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Often we take this opportunity to tell you about someone you might not have heard of...but to start the year off, we're reminding you of someone you know. 

He's a man's man.  He's a lady's man.  He's done it all and yet somehow keeps breaking new ground.  His work now reaches beyond the lens onto the world stage of social injustice and genocide, focused now fiercely on Darfur.  He's said you only have a short time to make your mark and this is his time.  One has to think this is part of that mark.

PEOPLE Magazine calls him the Sexiest Man Alive.  We here at HYENA call him an artist.  We're just happy he's taking his Aunt Rosemary's advice: Just do it, be willing to fail, and at least you gave it a shot.

Funny, ambitious George

Friends and family from this area remember the young Clooney...

Cincinnati Enquirer
BY MARGARET A. MCGURK AND JOHN KIESEWETTER

When George Clooney walks the red carpet outside Hollywood's Kodak Theatre tonight, millions of TV viewers will see a glamorous movie star, an object of desire, one of the most famous faces on the globe.

Back where he grew up, people will see someone else: George Timothy, Nick's kid, the cut-up who would do anything for a laugh in grade school. Or high school. Or college, or on the job at McAlpin's Department Store, or on the prowl at local nightclubs.

Ask any number of old acquaintances what they remember about George Clooney, and 10 out of 10 will use the word "funny." "Charming" comes in pretty high, too.

"Actually, I always thought he was going to be in some kind of show business, because of his personality," his mother, Nina, recently told The Enquirer. "We thought he would be a stand-up comedian."

During a recent appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live," George remembered being asked as a child what he wanted to be when he grew up. "I said 'I want to be famous.' I thought that was a job."

From childhood until the day he left in 1982 to test his talents in the movie business, George seems never to have made an enemy, and never, for all his hijinks, to have landed in real trouble.  As a student he preferred basketball to homework.

Guys liked him; girls loved him - and he returned the sentiments.  By all accounts, his first priority in life was to have a good time.

Yet something was going on as he worked in the studios where his father broadcast the news, and absorbed values from his parents, his aunt Rosemary Clooney and many other relations. The lessons he learned in Mason and Augusta and Crestview Hills shaped the man who emerged years later as a star, a risk-taking artist and a vocal defender of civic values.

"Good night and Good Luck," the movie that earned him Oscar nominations as director and co-writer, among it six nominations, was born out of those lessons. The movie, based on 50-year-old events, is an intensely personal work, an expression of his own deeply held convictions and an emotional tribute to his father.

As Nina said, "It is very much the fact that at home we talked about what you were supposed to do right in life - taking care of people that couldn't take care of themselves, not being a bully. And we talked about the news a lot."

George often credits his father, Nick, with shaping his ideas about the news and politics, including the story of broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, the subject of "Good Night," who stood up to the much-feared Communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. "As proud as my father was of Murrow, that's how proud I am of my dad," George said.

CHARMING THE TEACHERS

George and his sister, Ada, one year older, began school at Blessed Sacrament School in Fort Mitchell. The family soon moved to Mason, where the children attended Western Row Elementary until they could transfer to St. Susanna School, where they stayed for about five years. It was there George began to perfect his talent for deflecting trouble and disarming rivals by making them laugh.

"When George was 8 years old, he was diagnosed with dyslexia," his mother said. "It wasn't debilitating. I had it too as a child. It was something you grew out of, and he did."

Like most bright dyslexics, she said, he learned to compensate. "George got through school by charming his teachers," she said.

Classmate Ann Harpen remembers George facing some less-than-friendly attitudes among other children.

"George was very hyper in grade school," she said. "Some of the kids were not real nice to him," she said. "His father was this famous TV anchorman, and some kids were mean to him because of that. That's why he and my brother (Pete) got to be good friends. My brother was never like that."

George spent plenty of time at the Harpen home, she said, because "I had nine brothers, and George didn't have any." The clan came in handy one day when teenage Pete and George drove a Volkswagen Beetle across a neighbor's yard and got stuck.

