So, I spent three days in L.A. and the most famous person I saw was "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" host Ty Treadway. (Who is, for the record, warm, genial, and rather handsome. And I also met him a month before going on the show, at the Chicago auditions. I got a hug.)
I have seen famous people in other cities, though. Here in Chicago, at a California Pizza Kitchen, Mr. Tangerine and I saw Jackie Mason 10 or 15 years ago. He was in town for his one-man show, I think. He appeared to be dining with a bodyguard or other entourage member. He wandered around the dining room scoping out plates of food. When he passed our table, Mr. Tangerine said, "Jackie Mason!" Mason replied, "Hey. I'm just lookin' for a good item." Ever since then, Mr. Tangerine and I have always enjoyed looking for a good item when we're out on the town. Why read a menu when you can eyeball the food other people are eating?
Also in the 10-to-15-years-ago range, I rode in an Orlando hotel elevator with Carrot Top. Of course, I wasted no time stripping off his clothes and mine and savagely pleasuring him because he's a celebrity. No, wait, that didn't happen.
I've been to concerts, of course, and I saw Patrick Stewart in The Tempest on Broadway, but those don't count as celebrity encounters because they cost me money.
I once swooned because I reached out and touched the fuzzy peach sweater of a soap opera actor at a mall appearance. He was the guy who played Sean Cudahy on All My Children, and the year must've been somewhere around 1980 because I saw him with my best friend in 8th grade, Leila. (A few years later, Leila saw Cheap Trick's Robin Zander in an airport.)
Edited to add what I just remembered: At the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, I saw Glenn Close and Rachel Dratch, and chatted with documentarian Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame. And at this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, I saw Phil Donahue.
So, what famous people have you seen in the flesh? C'mon, spill some dirt!