BACK TO Home Page 50 CONVERSATION TOPICS Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Fame and Beauty

Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations

Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Fame and Beauty and Celebrity Glamour

Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations

Humphrey Bogart

After a nightclub fracas involving a worse-for-wear Humphrey Bogart and a sultry self-described 'model' (who ended up on the floor), the succeeding court case gave rise to a famous remark by Dave Chasen, proprietor of the restaurant in Beverly Hills that was a favourite watering hole of the actor: "Bogart's a hell of a nice guy until around 11.30pm. After that, he thinks he’s Bogart."


Sets for Westerns built at 7/8 scale to make heroes look taller.

Ugly Baby

China's legal system apparently grows to resemble America's. A well-covered (but incompletely-sourced) story from Chinese media in October reported that Mr. Jian Feng won the equivalent of $120,000 in a lawsuit against his well-to-do wife for deceiving him and subsequently giving birth to what Feng thought was an ugly baby. Feng discovered that his wife had had cosmetic surgery--and thus was not, genetically, the beauty that he married but, in reality, plain-looking.

"Tonight's guest is Bishop Tutu of South Africa, which is a fantastic name for a country bc it tells you exactly where it is. And we have a very impt Q that's on everybody's mind -'as a bishop, do you always have to move diagonally?"

Hugh Laurie on Fame

"I'd some very dark times when I first arrived here. I was taking on this pretty overwhelming thing and it could all get a bit much. I felt the strain. So it was good to spend time with someone who wasn't going to tweet my stuff all over the place. It is still good. Good too for that person not to be a friend, so that I don't have to feel guilty about boring them. You don't have to entertain a shrink. You're paying for the responsibility to entertain to be lifted, and that's a great relief to me."

In 1962, Marilyn Monroe left most of her estate to her acting coach Lee Strasberg. When Strasberg died in 1982, his wife Anna, who had never known Monroe, inherited her estate. In 1999, she auctioned off Monroe's personal belongings for $14 million.

Halle Berry was the first woman to collect her Worst Actress award in person at the Razzie Awards, saying "I want to thank Warner Bros. for casting me in this piece-of-sh*t, god-awful movie."

John Travolta doesn't have an airport at his home. He bought a house in a development where all the houses are on an airstrip built for them. It was intended for small craft, and when he came in landing with a sizeable jet, he pissed off most of his neighbors. But scientology saved them all, I guess.

The Curse of the Oscar

Only strikes females. If they get a best actress or supporting actress award, they're more likely to end up divorced than the men who take home a best actor or supporting-actor trophy. A big portion of that difference comes from major dips in marriage survival right after the win and about three years later. The researchers ascribe it to men not being comfortable with wives who are highly successful.

The Beautiful and the Smart?

Life really is unfair. Researchers have found that handsome men and beautiful women tend to be cleverer, with IQs averaging up to nearly 14 points above the norm. The finding, based on studies in Britain and America, suggests the stereotype of blondes or good-looking men being dimmer than average needs to be revised.Instead it seems that evolution favours the already blessed, rewarding attractive people with partners who are not just good-looking but intelligent too.The research, by the London School of Economics (LSE), suggests that since both beauty and intelligence tend to be inherited, the children of such couples will end up with both qualities, building a genetic link between them.

Extreme Fashion

London Fashion Week usually brings forth a shock or two from cutting-edge designers, but a September creation by Rachel Freire might have raised the bar: a floor-length dress made from 3,000 cow nipples (designed to resemble roses). Initial disgust for the garment centered on implied animal abuse, but Freire deflected that issue by pointing out that the nipples had been discarded by a tannery and that her use amounted to "recycling." The 32-year-old Freire, who has worked with mainstream entertainers such as Christina Aguilera, was kept so busy with the animal-abuse angle that she was largely spared having to explain another issue - why anyone would want to wear a dress made with cow nipples.

