Pencil Paparazzi: a winking Melissa Gilbert at Ann Arbor’s Gandy Dancer

    I’ve got another entry for our ever-growing Pencil Paparazzi file. This one comes from a young man in Ann Arbor by the name of Bryant. Accompanying his drawing of former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert, was the following note:

    Bryant2

    “Melissa Gilbert winked at me at the Gandy Dancer. Or maybe she was just blinking. It was lunchtime. She was seated by the windows, casually dressed. I got the sense that she was meeting a friend. Someone told me afterward that she lives in Michigan. Howell, I think. I didn’t get to see what she ate. She was wearing regular shoes. Pumps, I’m pretty sure. I guess you’d call her look “business casual.” She’s the one facing the viewer in the attached drawing. The one with the winking eye.”

    While I can’t say for certain that she was winking at this particular fellow, I do know, thanks to a little internet sleuthing, that Gilbert’s third husband, actor Timothy Busfield, was out of town on the day that she was spotted in Ann Arbor. (People share way too much information on Twitter, by the way.) I also discovered why she was likely in Ann Arbor from Howell, where she does apparently live. As best I can figure it, she’d been referred to the University of Michigan Hospital by someone at the Michigan Headache & Neurological Institute to have a head and neck MRI done. (Again, it’s absolutely terrifying the amount of personal information people share online these days.) According to information found online, she’s been dealing with back and neck issues since she was playing the role of Caroline “Ma” Ingalls several years ago in a musical version of Little House on the Prairie that toured the country. It would appear that she discovered, at some point during the show’s run, that she’d been performing with a broken back. While she had vertebra in her lower spine fused in 2010, as well as disk replacement surgery, it would appear that she’s still in pain.

    A NOTE TO OUR READERS: Remember, if you see someone famous, don’t approach them. Don’t try to attempt smalltalk. Don’t ask them about their various well-publicized affairs and addictions. And, for god’s sake, don’t take photos. If you do, you my might spook them. And it might be the last thing that you ever do. No, just set up your easel a respectful distance away, and commence drawing.

    UPDATE: Melissa Gilbert left a response in the comments section. Here’s what she had to say.

    Love the artist’s rendition of my lunch at Gandy Dancer. I don’t remember winking at anyone, but I do remember being so joyful. You see, the woman I was dining with is a dear friend, and her only child has a very aggressive form of cancer. We were celebrating because we’d just gotten the news that, after her first round of chemo, Lauryn’s tumors had shrunken enough to operate and remove them.

    She still has a long road to go, but, blessedly, it’s the right road.

    As for my wardrobbe, I wasn’t wearing pumps. I’m new to Michigan, but not crazy! I was wearing lace-up Sorrell boots with wedged rubber soles. The rest of my outfit – wool tights, black mini skirt and beige sweater – were all pretty pedestrian… except for my red patent leather Chanel bag, which I bought resale… and is a knock-off.

    The important thing to know here is that a bright, funny, beautiful child who I adore is on the road to recovery from a horrible cancer. And her Mom, my sweet friend, can actually breathe again.

    And, yes, she sounds pretty awesome, and I feel bad now for including the links about her new husband’s legal issues… For what it’s worth, I’m writing to her now and begging for her forgiveness. (She’s not the kind of woman you want for an enemy.)

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      34 Comments

      1. Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        The answer to the question, if you can believe it, is “all of them.”

      2. Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Do we have any Scarecrow and Mrs. King fans in the audience tonight?

      3. Posted December 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        Interestingly, I just stumbled across a quote from Gilbert where she says she doesn’t like people taking photos.

        “Now everyone is a paparazzi,” Gilbert said in a recent interview. “Everyone who has a phone can take a picture of you anywhere at anytime, doing anything – there is absolutely no privacy.”

        As she doesn’t mention pencil drawings on napkins, I’m going to assume she’s OK with it.

