The "I don't have a CLUE why these people are famous" list

I’m not talking about people you don’t think have any talent. I’m not looking for the Britney Spearses or Carrot-Tops. However sucky they may be, you know what they did or do to be in the celebrity realm.

Throughout your life, though, you have seen the people I am talking about. On game shows, mostly. Or just hanging out at Hollywood events, looking and acting like a star. But you have nary a guess as to how they got there.

Let’s start with the gimmes, from the old game shows “To Tell the Truth” and “Match Game”

  • Kitty Carlisle
  • Brett Somers
    (The nearly equally useless Charles Nelson Reilly, I remember, had some roles on some Saturday morning kids’ shows, and did some cartoon voices, if not other things.)


  • Lauren Hutton

  • That scary guy with the long mop of blond hair and glasses in the tie-dyed shirts on the new Hollywood Squares.

Any others come to mind?

Um, the WHAT, Milo dear?

I swear to the Goddess there was no thread title there! I swear!

Most of the regulars on this new version of hollywood squares. WHo are they?

Don’t worry. It’s just water. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, that last guy is Bruce Villanche (sp?). While he isn’t exactly a household name (or face, thank GOD) he’s pretty huge in Hollywood as one of the top writers I believe. Especially well known for writing Oscars’ banter I think.

The one I’d toss out there is Whoopie Goldberg. Yeah, now I know she’s an actress, but its almost as if people started casting her because she was well known…not well known because of her acting. God knows she’s talentless, but in the 80’s before she was in anything everyone knew her already.

How about Bob Uecker, I mean what did he do to get in that first Miller commercial? Uecker = baseball, but why?

Dom Delouise?


Jimmy Kimmel. Went from being pretty much unknown and suddenly he’s everywhere … on “Win Ben Stein’s Money”, “The Man Show”, did some pre-game on some NFL shows last year. Where the hell did he come from to be so popular so quick?

A number of years ago Jimmy Kimmel was on the morning radio show on a rock station here in L.A.

The story goes that he met Adam Carolla when Adam waited outside the studios all day and begged to let him coach Jimmy in an upcoming boxing match which would be held against someone else (I forget who). The radio staion was gonna give the spot as his coach as a 17th caller whealie-dealie but Jimmy convinced them to let Adam do it because Adam had many years of training as a boxer. They liked Adam so much, they put him on the morning show and then later on Loveline which got so popular because of Adam’s “wit” that it went national on MTV as a TV show. By then Jimmy had the job on Win Ben Stein’s Money. The two have been close friends through the whole thing and pitched The Man Show. The rest is an alcohol induced history.

Why they’re famous? Who knows. But they didn’t just pop out of nowhere.

Zsa Zsa Gabor. I have no friggin’ clue what she’s ever done besides slap that cop. As far as I can tell, she’s famous just for being famous.

Shoshanna Lonstein - I think that’s spelled right (don’t hit me!). All she ever did was be Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend, and the next thing you know she’s got a designer label bearing her name.

Not only does she have her own clothing line, but she has a monthly spot in Cosmopolitan! If all you have to do to get a job there is sleep with someone who’s funny, count me in.

To add to list, how about Liv Tyler? (Acting ability is usually a requirement to be in a movie, isn’t it? Or does Daddy’s rock-star status count for all of that?)

Nipsey Russell. I like (liked?) the guy, but why was he on Password Plus?

And where did Regis Philbin come from?

DownTown Julie Brown…

Charles Neslon Reilly was in a number of Broadway Musicals, and was fantastic when he originated the role of Bud Frump in “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”

He was also Hoodoo the Magician in Sid and Marty Krofft’s psychedelic/bizarre show “Liddsville”

He’s mostly forgotten, but he wasn’t useless.


But not by the Dead Milkmen!

Serrated Edge
by the Dead Milkmen

Up on the hilltop where the vultures perch
That’s where I’m gonna build my church
Ain’t gonna be no priest ain’t gonna be no boss
Just Charles Nelson Riley nailed to a cross

I don’t piss
I don’t shit
I’m gettin’ no relief
People shake there heads in disbelief

Just me on a hilltop with 15 girls
And a Nelson-Reilly orgy that’ll make your hair curl
I don’t piss
I don’t shit
I’m gettin’ no relief
People shake there heads in disbelief

Yeah Charles Nelson Riley he’s our man
He can’t heal the sick with the touch of his hand
He can’t walk on water can’t make wine flow
Just another B actor on the late late show

I don’t piss
I don’t shit
I’m gettin’ no relief
People shake there heads in disbelief

Just me on a hilltop with 15 girls
And a Nelson-Reilly orgy that’ll make your hair curl
I don’t piss
I don’t shit
I’m gettin’ no relief
People shake there heads in disbelief

Dick Cavett, who has now faded from the public eye (I guess), is tops on my list of unknown celebrities.

I can only assume that Hollywood is a funny place, and that fame is a funny thing.

Not funny ha-ha, funny peculiar.

I’m sure Liv Tyler got into the biz on her daddy’s name, but she’s built up a decent body (heh heh) of work throughout her life. I’m pretty sure she was on the New Mickey Mouse Club, possibly a couple of childrens’ shows, and of course her daddy’s videos.

I don’t have a cite, but I’m pretty sure Regis Philbin has been in broadcasting in one form or another since the 60’s, if not the 50’s. Probably a local newscast here and there, some national sportscasting hither and yon, and he worked his way up to the WWTBAM gig.

Sandra Bernhard. Aside from being the ugliest celebrity ever and the worst actress is human history, what IS her claim to fame, anyway? She’s just… around. Somehow.

IIRC, Regis started out as a sidekick on a late-night talk show in the early 60s/late 50s. Could been Joey Bishop, but I can’t remember.

I thought maybe you started this thread after reading the Vanity Fair article on the Gabors (ZsaZsa, Eva, and Magda). Vanity Fair noted just that: they were famous for being famous.

Brett Somers, IIRC, was somebody’s wife. She filled in at the last minute when her husband was a Match Game guest, and while he was a dud on the show, she really clicked. So they kept her without asking him back. Fer the life of me, I can’t remember whose wife she is, though.

Whoopi first attracted notice as a comic. She had her own HBO special and her humor was pretty insightful. She played four characters–a little girl, a crippled woman, a drug addict, and someone else. It was from there that she started getting movie roles.

How about Rula Lenska?

This thread depresses me when I realize my kid will one day be throwing names out there in a similar discussion, that mean a lot to me right now.