"My brothers all went and pulled it out. So they never got caught," she said.

Like many old friends who stay in touch with George, Pete Harpen avoids speaking to reporters.

Kathy Steffen Howard, another former classmate at St. Susanna, remembers George as a "goof."

"He was a funny person and just tortured his sister, Ada. I always thought that he was dorky. I would tell my daughter to always be nice to the dorky-silly boys in school," she said. "They grow up to be George Clooneys."

Ada Clooney Zeidler referred to those years at a 1995 benefit tribute to the Clooney family at Music Hall. "The kid was the bane of my existence as I was growing up. And so, while I can look at him and say he's quite attractive, I do have some difficulty with my friends saying, 'Oh, he's such a doll!' "

John Romer, now a vice-president at Fifth Third Bank, remembers serving Mass as a St. Susanna altar boy alongside George.

"George and his sister were always very conscious of social issues, and his parents were strong influences on the person he is today," Romer said. "George would strongly defend his positions and argue logically and passionately. The ongoing debates between George and (conservative talk show host) Bill O'Reilly are easy to understand. But George was never combative. He was the person you wanted to be with and laugh with."

As a boy, George was fascinated with television. Bill O'Bryan of Boulder, Colo., was a TV engineer at WKRC in the '70s when Nick worked there, and recalled young George doing stand-in duty, posing on the set while lights were set and balanced, or hovering beside O'Bryan as he operated a boom mike from off-camera.

"He was always interested in the inner workings of TV and loved being around the studios," O'Bryan said.

"In my opinion, George is now making millions of dollars doing the same things he did in Mason," said Perry Denehy, now head athletic trainer at Sycamore High School, who was a close friend during the years when the Clooneys lived in Mason. "George always had all the props, like rubber chickens and whoopee cushions."

The Denehys hosted a going-away party when the Clooneys were moving to Augusta. "My mother often (said) that if she knew George was going to grow up to be a big star, she would have served better hot dogs," said Denehy.

"I always thought Pete Harpen and I gave him a run for his money," Denehy said. "The three of us emceed an evening talent show and I got to stick a whipped cream pie into George's face during our "Three Stooges" act."

George The guy who took a pie in the face for a grade-school talent show remains famous for practical jokes. On the set of TV's "ER," for instance, his co-stars dreaded scenes that called for them to pick up a phone, because Clooney was likely to have filled the prop receiver with something greasy.

THE MOVE TO AUGUSTA

The family moved to Augusta when George was midway through seventh grade.

"He wasn't a happy camper," his mother said. Then he discovered basketball. "He had never played basketball in his life. But he was one of the tallest kids in the class. He's played basketball ever since."

Still, George missed St. Susanna so much that he made his way back to Mason for the eighth-grade graduation, posing with his old friends in their class picture. "I have no idea how he did that," Nina said. "But there he is in the picture. He's wearing an open-collar shirt and the rest of the boys are in jackets and ties."

In Augusta, he would takes the riding lawn mower to give rides to a neighbor boy who used crutches, even though the boy's parents objected.

George often bonded with friends through sports.

To this day, whenever he sees the former Miss America Heather French Henry, for instance, he is said to cry out "My shins! My shins!"

When she was a child in Augusta, her father often played doubles with George, and Heather was always around the tennis courts, "I think she was infatuated with the older man then," said her husband Steve Henry, "and she showed it by kicking him in the shins."

After graduating from Augusta High School, George attended Northern Kentucky University for three years, where by his own admission he never earned more than freshman-level credits. He also apparently enrolled at the University of Cincinnati "for maybe two minutes," his mother said.

He worked at Nadler's menswear store in Kenwood, then at McAlpins in Crestview Hills, first in menswear, then in the women's shoe department, where he was known to draw smiley faces on the soles of shoes he sold and to paper a back-room wall with funny sketches of his co-workers.

