17 Wild Stories About People Not Recognizing A Celebrity That Was Talking To Them

17 Wild Stories About People Not Recognizing A Celebrity That Was Talking To Them
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17 Wild Stories About People Not Recognizing A Celebrity That Was Talking To Them

I can't even imagine accidentally talking down to Julia Stiles.

audreyworboys-v2-18368-1554826906-1_large.jpg?downsize=60:*&output-format=jpg&output-quality=autoby Audrey Engvalson

BuzzFeed Staff


You know how sometimes you get bored so you just scroll through Quora? I do, and that's exactly how I came across this question: "Have you ever met a celebrity who asked you, 'Do you know who I am?' and you said no?" And, wow, talk about a missed opportunity!

1. "I remember hearing President George H.W. Bush tell a story about visiting an old folks home and chatting with a pleasant older lady in a wheel chair."

"After a while he asked her, 'Do you know who I am?' She replied, 'Ask at the desk. They’ll know.'"

– Ed McManus


Cynthia Johnson / Getty Images

2. "Brad Pitt and I happened to catch the same elevator. His appearance was different than I had remembered from Ocean's Eleven. He said hello, asked how my day was going, and we made small talk about the weather."

"We got off on the same floor...I heard some women sprinting up to Mr. Pitt and screaming his name. He ignored them, looked at me, and said, 'Have a nice day' (fist bump included), and darted off. After Mr. Pitt left, I was asked if I 'knew who that man was' and I said, 'Not at first.' Offended, the women huffed away."

– Nicole Shankar


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3. "One early Saturday morning, I took our German Shepherd with me to get gas in the car and pick up a few picnic essentials while my husband was still asleep. As I pulled up, I saw a fancy car and a couple of folks surrounding the driver..."

"As I was about to get back in my car, he walked up to me, and we exchanged trivial pleasantries. He complimented my dog for his looks, and asked, 'Want my autograph?' [I responded], 'Only if you want mine.' He pulled a calling card from his pocket, asked for my name, wrote something on the back, and handed it over back to me. Without looking, I put it on the dashboard. I gave him a napkin with my name written on it, and we bid farewell. At breakfast, I told my husband about my encounter with this chap and gave him the card. 'My God! Are you crazy…you met him and didn't even recognize him?' [my husband said.] I stared at my husband. The card was from Jameson’s, the trendy bar and restaurant on the same block as our office, and the owner himself, Sugar Ray Leonard, the boxing champion, had signed and written on the back of the card: 'Admit Raji, husband and 10 guests for lunch/dinner/drinks. Carryout for German Shepherd.'"

– Rajyashree Tripathi


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4. "In college, I worked in the electronics department at Macy’s. This dude with long hair came in one day and asked me about the data cable for either the Sharp Wizard or Casio Boss. While I was ringing him up, he asked, 'Do you know who I am?'"

"I turned to look at this dude with long blonde hair and replied, 'No.' [He responded], 'I’m Michael Bolton,' [I asked], 'Who?' He looked completely shocked."

– Bruce Gutman


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5. "I work in media production, and in 2009, we were producing a corporate video for the big Walmart Annual Meeting. They always bring in a big star to host, and that year it was Ben Stiller. So, Ben rolls into Fayetteville, Arkansas with a modest entourage, and we quickly whisk him out to the local Walmart where we are shooting a little comic piece with Ben playing a cashier. We had grips and makeup people posing as customers, and Ben asked one of his traveling companions, an older guy named Jeff, to join the fun and man the cash register behind him."

"Jeff suited up in a Walmart shirt, and we got the shots. As we started to wrap, the production assistant made the rounds and got signed releases from everyone that appeared on camera. She brought back the release from Ben’s friend, Jeff the Cashier, with her jaw practically dragging on the floor. It was filled out correctly and completely and signed by...Jeffery Katzenberg. We were all big film buffs and we worked in the industry, but you just don’t expect to see someone of that stature traveling under the radar, so NONE of the crew had recognized him. You can clearly see Mr. Katzenberg working the register behind Ben in this old picture."

– Greg Page


Brock Short / Via youtube.com

6. This actually happened to my uncle in the late 1970s. My uncle worked for Pakistan International Airlines in New York and would often hop on free flights to California to visit us whenever the mood struck him. One day, he managed to secure a seat for himself in first class. As he settled in and got comfortable, he noticed that his young, handsome seat-mate was attracting a lot of attention from the flight attendants and from other passengers."

