Flight Attendants Tell Their Craziest Celebrity Stories
Everybody's got a celebrity story, whether it's meeting Emilio Estevez on Amtrak, seeing Ludacris at the airport, or following Rue McClanahan as she wanders around the East Village. But you know who has a lot of celeb stories -- people who work in the movies. And Billy Bush. Also, flight attendants. Despite what you may think, not every big star owns on a private jet.
Which is why we thought it would be fun to round up 13 of the best celebrity encounters, as told first-hand by the flight attendants who served them. Spoiler alert: Nicolas Cage gets agitated.
Ahhhnold gets a little fresh
"I was on an all-night flight to Chicago and Arnold Schwarzenegger was in coach walking around strutting his stuff. I had just seen his body in Time Magazine all greased up with his muscles bulging. And I said to him, 'It's amazing how much smaller you look in clothes compared to the picture in the Time.' He replied, 'You should see my biggest muscle.' I just walked away."
Steve McQueen likes his Coors
"United would stock a six pack of Coors for Steve McQueen when he flew from LAX to Denver... and he would get the beer BEFORE the flight took off. Then we all would look for Ali MacGraw."
Aerosmith sitting in coach?
"Yes, Aerosmith was sitting in coach. They were having a great time, and Steve was laughing. Steve's tongue is huge. Seriously, it's the biggest thing I've seen in my entire life."
Stop following me, Gene Simmons
"Gene Simmons and KISS were flying SYD-LAX and we had a long delay. Paul Stanley showed us pictures of his family. Meanwhile, Gene Simmons followed one of the youngest FAs to the back of the plane where she was going up to the bunkroom for her break. Yea, she was freaked."
Garfunkel joins the mile-high club
"The singer Art Garfunkel went into the first-class bathroom with his girlfriend on a 727, during the day. And when they came out, everyone cheered. So he went to the galley, got a beer, shook it up, and sprayed the whole section."
Milton Berle, in-flight mixologist
"Milton Berle always brought onions with him so he could make a Gibson."
Don't get in Nic Cage's way
"I watched Nicolas Cage storm off a flight and literally knock a woman against the wall on the jetway, and just kept walking. All I could think was, what a tool."
Steve Carlton, more than just a baseball playah
"My roommate and I were asked to work a DC-9 flight from Chicago to Evansville, IN, to shuttle the Philadelphia Phillies to Chicago. Delta stocked the flight with champagne, beer, and extra liquor kits, and not surprisingly, the team got out of control -- practically destroyed the plane. Along the way, though, two players invited us to the next day's game at Wrigley and to dinner afterwards. Yea, it was Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt, and we had a grand time being wined and dined. A couple of months later, we noticed Carlton's picture on a magazine cover, flipped through the issue, and were stunned to see a picture of him with his twin daughters and beautiful wife. I was embarrassed and pretty pissed."
Frank Sinatra, Jr. gets spiritual at 36,000ft
"In the early 1980s, Frank Sinatra Jr. was on my flight. As were 50 members of a Baptist choir. The aft area of the DC-10 we were flying actually had a lounge with an electronic piano, so Frank and the choir gave an impromptu performance of spirituals. Most of the passengers joined in singing. I've never felt closer to heaven at 36,000ft."
Mel Brooks has a good memory
"On a DC-10 flight from NYC to LA, I noticed that a guy standing in the aisle in first class. When I asked him if I could help with anything, he whipped around -- it was Mel Brooks! And immediately, he went right into, 'Well, did you hear the one about...' and starts telling me a joke. When he finished, I told him a joke -- and we just kept going back and forth for who knows how long. Next thing I know, his wife, Anne Bancroft, shows up and says "Hey, Mel, I'm sitting up here getting bored." Mel introduced me and before returning to his seat, invited me to come up and chat with them. Which I did, when I got my break, for almost an hour. They even wrote me a thank you note on the menu card, which I still have to this day.
Craziest part though. Flash forward eight months. I'm flying out of Miami and in first class, once again, is Mel and Anne. Brooks sees me and immediately says: 'Hey, I know you! Don't tell me your name, I'm going to get it. We were telling jokes on a flight from LA.' I see Anne start to tell him, and he says, 'No, don't tell me!' We start to taxi, and we're putting the safety video on, and then all of a sudden he yells my name! And everyone just stared in disbelief."
No, no, let Miss Bisset sleep
"We got delayed on the jetway and kicked everyone off the plane except Jacqueline Bisset, who was asleep in first class. The pilot was like, 'I'm just going to stare at her.'"
George Thorogood's late-night musings
"I spent a long time talking with George Thorogood one night in the upstairs galley of a 747. He was explaining how he could not immediately go back to his home with wife and kids after being on road for so long."
Wait, you want me to apologize to Natalie Cole for you?
"Around 1989-90, I got to know Luther Vandross over the course of about 10 flights between NYC to LA. He always sat in the middle, no window, and his assistant would sit next to him. And all he ever wanted was two big bottles of Evian water. One flight, I mentioned to him that Natalie Cole would be flying later in the week and he stopped me and said: 'Oh, you gotta apologize to her for me!" I asked why and he went on to say that he recently stood her up for dinner -- he'd been playing Baccarat and lost track of time. By the time he called the restaurant, she had already left. 'I totally blew it,' he said. 'And she's really mad.'
The next day, I get on the plane and here comes Natalie Cole and her entourage of 23 people. Her kid has a keyboard, and he's playing it, and all the other passengers are annoyed, so we give him a head set. When we land in NYC, Natalie thanks me because she knew they were a big bunch to handle. And at that moment, I think: okay, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I'm doing it. 'So actually, there's this thing I'm supposed to tell you,' I said. She looks a little freaked out and asked, 'Okaaay... You want my autograph?' I tell her I'm actually apologizing for Luther Vandross and she immediately flips out and says, 'That son of a bitch! He stood me up!' And I said, 'I know, he's really sorry for missing dinner.'
Which didn't help at all because at that point she looked stunned and said: 'Oh my God, you really know!? Wait, how do you know?' I explained that Luther and I knew each other and that he asked me to apologize for him. I told her why he missed the dinner, but she just shook her head in disbelief."