      4. Carl
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        You don’t know how to play the game, Maynard. If you did, you wouldn’t have pointed out Busfield’s repeated charges of sexual battery. Had you sucked up to them, they might have even done interviews for this site. Instead, you’ll have to settle for interviewing your neighbors.

      5. Melissa Gilbert
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Love the artist renditioning of my lunch at Gandy Dancer. I don’t remember winking at anyone but, I do remember being so joyful. You see the woman I was dining with’ is a dear friend and her only child has a very aggressive form of cancer. We were celebrating because we’d just gotten the news that after her first rounds of chemo, Lauryn’s rumors have shrunken enough to operate and remove them.
        She still has a long road to go but, blessedly , it’s the right road.
        As for my wardrobbe, I wasn’t wearing pumps. I’m new to Michigan but not crazy! I was wearing lace up Sorrell boots with wedged rubber soles. The rest of my outfit, wool tights, black mini skirt and beige sweater were all pretty pedestrian….except for my res patent leather Chanel bag, which I bought resale ans…is a knock off.

        The important thing to know here is that a bright, funny, beautiful child who I adore is on the road to recovery from a horrible cancer. And her Mom, my sweet friends,can actually breathe again.

      6. Melissa Gilbert
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Please excuse my typos. I just woke up…

      7. Posted December 21, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        I know who Bruce B is! I wouldn’t say I’m a *fan* of Scarecrow and Mrs. King but let me say this–when one grows up as one of the very few kids with dark hair in one’s neighborhood, one has limited choices when playing 70s TV. For example, I was always ALWAYS “Janet” on Three’s Company. When playing Charlie’s Angels, I was always “Sabrina”. (I tried to argue for the Jacklyn Smith character but I had short hair so no go). So I sort of bonded with Kate Jackson and when I saw her on the Mrs. King show, I would watch it with my mom. I couldn’t tell you a single plot but I did see the show from time to time. IMO, Melissa took a huge step down by marrying Busfield but YMMV.

      8. Eel
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        It too was always stuck with the Scarecrow part as a kid when we played Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

      9. anonymous
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Was she dating Lowe when he got busted for videotaping himself ejaculating on a child?

      10. Posted December 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think she was–at least I hope not! She seems like a sweetheart and a good person…maybe losing her is what made Rob Lowe go a little wacky (see what I did there?!?!) :)

      11. Posted December 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Melissa, thank you for the comment . I’m happy to know that your friend’s daughter is well and I apologize bringing up things from your personal life. I was just amazed that, thanks to Twitter and Google, I could find so much out about you, your husband and your back pain. At any rate, thanks for dropping by and setting us straight on your shoe choice. It’s much appreciated. And welcome to Michigan. I think you’ll find it a pretty nice place.

      12. Kerri
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Way to welcome her to the area, Mark. Jeez. She seems like a nice person. Yes, I’m biased because she’s living in my hometown now. Cute sketch, though.

      13. Kerri
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        I posted at the same time as your comment. Glad you said something nice.

      14. Jean Henry
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Maybe speculating about celebrity rumors isn’t the best idea, when the subject presents herself so genuinely and is dealing with very real tragic circumstances. I am very happy for your friend’s child, Melissa. Thanks for keeping it real like a good Michigander.

      15. Posted December 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        I’m writing to her now.

      16. Bryant
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Well, I think it’s pretty clear I would make an awful court room sketch artist given my inability to remember details…let alone my sketching skill. In my defense, I drew the picture by memory, in 1 minute flat. I hope Melissa can forgive the pump mixup… It’s cool to see that she’s a good sport about all this… And wonderful, wonderful news about her friends daughter!

      17. Posted December 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Now I feel bad about what I said about her new husband…that second article linked was from *1994*!!!!

        At any rate, this is so freaking cool!! Mark, let us know if she writes back :)

      18. Melissa Gilbert
        Posted December 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Hey Mark, now that we’re pals,can you please remove the link about my hubby’s past…it’s just…icky and unnecessary. Besides, only a few of us know the whole story.

