Call them the grunts to the great, the working stiffs to the stars. While millions of people would go to considerable lengths just on the off chance they might catch a glimpse one of their favorite celebrities up close, there are some ordinary folks who routinely spend their time with celebrities and think nothing — well, almost nothing — of it. They’re the lifestylists of the rich and famous, the people who cut Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hair, feed Nancy Reagan’s party guests, tune Jane Fonda’s piano, and tattoo Cher’s body. Here’s a look at, and a little lowdown from, a handful of the lofty laborers who spend their days doing unglamorous tasks for the glam crowd.
Thirty-three years ago, Elaine Young rented one house to ”Shirley MacLaine’s little brother,” Warren Beatty, for $300 a month and sold another to Tuesday Weld for $22,000. Ever since, the flashy partner at the Alvarez, Hyland & Young real estate agency has been regularly rotating the Hollywood homes of such stars as Paul Newman, O.J. Simpson, and Ringo Starr.
Best Challenge: Understanding the stars’ view of reality and realty. ”You have to know what they want, even when they don’t,” says Young. ”And you have to be fast because, to them, their time is more important than anyone else’s.”
Most Intimate Moment: ”I married an Academy Award-winning actor and made two commissions off him,” says Young, who house-warmed with the late Gig Young from 1963 to 1967.
Worst Experience: ”I had the unfortunate pleasure of leasing the house to Sharon Tate that she was murdered in,” says Young. ”It took me a year to get over it. It wasn’t my fault, but the owner didn’t talk to me for 15 years.”
Whether Liz Taylor is planning a wedding or Elton John is having a few pals over for dinner, the first person they call is Tom Byrne. The chef behind La Cuisine has been creating feasts in Hollywood homes since 1988.
Most Rewarding Experience: ”Candice Bergen complimented my bouillabaisse,” boasts Byrne. ”And at the Reagans’, Princess Stephanie found her way into the kitchen to thank me for the chocolate souffle.”
Worst Experience: A downpour during a Malcolm Forbes party for 1,250. ”The kitchens were outside under tents. We were standing in four inches of water, but no one ever knew.”
Funniest Experience: ”We served quail one night, and in a monologue after the dinner, Phyllis Diller said that she had hit bigger things on her windshield. The hostess was absolutely mortified.”