Up close, our heroes are not always what we imagine

My November 2, 2021 book culture column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

During my many years as a talk show producer I met countless celebrities. And it wasn’t always pretty. ¶ Famous people often tend to be just a wee bit self-involved, and the handlers who seem to accompany them everywhere, even to the restroom, protect them like offensive linemen, keeping the mere mortals away. ¶ My top disappointing encounter was with Mickey Mantle, who’d been the hero of my youth.

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