Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood
I’ve always enjoyed movies, television and the stars that make them famous. So embarking upon a trip to Los Angeles last week was a dream come true.
Upon being invited to spend the afternoon at Phyllis Diller’s home and an evening at Anne Jeffreys’ home, I immediately knew that I would treasure the memories for a lifetime.
I was in sunny Los Angeles for seven days enjoying glorious southern California weather, traveling around the area exploring the sights and people that help make Hollywood famous.
I finally had the opportunity to meet Lauren Foulk, my pen pal of six years who lives in Burbank. We are close friends and have many mutual interests in music, pop culture, movies, television shows and celebrities. Having first come into contact with one another via Facebook while I was a freshman in college, I have found Lauren to be an interesting person to correspond with over the years. Before seeing each other face-to-face we exchanged letters and cards, emails, Facebook messages and also talked on the phone.
As soon as she arrived to pick me up at LAX airport, I knew that it would be a fun week. We jumped into the car and headed off for Hollywood Boulevard and for the next six days, nothing but fun times crossed my path.
I was so excited to see Lauren! Here we are in Pasadena after purchasing flowers for Anne Jeffreys.
Among areas we visited include Venice, Burbank, Malibu, Santa Monica, Cabazon, Palm Springs, Glendale, Brentwood and Bel Air.
We saw many exciting things including the famous Hollywood sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Pier, Warner Brothers Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood, Paramount Pictures, Rodeo Drive and Robertson Boulevard. We were event spotted on “The Tonight Show” giving a high-five to host Jay Leno.
Lauren and I visited the graves of many celebrities to pay our respects including those of Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Carroll O’Connor, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Truman Capote, Bette Davis, Estelle Getty, Liberace, Brittany Murphy and Don Knotts.
MEETING THE STARS
Among celebrities that I saw while in southern California are Mario Lopez, Maria Menounos, Glenn Close, Bethenny Frankel, Debbie Allen and latin singer Juanes.
After cooresponding with comedian Phyllis Diller over the years, her personal assistant invited me and Lauren to the entertainer’s mansion in Brentwood for an afternoon of laughter.
My friend Lauren Foulk and I pose with legendary comic Phyllis Diller in the Bob Hope Salon of her beautifully decorated Brentwood, Calif., home.
We walked through the halls of Phyllis’ home in amazement of a career spanning more than five decades. Her home sits behind a gate and is full of gorgeous antiques and mementos.
After talking with 94-year-old Phyllis for about a half hour, we adjourned to her Bob Hope Salon (complete with a beautiful portrait on an easel of the legendary entertainer) where Phyllis played the grand piano.
Phyllis made fun of my southern accent, leaning back to belt out her signature cackling laugh that I’m sure could’ve been heard a mile away. Lauren and I couldn’t stop ourselves from joining in the contagious laughter as Phyllis talked about her hilariously fictious husband Fang and what he had been up to these days.
Actress Anne Jeffreys, 89, invited me to her home on another evening while I was in town. She helped me in a recent auction fundraiser for the United Way of Gaston County by donating handbags she had owned.
I found Ms. Anne to be a kind, loving, generous person. Lauren and I met her housekeeper at the door of her spacious home with a bouquet of two dozen pink roses.
Ms. Anne decended the staircase in the foyer and immediately greeted us. It was like visiting with an old friend because I had talked with her a couple of times on the telephone leading up to my visit.
We talked for about an hour concerning everything from her lengthy career in show business to our native North Carolina. Ms. Anne is from Goldsboro and enjoyed hearing about Gastonia.
Lauren and I left both homes with a wonderful sense of appreciation for Phyllis and Anne’s generosity. We enjoyed spending time with them very much.
As I reflect on my vacation, I’m very grateful for the numerous opportunities that came my way. Spending time with Lauren was totally awesome and sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences will always be remembered.