‘Say — isn’t that….? Naah, it can’t be.’

“There he is,” I said to Wendy as we attended a concert on Sunday evening. “Sitting right at the end of our row. It’s Gene Hackman!”

Of course it wasn’t. Gene doesn’t hang out around here too much, I understand. Although, it’s not beyond possibility. A reporter friend was grabbing a quick coffee in a local bistro and realized Angela Lansbury was sitting there enjoying a cuppa. Another time a woman phoned the paper in a state of near-hysteria because when she stopped at a local farm market she realized the guy in front of her was Mel Gibson. That was back when Mel was still a heartthrob and before he became drunken Bigotry-Central USA. And finally, a friend who is quite proud to be AA happened to attend a meeting a few miles north of here and realized one of the visitors at the meeting was a guy named Eric Clapton. Don’t worry, I can blow Clapton’s anonymity as he speaks openly about his membership in that fine organization.

Anyway, the aforementioned are all legitimate sightings in this otherwise relatively insignificant community on Vancouver Island. On the other hand, the guy at the concert was ‘not’ Gene Hackman. But – and we have seen him around before – he is such a lookalike they could be identical twins. He is, of course, a doppelganger.

The only problem with doppelgangers is that you’re never quite sure. You see somebody who is the spit of a noted personality and you can be nonplused. Sometimes the person in question can carry it off with élan. I was once sitting in a hotel bar in Exeter England, nursing a solitary pint. The man sitting across from me at the large table looked remarkably like English comic actor Leslie Phillips. I tried to not be obtrusive as I cast the odd glance in his direction. I mean, you don’t want to be too overt glancing at a strange man in a pub.

“Before you ask,” he said, looking at me, “Yes I am.”

How cool is that, I thought. Such a nice courtesy.

But, as I said about the man the other evening, he is not Gene Hackman so there is no point in me saying: “You were just great in The French Connection. In the first place, he has probably heard the line a million times, and in the second place it would simply be rude on my part.

So, do any of you have a famous doppelganger? I have had two in my life. The first one I hinted at the other day was Buddy Holly, but I think that was only about the glasses. The other, and this was when I was in my early 20s, was actor Robert Mitchum. I was flattered by the Mitchum comparison because he is one of my favorite underappreciated actors, and in all honesty I could see it – slightly. But, even that is a bit strange. I was once at a house party at which we were discussing look-alikes. I mentioned the Mitchum thing. “That’s not right,” said one of the women present. “Steve (her husband) looks like Mitchum.” I looked at Steve and, by God, I could see it. So, we asked for an objective appraisal of our respective Mitchum-nesses. We had, in effect, a Mitchum-off. Most present could see it in both of us, even though Steve and I don’t really look remotely alike.

Weird, that. But, at least there is some solace in not being seen as a Charles Laughton  doppelganger.

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16 responses to “‘Say — isn’t that….? Naah, it can’t be.’

  1. My doppelganger is Brad Pitt. It’s a burden I carry through my life . . .

  2. DD’s comment made me forget my own…

    But, do you have that sexy cleft chin?

  3. Jazz: I have a slight cleft, but not so pronounced.
    Dumdad: I share your pain, and I do appreciate that nobody ever sees the two of you in the same room at the same time. How is Angelina?

  4. When I was 13, a drunken relative of mine told me that I looked like Robert Mitchum. It was a bad thing to hear during puberty.

    Back in the early ’90s, I suddenly found myself receiving more attention than usual. Whispers in restaurants, people yelling they loved me out of car windows, and a whole school bus full of girls screaming and pointing — I thought I was going crazy. Then we discovered that Tori Amos was in town, and it all made sense.

  5. Kimber: Tori Amos. Yep, that works. Robert Mitchum? Huh? Your relative must have been really drunk.

  6. I can totally see the Robert Mitchum still in you!
    Long ago, when I was thinner, I resembled Marie Osmond….or so that’s what many said.

  7. Deb: Yep, I can see the Marie Osmond in you. Thank you for the Mitchum compliment.

  8. Robert Mitchum was a damn sexy man!
    As for me, I look like Elizabeth Taylor did in her prime (think Cat On A Hot Tin Roof) or is it Audrey Hepburn …or Grace Kelly…… ??!

  9. I think the “Mitchum-off” thing is a hoot, especially since you and the other guy didn’t look like each other. I can see Mitchum-like features in you. Easy on the eyes. Strong stage presence. I enjoyed seeing Mitchum on screen. So when is YOUR movie debut? 🙂

    I’m not star-struck, but if I saw Gene Hackman in the flesh, I might faint. I soooo have a crush on him, even now!

  10. Selina: Oh, I can see all those beautiful ladies in you even if I have never met you. I once passed Audrey Hepburn on the street in Honolulu and she was very tall and very thin (and very elegant looking).
    Deb: Flattery will get you absolutely anywhere with me.

  11. “Mitchum-off” sounds like a deodorant commercial! You definitely have that Robert Mitchum things happening around the eyes. Once upon a time I was flattered to be called Daryl Hannah’s ugly sister but I think I’m more her and Jodie Foster’s love child (and knowing Foster’s sexual proclivities that’s not as weird as it sounds). My brother is the spitting image of Randy Quaid and since he works in the film industry the minute someone he hasn’t yet been introduced to went stupid around him he knew what they were thinking. Nowadays they run for the exit.

  12. Andrea: Better than Daryl Hannah. Much better. Jodie Foster’s love child? That wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t judge. But, your brother and Randy Quaid, I too would run for the exit.

  13. I totally agree re Robert Mitchum. One of my friend’s sons used to be convinced that I was Liv Tyler. Or more accurately that Liv Tyler was me. He’d see pictures of her and say it was me, and he would Not! be corrected!

    I’d be more flattered if he hadn’t been equally convinced that one of the kids in his class was actually Sailor Moon.

  14. Mine are all so disparate. In junior high I was called “Joni” from “Happy Days.” In late high school, and just after, it was Valerie Bertinelli. It all ended there until the late 90’s when two different people said I looked like Reba McEntire. Lately I’ve been thinking I look like an ugly bartender guy I used to know named Bobby Joe. That’s not good.

  15. When I was in my 30’s I was told quite frequently that I looked like Goldie
    Hawn. I was very flattered by that, and now that I am much older and fatter, wish I could look like that again!!!!!

  16. doppelgänger? Moi? No one and everyone. Touch of “bad ass” era Winona. Bit of Enya. And sprinkling of Gilda Radner and Carole James.
    Robert Mitchum? Yup I can see it. Andrea – definitely can see both Jodi and Darryl except you’re even better!

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