Chris Penn died today. We do not yet know the causes. Before the Hollywood Hub-bub breaks out, I'd like to get a word in.
We met 2 celebrities on a family vacation in Las Vegas, in 1999. One was Mohammad Ali. He was walking through the Bellagio with several bodyguards surrounding him. My son, then 13, and never having heard of Ali, accidentally sauntered into their path, and was startled as all get-out when one of the bodyguards yelled, "Don't Touch Him!!!" and sent him flying with an elbow.
It was somewhat comical, my poor kid getting the crap kicked out of him by the bodyguards of the World's Greatest Boxer.
But down the hall, then, we spotted Chris Penn. Brian told me, "that guy was in the Jackie Chan movie!!!"
We screwed up the courage to approach him, and we were met with the utmost kindness. Penn was warm and friendly. He talked with Brian, and didn't make us grovel for the photo we were dying to take. He saw the camera, saw an admiring little kid, and said "let's take a picture."
I almost don't want to read tomorrow's papers. This is what I will always remember of Mr. Chris Penn; he touched our family with his warmth and kindness. Let them say nothing that will make us forget that.