Friday, November 12, 2010

Meeting Austin Pendleton

DURING MY LATEST TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Austin Pendleton. I was going to see a show and he was standing outside the theater with some friends. I assumed he was leaving after an earlier performance and when I spotted him, I know my jaw dropped. And he saw me see him. I looked at Max and whispered to him excitedly, "Oh my god. It's Austin Pendleton." He was with a group of friends, immersed in conversation, so I squelched my urge to go say hello.

A little background on my fascination with this actor. Mr. Pendleton is in one of my all-time favorite movies, What's Up, Doc? He even says one of my favorite lines, which is in the above clip: "Who is that dangerously unbalanced woman?"

Subconsciously I think that very line is why I didn't burst into his group standing outside the theater to tell him I'm a huge fan. Max and I walked past, picked up our tickets, and walked upstairs to see the play we were planning on seeing that night.

I sat in my chair thinking maybe I had made a mistake. Never in my life did I think I'd have the opportunity to meet Austin Pendleton, and there he was, right down stairs. I looked at Max and said, "I'm really going to be mad at myself if I don't at least say hello." So back downstairs I went. The sidewalk had cleared. My heart sank.

I started back up the stairs to the theater thinking well, at least I saw him in person. A few more steps up, I lifted my head and there he was -- Austin Pendleton was coming down the steps. We were alone in the stairwell. I didn't want to overwhelm the man, so I practically whispered, "Are you Austin Pendleton?"

"Yes, I am."

"I just have to tell you how huge a fan I am of yours. What's Up Doc is one of my favorite movies. I have it on my iPod right now." And I pointed to my purse as if I was waiting for him to say, Really? Prove it.

Of course he didn't say that. He shook my hand instead and said thank you. He asked my name. "My name is Courtney, but all of my friends call me Coco."



"Coco! I like that."

(Almost like the conversation in the above clip, beginning at 1:37.)

And we went our separate ways on the stairwell. Turns out he was there to see the same show I was there to see, too.