Thursday, October 3, 2013

Celebrity Sighting in the Orlando Airport

I’ve mailed all the postcards to those who sent me an address from my last post. In my continuing efforts to revive the art of the handwritten note, I bought extra postcards while I was in Florida. If you’d still like one, send me your address at morfam@hotmail.com or in a message on Facebook if you know me there. I won’t use your address for anything but mailing the card.

Julie carefully snugged her purse between her feet and pulled her carry on bag closer to her as she settled into the blue molded plastic chair that had doubtless held many airport travelers before us.

“I can’t believe the conference is already over- can you believe it went so quickly?” she asked me.

“My head's still spinning!” I replied and smiled. A 60ish man with a long beard and uncut grey hair topped by a grimy ball cap paused momentarily near an empty seat opposite us, then moved on to a more expansive space two rows over.

Julie raised her eyebrows at me and whispered, “Duck Dynasty’s Florida cousin?”

I smiled. “Maybe Sy is visiting the Magic Kingdom,” I murmured in a voice only she could hear. Julie worked again at arranging her belongings to take up less space as gate 22 began filling up around us. Julie is a dear friend of mine although we don’t often get to see each other face to face. We’d both held jobs at this large conference and were now headed home. We’d be on the same flight to DFW and from there we'd fly out to our respective homes.

Julie was a picture of casual elegance, making it look, as she always did, effortless. Her white linen Bermuda shorts, her floral blouse and her trendy ombre hair made her look at least a decade younger than her 50 years, and although she is happily married for thirty years now, she had still turned admiring heads as we made our way through the large Orlando airport.

“Julie, were you just born sophisticated? “ I asked with a grin. “I mean, did you come home from the hospital in baby pearls and with a Prada diaper bag?”

A giggle escaped from her and then turned into a melodic chuckle. She poked her elbow into my arm. “Behave!” she admonished. “We don’t want to scare people around us with our loud laughing.”

I bent down to pull my boarding pass from my purse and she elbowed me again. “Hey, I am behaving,” I told her, nose still buried in my purse.

“Look! Look!” she hissed as she surreptitiously pointed down our row. I followed the direction of her arm and saw a man about our age, cap pulled down low, studiously reading a large newspaper.

“What is it?” I asked, a little alarmed by the urgency in her voice.

“Not what, it’s who!” she replied urgently. Her eyes widened to their outer boundaries.

I sat up and looked at her quizzically. She hadn’t taken her eyes off this man once.

“It’s Leif Garrett, I’m sure of it! Oh, how I loved him!” she whispered directly into my ear. The name bounced through my brain for a moment until it hit the 1970’s region, in a small, dusty corner of my hippocampus.  

I remembered him now, the Justin Beiber of women of our age. Blond hair, dazzling smile, and tourniquet- tight leather pants, it didn’t matter that he had negligible vocal talent. Eleven and twelve year old girls like us had swooned over him. Tiger Beat magazine had made a fortune with his face on hundreds of its covers.
“Are you sure?” I pressed her, trying to get a better look even as the newspaper obscured most of his face.

“Yes, yes!” Her face reddened and she fanned herself with small motions. “Oh, oh, should I go say hello to him?”

I smiled for a moment at seeing her so undone. “I don’t know that it’s really him, because that newspaper’s in his face. What if you get up to him and it’s not Leif? What will you say?”

“I’ll just say uhh, well, I don’t know what I’ll say, but I’ve got to see if it’s him!”

I giggled. “Well, if you’re so set on this, I’ll stay here with our stuff. Go ahead.”

She pulled a breath mint out of her purse and hastily ran lipstick over her lips. Julie stood and straightened her clothes. She looked down at me one more time and I nodded my encouragement. She took a deep breath and set off purposefully towards him.

Before she got five steps in his direction, though, a cheery voice at his gate announced his airplane was now boarding. The Leif man stuffed his newspaper into the chair next to him, grabbed a briefcase, and was off into the priority boarding line without me even getting a good look at his face.

Julie froze in her tracks even as he handed his boarding pass to the attendant and disappeared into the tunnel. By the time she turned back around, she had regained the composure and warm sophistication that are her hallmarks.

And Leif, baby, wherever you are, you've still got it. 



84 comments:

  1. Oh you made me smile this morning thank you he still does have it. I am so happy you had a great time. Hug B

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    1. Buttons: Thank you, friend. It was an amazingly great time!

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  2. Well too bad that your claim to fame disappeared into the tunnel. Maybe next time...