"My mom found any reason whatsoever to pack up the four of us girls into our old car and cart us over to McAlpin's for some 'shoe shopping,'" recalled Andrea M. Foltz, a Newport resident who grew up near the Crestview Hills department store. "I really don't know that she bought any. I don't know how old she was at the time; I'm 43 now. So, yeah, she was older than he was. I just think she had a huge crush."

Then, Rosemary's ex-husband Jose Ferrer and George's cousin Miguel Ferrer came to Lexington to work on a movie (so bad it was never released). George was hired as an extra.

"He loved it. He invited the entire cast and crew to Easter dinner," his mother said.

HOLLYWOOD BECKONS

At Miguel's urging, George decided to give the movie business a try. In 1982 he loaded his things into a rusty 1976 Monte Carlo and drove to Rosemary's house in California. "My aunt made me get rid of it when I moved out here," George said in a 1990 interview. "It was such an ugly car for living in such a nice area of Beverly Hills. She was too embarrassed."

Nick objected to the move.

"He hated the idea. We had a big fight about it," George said in that early interview.

As for Nina: "I was terribly frightened because he's a kid and he's going out to play in the big arena. But no, I didn't tell him to stay."

It took two years for him to break into regular TV work, playing the wise-cracking Ace on a sitcom called, oddly enough, "ER." From that point on, he worked steadily in low-budget movies and on TV, eventually landing regular jobs on "The Facts of Life," "Roseanne" and "Sisters."

In 1992, he walked away from a starring role in the "Baby Talk" sitcom (based on the "Look Who's Talking" movies) because he was put off by executive producer Ed Weinberger's treatment of cast and crew.

Recalling the incident five years later, he said. "I didn't have the position to do it. He was a big-time producer and I was going 'You know what? You treat people rotten and I don't want to work for you.' "

That experience cemented his determination to work only where he could have fun - and as a director, he has a reputation for running a happy set - and with people he respects.

In 1994, he learned about an upcoming NBC ensemble drama that he knew fit all his work criteria. He turned down a lead in a police series and. By his own admission, he made a pest of himself lobbying network executives to cast him in "ER."

The role of Dr. Doug Ross gave him fame, wealth and confidence. He and co-star Anthony Edwards talked the network into airing a live episode that scored huge ratings and has since become a favorite TV gambit. Clooney also sold the network on a live production of the Cold War thriller "Fail-Safe."

In 1997, his movie career expanded into big-budget fare, including the badly received "Batman & Robin," a movie that - as he recalled later - taught him "never go in without a finished script," and made him financially secure for life.

The same year, speaking of his plans for the future, George said, "I don't have any real knowledge of the camera, and if you don't, you shouldn't be a director." But then he soon set off on what amounted to a self-training course in directing by taking jobs with superbly talented filmmakers - including the Coen brothers, David O. Russell and Steven Soderbergh, with whom he ended up sharing a production company.

His debut as a director, the quirky "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," was greeted with decent reviews. His second film, "Good Night and Good Luck," drew raves.

In the decade since "ER," he also George became known for outspoken criticism of tabloid journalism and some right-wing commentators. At the same time, he became a visible social activist. He was one of the people behind "A Concert for Heroes," the live TV telethon for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks; he recruited frequent critic Bill O'Reilly for a tsunami furndraiser, and helped raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. He not only lent his wealth and name to One, the global anti-poverty campaign, he personally recruited conservative TV minister Pat Robertson to join the effort.

Back home, he contributed generously to the Maysville memorial to his aunt Rosemary.

"He's a very generous person. He puts his money where his emotions are," said former Kentucky lieutenant governor Steve Henry, who worked on the memorial project.

"It was interesting to see how much he cared about Rosemary," Henry said. "Sometimes in Hollywood, these people get bigger than life, and they don't remember those types of things," Henry said. "But George was very passionate about Rosemary. It was nice to see a genuine side of someone who is so famous and has so many people tugging at him."

