Like most everyone else, I love reading about celebrities. If I happen to see a gossip magazine at a salon, spa, or doctor’s office, I pick it up. I like knowing who’s hitching up with whom, who’s cheating on whom, who’s divorcing whom, who’s coming out of rehab (again!) and who’s going in (again?). It’s not only entertaining (love those candid photos of Brangelina and their ever-increasing U.N. brood) but, actually, informative. ’Cause, though celebrities may be more beautiful, more successful, and more wealthy than we non-celebs are, truth be told, Celebrities ’R Us—they’re just men and women, just like the rest of us; men and women who fall in love, fall out of love, go through good times, go through bad times, fall low, and rise high.
But, not all celebrities intrigue me equally. And, of course, not all celebrities are grist for the rumor mills.
On my office bookshelf sits a framed photo of Richard Gere, a gift from Westchester Magazine Publisher Ralph A. Martinelli. Ralph knows how I feel about the award-winning actor, a Westchester resident and now a Westchester restaurateur. He had the photo framed for me. I’ve tried and tried again to get Gere to consent to an interview, for not only professional but for personal reasons. I’m a fan. But he was always too busy, shooting a film in LA or advocating for human rights in Tibet. And, then—lucky me—I was invited to a Westchester gala at which Gere was an honorary guest. We were introduced. We even posed for a photo together. I seized the moment.
Our first meeting: Richard Gere and me at Northern Westchester Center for the Arts 25th Anniversary Gala
“How can I get you for my magazine?” I asked, handing him my business card.
“I’m so sorry,” he answered, “but Westchester is home and I really like my privacy here.”
Alas, I understood (darn it!) and told him so. Still, I made sure to also tell him, “If you ever change your mind, please, don’t hesitate to call.”
The phone in my office rang.
“Is this Esther? Hello, this is Richard Gere.”
Talk about a dream come true.
You can read all about what Gere and and his wife, actress Carey Lowell, chatted about by turning to page 53. And, if you are wondering, what do I think about Gere now—now that I’ve gotten to know him better? Let’s just say, I’m an even bigger fan.