• When she was a child, E.L. Konigsburg, author of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, could not sing well. Her elementary school class was divided into bluebirds and redbirds. The bluebirds sang, and the redbirds listened. Young Elaine was a redbird. However, at Christmas, the redbirds were allowed to sing carols. Young Elaine wanted to sing, so she did, but because she was Jewish, whenever a carol referred to “Jesus” or “Christ,” she hummed.
• When Ivan Jadan, the premier lyric tenor of the Bolshoi Opera from 1928-1941, was three years old, he received a beautiful toy horse on wheels for a Christmas present. He had been taught to keep himself and his possessions clean, so one day soon after Christmas, he grabbed a brush and wheeled his horse to the river to wash it. Unfortunately, his horse was made of papier-mâché, and after he had washed it, nothing was left but the wheels.
• On Christmas day, 1911, artist Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris. Of course, everyone was celebrating Christmas, and the doctor who delivered Louise told her very apologetic mother, “Madame Bourgeois, really, you are ruining my festivity.”
• When Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 1642, the two women helping his mother thought he would die quickly, so when they went out to get him medicine, they didn’t hurry back. Instead, they sat on a wall and rested.
• Stand-up comedian Fran Capo made her fiancée learn what it was like to be a stand-up comedian before they were married. He killed the first time he did his act, so she made him do it again. This time, he bombed. Figuring that he knew what the extremes of a stand-up’s life were like, she said, “OK, now you can stop.” She also made him appear in a movie with her — they both were extras, and he was made up as a punk carrying a doll penetrated by a knife. They took a photograph together, which he sent to his mother with the note, “This is the girl I am going to marry.” Ms. Capo says, “She was thrilled.”
• Norman Lear, who revolutionized television sitcoms in the 1970s, wanted to propose to his then-girlfriend, Lyn, as they were vacationing in Kauai. She was very relaxed, lying in a hammock, and Mr. Lear knew he shouldn’t disturb her, but he was so nervous he decided to propose right then. Unfortunately, although he is a writer, the right words would not come to him. He said, with increasing desperation, “How can I show you? How can I tell you? WHAT CAN I DO?” Lyn, who was busy relaxing, replied, “You can leave me the f — k alone.”
• Hispanic movie actor Antonio Banderas has been successful at avoiding the stereotype of the Latin lover in Hollywood, although he is handsome, successful, and sexy. In real life, he has sometimes been unsuccessful in his pursuit of females. Once, he got down on one knee and declared his love for a girl, and she ignored him. (Of course, he was only five years old then.)
• One of ballerina Darci Kistler’s best roles has been that of Princess Aurora in Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. When she first learned that she had gotten the role, her mother told her, “Now your prince will come.” A few months afterward, Ms. Kistler married dancer Peter Martins.
• Lesbian comedian Suzy Berger tells audiences that on her answering machine is this message: “You’re reached the home of Suzy Berger and Jodie Foster.” When the audience members laugh, she stares at them and says, “It could happen.”
• As the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling frequently travels from book signing to book signing. However, often she is too busy signing her autograph and meeting with her fans to see the sights in some of the places she visits. During a trip to Seattle, Jessica, her six-year-old daughter, was gleeful because she was able to go up in the Space Needle and her mother couldn’t because she was too busy.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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