May 5th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Julia, my BlackBerry, and my 15 minutes of fame

So yesterday, I noticed a mistake and tried to correct it.  That's what copy editors do.  Usually, it ends there.  Not this time.

After the hastily fixed Julia Louis-Dreyfus star was unveiled and CNN.com published my little item, I turned back to my other daily tasks.  But then my inbox began filling up.  Friends and co-workers were spreading the story around the Web.  I heard back from a delighted Ana Martinez-Holler at the Walk of Fame: as it turns out, she mostly goes by Ana Martinez for professional purposes.  (Just a big day for bungling hyphenated Hollywood names, I suppose.)

And other websites wanted to run the story – and my exclusive photo of the misspelled star.  Some, properly, asked for permission; others (naughty, naughty!) just went ahead and reposted the pic, sometimes but not always including a photo credit.  I spent half of my afternoon calling and emailing various CNN executives, trying to make sure the responsible journalists could run their stories.  The less scrupulous ones, of course, already had.

By the end of the day, my BlackBerry and I both needed recharging.  It rang when I was nearly home, but the screen said "Unknown Number" and I wasn't in a good place to take the call, so I let it go to voice mail.  When I got home, I checked the message, and heard a familiar, animated voice:

"Hi, David! It's Julia Louis-Dreyfus calling, and I can't believe that you were the one who noticed this misspelling today.  I am just blown away by this, and I'm so happy that you got the picture of it!  This was just forwarded to me.  I'm beside myself!  And I so wish they'd left it down, wrong, because it would have been a fabulous, fabulous story like that.  But it already is a good story, and thank you so much for noticing the error, and taking a photo of it.  Give me a call if you can... I'd love to talk to you!"

After reeling for a minute, I called the number she'd given (a publicist), and soon I was chatting with Louis-Dreyfus.  Her voice had that unmistakably enthusiastic Elaine Benes tone, almost giddy – I half-expected her to tell me "Get OUT!"  (Hey, I'm just delighted she found the blog "call-worthy.")  She repeated how amusing she found the whole turn of events, and how she wished they'd left the mistaken spelling for the ceremony: "I'd have taken a Sharpie and fixed it myself, right there!"

Today, after writing this up and snapping an "after" photo of the star to go with my "before" shot, it's back to my usual tasks.  No Emmy-winning stars are likely to call – though I did just hear from a photo agency that wants to redistribute photo #1, so maybe there are a few seconds left in my 15 minutes.  Moral of the story: watch where you're walking!  You never know what might happen...

Check out an iReporter's video of the event here


soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Great story. What agency can the legit media contact to buy the photo?

    May 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lel410

    This is just the kind of thing that would have happened to the "Elaine" character Julia Louis-Dreyfus portrayed... would have made a great storyline!

    May 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Billyjoebob

    Unleash the kracken

    May 6, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jerry steinfell

    She seems to be getting better looking every year too. Seems like she would be fun to hang out with....And go on a three week bender in Cabo with.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kory

    Sneaking a Mel Brooks reference in, nice...

    May 6, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. JGMDGO

    I have heard and read many times that Julia has never let her mega success go to her head and remains just an 'average person' (as much as one can be, given her fame). This is yet another story that strengthens that image. Her wanting to change it herself with a Sharpie is so very 'Elaine.'

    May 6, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tiger Would

    Where the white women @?

    May 6, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. jerzeeboy005

    dude .... you are AWESOME! very happy for you with these turns of events :0)

    May 6, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Proofreader Nazi

    Rebecca the proofreader has another typo: the word "to" is left out of the third line: "We all went *to* school."

    Had to point it out. :) But I agree with her message 100%.

    May 6, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kloudmaker

    I got a turtle head poking out. Fat basterd from spy whom shagged she. Please analyze that!

    May 6, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. Quilty

    this is a non-story. the blackberry photo has poor composition.

    May 6, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. Raz

    is that Dpeyfus in second pic, lol

    May 6, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. louee

    Can you believe what poopers some people are? They write a comment telling us how stoopid the walk of fame is, or how ridiculous celebrity is. Man, what dour people! Loosen up buds, and have a little fun in life. And if stuff like this bugs you, well, take a minute, be bugged, and just move along. Julia's a doll and this guy wrote a cute article. What more do we need to know?

    May 6, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Steve

    So they got the spelling right, but the lettering looks terrible. Its a hideous job. The spacing of the lettering is off, and the "O" looks oblong, like a 3rd grader inserted it.

    May 6, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    Julia, Congratulations on your star! Sorry could not be there for the unveiling ceremony. I have loved your work and would have enjoyed seeing you make the correction with a sharpie! Good luck on your future projects!