Henry is among the friends in Northern Kentucky who throw a protective cloak around George when he visits; he can slip in and out of town unmolested by press or autograph seekers. In Augusta, he feels free to drop into the high school gym, or even pick up the key when it's closed, when he's in the mood to shoot hoops.

"The last time he was there, I think he played with the girls," his mother said.

Whether in Los Angeles, at his villa at Lake Como, Italy, or in Northern Kentucky, his loyalty to his friends and loved ones is legendary.

"He really, really wants to be Frank Sinatra," said actress Bonnie Hunt after George was named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1997. "He's the guy who takes care of everything, leads the pack, includes all the guys in his success.

"Success would be horrible for him without his friends around."

Life, Action, Camera

Born May 6, 1961

, Lexington

>1967-68: First grade at Blessed Sacrament School, Fort Mitchell.
>1968-69:Western Row Elementary School, Mason
>1969-1974:
St. Susanna School, Mason
>1974-1976: Augusta Independent School
>1976-1979: Augusta High School
>1979-1982:
Northern Kentucky University
>1984:
First TV role, on one episode of "Riptide"
>1985:
Regular role on sitcom "E/R"
>1987: Appears in two TV series, "Murder, She Wrote" and "The Golden Girls"; two movies, "Combat High" and "Return to Horror High"; and debuts in a regular role on "The Facts of Life."
>1988:
Joins "Roseanne" cast and appears in "The Return of the Killer Tomatoes"
>1990:
"Red Surf"
>1991:
Regular role on "Sisters"
>1994:
"ER" debuts.
>1996:
Plays a tattooed criminal in Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn"
>1997:
"Batman"
>1998:
"Out of Sight"
>1999:
"Three Kings"
>2000:
"Fail Safe"
>2000:
"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "The Perfect Storm"
>2001: "Ocean's Eleven"
>2002: "Welcome to Collinwood"
>2002: "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind"
>2004: "Ocean's Twelve"
>2005: "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Syriana"

Clooney was always a fun guy

A classmate, a client, a date...

After George Clooney was nominated for three Oscars, - and his film "Good Night, and Good Luck." was nominated for six - we invited Enquirer readers to share their memories of him from his years growing up in this region. Scores of people responded; here are excerpts from their e-mails:

One Christmas when I was 5 years old I stayed at my aunt and uncle's house so I could go to the Nick Clooney Show the next day. That was where I met the adorable 3-year-old that we know today as the sexy 44-year-old George Clooney. That is my claim to fame.

--Theresa Schaefer, Westwood

I really enjoyed the many times I babysat for George Timothy (then 5) and Ada Frances (6). ... One time when we had plans, my mother offered to have the children come to her house. We had a toy collie that was extremely gentle and had never so much as growled at anyone. George happened to pick a time that the dog was sleeping and lunged at the dog, falling on him. The dog instinctively bit George on the cheek. It was a small bite, but it did break the skin. ... When Nick came to pick up the kids, he was such a gentleman. He calmly told my mother that the dog probably did George a favor. They had warned him repeatedly not to charge at dogs. When George first appeared on television, we all crowded around to see if we could see any sign of a scar. One night on a show where George was appearing, the host asked him about his childhood and he replied that he was the only child "that Lassie ever attacked".

--Janet Sue Webster Holbrook, Florence

I taught George Clooney in the first grade at Blessed Sacrament School in Fort Mitchell. I taught George to read. I had him three times a day for an hour each time. That's why he reads so well. I stressed expression!

--Joan Dressman, Erlanger, KY

I recall one time George decided he was going to set a world record for pogo stick jumping. we never quite got close to setting a record, but George went up and down enough that day. If I remember correctly, he began practicing the art of destroying things by jumping on them with the pogo stick.

--John Romer, Wilmington

One weekend in 1976, George was drawing caricatures at the street fair in Maysville. He had a table and easel set up inside the church. He drew my picture for $1 and I still have it! After he drew me I gave him my dollar and he turned to put it in his money box. When he opened the box, it was empty. He yelled to his mom about it and she very quietly came over and told him she had donated the money to the church. He just looked at her and said "All the money?" I thought it was really neat that my dollar was the only one he got to keep that day.

