Rearview Mirror: Readers recall their brush with greatness through photos

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I met R. Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome, a few times when he was in Hawaii around 1980. I have a photo of us somewhere.

It made me think … many of us have crossed paths with someone famous long enough for … click! … a picture.

What famous person do you have a photo of, with you in it? Who is the person and how did the photo come about? Several readers shared their experiences.

Neil Diamond

Wally Camp said he worked for the Army Air Force Exchange System (AAFES) in Germany as a rec­ord and tape buyer, and had the chance to meet many music industry celebrities.

“Neil Diamond was one. He just happens to be my favorite music star. He wanted to see Munich, he told me, but he was also tired of his ‘posse.’ He asked if I would show him around. You bet!

“We cruised around Munich. The guy is just like his music — mellow, down-to-earth, and smooth. He has a great sense of humor, and we had a great time.

“Later in the day he asked if I would take him on a tour of Munich’s discos. I picked him (and two of the most gorgeous babes I’d ever seen) up and we cruised places like Blow Up, and Citta 2000.”

The Blow Up club could hold about 1,800 people. It featured multiple levels for musicians, patrons and go- go dancers. Over 250 stage lights, synced to the music, bombarded dancers. Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Yes and many other groups performed there.

Willard Scott

Michael Lilly said, “In 1995, I met Willard Scott, a then-famous newscaster and weather man for the ‘Today’ show.

“I’ve gone to Stratford Hall in Virginia — Robert E. Lee’s birthplace — since I was a child. My mother and grandmother were on its board of directors.

“Willard Scott (1934-2021) was the neighbor of a director of Stratford Hall who invited him to their semi- annual meetings.

“I found hundreds of 30-million-year-old fossilized shark’s teeth that came from the cliffs bordering the Potomac River. They emerged every day along the wash waves. Some of mine are 2 and 3 inches long.

“I gave Willard a shark’s tooth I found and he stuck it in his mouth. So, I put two in mine and the photo was taken. He and I cracked up wearing the shark’s teeth in our mouths.

“I met him there two or three times. He called me ‘Aloha.’ He used to celebrate people reaching 100 years of age on the ‘Today’ show.” He was the original Ronald McDonald.

“He was a bear of a man, bigger than life, but so gentlemanly. He never stopped smiling and laughing and cracking up as we did with the shark teeth jutting from our gums.

“He was also the nicest, genuine, and most gentlemanly person you ever met.”

Beatrice Wood

Martha German wrote, “I have a treasured photo of myself with potter and writer Beatrice Wood (1893-1998) in the parlor of her home in Ojai, Calif., taken in October 1997.

“I became fascinated with her and read her autobiography (“I Shock Myself”) and other books, and the catalog that accompanied the solo exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which we visited after our meeting with her.

“When I researched her, I found that she was still meeting with people (at 104 years old), and a brief meeting could be arranged through her caregiver.

“I flew to L.A. and stayed a day with my friend in Carlsbad, then we drove to Ojai, and found her compound. Knowing her style and love of saris, I wore a long silky dress. She did not disappoint in a purple and pink ensemble.

“We visited with Beatrice and her caregiver. My friend took a picture of us smiling. Beatrice personalized and signed the autobiography and catalog that I brought with me.”

Beatrice Wood lived to be 105. James Cameron said she was one inspiration for the character Rose DeWitt Bukater Calvert in his 1997 movie, “Titanic.”

The Reagans

Bob Hampton said “I really wish I had photos of the time Ronald and Nancy Reagan stayed in my home in Tahoe Keys in 1967.” Hampton worked for Dillingham, developer of a tract of land called Tahoe Keys.

Here is how this came about. “In April 1967, California Gov. Ronald Reagan and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt were invited to a private luncheon as guests of Heavenly Valley Ski Resort.

“I was invited too, and Hugh Killebrew, president of Heavenly, seated me right next to Ronald Reagan, who was very warm and charming.

“I was a bachelor then, and I loved skiing, so I had some stories to share with the governor. We discussed his stay in South Lake Tahoe, and he told me he had not decided where to stay yet.

“So, Hawaiian style, I offered him my home on the water, and he seemed very interested. He asked if one of his staff could check it out. My home was known to others on the South Shore as a true bachelor pad.

“A couple days later Bill Clark, Reagan’s executive secretary, came by and checked out my house. Bill said ‘Yes, Ron and Nancy will love it. It is very different than where they normally stay.’

“Dillingham’s California offices were in the Wells Fargo Building in San Francisco and I had to attend a meeting there. The Reagans would have my home to themselves.

“I showed Bill Clark everything he needed to know about my house, and I introduced him to my secretary (my office was only a block away from my house) and I gave him the keys.

“Clark expressed his love for my home so much that I let he and his wife stay there a few months later.”

Hampton said he wished he had a photo, but Ronald Reagan wrote a nice letter saying:

“Mrs. Reagan and I both want to thank you for the generous hospitality you have extended to us. Our pleasant surroundings made our visit all the more enjoyable and we are truly grateful. Ronald Reagan.”

Readers, which famous person have you been photographed with?


Bob Sigall writes the Rearview Mirror column every Friday. Send your comments or suggestions to

Images are for reference only.Images and contents gathered automatic from google or 3rd party sources.All rights on the images and contents are with their legal original owners.

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