    May 6, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  16. Brutal Truth

    You must be so proud to correct such a grievious error. The world is a much better place now that a super rich star can sleep better at night. With all of the worlds problems, this story is worth engaging.

    May 6, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  17. Niaomi

    Red Dawn... That's what I thought too! It seems a bit squished to me. . .

    May 6, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  18. Red Dawn

    Why is the "S" on a diet?

    May 6, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  19. yoyo

    Her last name is spelled correctly-the light makes the R look like a P.
    And why can't some of you people just enjoy a happy moment instead of analyzing or griping–if you "don't give a shat" then why did you feel the need to comment–evidently you gave a shat long enough to make sure you put your 2 cents in–or you needed to feel important for 5 minutes yourself.
    Sometimes people need a lighthearted moment to keep all the terrible and depressing things from consuming them-so get over YOURSELF.

    May 6, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  20. Thomas Woods

    Great story! This is the kind of typo that I publish at shamefultypos.com – may I have permission to post a copy of the photo there?

    May 6, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  21. Vicki R

    Another Lynn Truss moment - good catch! You'll have your star some day on the copy editors walk of fame. I'm sure there is one somewhere - perhaps at the corner of Oxford and Websters?.

    May 6, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  22. Mark C. Potts

    She's good stuff. Funny story. Is the Star in front of a soup place? I can hear the Soup Nazi now! LOL
    I heard blogs were getting nasty, but wow! Folks, lighten up!!!!!

    May 6, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  23. John

    Fake and gay.

    May 6, 2010 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  24. love julia

    Fun story! Not so fun comments, though. Major buzzkill for the most part. Shelly, you're so silly. Troy, you are funny!

    Too bad Julia didn't find out in time to have a say in the matter! It would have made her star a "must see" attraction if they had made a bit out of it.

    May 6, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  25. Shelly

    Did you notice that her last name was spelled wrong on the new star?
    DP instead of DR. Can't get out there with a camera, though.

    May 6, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  26. Jared

    I'm disappointed with CNN. Some reporter got to talk to a famous person and made a big story about it. Wow. I'm not impressed.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  27. George

    So do you think you could ask Julia if she could fix me up with Marisa Tomei?

    May 6, 2010 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  28. brick

    this reporter is a true pole smoker, I mean who gives a shat if some bimbo actors star is misprinted. There are tons of other terrible things going on and this is the best 5 mins you could come up with, way to make yourself seem important for the short moment you did. Go suk som men you
    h o m o

    May 6, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  29. OhthatChar

    The new one is nicer stone, too. Much prettier colors. Get ou!! :-)

    May 6, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  30. Ken

    I really hope they plan on replacing the whole star. That temporary fix is the wrong stone color, angled a bit, and the letters look crushed compared to everything else. It's a real mess. Funny, and probably appropriate for this comedic star. But it needs to be fixed for good.

    May 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  31. MDH60613

    What a class act Julia is! Other celebrities would have had a cow over the fact that their name was misspelled – let alone on Hollywood Blvd.

    She rolled with the punches and found humor in it instead of whining and complaining.

    Love ya!

    May 5, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  32. marky

    David Daniel
    I noticed that you left out many "!" marks I would have used a lot more "!" to emphasis the situation....you did not seem to capture the mood.........

    May 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Chris

    Aaaarghh isn't a word by the way. I should have made my previous post funny. Guess my assumption that the people who claim to proofread and monitor other peoples grammar usage are bad at grammar too.

    May 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Chris

    Rebecca,

    You claim to be a proofreader.

    I'm a comedian, but I'm not good at my job either.

    May 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Rebecca

    Aaaarghh...I should have proofed my rant–sentence in above paragraph should have read: "We look like complete ignoramuses when WE can't even spell in our own language." Guess my rage overtook my common sense...

    May 5, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  36. tom o

    Nice work on DOING YOUR JOB.

    May 5, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Rebecca

    Kudos for finding the "typo!" As a proofreader, I am finding it more and more aggravating to see all of the bad grammar/spelling out there these days. People, we all went school and learned the basic rules of English when we were kids–didn't any of that sink in? We all want the world to look up to us and expect immigrants to our country to learn English, but how can we expect so much from others if we don't do the same–we look like complete ignoramuses when can't even spell in our own language! For example: an apostrophe only goes in a word if it's a contraction or the word is possessive–ie. the dog wagged its tail NOT the dog wagged it's tail. I saw a sign today on the way home from work that said, "Video's for Sale Open Saturday's and Sunday's. CRINGE!!! Okay, end of Grammar Rant...time to go back on the Xanax, methinks.

    May 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Dalaimama

    The "S" not only looks like an anorexic font next to the other letters in the "right" picture, it looks like it wants to make a break away.

    May 5, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Lamar

    Now it looks like a corrected tombstone, what a lousy patchjob!
    Sweet of her to call you.