--Pam Rice, Edgewood, KY

I attended first grade with George Clooney at Blessed Sacrament School in Ft. Mitchell. I remember that he had an all-boy birthday party at his house and I desperately wanted to be invited. My neighbor down the street was invited and I was very jealous.

--Mary Jean Arlinghaus Klein, Villa Hills

I went to school with George at Blessed Sacrament. The two biggest things I can remember are First Communion and accidentally bringing one of his papers home from school. My older brothers and sisters teased me for days about having a crush on him and stealing his papers. I also worked at McAlpin's with George. He always made the job fun. Some of the most memorable days from working with George were going to the Cross-Bow Tavern after working the Moonlight Madness sales. We had a blast.

--Janelle Merten Fanthorp, Taylor Mill

I have always felt that I gave George his start in show biz. I was a first-year teacher at Western Row Elementary School in Mason 1969-70 when George was in second grade there. ... I had both him and his sister, Ada, in general music classes, and could see the budding star in the making. For the Christmas program, George and Ada were my featured performers in a play I wrote called "When the Toys Came to Life." When the play opened, they were sitting on the front of the stage singing "Dear Santa, I just got the measles," covered with red dots. The story was about them being afraid Santa wouldn't come because they were contagious!

Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce.

--Carol Rauch, associate academic director, University of Cincinnati

I taught at St. Susanna School in Mason from 1969-1973. (I was Mrs. McElwain then. While I didn't have George in class, I certainly knew him. One of the years that I was at St. Susanna, we had a Fine Arts Night, where each class performed a poem, skit, song, etc. and art work was displayed. I believe that George was the emcee that night. I think he was only in the third or fourth grade. I remember thinking at the time that he certainly took after his father. He looked perfectly comfortable on stage! Little did we know! My son has taken the school pictures from back then and shown his friends what George looked like. It's been fun watching him grow over the years, and I wish him well at the Oscars.

--Virginia (Ginger) Brezinski, Sharonville

I was George's den mother when he lived in Mason. He sure was a nice, typical, fun-loving kid. Unfortunately for him, when his dad came to the big Scout meetings, Nick was asked for autographs frequently. I wonder how many of those autographs can now be found? Seems George's are the autographs they should have been collecting.

--Celeste Rape, Mason

My group of friends knew George way back when. I actually sent a scrapbook to him in 2004 with the old pictures that I had of him.We would just love to see him again and we are very proud of his accomplishments.

--Rhonda Buchenhain, Tampa

George and I were grade-school classmates and Cub Scouts. George was always front and center with his jokes and pranks. We all loved basketball and George was always a great forward in our games. He would always tell us stories about his going to work with his dad to the radio and TV studios downtown and how he met all these different people in the business. His early interest was to be like his dad but as we can tell now, that evolved into his interest for acting. The movie "Good Night, and Good Luck" is definitely a tribute to his father just as his acting career is a tribute to his late aunt Rosemary. George has worked hard to get where he is. Congratulations, George!

--Lee Czerwonka, Blue Ash

I remember seeing him and his family at Mass on Sundays at St. Susanna and thinking how handsome he and his dad were. Matter of fact, I remember our dad being upset that mom wanted to watch Channel 12 news to see his dad vs. the news anchors on every other channel. It's amazing how much they look alike.

--Tammy Buchanan, Sherman Oaks, CA

I went to school with George for two years at St. Susanna in Mason. One day in English we were allowed to write a poem outside in the beautiful May weather. After goofing off 50 of the 55 minutes, we realized we better come up with a poem fast.  So looking at the ground, we came up with the landmark poem, "Mud." "Mud is black and brown, and it never does frown. ..." Two years after we last talked in grade school, he saw me working at Kings Island, and shouted across the room, "Hey Dedman - MUD!"

