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Brave-Heart

CROSSING THE PATHS OF CELEBRITIES PART 5

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I have written about my Leap Year birthday in 2012 and the thrill I had meeting, talking and having my picture taken with Donna McKechnie but I can’t find the posts as much as I tried. Donna starred, and won a Tony, for her role as Cassie in “A Chorus Line”. I fell in love with her, and the show, eventually seeing the latter 101 times on various stages around the USA! She was opening a new theatre in Malapan, Florida, north of Fort Lauderdale, on February 17 and 18--I was going to be celebrating my 19th Leap Year birthday on February 29th. How could I not see her? We went to see her one woman show on the 17th and returned to observe her Master Class on February 18th. I will never forget those two days nor will I ever forget Donna McKechnie. I have a couple of pictures of her and me together but there is one where she is smiling and just shows why she is a big Broadway star and admired for her singing, acting and, especially, her dancing.

My favorite celebrity is not someone you would probably know but his credits almost guarantee, if you are over 50, you have seen him. For many years Robert Kingsbery was in the Robert Shaw Chorale traveling around the world singing in concerts, making records and appearing on television on such shows as The Perry Como Show. He would become a teacher and choir director at the University of Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Illinois. Robert and I met in Overton Park in Memphis, Tennessee, and quickly became soul brothers, not soul mates! He would come down from Carbondale and stay at my place and had free use of it. He visited me when I moved to Florida and he was always there for me. It was because of him that I got to see the unbelievable performance when “A Chorus Line” became the longest running show on Broadway.
His students loved him. His friends loved him. Sadly he died too young in 1987.
I have met many celebrities and known 3-4 intimately and the best celebrity is one who doesn’t act as one, doesn’t seem to be one and is someone you want to know. They are the ones who are people.
(I will someday write about living in Hollywood and going to George Cuckor’s-- google him--Sunday ‘parties’ where the top gay stars of Hollywood, hustlers and Greta Garbo ‘relaxed’. As a friend of David Bradley, who directed Charlton Heston in his early Shakespeare plays, I was invited a couple of times--or maybe I’ll save that for the book!)

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