Cosmetic Surgery

"Many of my young patients think about getting plastic surgery the way they'd think about getting their hair done," explained Dr. David Alessi of Beverly Hills, Calif., who is still amazed at women's willingness to endure "extreme" cosmetic alterations. "Vaginal rejuvenation" (labiaplasty) might be the most sensational procedure, but surgeons also do "forehead implants" and ankle and shoulder liposuction, break and reset jaws to tweak smiles, and lengthen or shorten toes (for "toe cleavage" with certain shoes). Alessi told a Glamour magazine writer for an April story that one 25-year-old recently asked him to "remove" her navel (whereas most umbilicoplasty patients merely request reshaping). Said a bemused colleague, "There's some consensus about what makes for an attractive . . . face, but we have no definition of the ideal navel

Cosmetic Surgery

A website is allowing anyone curious about cosmetic surgery, but too frightened to go under the knife, to see an improved version of themselves at the click of a mouse. The 'Lift Magic' website offers a virtual makeover for prospective plastic surgery patients, so they can see how they might look after eye-bag removal, a nose job or a face-lift. But the website is also attracting those with time on their hands, and has proved a hit as an application on the social networking site Facebook. Users load a digital photograph of themselves onto the screen and can try out up to 14 different treatments.

Cosmetic Surgery

China has become the world's third largest consumer of plastic surgery services--with demand that perhaps challenges the supply of skilled surgeons. Women typically want wider eyes, "sliced" eyelids, narrower noses and jaws, and smaller chins, and both men and women seek height by attempting the painful (and usually unsuccessful) "heel implant" procedure.

New York Times report noted that Beverly Hills podiatrist Ali Sadrieh offers a "Perfect 10!" procedure ("aesthetic toe-shortening"), a "Model T" (toe-lengthening), and "Foot Tuck" (a foot-padding for high-heel pain). New York's Dr. Oliver Zong treats "High Heel Foot" (when the foot conforms to the shape of a stiletto) and "Hitchhiker's Toe" (an abnormally large big toe sticking out like a thumb). Some patients get to the point right away, Dr. Sadrieh said, by bringing in specific cherished shoes and asking which foot-retrofitting procedure would do the job (although Dr. Zong said he turned down one woman who brought in a shoe and said she would be OK with four toes if that's what it took). [New York Times, 4-22-2014]

Makeup Fame and Beauty

Women have always prized white faces (the browner your face, the more likely it was that you were a peasant working in the fields) In the 17th century a manufacturer was executed for selling white makeup which contained arsenic. Didn't do much harm to the women, but when their husbands/lovers! kissed them, the arsenic was quickly absorbed through the mouth.

Makeup Fame and Beauty

Walmart announced in January that it would soon offer a full line of makeup especially for 8-year-olds (and up), by geoGirl, including mascara, sheer lip gloss, pink blush, and purple eye shadow, all supposedly designed for young skin. (An executive of Aspire cosmetics said her research revealed a potential market of 6-year-olds.)

Makeup Fame and Beauty

The average British woman spends over £100,000 on makeup over her lifetime.

Imitating The Famous

Ricardo West, a professional Michael Jackson impersonator (who staged "Michael Lives! The Michael Jackson Tribute Concert") was charged in August in Allen Park, Mich., with 12 counts of child molestation.

The Downside of Fame and Beauty

Fame tends to be bad for the famous - disproportionate number suffer from alcoholism and heart disease, and tend to die young. If you become famous you eventually run out of victories - reach the point where your absolute level of achievement is high but you are miserable - misery enhanced by media scrutiny which magnifies every small error of judgement

Honorees pay about $40,000 to install their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

London Blue Plaques attached to houses of famous people associated with them. New Zealand House has one celebrating Ho Chi Minh, who worked as a waiter in the restaurant that once occupied the building. (And some people make their own...)

