What It Must Be Like to “Be the Center of Attention”.
Contrary to popular opinion, most actors live very boring lives. We end up living in cycles of a lot of money, or no money. In no other profession can you be broke one day as you feel the pangs of hunger in your stomach while you fill your handbag with food from the craft table on set so you can eat later; or on the other side of the coin, be so rich that your biggest problem is finding a mansion to live in, and finding big enough closets for all of your clothes. There is a price. What do famous actors go through on a daily basis? I have experienced a little bit of what it must be like! Here are my little stories of what it is like to be the “Center of Attention.”
One day I was walking down 44th Street, I had just auditioned for a Broadway show, and I passed Sardi’s.
Sardi’s New York
Sardi’s, at one time was the place to be-that is where all the famous stars would have lunch and dinner, read the reviews of a production, good or bad; where careers were made, or banished into thin air. Way back when, groupies or fans would wait outside to get that autograph. Well, it must have been a slow day as a man with an autograph book started following me down 44th Street. I looked behind me and could feel his stare. I walked faster and he started chasing me. I turned around being the New Yorker I was and yelled:
“What do you want? Please don’t rob me!”
“Can I have your autograph please?” He replied.
“Why would you want my autograph? I am a Nobody!”
“Aren’t you Stockard Channing?” He said.
“No.” I replied.
“Oh, well you look a lot like her. That was a good chase, you are an actress right?”
I nodded my head yes.
“Well, can you sign my book anyway? You might be famous one day; it might be worth something,” he replied.
I signed the book, of course; looking down, he read aloud:
“Catherine Natale. Nice, and may I say very pretty. Famous One Day!” He laughed.
I felt like I was in a Woody Allen film, the only thing was this was real life. I ran away as fast as I could. It was creepy to say the least.
I can think of one time when it was a benefit to me and my husband, Peter Papageorgiou, who wrote and directed a short film called “Big Man on Mulberry Street.” I played a “moll” of sorts called Angela, and we had a Bobby De Niro look-alike to play my boyfriend.
We started filming by the Long Island Pier, but it was too cold and getting so dark that the DP could not see our faces–it was a no go. We saw a diner up ahead and being that we were cold and hungry, we thought that we would stop and get some coffee. The owner looked at us, saw our look-alike Bobby DeNiro, and thought that Bobby DeNiro had come to his diner, “Pleasure to meet you, Mr. De Niro.”
The actor went along with it and flashed that Bobby DeNiro grin. We decided to ask if we could film at his diner. “Of course you can film; I am honored to be around such a great actor.” We all looked at each other in amazement like we had just won a prize. The owner wanted one thing, to have a picture of his idol on the wall so everyone could see that Bobby came to his diner.
“That would make me a very happy man,” the owner said. We all nodded our heads as we didn’t want to destroy the love-fest vibe that was going on and we quickly filmed the scene before anyone could find out. Let me just say, I love to act and have been blessed to be the creative spirit that I am and live and breathe a business that is always alive and changing. So as you watch the Oscars, think about it what it is like to be THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. But, being famous must be a strange existence.
Catherine Natale is an actress, writer and creator of the TV pilot Redneck Weddings. She has been seen in film, TV and stage. She is also “Director of Talent Development” at Sassy B Worldwide Productions.
IMDb page: www.imdb.com/name/nm1264695/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1