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    1. Linda: Yes, and my friend was certainly disappointed. I will look carefully the next time I fly to see who's around me-

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  3. A celebrity sighting is a wonderful capstone to your trip. Not that I have the foggiest who Lief Garrett is, other than what you told me. I should have known, I guess, for I had teen daughters in that time frame. Perhaps Dad wasn't paying close enough attention?

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    1. vanilla: I don't think his fame was long lasting, other than to people like my friend!

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  4. Hi, dear Shelly! FYI - I once matriculated at a hippocampus! :)

    BTW - That "60ish man with a long beard and uncut grey hair topped by a grimy ball cap" was ME! I drove over to Orlando to see if I could catch a glimpse of you! :)

    Wow! Leif Garrett? That's what David Letterman used to call a "brush with greatness." The very first thing that came to my mind when I saw Leif's picture was Tiger Beat, the magazine that had girls swooning over every boy band and teen pop idol. I gather from your story that Julie was never able to confirm that the airport mystery man was indeed Leif Garrett. Wouldn't it be an uncanny twist if it turned out the man Julie was stalking was not Leif and that Leif was actually that "60ish man with a long beard and uncut grey hair topped by a grimy ball cap"? (LOL)

    Thank you for the laughs, dear friend Shelly. I am eager to receive your postcard all the way from Orlando! :)

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    1. Shady: So that was you!!! Ha! Now that would be a twist worthy of O. Henry. I will have to tell her. And I wonder if old Tiger Beat is still around, making money off of lovesick tweens?

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  5. I don't remember him looking so much like a girl. But then I'm sure I wasn't the audience he was trying to appeal to.

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    1. Stephen: I always thought he was rather girlish looking, but one of my sisters was crazy over him and I'd daily have to see his pics. Poor guy-

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  6. Like Stephen, I always thought he looked like a girl... but I recognized the sex appeal. :)

    After reading your post, I Googled imaged him and there he was in an orange jail uniform. Gosh, am I ruining the fantasy. lol

    Would have been nice if your friend had been able to approach him.

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    1. Anita: He has had some big trouble in the last few years and I hope he's cleaned himself up. My friend was so disappointed she didn't get to talk with him!

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    2. I received my postcard yesterday! It's always fun to get an "old fashioned, hand-written" note in the mail. Thank you!

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    3. Anita: I'm so glad! Thank you for letting me know~ sometimes our postal service here isn't the most reliable...

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  7. He has a great smile, but in that picture, he sure looks like a girl! That's pretty cool that you saw him.

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    1. Sherry: I thought he was a little girly looking then, but he doesn't look like that now, at all-

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  8. Aww, gee, too bad for your friend. Would have been interesting to know his response.
    When we were in London, my husband spotted a familiar face. He went over to the guy and asked if he was a member of our church. The guy ginned and said, "No, I'm Newt Gingrich." (I still think the guy was pulling his leg.)
    So glad you made it back safely and had a good trip.

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    1. Nonnie: Wow- now that was a sighting your husband had! And thank you-it was a great trip!

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  9. You should've gotten a picture! I could see his appeal back in the day. Good hair.

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    1. Theresa: Good hair then, not so much now!

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  10. The last time I saw Leif on TV was about 10 or 12 years ago. He was (supposedly) off heroin at the moment. He wore a bandanna on his head and looked nothing like a girl. He sang and was quite good. Not long after that I heard he had been arrested or had gone back into rehab because he couldn't kick the habit. I wasn't interested in him when I was young. He was too dorky for me, but that's a fun story. I never happen upon famous people. Some years ago Favorite Young Man visited us in Illinois and he saw Oasis buying pretzels in the Chicago airport.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie: He's fallen on some hard times, and I hope he stays clean. Oasis would have been much cooler to see, to me!

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    2. My kids wouldn't know who Leif is. They know Oasis, though. I wouldn't recognize Oasis unless they spoke and then sang. I can understand them when they sing, but when they speak, they're completely incomprehensible. It doesn't matter. I think they broke up.

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    3. Janie: Yes, I've heard them talk and they should have stuck to singing~

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  11. I don't think it would be very fun to be a celebrity - never a moment of privacy! For that matter, it wouldn't be much fun to be a lookalike, either ... have you ever seen the shots of celebs and their lookalikes? My theory is that there are only so many ways features can be arranged on a face. Granted, that IS a lot of ways, but eventually you have to get some repetition. Over the past 20 years, I have been mistaken for someone else in my town (who I do not know) at least half a dozen times. I saw this person at the mall (if not this person, then there's a third one who looks like us!) It was a weird feeling! Now how did I get on this tangent?