--Mike Dedman, Largo, FL

When I was 12 and George was probably about 14, he came to a spaghetti dinner at our school (Lockland) with his father. ... He was so, so cute and all of the girls went crazy over him. He sat with us at dinner and I had him sign an autograph on the back of a paper placemat. Being the pack rat that I am I still have it. ... Who would have known he would some day be famous! I just thought he was he was the cute son of Nick Clooney. So I believe that I probably have his very first autograph.

--Donna Reiber, Loveland

I am a graduate of Bracken County High School of 1979 the same year George graduated from Augusta High School. They were the only two high schools in the county, nine miles apart. They were our main rivals. We played high school basketball and baseball together and against each other. You go into a rival school, a lot of people aren't that friendly to you; he wasn't that way. He was a pretty good high school player. Tennis was probably his best sport. He varsity lettered as a senior in basketball. He did the same in football. George also was in the same class as my high-school girlfriend, Angie Kelsch, and I do remember watching them both as leads in the Augusta High School junior class play in 1978. Somewhere I had the play on film (old super 8) but I cannot find it.

--Brent Flaugher, Alexandria

It was 1979-83 that I was at NKU where George and I used to be in the student center game room every day around noon playing fooseball or pool. There were times we were late or just flat out missing class altogether. One day George said to me, jokingly, "Derrick! You never seem to be able to make it to class," as if to say "You're never going to amount to anything if you don't start." I said to him, "You've got your nerve, I'm not here playing pool by myself." His response was, "But Derrick, you don't understand, I'm going to be making movies some day." It was sort of funny, because George didn't say it in a bragging way, but by the look on his face, I somewhat had to believe him. It really didn't hit me that George had made good on his promise until I was actually paying the movie attendant for tickets and saw George's face flash on the screen as Batman!

--Derrick Davis, Walnut Hills

My husband, James E. Marshall Jr., managed Nadler's Mens Clothing store for over 25 years. George Clooney worked part time at Nadler's. which was at Kenwood Mall. We all knew George as Nick Clooney's son. My husband always had a buffet of food in the back room the day before Christmas. I remember that I stopped by and Nina was there, too. We never missed a TV show starring George. I wish Jim was alive to hear about George Clooney now!

--Pat Marshall, Mason

I took an Introduction in Mass Media class with George Clooney at Northern Kentucky University during the '79-'80 school year. I remember he sat behind me in class and even doodled a caricature of me that I have framed in my office. (He obviously thought I was the teacher's pet; the Dr. Renz he is referring to was the professor.)

--'Rockin' Ron Schumacher, Mount Washington

Our son was about 3 years old when George worked for us (at Nadler's), and especially enjoyed when George came to our house after work to teach him how to shoot baskets. George took his basketball skills with him when he left for California, as we often saw on episodes of ER. It's no wonder George is such a success. He excelled at everything he tried, and made it all seem simple.

--Linda Nadler Sacks and Jerry Sacks, Amberley Village

I worked with George Clooney at Crestview Hills McAlpin's, in the men's clothing department. Back in the very early 1980s, each McAlpin's held their own Wedding Fashion Show. For two years, George played the role of the groom during the show at the Crestview Hills store. We were both college students at NKU. He was a likable guy, easy to talk to and easy to get along with. He was pretty much just one of the guys.

--Tom Koch, Florence

I worked with George in the shoe department at McAlpin's. I still have a caricature he taped to my locker with a note attached on Halloween. I might have other notes he left when he went to California and came back to visit. He was a cut-up and prankster but he was very nice to the older ladies that came in to buy shoes. We have this drawing and note.

--Virginia Schwartz, Erlanger

I worked with George for a short time at Nadler's. We were the only two young people that worked there and had a lot of fun teasing and laughing at each other. He was always looking at himself in the mirror and I teased him about that. He hung out all the time at The Conservatory trying to pick up girls.

