President Bush & Governor Pitaki. La Cote Basque (which doesn't exist anymore
) was our regular for biz lunches. Gary called to cancel a lunch one day, and the Maitre d' said "I'm so sorry you weren't able to reach us earlier, but the Secret Service tied up the phone lines - of course we'll see you at 12:30." Gary got the hint and kept the lunch with the clients, so we've got witnesses: the Chef of the restaurant (the owner, Jean-Jacques Rachou) made a point of coming out to introduce Gary to President Bush, Laura Bush, Governor Pitaki and Libby Pitaki. They chatted, and asked Gary what he did - he had a package of our stuff. THAT morning (Jan 23, 2002) the headline on our morning notes was "Paul O'Neill and His Shameless Band of Hacks Take Their Weird Show to Tokyo." !!! Laura Bush says, "Oh! The O'Neills are very great friends of ours." ...to which Gary answers - "Isn't it a great thing that we live in a country where we have the liberty to write anything we want." (Or something to that effect). The whole restaurant tinked their glasses.
At nine, Gary played four holes of golf with Frank Sinatra, Spiro Agnew, Bebe Rebozo. (His grandfather lived in Palm Springs next to Frank Sinatra on some golf course).
He played an entire summer on the JPGA tour - he played numerous times with Doug Ford Jr. (two times Masters Champ), who used to hit him in the back of his knees with a clubwhen he wasn't standing right.
We both met Peter O'Malley - the owner of the Dodgers at the time. (Our boss was married to Terry O'Malley, Peter's sister). We met bunches of the Dodgers - we lived in FL, their training camp was in Vero Beach, and Rollie (our boss) used to make us met him there all the time. Rollie was great friends with Yogi Berra, and we always used to sit on the bench where Rollie hung out with him.
Gary used to hang out with many of the Black Hawks at a bar in Chicago, particularly from 1990 - 1993.
Here there are really just too many to list because Gary was a regional manager for Stone Container which had HQ in Chicago and he met so many people at various functions. One of them was Michael Jordan.
Well, let's see. From 1977 to 1980 Gary was friends with all the members of AC/DC, and they used to hang out in his apartment in Chicago, and he toured around with them for a while.
In 1993 Gary managed Nine Inch Nails for a couple months - they were hanging out in Seattle at the time. He had Thanksgiving with Pearl Jam that year. He was totally plugged into the "Seattle scene" at the time, so he knew most of the bands back then...
He recognized Johnny Winter at a bar in Alabama, and hung out with and drank with him. Coaxed him into playing a few sets for the bar.
Gary knows George Clinton and Bootsie Collins (Parliament). When they played in NY in 2005, he took Naomi (our adopted daugher) to the concert. I didn't go because there was a HUGE snow storm coming. Their manager didn't show up to the concert, they didn't know where to park the bus, and Gary handled it all (knows the people who own BB King's in NY). ...turns out I-80 was closed that night because of the storm - Gary blew through the cones to get home though. I have to find them, but we actually have pictures of Naomi dancing on stage with the band, and George Clinton hugging her.
Gary was a massive fan of Thin Lizzy, and knew all the bouncers at most of the venues in Chicago. He got backstage the first time he saw Lizzy, and became friends with Phil Lynott. Got to meet and hang out with Gary Moore several times too. He hung out with Phil every time they were through Chicago in that mid-70s to early 80s time frame - must have hung out with him at least 20 times.
That same restaurant where Gary met the Bushes, we met (at dinner time) Berry Gordy and Diana Ross during dinner in NYC.
They were seated at Table One, which was usually held for us. We sat next to them and got to talking. (We had money back then and bought them a MUCH better bottle of wine than they were drinking
I'm missing a LOT - I'll ask Gary tomorrow for more.
Because of work, we've met loads of famous business people: We met (I mean had one-on-one meetings with) Kevin McNeeley (CEO of Sun), Eric Schmidt - we met him at Novell after he left Sun Micro, but he's CEO of Google now. Don't know if you remember "Chainsaw" Al Dunlop (Sunbeam). Gary met him on an elevator too. They got into a big argument. Ended up with a crowd around them in the lobby of the hotel (the NY Palace). In the end, Al gave Gary the business card with his personal direct line on it. (Though we never did initiate coverage of Sunbeam - good thing, too.)
The biggest one: Gary played bridge (online) with Warren Buffet through someone we were doing consulting work with at the time. That was in 1999.
We're working now with the guy that used to head Citibank's M&A department - he's the one who did the Prudential and Bache merger.
Here I'm sure there's more - but it was stuff a decade ago, and my brain's not functioning so well right at the moment.
When we used to commute into NYC frequently (before and around the time we started rescuing kitties), we used to take our dry cleaning into the city to get it done rather than find the time to deal with it out here. Donald Sutherland used the same dry cleaner.
The first time we ran into him, Gary told him we're huge fans of his work. He asked which was our favorite movie, and of course we both agreed - Kelly's Heroes. He laughed - he said no one had ever picked that one for their favorite role of his. Gary did an imatation of him in part of it, and Donald Sutherland was in stitches. ("...and this is my other dog impression..." )
When we lived and worked in LA, we used to fly to NY (where all our customers were) and stay for weeks or up to a month at The Palace. We met Jackie Chan on the elavator. He had a really cool bag - so did Gary, and they got to talking about them, though Jackie's english was pretty broken.
Gary most likely has met others.
Gary was shipped off to boarding school for a while as a kid. He went to a small exclusive school, and ended up being in school with the nephew of the Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia. When he visited, Gary and his dad had dinner with him and the nephew. They were the first jews he'd ever eaten with.
Gary's dad's family was very involved in Chicago Opera stuff and made Gary attend some special kid's program thing. He was actually in La Boheme at 12. He met George Solti (who used to get pissed off at him and throw stuff at him) and Itzhak Perlman.
Gary's dad's family is originally from the Ukraine. His great-grandfather was the one who emigrated to the US. Turns out Marc Chagall's family is from the same village. He spent a weekend at Gary's country house with the family, and drew Gary a charcoal (which his dad took possession of and we have no idea what happened to it).