Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chris Penn, 1962-2006

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.


  1. that is so cool! i'm glad you wrote about chris penn; very little has been mentioned in the usual spots. i bet he had a heart attack, he was starting to look bad in the face.
    and a note in defense of the ali bodyguards: he is seriously messed up by parkinson's and other problems and really isn't up to conversation a lot of the time, from what i've read. supposedly he's a very sweet guy

  2. Paul, Yah, you're right, I should have given Ali more of a thumbs up; he was clearly in need of a circle of bruisers to keep him from being accosted.

    It was just amusing, Brian had no intention of approaching him, and was even looking around the other way, into a window or something when he crossed their paths.

    I also have to admit that I was completely star-struck when I saw him; I always thought I'd be so cool around a celebrity, but turns out I'm a drooling, stuttering, staring idiot.

  3. Seems like I blink and I miss ten posts from you! I hope your arm feels better. Sounds like you had fun in Chi town. Sorry about Faith's wallet. Too bad about Ali. Chris Penn too. Methinks the holywood machine got him. Too much of everything... Love ya!

  4. This was sad and shocking news to me when I heard it. I love the picture of him and Brian. What a neat story to have.

  5. Thanks for sharing that story with's terrific. I'll try to think of it rather than anything negative I might hear in the news...

    Great posting -- thanks so much!


  6. That's a wonderfully touching story. I'm glad you shared it with us.

  7. Yes it was moving, I was distressed to see pictures of his real sadness. Sometimes the givers suffer.

  8. very nice account- liked his movies, seemed like a nice guy in an unkind business- good to hear it wasn't all acting.


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