Why Do I Write About Celebrities?
I've been asked more than once why I bother to write about my distant cousins who are famous or otherwise well-known to most people. Many are what we refer to as celebrities - actors, musicians, singers or other types of highly successful artists. Many more are historical figures but could, under our modern definition be called "celebrities".
When I started my website, it was for my own use and for that of any family member who wanted an overview of the people with whom we share a bloodline, distant or close. It was only after I started discovering more and more historical figures and modern day celebrities that I began to add those pages to my site. Why? Why not! If there is someone in my bloodline that I find intriguing, whether for their accomplishments or actions in life, or how they lived their life despite facing many tough challenges, I think that they deserve to be memorialized.
Most of the people that I write about are known to me only through research, history books or, in the case of my famous relatives who are performers of one type or another, through the characters that they have portrayed, the songs that they sing and the stories that they have told. I do not know any of them beyond that, nor do I use their names in an attempt to imply that I do. Would I like to meet some of them? My answer to that is "Yes, but it depends."
Many of my famous living distant cousins as people that I only know through their work, and in the case of actors or other performers, I know that the characters they play or the person they appear to be to the general public is not the "real" person. I think that is an important distinction that many people forget. Although I am far from famous - and never really want to be for that matter - I have written some fiction novels. I'm not a best-seller by any stretch of the imagination, but some of the feedback I have received by people who like the stories can be unnerving. I have been asked what it is like to be rich and live in a mansion like Cove Point Manor (the name of my first book), how I lie owning Maybelline (a fictional 1956 Cadillac from my books) or what it is like to be married to a psychic like Maggie (the wife of my main character, Alex). I laughed the first time I was asked one of these questions, but when they continued to dribble in, it gave me a chill as I realized that some people are a bit delusional about anyone who is in the public eye. Since I am a "nobody" in the public eye, I can only imagine what my truly famous distant cousins go through on a daily basis!
Aside from peeking behind the curtain, so to speak, if I actually met and was able to sit down and talk with one of my cousins - like Brad Pitt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brian Wilson, Carnie Wilson, Liza Minnelli, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Hyde Pierce, Clint Eastwood or others, would it shatter my image of them? Most likely it would not, unless they turned out to be arrogant and aloof (a quality I simply cannot take!), but then again, it might.
I have been fortunate to have met a couple of celebrities in my life - a brief encounter in London with Antonio Banderas (I just said hello and he returned my greeting) and I shared a flight with Michelle Yeoh and briefly chatted with her and another brief encounter, also in London, with Pippa Middleton - but in other encounters I found myself a bit star-struck and couldn't even manage to utter a simple "hello". Other than Antonio Banderas, who I was shocked to see was quite tall (I had, for some reason, thought he was much shorter), I really didn't know the other two very well. If I do ever manage to meet a celebrity that is both well-known to me and who is a distant relative of mine, I'm almost sure I'll say something incredibly stupid and end up playing the horrific train crash of a conversation over and over again in my mind until it's my turn to shuffle off this earth!
If I did manage to keep my cool, and not forget how to speak English with some semblance of intelligence, then I think meeting and talking with one of my famous celebrity cousins would be fun - but not with my most famous cousin, HRH Queen Elizabeth II - that would be a disaster of an epic proportion for sure! Even though the Queen and the rest of the Royals are famous for trying to make people calm and relaxed, there's not enough Ativan in all of the Commonwealth to keep my nerves settled if I was granted an audience with our Monarch. Somehow I don't think that passing out in front of the Queen, belching or having some other horrible sound erupt from my body due to nerves would be the impression that I would want to leave as my legacy!
I have met a number of distant cousins that are not famous since I started my family research, and for the most part those meetings have gone very well (I have even formed a number of friendships with several previously unknown cousins), and I will continue to meet more distant cousins in the future (I hope!), so if one of my celebrity cousins ever does reach out to me, I will welcome them as I have others. I just hope that if I do, I don't end up doing or saying something that will make me regret my decision!
For now I will be content to continue adding relatives to my website with focus on those who live, or have lived extraordinary lives. After all, learning doesn't have to be boring, does it?