Driving Miss Zsa Zsa

Who started this trend? Celebrities being interviewed in cars? Jerry Seinfeld drives around the White House backyard with President Obama. James Corden tools around London singing and chatting with Adele (which, if you haven’t yet seen, treat yourself). These road trips are fun but a little unnerving. Corden takes his hands off the wheel frequently. I’m guessing (hoping) the car is actually being towed because I’d hate to think he kills Adele because he’s trying to hit a high note on “Hello.” (On the other hand it would’ve been great if Obama had knocked over a birdbath or something on the White House lawn. Hey, how often does he drive these days?)

But it got me thinking – what celebrities have been in my car? Zsa Zsa Gabor and Moe Howard. Does that qualify me for getting my own show? This was when I was a student at UCLA. We had a closed-circuit TV talk show and my job was to chauffer guests. I talk about this in my memoir (on sale now). I had an old Mustang. Moe sat in the front during my journey with him, but Zsa Zsa got in the backseat, as if my dented Ford was a limo.

So what did I talk about with them? Remember I was in college at the time. I asked them both dating tips. Think about how pathetic my social life was that I was seeking advice on women from Zsa Zsa Gabor and a Stooge.

I never toted around a Commander-in-Chief but I did have two singers. I drove Linda Eder to her hotel once and then there’s Darlene Koldenhoven. Not Adele but Linda won STAR SEARCH and is phenomenal (Barbra Streisand at affordable prices), and Darlene has a Grammy. Darlene is also the lead singer on the KRTH jingles. It’s weird being in the car with her, a jingle will come on the air and she’ll sing along with it. Ohmygod! The radio just came alive! (If only that were true when a Katy Perry record came on.)

During the first year of CHEERS I drove Shelley Long home on some filming nights. That was great. She had wonderful stories of doing furniture commercials in Chicago and breaking into the business. Then one night she talked about her acting process. She could teach a master class on that subject. It’s fascinating how great actors project such ease while below the surface wheels and gears are turning left and right. That’s a skill set I really admire – probably because I have absolutely no aptitude for it.

Okay, this is a weird one. Rush Limbaugh. Very early in Rush’s national radio career, David and I had a pilot with a character similar to Rush. He was doing his show from LA one week and we arranged to get lunch with him as research. You probably won’t believe this, but he was a great guy (back then). He was charming and candid. Probably underneath all the bravado and bullshit he still is. It’s been 25 years since I’ve seen him.

I got to drive Jerry Coleman from San Diego to Anaheim for a game when we were both broadcasting for the Padres. In addition to being a hall-of-fame announcer, Jerry was also a great ballplayer for the Yankees when teammates included Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. Again, not Adele, but to me Jerry Coleman was a GOD.

So there it is. A rather eclectic bunch. Looking back, I probably could have had more. I think my mistake was asking them to pay for gas.

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