miller in “Sugar Babies.” I’m still doing it: last week I got to enjoy Glenn Close in “Sunset Boulevard” and I already have my tickets for Bette Midler in “Hello Dolly!”

If you don’t have access to events like these, you do have the internet! Almost everyone has a social media presence or official website. If there is someone who inspires you, don’t be afraid to compose and send them some fan mail. You might just make their day! Wouldn’t YOU love to receive a note of commendation for something you’ve accomplished? Now that I think of it, the morning after I saw “Sunset Boulevard,” I did take pen in hand and write a congratulatory card to Glenn Close.

And you could do that right from the comfort of your own living room…maybe wearing a pair of Peter Alexander’s Lynda Carter inspired pyjamas!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