    Glad to hear all went well at your conference and that you are safely home!

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    1. jenny_o: I fully agree. I am much too private a person to want to be under that much scrutiny. There's also a lady in my town that people tell me is my doppleganger, but I've never met her. It WOULD be weird!

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  12. Okay....this will no doubt age me....but he was ONE of my daughter's heartthrobs!! LOL

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    1. HOOTIN ANNI: One of my sisters was totally in love with him. Me, not so much, but my friend still carries a torch for him!

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  13. Hi Shelly - I hope you're home again safe and sound and i look forward to receiving my postcard. How exciting! I'm afraid I've never heard of that gent, but he could obviously still impress your friend. Hope you had a good time

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    1. thisisme: I think he was big here for just a few years. And ye, my friend dissolved when she spotted him! Had a wonderful time, and thank you!

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  14. Lol. This was the hair back then! Great picture.

    Nas

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    1. Nas: You don't see too many guys with puffy hair like that anymore...

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  15. Well...welcome back to Texas! Glad you enjoyed a great conference.

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  16. Carol: There's no place like home!

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  17. Welcome back! I am terrible with faces, and imagine my cluelessness would carry over to my teen crushes, too. That is really the only explanation for why I haven't met any of the New Kids on the Block at the airport.

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    1. Amy: I am, too, and that is why I never would have recognized him on my own. Maybe one day, though, you'll see one of those NKOTB!

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  18. Dearest Shelly,
    Oh My, I DO understand her excitement; I still love to see the actor on TV who used to be my idol when young p;) I thought your friend is really lovely and has a young mind♡♡♡ Your phrase," The name bounced through~~~~~~, in a small, dusty corner of my hippocampus." gave me a little smile and loved to read, my friend.

    Wow, I am really looking forward to receiving your card♬♬♬ I thank 'your efforts to revive the art of the handwritten note'; I remember we talk about we use pc and no longer have to write. My handwriting is SO terrible both in Japanese and English (^^;)

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan to my dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

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    1. orchid Miyako: Oh, my dear friend, don't have expectations that are too high for my handwriting! I am excited for you to get it because it made me happy to write it! Thank you for your kind and sweet words, my friend! xo

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  19. Oh, and I DO hope you will soon recover from your efforts to the large conference. I'm sure you had a rewarding time☆☆☆
    Yes, home sweet home(*^_^*) Love and hugs, xoxo Miyako*

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    1. orchid Miyako: Oh, thank you! It was wonderful, but a very full and busy schedule. Happy to be home!

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  20. Leif Garrett now does commentary with others of his starpower ilk on some cable show that has a title like "World's Dumbest" or something like that.

    Not that I've ever watched it. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl: I KNEW I'd seen him somewhere recently on tv. Not that I've ever really watched it, either...

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  21. A missed opportunity. My girlfriend and I have had some of our best times at the airport.

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    1. Linda: I am going to be keeping my eyes peeled the next time I fly~

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  22. I don't remember Lief! But it sounds like you had a wonderful time in Orlando. How exciting to have a getaway and to be working on something enriching. I need to send you my address, because I'd love a post card from you! Whenever I think of you, the happiest feelings appear.

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    1. Jenny: You always say the nicest thing- thank you! And I have a postcard for you and one for Elliot I'll mail out tomorrow~

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  23. Isn't it funny how shook up we can be at the sight of someone famous - in person? Not sure what that is all about. I don't remember Leif, but it sounds like your friend surely did. :)

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    1. Marsha: It was so funny to me because she is always so unflappable, and yet he did her in!

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  24. This is a cute story. Sounds like you had fun at your conference.

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  25. I am so glad that you had fun at the conference. Leif Garrett is one of the first few celebs that we heard of when we first moved to the US in 1974.

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    1. Munir: Yes, that was about the time of his heyday! And thank you~

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  26. Oh that was so sweet! Too bad she didn't get to speak to him.
    To grew up next door to a girl who always seemed so perfect--more like a Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart. We are still dear friends. :)

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    1. Rita: My friend gives me something to aspire to!

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  27. Oh I remember Leif Garrett. I wonder if that's his real name? Also, doesn't Leif seem like one one of those names that should be extremely popular now, but isn't? Like Dylan or Jesse or Colin? Hmmm.

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    1. The Chicken Consigliere: A big hmmmmm. I sometimes study the faces of the convenience store clerks I encounter to see if any of them are fallen celebrities.

