My experience of interacting with celebrity auctioneers during the course of an auction can be described as a combination of fun and excitement with a twist of fright. Over the course of my career I had the pleasure of working alongside a number of well-known celebrities.
I worked with comedian and actress Lily Tomlin twice. She was amazingly funny. Academy Award-Winning Actress Meryl Streep was a super lady and totally down-to-earth. Television Personality and Pitchman Willard Scott was extremely enthusiastic and a super nice guy. War Hero General Norman Schwarzkopf was bigger than life. And the late Robert Rauschenberg wasn’t only a World Renowned Artist, he was a true gentleman and a great philanthropist.
And then there’s the brilliant actress Sharon Stone, with whom I also worked with twice.
The fun and exciting part of working with celebrities is they tend to be so smart and beautiful, with very outgoing personalities. The frightening part is you never know how they are going to respond to issues as they arise.
When I first worked with Sharon Stone, she met with me just a few minutes prior to us heading out on the stage. She explained to me “I will determine when it is time to say SOLD on each piece. DO NOT drop the hammer unless I approve!”
As an experienced benefit auctioneer this was a difficult request. I feel I have the pulse of the crowd, can read their moods and have a better understanding as to when is the appropriate time to drop the gavel and say SOLD.
As the evening progressed however, Sharon and I got into a rhythm. It turned out she too had a great auctioneering sense. And every time I felt we took the bidding as far as it was going to go on an item, Sharon was right there with me.
So to Lily, Meryl, Willard, Norman, Robert and Sharon – may I just say it was an absolute pleasure sharing the stage with you. Benefit Auctioneering – It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it!