Char O'Neil met Jason Momoa many times when she worked at a Vancouver airport bar and grill in 2019. Momoa, most famous for his role Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, "liked his Guinness." Photo contributed

Princeton residents share their brushes with the stars

From rock stars to rocket men, we’ve seen it all

It can happen anywhere.

Maybe you are walking your dog, or standing in hotel lobby, or dining at a posh restaurant. All of a sudden you are face to face with a celebrity, and it’s an experience no one seems to forget.

Recently the Spotlight put out a social media call asking area residents to share their ‘brush with fame’ stories and the response was overwhelming.

From politicians, spiritual leaders, actors, musicians, and Canadian heroes – there are a lot of star encounters in the local sky.

Char O’Neil was working at the Canucks Bar and Grill at the Vancouver airport two years ago, and one of her regular customers was actor Jason Momoa.

“He used to fly WestJet to L.A. a lot because he filmed a lot in Vancouver,” she said.

Momoa, most famous for his role Khal Drogo in Game Of Thrones and Aquaman in the DC Extended Universe, struck O’Neil as “the sexiest, sarcastic and funny.”

Also, she said, “He liked his Guinness.”

Hilary Dorst met Laurie Holden in a cafe near the coast.

Holden, who has an impressive list of film and television credits, is best known for bringing to life the character of Andrea in the hit series Walking Dead.

“Laurie was nervous because she got a lot of grief from The Walking Dead ‘fans’ for Andrea, which was out of her control, she just played the character. When I just smiled and said ‘hi,’ she looked relieved. She is quite a nice person.”

Related: Costner’s TV pilot takes over popular Penticton rock climbing site

Several people reported meeting William Shatner, who rose to fame as Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series in the 1960s.

While for some that was a treat, Alisha Binkle walked away unimpressed. “I met (him) at an American Saddlebred horse show I was riding in. I asked for an autograph for my dad. He said, ‘Get lost kid,’ and laughed.”

Actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger left a warmer impression on Alicia Ellsworth, when she was just 12, on the film set of The 6th Day where her father was working.

“He came up to me on his own to ask why I was there. I told him I was sitting in a golf cart waiting for my dad…He was a really nice guy, and so tall. A little bit later when I found my dad I told him what happened and my dad said Arnold got into the car he was driving and recognized him instantly because I looked so much like my dad.”

Many residents recall meeting Burt Reynolds when he filmed the movie Malone in Princeton and Hedley in 1986. Lynn Boyd, who worked for the RCMP at the time, got an opportunity to visit Reynolds in his trailer, but seemed more star struck by the actor’s companion.

The conversation was “just chit cat,” she said. “His bodyguard (had) a smile that made you fall instantly in love and he had this massive gold bracelet. I tried to convince him that it would look better on me, but had no luck. I think I liked the bodyguard better than Burt just because he was so totally gorgeous.”

Related: Cawston actor lands role in 2 Bruce Willis films

Chris Tomkins worked in the kitchen of Tomahawk BBQ in North Vancouver in 1977 alongside singer Bryan Adams.

Adams cooked and Tomkins, who was 13, was the dishwasher.

Years later the two reconnected at a blues event.

“He was standing there with a supermodel. I told my friends I should go talk with him because we worked together and they thought I was full of it,” he said.

“I walked over and said, ‘Hey man, remember the Tomahawk BBQ?’ He was like, ‘Right on man. That place was my bread and butter’…I looked over at my table of friends and they all had their jaws hanging open.”

Chris Jennings recalled the day Loretta Swit, best known for her role in the MASH TV series, got into the back of his cab. “She was very nice but she was very fussy. Almost like Margaret Houlihan was…I was driving one of the nicest cars in the Yellow Cab fleet, an Oldsmobile with cloth seats. She made her secretary dude brush them off before she got in the car. They were already very clean.”

Other area residents shared stories of meeting Rick Hanson, Michael J. Fox, Bill Clinton, Ian Tyson, Rick Mercer, Archbishop Tutu, Louie Armstrong and Goldie Hawn – it truly is a small world, with a lot of stars to gaze at.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:mailto:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
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Three years ago, Paula Shackleton sat beside rock legend Robert Plant on a flight from Vancouver to London. 
(Paula Shackleton photo)

Three years ago, Paula Shackleton sat beside rock legend Robert Plant on a flight from Vancouver to London. (Paula Shackleton photo)

Shane Smith and his family, with William Shatner, at a Prince George event. (Contributed)

Shane Smith and his family, with William Shatner, at a Prince George event. (Contributed)

Ray Bremner met Dave Kindig of Bitchin Rides fame at a car show in Osoyoos. (Contributed)

Ray Bremner met Dave Kindig of Bitchin Rides fame at a car show in Osoyoos. (Contributed)

Shelley Hogg and her niece, with television psychic Theresa Caputo. (Contributed)

Shelley Hogg and her niece, with television psychic Theresa Caputo. (Contributed)

Dave Woodruff met Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen when Hansen agreed to do a few flybys over the Princeton airport to help kick off the first Princeton Airshow. He spent the night in town and “at supper the talk was all about flying and misadventures of being a pilot.” (Contributed)

Dave Woodruff met Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen when Hansen agreed to do a few flybys over the Princeton airport to help kick off the first Princeton Airshow. He spent the night in town and “at supper the talk was all about flying and misadventures of being a pilot.” (Contributed)

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