"People were asking for his autograph, shaking his hand, complimenting him, and smiling at him. My uncle had no idea who he was. He finally decided to just ask him, 'Excuse me, are you someone special? Why does everyone seem to know you?' The gentleman informed him that he was an actor who had recently been in a film that had done very well. He told my uncle his name and then asked him, 'Now do you recognize me?' My uncle told him, 'Nope. I only watch Indian movies. Do you know who Amitabh Bachchan is?' (Amitabh was, and still is, the biggest actor in Bollywood with a worldwide following.) The actor answered in the negative, and my uncle gushed, 'Oh, he’s the best! You should watch his movies! You will love them!' And then, intrigued, he pushed further, 'So are you famous?' The fellow passenger smiled and responded, 'Tell you what. When we land in Los Angeles, you tell me if you think I’m famous or not.' When my uncle saw how excitedly people at LAX reacted upon seeing the celebrity who disembarked his flight with him, he became convinced that the man was indeed famous. So who was the man? None other than John Travolta. And his movie that had recently been released to great acclaim? Grease."

– Hina Khan-Mukhtar


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Paramount Pictures

7. "I traveled a lot for business and was on a flight from Atlanta to New York. I was in first class and working before takeoff and noticed that a woman was being moved from another seat to the one open beside me. I got up, let her in, did the early morning passenger head nod, and just went back to work."

"We took off and after an hour or so, we got to talking, she about working in NYC (though no specifics), what I did, and later what she might do after retirement (think it was about where she might like to live after work). As I recall, she was attractive, professional, and well-spoken. I honestly don’t watch television and remained completely clueless. We said goodbye and, as she was leaving, the flight crew said, 'Goodbye, Ms. Roberts,' while a few passengers did the point-and-whisper thing. I finally put it together because she said her name was Robin (Roberts) from Good Morning America. She never asked if I knew her and I clearly didn’t, but she truly seemed to enjoy just talking without the celebrity stuff ever coming up."

– Matthew Gill


Michael Tran / FilmMagic / Getty Images

8. "I dated Jennifer Lawrence in 2008. I met her at a yoga class in Santa Monica. I had no idea who she was when I met her."

"I just thought she was cute and I started talking to her. She said I shouldn’t watch a lot of TV, and that she was on a crappy show on TBS. She ended up giving me a ride home from the class, and then I asked for her number. We went out a couple more times after that, but...I lost touch with her after a few months since her career was starting to take off. Now it’s kind of a trip when I see her in movies."

– Dodi Zaku


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9. "One day back in the '90s, I happened to be sitting next to Billy Joel. A stranger walked in and started to strike up a conversation, apparently without any clue about whom I was sitting next to."

"They chatted briefly about the pop music that was playing overhead. At the end of the conversation, the man turned to Mr. Joel and said, 'Hey, by the way, has anybody ever told you, you look kinda like Billy Joel?' Mr. Joel grinned and nodded politely, then coyly responded, 'Ha! Yeah, yeah! I get that a lot!' The other man smiled and then followed, 'Well, I bet you WISH you were Billy Joel...'cause then you’d be married to Christie Brinkley!' Without missing a beat, Mr. Joel simply played along and let out a thunderous laugh, 'Ha! That’s right! Wouldn’t THAT be something! Sure wish that was me!'”

– Douglas Chin


Rick Kern / Getty Images

10. A few years back, we took my horse-mad daughter to the Royal Windsor horse show for her 8th birthday. We spent the morning watching various showing classes and watching army and police horses strut their stuff much to the enjoyment of my daughter. I noticed one of the showing classes had a little more audience than most so we wandered over. As we got closer, I saw standing watching was Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, and her daughter, Princess Anne."

"All three were dressed down, for want of a better description, wearing wax jackets, Wellington boots, and both the Queen and her daughter wearing their typical country headscarf. It turns out, one of the Queen's own bred horses was in said showing class. I leaned down to my daughter and discreetly pointed out, 'Look over there, babe. That is the Queen. Go and stand a little closer so I can get a picture.' My daughter looked to where I was pointing, rolled her eyes, and said in her loudest voice, 'What that old lady? Don’t be silly, mum. That’s not the Queen! She isn’t even wearing a crown!' Needless to say we didn’t get our picture, but we do still laugh about it to this day."

– Kelly Evans


Chris Jackson / Getty Images

11. "I met one celebrity, and he didn’t quite say, 'Do you know who I am?' Instead, he just introduced himself. It was in the early 1960s and my father had driven 300 miles in the winter to see this man perform."

"We stopped to get something to eat in a diner and, lo and behold, the man was there. My father, never shy, went over and asked him to say hello to my brother and myself. So he came over and said, 'Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.' My brother and I were quite shy at that age, and couldn’t look him in the eye. He reached into his pockets and pulled out two guitar strings and gave one to my brother and one to me. So, I never got the chance to say I didn’t know who he was – he pre-empted that possibility. That’s my one fleeting moment of a meeting with celebrity."

