Here’s To Catherine O’Hara and Fred Willard!


I have dabbled in the acting business.  If I had done anything of note, then I would not have to tell you that I have dabbled in the acting business.

Back in the late 90’s, between acting gigs, I drove limousine during the Toronto Film Festival. I was assigned to drive Fred Willard.

Insecure people have egos in which you could build shopping malls.  To bolster their egos, these people will disrespect those lower on the food chain.

Fred Willard was not like that.  From the moment I met him, he treated me with respect even though I was only his driver.

I drove Fred Willard, and his wife, to a party at Eugene Levy’s house.  I dropped them off early evening and waited.

About four hours later Fred Willard, and his wife, came out with Catherine O’Hara.  Catherine O’Hara’s stretch limousine was in front of my not-stretch limousine.

Fred Willard and Catherine O’Hara walked to her limousine. He shouted to me that he would be with me in a minute, and he kept talking to Catherine O’Hara.  I wasn’t bothered because I was his driver.  He could take as long as he wanted.  Besides, I was paid by the hour.

Finally Catherine O’Hara got into her car, and Fred Willard approached me.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting,” he said, “but is it okay if I go back to the hotel with Catherine?  We’re doing a movie and we want to discuss it.”

I could not believe it!  Here was Fred Willard the TV and movie star asking me, his driver, whether it was okay to get a ride with Catherine O’Hara.  What was I going to say?  “No, Fred, get your ass in the car and let’s go.”

“Sure,” I said. “No problem.”

“Again, I’m sorry you had to wait.  It’s important that I talk to Catherine.”

“No problem,” I said.

“Thanks,” he said.

I was stunned.

He walked back to Catherine O’Hara’s car and got in.  I was about to call my boss to let him know that I wasn’t driving Fred Willard back to the hotel, but I stopped because Catherine O’Hara got out of her limousine and walked back to me.  “What could she want?” I thought.

“Are you sure it’s okay for Fred to get a ride with me?” she asked.  “I’m sorry you had to wait, but it’s really important that we talk about the movie we are doing.”

How much more stunned could I get?  Here was another TV/movie star asking me, a driver, whether it was okay to change the driving arrangements.

“Sure,” I said. “No problem.”

“Thank you,” she said. “Again, I’m sorry you had to wait.”  She walked back to her car.

I was at a friend’s yesterday and he was watching  Schitt’s Creek.  I saw Catherine O’Hara, remembered this incident, and felt good. For the past 20 years whenever I saw her or Fred Willard on television, I remembered this incident and felt good.

I am grateful to Catherine O’Hara and Fred Willard.  I will never forget their kindness and how special they made me feel.


About Gary Johnston

I am an imaginary number -- a symbol used to count and measure. As Senior Imaginary Number at Einstein Equations Incorporated, I facilitate the calculation of the impossible.

Posted on February 2, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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