All of my autographs are from going to the stage door after shows or from events specifically meant for getting autographs, mainly because I don't feel comfortable asking when I see celebrities "in the wild" as it were. As far as people seen? A friend and I had a lovely conversation with Ellen Pompeo in the shoe department at Bergdorfs a few years ago. I almost ran slap into Frances McDormand as she was hailing a cab on 8th Avenue in NYC (She had the best cab whistle I've ever heard). I've also seen quite a few people as fellow audience members in NY theaters. I saw Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward the night of a gala performance at City Center. Kevin Bacon sat directly across the aisle from me and Neil Patrick Harris was two seats down from him when I saw Boeing-Boeing. Robert Sean Leonard was seated near me when I saw Cyrano de Bergerac. I spent the entire first act of Pal Joey complaining in my head about the freakishly tall woman in front of me and it turned out to be Brooke Shields. Christine Taylor was sitting directly behind me when I saw The Little Mermaid. I once saw Michael Jackson exiting The Four Seasons and Spike Lee in a ladies lingerie store in Soho. I thought they were all amazingly nice. Especially Ellen Pompeo who asked us several questions as to what we thought about this aspect and that of Grey's Anatomy and also about the shoes were were trying on.
People that I've seen because of being on or near sets or because of work? I worked at a hotel in my hometown as an auditor while I was transitioning careers and it was while they were filming the movie Failure to Launch in town. Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker weren't around but I met both Justin Bartha (the sidekick guy from the National Treasure movies) and Bradley Cooper, both of whom stayed at the hotel and were lovely. I was a featured extra and dancer in Sweet Home Alabama and all of those actors were just adorable. When I interned at Disney, I was an extra for the show Step by Step and thought all of those actors were great except the gal who was on My Two Dads, who was just dreadful. This past fall I walked out of a friend's apt and practically into a taping of CSI: NY. I actually saw quite a few people while I worked at Disney, but my two favorites were Robert Downey, Jr. who did the hands in the cement thing and then a Q & A and who then stayed around to sign autographs. The same for Joey Lawrence (it was the 90s. Don't judge) and the lady next to me yelled "WHOA!" just like he did on Blossom and he thought it was me and gave me a Joey Tribiani "How YOU doin'?" which is STILL hilarious to all my friends who saw it happen.
At the stage door though? Awesome. These people are SO AMAZING. If you ever have a chance to see a show in NYC and there's someone you know and like in the cast GO! They are always SO NICE. I have Stockard Channing and Martha Plimpton's (plus a picture with Ms. Channing) from Pal Joey. I have Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal from the last time they came back to Rent. Lea Salonga from when she was in the revival of Les Mis (and a pic with her). Stephen Lynch from The Wedding Singer (plus a pic). Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline from Cyrano de Bergerac--unbelievably, no words for it nice. Especially her. Allison Janney when I saw 9 to 5 (also with a pic). And Bradley Whitford (who was beyond adorable and charming and witty) from when I saw Boeing-Boeing (with pic that was my facebook profile pic for an eon).
Just before Christmas, I got a picture with and an autograph from Mark Ingram who won this year's Heisman Trophy JUST before he walked into the Heisman ceremony. I have also gotten autographs from Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler.
The only celebrity I found really off-putting, and it pains me to say this because I just loved him back in the day, was Pierce Brosnan. He and Susan Sarandon (lovely) were filming in the house across the street from us at the shore and the PAs told us that he would be coming out to sign autographs and so I ran inside to grab my Remington Steele DVDs. He signed about a million James Bond movies with good humor and when I handed him mine he looked at them and said, "Really?" and kind of rolled his eyes. Yep, really, dude. It was only my favorite show of all time when I was 11. Still in my all-time top ten. Get over your super-spy self.