– Douglas Boulter


Michael Putland / Getty Images

12. "In the late 1990s, I was walking through Manhattan with my father when we passed a line outside Barnes & Noble. Apparently, someone named Gene Wilder was doing a book signing. We turned the corner, and Gene Wilder stepped out of his trailer."

"My dad pointed him out, and my simple, 8-year-old mind could only stare at the guy walking out of the trailer. Gene Wilder met my eyes, smiled, and said 'Do you know who I am?' I said 'No.' My dad face palms and exclaims, 'That's Gene Wilder!' I look at both and say, 'Who's Gene Wilder?' After a laugh, Mr. Wilder explains that he played Willy Wonka in the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I didn't really get what the big deal was."

– Nick Carrillo


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Wolper Pictures

13. "We were staying in Vancouver, BC for a short vacay at a nice hotel where a lot of celebrities apparently stay when they’re filming. [My wife] went down to the hotel gym and rode the elevator with Jeff Goldblum. She knew he was some actor, but all she managed to say was, 'You’re the guy from the Apple commercials, right?' (This dates the encounter.)"

"He said, 'Yes, I am.' She said that her husband (me) would be frustrated that she didn’t get a name (this whole time she’s showing him around the hotel gym). To which he responds, 'Jeff...,' and then she says, 'Yeah, sorry.' Then, he tells her the full name. The kicker to this story is that she comes back up to the room after her workout and says to me, 'I met a celebrity in the gym!' I’m like, 'OK, cool. Who was it?' And then says, 'Jeff GOLDMAN.' I’m like, 'Who?' [She responded], 'JEFF GOLDMAN.' I’m all, “Yeah, I don’t know who that is.” And then she says, 'The Apple commercial guy!' And then I’m like, 'You mean JEFF GOLDBLUM.' [She said,] 'YES! THAT’S RIGHT!'”

– Jim Hong


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14. "Back in about 1996, I was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas. I got up early in the morning to go for a walk and went into town, which was largely deserted. As I was walking by some different bars and restaurants, I heard music playing and was curious about what was going on, so I walked into the building. Went I walked in, I looked further and saw about 20–30 really beautiful Black ladies that were dressed to the nines. About that time, a young Black man walked out of the area, smiled at me, and said hello."

"I said hello back and asked him what was going on with the music and girls. He said, 'We’re shooting a video for MTV.' I told him that I thought that was really awesome and that I was happy for his success. Then, I asked him if he minded me asking for his name. He said, 'Not at all.' When he gave me his name, I thought he said 6-pack…I was embarrassed and admitted to him that I wasn’t familiar with his music. He said that it was OK, and then he wished me good luck and an enjoyable stay during my vacation. He was super nice, squared-away, and pleasant. Looking back, it kills me that I wasn’t able to get a selfie with him because I wasn’t familiar with his music. But I’ll never forget what a pleasant experience it was to chat with him. I wish he was still with us. RIP Tupac."

– Mark "Stone" Atherstone


Al Pereira / Getty

15. "In 1986 My friend John (who later became a Marine Corps Harrier pilot) was boarding a plane back to his home state of Alabama. There was a man sitting next to him on the plane, and every single person who got on board was talking to him and saying hi."

"John looked at him and said, 'You must be a celebrity because everyone seems to know who you are.' The man said, 'Are you saying you don’t know who I am? If so, I need to fire my publicist.' John explained that he has spent the last three years as a Midshipman at the Naval Academy, wasn’t allowed to watch TV, and was focused on classes and making sure he graduated. The man introduced himself and said he was a comedian and had been appearing on TV quite a bit. His name was Jay Leno."

– Todd Miller


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16. "I worked in a camera shop in my early years and someone came in to pick up a camera which was being repaired. I asked his name. It was Paul McCartney. He very politely gave me his name."

"No attitude whatsoever. I met him quite a few times after that and he was never other than a nice, genuine person."

– Maureen Hughes


Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty Images

17. Finally, "I had a friend who ran a shop called Judith Stiles Pottery. At the time, I was about 26, barely surviving in NYC, and working as an actor in experimental downtown theatre pieces. I never had money to buy any of Judith's pieces, but I lived in the neighborhood and used to hang out at the store. One day, she had some errands to run and asked if I would watch her 10-year-old daughter."

"So, I'm talking with her daughter, who tells me she wants to be a movie star. Having been rejected multiple times auditioning, I tell her that while that's a wonderful goal, it's very, very hard to do, and maybe she should find some other things she likes just in case. She got very indignant and told me she was going to be a big star. Yes, I spent the better part of an hour being patronizing to Julia Stiles."

– Brad Rothbart


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Touchstone Pictures

Replies have been edited for length and clarity.

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