Stirring The Famous

Paul Kaye’s subconscious must have some dark and dingy corners. At school his band was called Smell of Dead Fish; his infamous hoax interviewer Dennis Pennis fearlessly insulted A-listers (to Mel Gibson: "I must thank you. I haven't had sex in a while, but during Braveheart I slept with the entire audience"

The Drawbacks of Fame

Former French rugby captain Marc Cecillion got 20 years for shooting his wife. After rugby career finished he was rudderless - a rugby star from schooloy days but too taciturn and withdrawn to be a salesman and had no education or career skills. Alcoholism covered up by his friends but no-one helped him deal with his problems

The Downside of Fame and Beauty

A lot of celebrities are egotistical and surrounded by sycophants, which leads them to think they can get away with certain behaviour - plus they receive more offers - most men in stable relationships would be tempted if they were faced with the barrage of propositions that a film star gets

Observation by Seth Godin

Now you are a celebrity. That means that... There are people who don't know you... and who don't like you. Specifically, there are people who don't know your work, who haven't taken the time to understand your point of view, who nonetheless have had to draw a conclusion about who you are and what you do. "I don't like Angelina Jolie." "Which movie didn't you like?" "Oh, I've never seen any of her movies. I just don't like her." More positively, celebrity, particularly social media celebrity (which more and more of us have every day) earns you trust and access and an audience. Your twitter followers or friends of friends on Facebook are more likely to cut you slack because you're not a stranger. But it's unreasonable to expect only the upside. There are now people in the world who don't know you and who don't like you. Sorry.

Donald Sutherland on Fellini

on the subject of Fellini, Sutherland muses, "Ah, Fellini. Oh God, he was so tormented by other people's dicks. I loved him, goddam it!" (Apparently, Fellini had "affectionately" described Sutherland as having “the eyes of a masturbator", so this is something of an "affectionate" retort).

The Downside of Fame and Beauty

Police now tell celebs not to reply to fan mail, even to send out autographed pictures, because obsessed fans can view even that as real communication with the star, and feed it into their fantasy that they are linked to the celebrity

She looked Ok ...

The Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia recently won a $36,000 grant to study the genetic basis of Trimethylaminuria, otherwise known as the disorder that causes sufferers to smell like dead fish. The first case reported in medical literature was in the 1970s, but according to a Science News report, "an ancient Hindu tale describes a maiden who 'grew to be comely and fair, but a fishy odor ever clung to her.'"

Imitation Lookalikes Fame and Beauty

There used top be about 50 women in Britain making a good living as Princess Di lookalikes - getting up to £350 a day

Fame and Beauty, Saudi Style

Over a 10-week period this summer, nearly 200 young Saudi women are auditioning for a beauty pageant, but one called "Miss Beautiful Morals," in which physical attractiveness is irrelevant, replaced by judging of the ladies' observance of traditional Saudi values, especially the honoring of their mothers. Saudi Arabia does have pageants devoted to physical beauty, but those are contests for camels and goats, based on such criteria as (according to one camel breeder) "big eyes, long lashes, and a long neck."

Make Yourself Famous

'Mantelpiecing' - guy in Los Angeles used to carry small framed photos of himself with celebs photoshopped in - take them to parties and slip them on to the host's mantelpiece along with the famous faces

The Rich and Famous

(Possibly UL) story about George Lucas walking around his under-construction ranch, noticing a newly-painted building and making an off-hand comment to an aide who was with him that he thought it was going to be a slightly darker shade of brown. The next day he walks past building and it's now a darker brown. Tells the aide "I was just making a comment, I didn't mean you had to go and repaint it!" Walks past day after, and it's back to original light brown!

Analysing Fame and Beauty

The cult of celebrity is so entrenched that an industry has sprung up to analyse it. Conference in Ayr, Scotland agreed that celebrity now outguns heroism. Suggest that as Western culture seems to get more meaning less, we seek something to admire or aspire to

Talking about Fame and Beauty

Although to many outsiders, the concept of "clothing" on Muslim women suggests full-body veils, many married women in Syria are decidedly more playful, feeding a market for daring and quixotic underwear (to be worn in private, of course, and only for one's husband). Musical panties (some that glow in the dark); bras with "hands" covering the cups; and underwear designed to collapse and fall to the floor at the sound of hands clapping are just three of the popular items at boutique shops, according to a December BBC News dispatch from Damascus.

