A Fan Letter.

I’m willing to bet that we have something in common: we admire someone from afar and will never get a chance to tell them about our appreciation of their talents.

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That’s one of the joys of having a blog: you can do something about it and hope that the recipient sees it in their Google Alerts.

Given the paltry chance that I’ll be recognized, but hoping that I’ll find this exercise cathartic, I wish to write the following fan letter to some of my favorite personalities that remain with us. (The dead ones I will hopefully catch up with in Heaven.)

Don Rickles, I love you. You have cracked me up for decades. I had the joy of seeing you perform live in Las Vegas about six years ago and it was amazing. I honor your service to this nation as a veteran (a fellow sailor, I might add) and as an entertainer who has gone out of his way to entertain the military over the years. Your stories, movie performances, and stand-up routine are all fun. But nobody will ever top you for the Dean Martin Roasts and your appearances on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. You are a gentle man beneath it all and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the laughs, and the influence you’ve had on my sense of humor.

Maureen O’Hara. So many wonderful performances, so much humor, such beauty and grace. If life were a movie I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want you as a costar. You enlivened every thing I ever saw you in, and made film history fun for this amateur student of the art. I am awed by the depth of your performances as a young woman. I am amazed at your ability to play physical comedy late in your career. You are one astounding woman.

William Shatner. Mr. Shatner, you are quite a mix of things – all of them entertaining. You are funny and smart. I enjoyed you in so many roles over the years and yet you were the butt of so many jokes about your acting style. I bet you laughed all the way to the bank. As a lesser known actor and voice talent, I’m blown away by your chops on the microphone. Your demolishing of a studio weasel a few years ago ranks as the greatest booth performance I have had the honor to listen to in my life. You gave me a role model in Captain Kirk; it was fine to be concerned but do it anyway because it was the right thing to do. I know it was scripted, but you brought it to life. Thanks, Mr. Shatner – you’re far more than your critics will ever admit, and much greater than all of them: they just criticize, you do.

Lots more to do here, but enough for today. Don’t croak, Mel Brooks: you’re on the list next.

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