The stars were out Saturday nite in Manhattan despite the heavy clouds and ominous threats of rain. The night was about raising money for The Actors Fund , it was called That?s Entertainment and was held at the magnificent Waldorf Astoria.
The guest list was prestigious to say the least, including, Angela Lansbury, who accepted a Lifetime Acheivement Award. Bernadette Peters, Christina Ebersol and Robin Strasser among others, but the night belonged to Johnny Depp.
I had butterflies in my stomach for days before I actually set foot in the Waldorf Astoria that night. My dream to actually see Johnny in person was about to come true. I never in a million years expected to actually get to meet him, speak to him, get photos of my own or see myself with him on the internet.
There was Security everywhere. Men in suits with ear phones in their ears. Just like the secret service. You couldn?t go here, or there.
The photographers were already in “photo mode” as the honored guests were presented to them. Flashbulbs crackled, as star after star was ushered by. No one seemed to notice or mind that my husband, Dean and I were among them. Suddenly, I was being pushed aside as I heard one say to the other, “Who is that woman?” the other replied, “I don?t know man, but leave her alone, she was here first.” I stood my ground for awhile and got some great shots. The next thing I knew Security tightened up and we were asked to step out.
Standing just outside the closed doors I knew Johnny Depp was about to enter the room. A frenzy of flashbulbs began and we knew he was there. In we went again. I was not about to let this opportunity pass me by. I got a couple of shots before Security started to usher a cool, Mr. Depp, “I just kind of suck it up.”out of the room and mass confusion. “Johnny, Congratulations, you deserve it?”, I yelled , as he casually strolled by, he seemed so unfruffled on the outside, no more than three feet from me. He stopped, looked right at me and said “Thank you, very much.” I could barely catch my breath. This was the first of several minor encounters my husband and I would have with the very gracious, very patient Mr. Depp that evening.
A short while later, I noticed that Johnny was no longer at his dining table. My husband and I decided it was the perfect time for a much needed pit stop. I left Dean alone in the hallway with the autograph book for 5 minutes, I swear that?s all it was. When I came back he said. “I can?t believe it, you just missed Johnny twice, he strolled by alone with two body guards.” Dean said he was so nice, he stopped, talked with him, signed an autograph for me and walked on. Believe it or not he came around again and I missed him the second time too. I was sooo disappointed.
When asked by Donna Freydkin of USA Today, how he prepared for the evening, he said. “I took a shower, shaved and brushed my teeth. But you can never be prepared. You?ve got to walk around in confusion, not understanding why someone wants to give you something as prestigious as this.” I assume, that is what he was doing, walking the halls.
As we were going back to our table for dinner, we noticed that Johnny was back at his table. We really did not want to intrude but, well, you know, it was JOHNNY DEPP for goodness sake. We walked right up to him. He remembered Dean from the hallway so he introduced me. He stood right up, shook my hand, said it was no bother, a pleasure to meet me. I told him what a pleasure it was to meet HIM, and that I thought his work was great. He leaned towards me as if he couldn?t hear what I was saying, so I leaned in too. Before I knew what I was doing I reached up, touched the side of his face, and blurted out, “I think you?re wonderful!” Oh my God, I thought, Did I just do that? say that??. ?.honestly, it?s a blur. But, he couldn?t have been nicer. When I said with no uncertainty, he would surely win The Oscar this year for Finding Neverland, he gave me that surprised, confused, Johnny Depp look and graciously said, “Really? Thank you.” As we were walking away we remembered we had the camera and hastily got off one shot. Again, I was thrilled but upset that we hadn?t gotten a picture with Johnny.
Fortunately, unbeknownst to us, there was a photographer or two in the balcony who got two great shots of this. There are dozens of websites and millions of fans devoted to Johnny Depp. Imagine my surprise when two days later I logged on to my favorite , www.deppimpact.com, and through links on the site clicked on to two photos of Johnny, my husband and ME. I still can?t believe the whole thing. I have my own photos of the event but none that good. Thank you to the photographers that took those photos and for posting them. I would think it was all a dream.if it weren?t for that.
After dinner and entertainment it was time for the awards. The Actors? Fund of America was honoring Thomas C. Short, International President (I.A.T.S.E.) with the Actors? Fund Medal of Honor, J. Nicholas Counter III, President Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, The Actors? Fund Nedda Harrigan Logan Award, Angela Lansbury, A Special Lifetime Achievement Award, and Johnny Depp, The 2004 Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award.
He seemed honored, but bewildered, as he commented on the montage of his work, “weird”, shown to the audience just before being presented The Lee Strassberg Award for Artistic Acheivement by Whoopie Goldberg. “I?m flattered but dumbfounded.” Johnny is funny. In his words, ” I?m just glad I made it up here without passing out, vomiting or soiling myself,” self effacing, “it?s happended before.” and as I?ve said, very polite and gracious.
As the evening came to an end and we were on our way out, we were fortunate enough to get close to Johnny again. This time we offered our congratulations and got an autograph for our daughter, Kaitlyn. I hesitated to leave but security was wisking him away. The evening was over, it seemed a great time had been had by all, especially me. I will never forget this night.
I?ve read other fan encounters and I have to say I never thought I would be writing my own. However, they made me believe that it was possible. I made up my mind that this was something I really wanted to do, and I did it. However, I don?t want to cross it off my list just yet. If the opportunity presents itself, I would not hesitate to say, “Hello”, again.