Toronto
3 min

Fame & all that

Morgan Fairchild can bail you out of anything

Credit: Xtra files

What is it about us homos and Hollywood? My friend Steve finally opened the vault and allowed me into some of the many celebrity letters he’s written over the years. Steve grew up as a little fag from a small town with a love for all things Hollywood.



As I read his letters, I thought, “There but for the grace of God go all of us.” Whether it be a love note to Scott Baio in his Joanie Loves Chachi days, or even a note to Joanie (aka Erin Moran), there is always that misplaced belief that he or she might actually read it.



But there they are, right? Somewhere in everyone’s history. The letter. The letters?



My sister once wrote a letter to one of the girls from The Waltons, asking how to become an actress. Notice how I offer my sister up as an example, rather than myself?



Oh, well, I was worse. I called teen idol Parker Stevenson’s house and talked to his brother. I grew up in New York and they lived in a neighbouring suburban NYC town. Parker Stevenson’s brother was really nice, and we totally chatted for a while, as I flawlessly pretended that I was a friend of Parker’s from high school. Yes, it was good old me, Kathy Morgenstern from Rye High calling to see how he’d been doing since prom. I myself had been away backpacking in Europe for a few years and had just gotten back, therefore having no idea what had become of him.



“He’s on a TV show? Really! Neat.”



Everything was fabulous, until Parker Stevenson’s crabby sister picked up the phone and blurted out, “You don’t know Parker. You’re lying!” To which I replied… [dial tone].



But that was the 1970s. Every homo in their right mind wanted to be on Battle Of The Network Stars. There in the paddleboat with Charo, or running the obstacle course with Kristy and Jimmy McNichol.



For anyone who doesn’t remember the ’70s, substitute “Ashton Kutcher” for Parker Stevenson, “The Olsen Twins” for Kristy and Jimmy McNichol, and “A Petrie Dish Of Ebola Virus” for Parker Stevenson’s crabby sister.



Charo, the Spanish music, TV and movie sensation who is still performing in Las Vegas, thankfully stays as constant as the northern star, showing that all is right with the world.



In my pursuit of fame and the famous, by 13, I had graduated to practically-a-felon status. Who could forget my work in Stealing Helen Reddy’s Platform Shoe (1978)? Or Calling And Hanging Up On Woody Allen (1979)? There was also How’d You Kids Get In Here? (The Bay City Rollers in Poughkepsie, 1979) and On A Dare, Getting Close Enough To Sniff Michelle Pfeiffer’s Hair At The Emmy’s (1994 – okay, that wasn’t the ’70s).



Since those somewhat promising – but mostly illegal – beginnings, I’ve lived in Los Angeles a couple of times and had the exciting great privilege of hobnobbing with huge Hollywood stars. Oh, that’s right. I am the envy of tens of people. And let me tell you the stars are much more grounded and thrilling to be friends with than the average person. That’s right, they are. You know who you can really count on when your car battery dies? Morgan Fairchild.



My friend Sandra grew up gay in Toronto. She always had a desire to be famous, and to mingle with the stars. Sandra moved to LA, as did my sister Katie. Both were stand-ups in the ’80s and made the move to Hollywood to become writers.



Sandra worked as a writer on Seinfeld and had lots of celeb friends. One year for her birthday, she actually celebrated in two tiers: first the celebs went to dinner with her, and then she met up with her real-people friends at a drag bar. Since we real people couldn’t go to the fancy restaurant in Beverly Hills, we thought it was good manners that we send a clown in a rainbow wig to make balloon animals for the table.



“Where’s Sandra?” the clown with the rainbow wig had announced from the door of Chasen’s. She fucking hated us for that, but couldn’t help but laugh. Because she would have done it, too.



When Sandra got sick, Madonna took her to Gianni Versace’s villa. Cindy Crawford took her for a ride on a motorcycle. And the day she found out she wasn’t going to make it, an A-list leg-crossing sexual-thriller star practically raced to her bedside to be the one who could hold her when she found out.



And when Sandra went, she was surrounded by her real-people friends and the sound of The Beatles singing “All You Need Is Love.” Interesting.



Before she died, a shocking thing happened. Sandra told Katie that she wished she had stayed in Toronto all those years and just had a life.



I feel so unbelievably lucky to have found that out for myself the easy way.