Celebrity and the Hamptons

Written By: Rick  Peterson

I have been working in the Hamptons since 2011. My job brings me to many beautiful estates with sprawling lawns and meticulously manicured gardens. It really is a sight to behold. I also go to the estates of some extremely wealthy people and celebrities too. Now, I have always wondered what I would do if I had ever met anybody famous. I mean really famous. My main concern was to not be a jerk. Prior to my present job, the closest I ever came to meeting anybody famous was meeting Trish Bergen, a local news reporter. I did ask her for an autographed head shot as I would be seeing her again, and she most graciously fulfilled my request.

When I started at my job, I heard the names of many celebrities thrown around. They were customers of ours, and I, like most, asked what they were like. Really a stupid question now that I think of it, and having been asked it myself.

Since I have started I have met a few celebrities of global recognition. I had made up my mind that I would treat them no different than anybody else I would meet on the street for the first time. Reason being, I am coming onto their property. This is where they come to unwind and relax, and get away from it all. It would be extremely unfair to act like a fan under those conditions. Cameron Diaz made a short video about fame and being a celebrity. In this video she said that being a celebrity is her job. Interesting point. For me to act like a fan of these people would be like making them work on their off time. However, sometimes I think it disappoints them.

I went to Alec Baldwins house and was doing what I had to do. Then I hear from behind me “hi”. I turned around expecting to see a caretaker. Holy crap! It’s Alec Baldwin! I think he was expecting me to act like that openly, but I didn’t. I exercised restraint, and a degree of professionalism that even surprised myself.

I responded “hello”

He said “Hello” again.

I said “How are you?”

Now, I am a huge fan of his. Movies like “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Getaway” are two all-time favorites of mine, among others he was in. I would have liked to tell him that, but I thought it would be unprofessional to act like a fan. I wouldn’t want to make him work on his off time. I should have told him how grateful I was for his dedication of the Carol Baldwin Cancer Imaging Center, and that I feel it added years to my mother’s life. I should have, but I didn’t, because on the inside I was like “holy crap! It’s Alec Baldwin!” I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings. Lol

When I met Billy Squire for the first time, I had no idea who I was talking to. He was also the first really famous person I had met. I was assisting a coworker making a delivery to him and he showed me the ticket with the name on it. He asked if I knew who it was. I shook my head no. Then he made a strumming motion of a guitar. Ding, ding, ding, the bell went off. Of course I knew who Billy Squire is. There are few rock and roll fans, if any, who don’t. He was a really nice guy. Wow, I had met somebody really famous. While it didn’t change my life it was pretty exciting. I have been to his place a few times since then. I talk to him like I would any other customer. I wouldn’t want to make him work on his off time. He is a really cool, really nice guy.

Another coworker was at his place and also didn’t make the connection. We laughed like crazy when he told us the conversation he had.

He asked “What do you do”?

“I’m a musician”

“That’s a tough business. Are you in a band?”

“I have my own band”

“Oh yeah? Where do you play?”

“I play all over the world”

He told us “I didn’t know who he was” Yes, we know. I could tell he was a little embarrassed, so I said to him

“That’s okay, I didn’t know the first time I was there either.”

Another famous musician I met was Roger Waters. That was a little embarrassing for me though. I had just gotten drafted into the rotation for 24 hour emergency call out, and it was my first week. I don’t normally drive as my daily function, so I didn’t know where the equipment I needed to find is located on the property. To make matters worse, there isn’t a lot of room in the onboard computer for detailed directions.

I got a call from my on call counterpart right before dinner. “You have to get to Roger Waters house as soon as you can. He needs a delivery.” I know he gave me detailed instructions, but I was still trying to wrap my head around going to Roger Waters house. All I heard was I had to go through a gate. I was a Pink Floyd fan since I heard Dark Side of the Moon. I liked it so much, I traded my friend my Queen “Shear Heart Attack” album for it. I got the better end of that deal in spite of him keeping the posters.

I raced over there as fast as I could. I drove right past the gate I needed to go through, and went to the wrong one. I guess he knew I was somewhat lost and came out to show me where I needed to be. I felt terrible that he had to do that. I was also extremely embarrassed, but grateful he helped me out. I wanted so much to tell him how much I liked his music. Or that when “The Wall” came out, the tape stayed in my eight track player for 6 months, but I didn’t. I bit my tongue hard on that one. I thanked him profusely for his help, and apologized for disturbing him. I did what I had to do and left.

Later on in my employ, I was driving every day. I was really learning my way around and was starting to return to stops I had been to before. That was a huge time saver. One such stop I was talking to a customer. He was a really nice guy and was asking me questions about our service. There was something familiar about him but I couldn’t tell what it was. I’m trying to stay engaged in the conversation while I keep wondering “where have I seen this guy before?” I finished up and drove half way down the street and the bells went off. I was just talking to David Hyde Pierce! I wished I knew that. I would have liked to tell him how much my mother loved him in Frazier. Or that I think he did the funniest one man skit I ever saw in my life. It was where he cut his finger and whenever he saw the blood he would almost pass out. I remember watching it with my mother and we were both hysterical laughing. At that time she had already been diagnosed with cancer, and the laughs were well needed. I missed that opportunity, but I probably wouldn’t have brought it up at all.

I told my nieces I thought I saw Madonna in a coffee shop. I’m pretty sure it was her, I was too engrossed with my cell phone to be honest. One of them asked me how she looked. I shrugged my shoulders and said “She looked like Madonna”. What was I supposed to say? That she walks around in a tiara and a cape? She looked nice. She looked at me and smiled politely as she left. I didn’t even realize it until after she left. Poor manners on my part. I should have held the door open for her, she had her hands full.

I spoke to Kim Cattrall once about a year ago, and never knew it until the next day. She goes by an alias as do most celebrities. Huge fan of hers too. I might still have the phone number too. If I find it, I’m going to put it through my shredder for her privacy. I figure if she wanted to talk to me, she would have called me back. I’ll just chalk it up as her loss.

Celebrities are people like you and me. They don’t walk on water, they have their good days, and bad days, and personal struggles like the rest of us. They come to the Hamptons to unwind, so if you do meet a celebrity in the Hamptons, keep in mind they’re off the clock. Cut them some slack.