    May 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  40. sag coopersmith

    I was wondering why she went from a sculptural tv set to a flat one–are they "recycling" stars–is that sculptural one an older version?

    May 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  41. frank

    who cares?

    May 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  42. paul

    wow sal... you take yourself so seriously.....

    it's a show-biz blog....

    May 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Troy

    "The only thing worse than people giddy over 15 minutes of fame is people who try to make an actual *news item* out of it. So you caught a misspelling of a star's name and that star contacted you. Oh, and then you had to go blog about it on CNN, because CNN is quickly becoming a farce of a news source and more of an interactive, reality news game.

    Just what the world needs–more people who take themselves far too seriously."

    Anyone else see the irony here?=)

    May 5, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  44. sarah

    Sal, you took the time to read the latest post on the CNN "entertainment" blog. And you have taken the time to comment on it! Embrace your inner gossip-monger!
    Great story. Julia rocks.

    May 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Sal

    The only thing worse than people giddy over 15 minutes of fame is people who try to make an actual *news item* out of it. So you caught a misspelling of a star's name and that star contacted you. Oh, and then you had to go blog about it on CNN, because CNN is quickly becoming a farce of a news source and more of an interactive, reality news game.

    Just what the world needs–more people who take themselves far too seriously.

    May 5, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  46. lewis

    anyone, who can always appreciate the most tiny aspect of daily routine, will lead a happy life and will discover more happiness...good luck to the copy editor:)

    May 5, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Jeff

    Thanks for a fun story in an otherwise bleak newsweek.

    May 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  48. James M.

    I agree with Susan. I find the whole star on the walkway thing pointness. Sure to me it means you're well-known, but really if it was anywhere else than Hollywood I'm sure it would be a put down.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  49. CL

    After reading it again, it makes sense...sorry...

    May 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  50. CL

    Correction to the above comment!!
    "After the hastily fixed..."

    May 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  51. CL

    Speaking of "copy editing," there is a misspelling in this article, and I'm not talking about a star on the Walk of Fame.

    The second paragraph, first sentence: "After the fixed..."

    Just found it a bit ironic...

    May 5, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  52. don

    I'd never even heard of her before. Sure, I've seen Seinfeld, and assume from the other comments that she's the female lead in the series ... but if it hadn't been for the story, I would have gone through life blissfully unaware of her real name.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Chris

    This is a great little bit of news. Amazing that she called! That's so cool..glad you spotted the error – definitely something you'll always remember.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Fred S.

    I bet you ran spell check on your post 200 times to make sure you didn't screw up on your own criticism.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  55. SueZQ917

    It was 4 hours before the ceremony Rod.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Matt

    JULIA , SUCH A FANTASTIC REACTION. THAT IS WHY I AM IN LOVE WITH HER.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Derek Munson

    As a huge fan of Julia, CNN, and proper grammar and spelling, I have to applaud this story! Thanks for sharing this with us, David – it made my day. :D

    May 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Alex

    At least the star didn't say "Cartwright! Cartwright!"

    May 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Rod

    Did no one notice this during the ceremony? Talk about the blindness of stardom. Let's all do the Elaine happy-dance to celebrate this.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  60. lauratj

    Wh all the nonsense going on in the world today this was an uplifting story - love Julia & the joy & laughs she brings. And thanks to you too, David

    May 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Momprenuerplus9

    Cute story – made me smile! Congrats to you!

    May 5, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Famous People

    Julia's star should be promoted, check http://www.famouswhy.com

    May 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Susan

    What talented actor would want a star on the HWF these days? It has nothing to do with talent anymore. Even Vanna White has one.

    May 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Mrs Peterson

    Um. I absolutely see the misspelled name in the first picture but has anyone else commented on big smear of blood or ketchup (I hope it's ketchup!) on the first picture?

    Where the heck is Julia's star – is in a bad neighborhood or in front of a Hot Dog stand?

    May 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Daniel, CNN Entertainment Senior Producer

      The red substance appeared to be wax or something similar, left over from the substance that had protected the star before its unveiling. The workmen were in the process of cleaning the star and the area around it when I took the photo, but they hadn't finished. No blood, no ketchup.

      May 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Alan Duke

    David, you make us all proud. Now, go and proofread the rest of Hollywood Blvd.

    May 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  66. pjaymac

    This is a great story! As a huge Seinfeld devotee and a longtime copy editor, I got a huge kick out of reading this piece. How wonderful that Julia Louis-Dreyfus is as down to earth as she seems to be in the Seinfeld DVD extras!

    May 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  67. oldwobbly

    You, Sir, are the champion Accuracy & Literacy have been seeking. Plus, I applaud a guy who can walk and read. Kudos, David. ;)

    May 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |

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