Meeting a Childhood Idol

When I was a kid, my role models were four pop-culture icons: Princess Leia, Jaime Sommers (The Bionic Woman), Wonder Woman, and Laura Holt from Remington Steele. I don’t think it’s hard to see why—they’re all smart, strong women, often smarter than their male counterparts, especially in the case of Laura Holt, who was the brains behind the fake detective played by Pierce Brosnan.

Years ago, I got to meet Carrie Fisher. I cried, because there was no way I could’ve conveyed in words how much the Star Wars movies meant to me as a child. The experience was surreal and mind-blowing and full of joy.

This past weekend I got to meet another of my longtime idols. It started when my very talented friend Eileen Galindo posted on Facebook that she was doing a stage reading of Nora & Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, adapted from Ilene Beckerman’s bookAmong her castmates: Stephanie Zimbalist. Laura Holt herself.

IMG_2059The reading was one weekend only. I scrambled for tickets and Mr. PCN and I drove to the Laguna Playhouse on Saturday. I even wore my Holt-ish hat.

I looked at this trip as going to support Eileen, with no expectations I’d get to meet Ms. Zimbalist. I’m no good at walking up to famous people and telling them I used to idolize them. I mean, I recently stood about twenty feet away from Harrison Ford and didn’t say a word to him.

The reading was funny and poignant, and afterward Mr. PCN and I waited in the lobby for Eileen. She came out, we shared hugs and congratulations.

Then, because Mr. PCN (unbeknownst to me) had told Eileen ahead of time about my rabid Laura Holt fandom, she said, “Wait right here. I’ll get Stephanie for you.”



Before I could compose myself, Stephanie walked out, shook my hand, was as nice and gracious as can be, and I started getting that verklempt feeling.

Since the stage reading had been about fashion and the clothing we wear during significant moments of our lives, I told her that in college, while some of my friends were dressing like Madonna with their underwear as outerwear, I liked hats and classic clothes and pencil skirts because of Laura Holt. Her style was timeless, and while I’m not sure I have any fashion sense, to this day I shy away from trends and stick with items I can wear for years. Stephanie said she still has the hats and suits, and that they were her idea.

I didn’t want to take up too much of her time because she needed to rest up for another performance that evening, so I just asked for a photo and thanked her.

I didn’t tell her how much seeing her play a smart, independent woman on TV meant to me, how I admired Laura for being her own boss and teaching her male partner the tricks of the trade, not the other way around. How Laura inspired me to briefly work for a detective agency in L.A.


This is my keep-calm-and-don’t-freak-out face

To Stephanie, I was just another fan. But to me, it was a special afternoon.

Now I just have to find out where Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner hang out.

Any other Remington Steele fans here? Who have you always wanted to meet? What would you say to them?



  • Reply
    Brett Battles
    June 8, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Simply awesome.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 7:31 am

    That is not your keep calm and don’t freak out face. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you look so freaked out. What fun! What a great surprised by Mr. PCN and Eileen, they’re good eggs. But man, I wish you’d said to her the things you said in your head, because they’re FANTASTIC and I can only imagine anyone ever loving to hear such things. Promise me you’ll write her a note and do so.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 8, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Aw, man, I thought I was doing such a good job of covering my freak-out face. I probably won’t write her a note. I had my moment with her. Hearing from me again might make her uncomfortable.

  • Reply
    jenn aka the picky girl
    June 8, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I LOVED Remington Steele! This is just too cool.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      June 8, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Yay, another RS fan! In college, everything would stop when RS was on. On a trip to Europe, I brought my DVDs and watched them on the flight and in the hotel when I was jet-lagged and couldn’t sleep.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I love stories like this and I’m glad this one happened to you. Wonderful, PCN!

  • Reply
    jen forbus
    June 12, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Yay PCN!! So excited for you. I understand that “freak out” reaction. I do the exact same thing. I’m not sure I had any idols growing up–a couple heartthrobs, maybe–but I have people I admire greatly now and would be the same way around.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    What a great story! I adored her as that character when I was a teen in the 80’s, I adored her watching it in syndication in the 90’s, & I adore her watching it on dvd. Every time I watch it I get the same feeling. She displayed nearly every trait I admire in someone.

    She’s a wonderful actress & I envy you quite a bit! She’s the best!

Leave a Reply