At what point does an ardent fan of a celebrity turn into a dangerous stalker? When they start requesting samples of their idol’s bodily fluids rather than signed photos? When their attempts to take snapshots of their favourite stars involve telephoto lenses or hidden surveillance cameras? This issue The Sleaze tries to find out exactly when idolatry turns into obsession, and the extraordinary lengths some stars have gone to in order to combat their stalkers. Hollywood star Harvey Keitel was plagued by a particularly bizarre stalker. “She used to leave gifts for me on my front step. At first they were pretty innocent – fluffy rabbits, apple pies, that sort of thing. Then one morning I opened my front door to find she’d left a coke bottle full of her own piss on the doorstep,” the method actor, famed for his portrayals of bent cops and sleazy low lifes relates. “This went on for five straight days, then it seemed to stop. But the sixth day, I go to my fridge, get out a bottle of apple juice and take a swig, only to find its urine! The crazy bitch must have broken in during the night and left it!”
Another star to suffer from an obsessive fan was Julia Roberts. “This guy, he seemed harmless enough at first, just asking for signed photos and stuff,” she recalls. “Then he started hanging around my house and going through my trash – I had to call the cops, it was just so creepy!” When police searched the fan’s apartment, they discovered a life size effigy of Roberts fashioned from her used tampons in his bed. Actor Rob Lowe found himself constantly assailed by young girls who would break into his hotel room, strip naked and hide in his bed, filming his confused reaction as he later climbed into bed, only to find a nude teenager there. “The lawsuits he had to suffer as a result of them selling the tapes to the press – it could easily have ruined his career,” says a legal representative.
Stalkers are not just confined to the US – Welsh crooner Tom Jones had a disturbing encounter with a deranged fan during his recent Welsh tour. “I was up there on stage in Swansea a couple of years ago belting out ‘Its Not Unusual’ , with all these women screaming at me and throwing their knickers on the stage, when suddenly I felt something damp and rancid smelling land on my face and everything went black,” the sex bomb explains. “At first I thought it must be a pair of old apple-catchers some bird with a gargantuan arse had thrown at me, but when I pulled the thing off my face I found it was an extra-large pair of men’s y-fronts! They were in bloody disgusting condition too, boyo! There were huge skid marks all down the back, and weird yellowish stains down the front – some were still damp!” A few weeks later he was felled by an object hurled from the audience as he sang ‘Delilah’ during a concert in Port Talbot. “I was knocked unconscious for four minutes,” says the shocked singer. “When I came to, I found that I’d been hit by a jockstrap!”
Despite increasing his security, worse was to come. “I was just getting into the swing of ‘Sex Bomb’ at Neath Town Hall, when this extra large condom full of stale jism came flying out of the audience and hit me in the face,” he recalls. “I was spattered with cold semen – it took hours to get off. I’m telling you boyo, I had to scrub my face so hard I thought the tan was going to come off!” Although traumatised, Jones elected to go ahead with his final engagement in Tonypandy. However, when he reached his dressing room on the night of the concert, he was shocked to discover that his mystery stalker had committed the ultimate sacrilege and had stolen Jones’ stage codpiece. “It was just about the final straw, I mean, my act is nothing without that thing down my trousers – its what the audience come for. It was hand-crafted from black leather for me by Austrian artisans,” he says. “In the end I had to go on stage with half a dozen rolled up rugby socks down my trousers. It just wasn’t the same – my groin looked too lumpy and my thrusting just wasn’t energetic enough! Several members of the audience left early!” A distraught Jones seriously considered quitting the business altogether until the news came that police had recovered his codpiece. Analysis of the jism had led them to a convicted sex-offender and amateur Tom Jones impersonator in Aberystwyth. “Apparently he’d built a shrine to it in his spare bedroom,” said a relieved Jones. “I’m just glad to have it back – I feel a complete man again!”
How can celebrities best protect themselves from these disturbed fans? Whilst many stars have tried the traditional legal avenues of court injunctions and restraining orders, others have decided to take radical action to combat their stalkers. Keitel, for instance, played a game of tit for tat with his obsessive fan. “I tracked the bitch down, broke into her house and crapped all over her bed – the stench was incredible and there were flies everywhere,” he chuckles. “A couple of days later, just to make sure she got the message, I went back and whacked off through her letter box – I’ve not heard from the crazy mother since!” Tough guy actor Sean Penn decided to turn the tables on a stalker who had persistently invaded his privacy by photographing and filming him in his own home through the use of high powered telephoto lenses, and mounted a counter surveillance operation against his tormentor. Penn succeeded in snatching photos of the stalker naked in the shower, masturbating in bed and sitting on the toilet, and subsequently had the pictures blown up and posted on bill boards across California. A week later the stalker took his own life. “It was a radical solution, but hey – it worked,” commented Penn.
Clarissa Rydim, a delusional fan who had bombarded heavyweight star Marlon Brando with love letters and had publicly claimed to be his secret bondage slave, returned to her Los Angeles home in 1999 to find Brando hiding in her bedroom closet. “It was horrible, he just leapt out at me, stark naked and clutching a huge knob of butter” she says, still shaking at the memory. “He chased me around the house for over an hour, all the while rubbing the butter into his penis and smearing it up his backside!” The chase only ended when Brando collapsed with a suspected heart attack. However, his actions had the desired effect and Rydim has not subsequently been in touch with him.