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  28. Oh, what a close call that was. Julie should have shouted his name to see if he would turn around. Maybe he'll read this blog and make contact, you never know :)

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    1. Rum-Punch Drunk: Now that would make her day!

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  29. Hi, Shelly:

    You have this way of making the reader feel like she is right there beside you and Julie in the airport, pondering over what to do about the might-be Leif Garrett. I love your voice!

    I hope it was Leif for Julie's sake, so she can say she was this close to him. :-)

    Be well, and enjoy your Sunday.

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    1. Janette Dolores: I didn't get as good a look as she did, but she was certain it was him. And yes, I hope for her sake, too! And thank you, my friend~

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  30. OMG, I had the hugest crush on him when I was a kid!

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    1. Lydia: My sister did, too, and she used to get so mad at me when I'd dis him in her presence. He certainly had a following!

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  31. Hi Shelly! What a sweet surprise in my mail box this morning, your postcard. (We forgot to get in the mail yesterday.) Thank you so much, you had a great idea of mailing the cards. I am glad to know you had a good time and are now safely home.

    I do remember Leif Garrett, I think my daughter had a crush on him. I am anxious to see what you come up with next! ♥

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    1. Cindy: I'm so glad the postcard made it to you! I had such fun doing them. I'm going to Israel in the spring, and so I'll do it again then. Good old Leif- he had a ton of fans.

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  32. Okay, first I loved your post because you are ALWAYS a great storyteller and then the picture at the end was just icing on the cake...lovely icing. I hope you continue writing because you're very talented and have so much wonderful material we can all enjoy!!

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    1. Saumya: He looks very different now, although back in the day, he was something else. And thank you for your kind words!

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  33. Dear Shelly, when I first looked at the picture, I thought I was looking perhaps at your friend Julie, but then I realized that this must be Leif. I'd never heard of him before, but then I've never really following music except for the the Vietnam years when I listened to Simon and Garfunkle, Glenn Yarborough, Joan Baez, John Denver, the Mamas and the Papas, the Moody Blues, and others. I'm really ignorant of the singers that appealed to young people after the '50s when I was in high school and college.

    As the commentator before my comment said, you are a fine storyteller. I do so hope you are continue to think about writing and trying to get published. I think you know just how hard getting published is but when that happens, your words then communicate your story to so many readers and that's so rewarding. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Leif didn't have the limelight for very long, but her certainly was a hit while he was in it. And thank you- I'm making slow headway, but headway nonetheless. It's a lot to sort through and think out to get it right, I think! And I'm going to be able to get started this evening with your writings- I can't wait!

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  34. Celebrity sightings happen when you least expect them.... especially at the airports.

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    1. Haddock: I"m flying again in a few months, and I am certainly going to be looking at people much more closely!

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  35. Hahaha almost had it!!! So close and yet so far! What did the bodyguards look like, cause you know celebrities always have bodyguards!

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    1. Saimi: Maybe the old guy in the ball cap was his body guard- guess we'll never know, now!

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  36. That is so funny! My heart throb at that age was Peeter Noonan of Herman's Hermits!

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    1. Jeanette: Wouldn't it be something if you could run into him today? You never know- it might happen!

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  37. Leif Garrett? I thought he was a viking.

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    1. Pat: Somehow this Leif doesn't fit the Viking mold...

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  38. Leaf was a couple years before me, but Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson (The Hardy Boys) they were the thing when was young!! I totally would have gone up to him and said, "you look like Leaf Garrett" and "Has anyone told you that?" Dang, wish I were there....Wait!! If you google him, you'll see what he looks like today...I think.

    Fun story, glad you had a nice time!
    I passed on the postcards because I didn't want to give you extra work and we don't need more "stuff" laying around here! haha!

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    1. Jamie: I remember Shaun and Parker, as well- I think they ended up better than Leif! It was a great way to cap off a terrific trip. I wish you had been there- we both needed some more courage, especially her!

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  39. Ok, had to google him!! Looks like he's been in and out of jail!! Was he wearing an orange jumpsuit? Maybe he was being transported. Just sayin'....might be a good thing she didn't get the chance to say hi.

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    1. Jamie: Yes, I don't think that orange color was because it was a fashion trend- he was into some bad stuff for a while. I do hope he has been able to turn things around...

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    2. Oh, yes, me too. I googled him 2013 though...

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    3. Jamie: Just goes to show- fame and money can certainly ruin people!

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