Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
We all know by now that President Obama once lived in Somerville. But there are lots of other famous people that have been in and out of Somerville as well. I am taking everyone’s word that the following events are true.
I recently asked my friends who was the most famous person they had ever seen visiting Somerville. I got a flood of very interesting responses.
The people mentioned that I was most impressed by were actually members of the same family, The Kennedys. One guy who lives on my street saw John F. Kennedy and his Brother Robert in Davis Square. Ted visited Somerville High School and Davis Square also. Another friend saw Jackie O on Temple Street in 1960.
Hillary Clinton visited the Edgerly school years ago.
One of my favorite experiences was when Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen spent a couple of hours at The Embassy Lounge on Somerville Ave. in the late 70’ or early 80’s. They were in town to broadcast a Pat’s game and just popped in. A friend bought former Detroit Piston Bill Laimbeer a beer at the Surrey Room. Celtics legend Bill Russell was at a Somerville corner store years ago. Cambridge Rindge and Latin alum Patrick Ewing was seen frequently in the Ville. A friend told me she crashed her car into his once. Former Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant was hanging out at a house on Belmont St., and Mo Vaughn was at Lincoln Park Community School. Hulk Hogan actually dropped into my daughter’s birthday party at the Holiday Inn in Somerville back around 1994.
Actor Chris Evans was at the Mount Vernon for his grandmother’s’ birthday party. He is Somerville coach Tom Hellen’s cousin.
A select number of people got the privilege of seeing U2 at The Somerville Theatre back in 2009, but rock stars have always hung around Somerville. The J Geils Band played at Somerville High decades ago and Aerosmith had a rehearsal space on Lowell St. for years. They also used the Somerville Police prison cell to for an album photo shoot. Other famous rockers who performed in the Ville were Bo Diddley, Peter Tork of The Monkees, The Guess Who, and The Grass Roots.
“Da Schnoz” himself, Jimmy Durante visited Somerville High once, and former fitness guru and actress Jane Fonda was seen at Brighams on Winter Hill in 1980. Remember Nan’s Sub shop across from the High School? Actors Patty Duke and John Astin were former customers. Kevin Spacey performed his Bobby Darin act at The Somerville Theatre and a guy I work with saw Tom Cruise at a house party in the early 1980’s.
I also heard that Robert Urich drove his famous green Mustang through some Somerville streets while filming an episode of Spenser for Hire. And I love this next sighting. Mr. T was signing autographs at the opening of the Brooks Pharmacy on Somerville Ave. Someone said they saw The French Chef Julia Child shopping at McKinnon’s in Davis Square (she lived in Cambridge). Farrah Fawcett Majors was supposedly at Memory Lane. Rex Trailer rode a horse in Somerville’s Memorial Day parade one year. Queen Latifah was in Casey’s.
Cam Neely and Lyndon Byers were seen in the Ville a lot back in the day (I used to see L.B. in Redbones). Cowboy and music legend Roy Rogers appeared at Somerville High years ago. Former Celtics star Hank Finkel was in Mama Gina’s around 1975. The ill-fated 1985 Super Bowl bound New England Patriots were allegedly bar hopping in Somerville before the big game.
I met Arlo Guthrie and James Taylor after a concert at Tufts. I got Arlo’s autograph on a dollar bill, then framed it.
Somerville is lucky to have produced talented entertainers such as Bobby “Boris” Pickett and my good friend actor and comedian Tony V. Ben Affleck, Jimmy Tingle and Lenny Clarke are also talents that frequent the Ville.
So you see, Somerville is a popular place for famous people to hang around. It all started long ago with Paul Revere and George Washington, and it just keeps getting better.