I usually never comment regarding the passing of a celebrity, but Kelly Preston was different. Back in the late 80s, when I was spending most of my evenings camped out a table in the Hollywood Improv, along with other stand-ups and comedy writers, Kelly was often a fixture at our table.
Besides being beautiful, she liked funny people, and was funny herself, but more importantly was just a genuinely nice person, and even as her career grew, that never changed. While she would mention what she was doing or who she was dating, she always seemed more interested in what was going on in your life than talking about her own. Unless of course it involved sharing stories about Max, the Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig that was a birthday gift from George. Whenever she would show up, my first question was always, “How’s Max?” which always elicited a smile.
As her career took off, her evenings at the Improv became fewer and eventually stopped, but I ran into one last time a couple of years later, when I was working on a private screening of a movie for Paramount, and I noticed her across the lobby. Much to the chagrin of my co-workers, I said I needed to say hello to her, and proceeded across the room, contemplating how I would remind her of who I was, and why she would know me.
Walking up behind her, I gently called out her name, and when she turned, a huge smile came across her face, as she exclaimed, “Glenn!”, throwing her arms around me, giving me a big hug and a kiss. She wanted to know what I had been up to, and filled me in on what she been doing, as if I would have had no way of knowing. I made a joke regarding one of her recent relationships, which cause her to laugh and share a response that I wasn’t expecting. As I left to get back to work, she said that she hoped we’d run into each other again, and I had no doubt she meant it. It was pure Kelly.
And that’s why the news of her passing at the way too young age of 57 is difficult to accept. It wasn’t the death of some celebrity whose work I enjoyed. This was loss of someone who, even for just a brief time, was part of my world, and just one more thread being pulled from the fabric of that life.