September 2022

The Day I Was Played by Heather Locklear

One of the best jobs I had in my advertising career was running the Broadcast Buying dept. at a major ad agency. In that role, I was also the network TV buyer, negotiating ad buys for clients like Audi & Royal Caribbean with the major TV & Cable networks. I would attend the network upfront premieres in New York City in May where they would unveil their new primetime lineup for the upcoming fall season.

These took place at Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall or LIncoln Center. These glitzy affairs included show trailers, late night show orchestras and of course, the Hollywood stars. These events ran Monday thru Thursday in the late afternoon..

The best part was the Premiere Party afterwards. Buses would be waiting to take us to the venue of choice, the famous Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Food, dessert, music, adult beverages, and Hollywood celebrities from the shows you just saw. It came full circle for me being a guest there. When my father came to the US from Greece, his first job was as a busboy at Tavern on the Green.

Each show had a celebrity meet & greet station; a quick hello, take a picture, and you went home with a polaroid of you and the stars. I think I was always the only one from North Carolina attending so my goal was to get as many polaroids to bring back. The big stars usually had a long line, so I would go meet others, especially the freshman shows. Short lines and longer conversations.

Except this one time I was at the FOX party and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed her, Heather Locklear. She was with her posse (stylist, publicist, security and BFF’s). They were preparing her station so I just parked myself there and waited. When everyone noticed she was coming out, it was a mad rush. Guess who was #1 in the queue! When she was ready, they still had no photographer. Yet she came up to me and started a conversation.

Along with my wife Jeanann, Heather is gorgeous, and has an awesome personality. I said “Heather, my name is Peter and I came all the way from North Carolina to see you!” This is a great ice breaker because everyone in the place is from NYC. The photographer still hadn’t arrived and we talked for about 10 minutes. 

She was gracious and generally interested as she asked me a lot of questions as well. I couldn’t believe it, there I was talking away with the starlet Heather Locklear! We took our picture and even talked some more until the unruly crowd was pushing me to move on. How rude, they wouldn’t do that in North Carolina. We said our goodbyes and I was ecstatic about the whole experience.

Fast forward four years and Heather had a new show. I waited patiently in line for the chance to revive our conversation from the years prior. She was still as spectacular as ever. We said hello and I said “Heather, you may not remember me, but I met you at the upfront from four years ago. I’m the guy who came all the way from North Carolina to see you.” She steps back, looks at me, pauses, and then says, “Oh I remember you Peter!”

My jaw dropped and for one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. I stood there and couldn’t say a word. This Hollywood star remembered my name from a 10 minute conversation from four years prior. My first thought was that maybe she has a highly superior autobiographical memory like Marilu Henner (oh, I’ve met her too). Ruling that out, it could only have been my exceptional charm and suave demeanor as the reason she remembered. Notice I did not say my remarkable good looks. Or it could have been the snazzy mustache.

As I left with my picture and trying to lift my jaw off the floor, I did manage a “thanks and it was great to see you again!” I was utterly in awe and I had to tell someone. Just then I saw a group that I had friended over the days. I told them how I met Heather Locklear four years ago and described how I said you may not remember me, but I’m the guy that came all the way from North Carolina to see you.  She remembered my name, can you believe that?

As if it were choreographed, the group began to laugh hysterically in unison. I was taken aback. What could be funny about this? When they settled down a bit, I said I don’t know why that’s so funny. It was one of those moments when everyone in the group was obviously having a good time at my expense. Then one guy chimed in to let me off the hook. He said “Peter, it’s pretty hard not to know your name when it’s right there on your name tag.”

All the helium in my head was pouring out. Deservedly so. This is what happens when you let your ego take over. Your ego will always get the best of you when you least expect it. It is a hard thing to tame but tame it you must. 

But kudos to Heather as she is the quintessential pro. With so many meet & greets under her belt, she has arrows in her quiver for any situation. I’m here to say that I got played by Heather Locklear. Well played, Heather, well played.


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