Hollywood Fame and Beauty - Sophia Loren

Dwarf actor Hollywood named Michael Dunn, who was not known for his politeness. He was introduced to Sophia Loren at a party and blurted out "Boy, would I love to fuck you!". SL coolly looks him up and down (well, down and down really) and says "Well if you do, and if I ever find out that you did.."

Fan Worship

A man broke into the ATM at a Bank of America in Phoenix on March 1st but was in police custody a few minutes later. He walked away from the machine cleanly but happened to spot actor Bill Murray on the street (he was visiting friends in the city) and could not resist stopping to chat with Murray about the movie "Zombieland." The delay allowed witnesses to the robbery to catch up to the man and identify him for police.

Tom Green won five Razzies for Freddy Got Fingered and accepted the awards in person. He had to be dragged off the stage because he wouldn't stop playing the harmonica.

The Least Famous Film

January 2001 is remembered as the launch date of Harry Potter and the Never-Ending Sequels. Sadly, it drew attention away from Offending Angels, which was released in the same week and became the worst-selling film in cinema history.It had a fabulous plot about two laddish, layabout housemates who occasionally go outside to play cricket. God takes pity on them and sends a pair of guardian angels, Zeke and Paris, to lead them back to a life of virtue and industry. Happily, Paris used to be a dolphin and Zeke was formerly a squirrel so divine intervention proved a bit of a mixed blessing. Eventually they all fall in love. At a cinema in Croydon, south London, the only people who saw the film all week were the projectionist and the usher. Fewer than 20 people around the country paid to see it. After Vat and the cinemas’ cut, it made a total profit at the box office of £17. When the DVD came out it became a cult collector’s item.

Hollywood Fame and Beauty - Joan Crawford

Possessed, a new biography of Joan Crawford, is no whitewash but a balanced, sympathetic portrait that shows us the abandoned child, the implacably ambitious star and the steely businesswoman as Mrs Pepsi-Cola (she married the owner of the company after three previous marriages and a 30-year affair with Clark Gable). He examines the sources of Crawford’s driven personality (her dirt-poor background, her deep sense of cultural inferiority — which she dealt with via a programme of selfimprovement), and makes a persuasive case for her often-dismissed acting skills. Crucially, he deconstructs Christina’s demolition of her mother, pointing out errors of fact and reminding us that Mommie Dearest was written as a poisonous retaliation after Crawford cut her adopted daughter out of her will. As Spoto says, the less-than-balanced tone of Christina’s memoir is summed up in the words "That evil goddamned BITCH!!! ... She’s just a mean, rotten bitch to the marrow of her bones . . . God, I hated her." After reading Spoto's biography, the reader may not end up exactly liking Joan Crawford, but most of us will be prepared to extend a little more charity towards her than did her embittered daughter.

The human brain's 100 billion neurons may have such specific functions that a few electrically charge only upon recognition of a single celebrity, such as Oprah Winfrey or Bill Clinton. UCLA researchers, studying the healthy cells of pre-op epilepsy patients, inadvertently discovered this property, which apparently varies with individuals but remains internally consistent (recognizing the celebrity's name, picture, name, or sound). Patients were presented "hundreds of stimuli," one researcher told the Wall Street Journal in October [2009], but "the neuron would respond to only one or two." For example, neurons were found that reacted only to Jennifer Aniston, only to Mother Teresa, only to characters on "The Simpsons."

Pineapples were such a status symbol in 18th century England that you could rent one for the evening to take to a party

Some Lighter Conversation Starters about Fame and Beauty

Beauty is only skin deep, but then we live in a world of thin-skinned people
Beauty is the first present Nature gives you, and the first it takes away
She got her good looks from her father - he's a plastic surgeon


Book Extracts on Fame and Beauty

William Flew Client 1 William Flew Client 2 William Flew Client 3 William Flew Client 4 William Flew Client 5