        Suffice it to say, I’ve married a truly good and kind man who loves his home state.
        I’m so grateful he brought me and my youngest son here. It’s our home state now.

        It is part of our plan to show that love by bringing more film, television and theater work here. Michigan is an “everything” state. Any time period, any topography ( except desert). Perfect place to start a production industry. That’s our plan.

        So how about we stay away from all of our collective pasts and focus on the future.

        That includes…oh…what’s his name?…Bob something?…..Ron….oh that’s it! Bob Rowe.

        Merry Christmas!
        MG

      19. Posted December 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Sounds good, Melissa. I hope the post has been edited to your liking.

        And, again, welcome to the neighborhood… I’ve got my hands full tonight with a little monster-themed fundraising party for a local non-profit, but I’ll respond to your other note tomorrow.

        Regards,
        -Mark

      20. Posted December 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Also, I apologize to anyone trying to make sense of all the Scarecrow and Mrs. King references in the comment thread. In editing the piece, I’m afraid, the mention of Melissa’s ex-husband Bruce Boxleitner was lost.

      21. Melissa Gilbert
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        You’re a price.

      22. Melissa Gilbert
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        Ugh….prince….I need caffeine.

      23. tommy
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Melissa – if you keep posting on his blog, Mark will most likely drop his long time crush on PJ Soles and turn his affections your way. He’s also a bit messed up with OCD, but in a good way.

      24. Mark Lee
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Watching this little drama unfold reminds me of A Christmas Carol.

        The cynical blogger snipes and a celebrity responds with kindness causing the blogger to change his ways and redact his post. Thanks Melissa Gilbert.

        Now can you remove your post from December 16th where you implicate me ?

        Merry Christmas everyone -Merry Christmas – peace on earth goodwill towards all – May the new year bring Joy to all!

        ( P.S. I forgot, once again, that it was curiosity that killed the cat)

      25. Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Actually, I like the sound of “Price Maynard.”

      26. Posted December 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        This is beyond cool!!! Thanks for being so awesome Melissa (as I knew you would be!) and I hope Michigan is treating you well :)

      27. Billy
        Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        mmm…PJ Soles…now that’s a crush! Something about a woman with a baseball cap with lightning bolts on the side! I’m with ya’ Mark. I love half pint, though! Welcome to Michigan, Melissa! I just borrowed my LHOTP box set to a friend, damn it! Now I want to watch a few again!

      28. Posted December 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Why should we remain alive?

      29. Lorie
        Posted December 23, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Well Melissa,

        W0w – what an big ol’ Ypsi bear hug for Melissa Gilbert!

        In case it wasn’t clear from the tough banter…this can all be translated into: Congrats on your marriage. Congrats on moving to Michigan. Congrats and wishes for the very best for your friend and her son. Come to Ypsi for a visit – we have great beer!

        And…if you think that person in the grocery store is winking at you – they are probably connected to Ypsi somehow and have read this blog. My guess is they are smiling too!

      30. Jessica Webster
        Posted January 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        This is a most entertaining post, Mark. Good for Melissa for speaking up, and good for you for being a sweet guy.

      31. Posted January 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        I’m going to write to her and ask her to do an interview for the site. Keep your fingers crossed.

      32. Robert
        Posted January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Melissa, don’t be afraid to agree to that interview with Mark. He’s not the freaky creep his blog suggests he is. Or, at least in person he does a good job of hiding it. Either way, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about him speaking to you in person in the filthy, disturbing way he expresses himself here.

      33. Elliott
        Posted January 30, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Gilbert was just interviewed by the Lansing State Journal.

        http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20140129/NEWS01/301290029

      34. Robert
        Posted January 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Melissa, it may not look like it at first glance, but MarkMaynard.com is a very highly respected news source in this region. It’s sort of the TMZ of Washtenaw County.

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