--Alison Eheman Bowman, Mason

We both worked at McAlpin's in Crestview Hills. George was always smiling, joking and snoozing on the job. Yep, he was found napping in the dressing room during work hours. I guess all those late nights were too much on the young salesman.

--Lisa Henderson, Independence

I knew George Clooney when The Conservatory and the Waterfront were the hottest clubs around. A group of us would party just about every Wednesday (ladies night) and Friday night at those places. George was very funny and down to earth.

--Elisabeth Durant, Walnut Hills

I was an associate in the Bridal Department of the Crestview Hills McAlpin's store so when we had our annual bridal show I volunteered my daughter, Lisa. She got to be "bride" to George's "groom." Florence "Sis" Krebs was an associate in the Designer Salon of the same McAlpin's and was purchasing a pair of ladies shoes from George - and he drew a caricature on the sole of her shoe! The ladies in the alterations department loved George as he ran in every morning to press his shirt or tie!

--Carol Collins, Edgewood

I worked with George at McAlpin's. We were young and would hang out at the bars together. I also saw George at the event that honored his dad and aunt. We talked and he asked about a lot of our old co-workers. This was right after he made it big on "ER."

--Nancy Selby, Hebron, Ky.

I worked at the Crestview Hills McAlpin's when George Clooney was a shoe salesperson. You could always tell when George had been asked to do markdowns; he would mark the right shoe with the sale price, and then offer the left shoe for free! He completed it by signing the sale ticket, "Love, George."

--Carolyn Clark-Crosby, Erlanger

I had the pleasure of knowing George Clooney when he was an employee of Crestview McAlpin's. I was the Human Resource Director who hired George. He was a gentleman all the time. He was well liked by all the associates. George made work fun. He not only sold shoes, when new shipments came in he helped put the shoes on the shelves. We were all sad when George told us he was going to California. When we have our McAlpin luncheons we always say how proud we are to know George.

--Sally Gravett, Lawrenceburg, In.

My boyfriend 28 years ago was Floyd (Flip) and my best friend Vicki Wood used to go to The Conservatory in Covington every Friday night and sometimes during the week. We all used to hang out with George before he was famous, dancing, drinking and having a great time. He was always funny, light-hearted and quite the ladies man. How exciting to see your friend on TV. It is great that he has done so well for himself and we are proud of the friend we once knew.

--Sandy (Hauss) Roach, Colerain Twp.

George Clooney was a nightly regular at Covington's extremely posh disco called The Conservatory and I was the DJ/Entertainment Director there from 1977-1983. We shared many good times together as two young bachelors while he was a student at NKU. I am most proud of him.

--Rick Flynn, West Chester

I used to work as a disc jockey at Lighthouse LTD night club across from UC back in 1980-81 and George used to be a regular. As soon as he entered the club he would come to the DJ booth and ask for some comps (free drink coupons).

--Scott Wells, Valparaiso, IN

I dated George Clooney in 1980-81. George lived in a basement apartment (in Clifton) on Straight Street. He owned two pieces of furniture, a mattress and a director's chair. ... When George picked me up for our dates, he would bring a basketball with him. He'd play basketball in our back yard and sit talking with my dad with the basketball in his lap. During the summer, we would sit at the bottom of the stairs that led to the river next to Mike Fink's restaurant. George would always talk about his desire to move to Los Angeles to become an actor. Even back then, He loved making people laugh and he was a practical jokester! Next time you see George, ask him to share his alligator impression!

--Kathy Penno-Kramer, Mount Airy

George Clooney was a regular at the Lighthouse Limited in Clifton in the late '70s early '80s. Greg Cole was a DJ there and Greg was the BMOC, not George at the time. That's so funny now in retrospect! I remember slow dancing with George to "Always and Forever" and him trying to sing the high notes at the end of the song.

--Diane Senffner, Mesa, Ariz.

In the early 1980s, I was the bank manager at the bank in the old Crestview Hills Mall. Many of the employees at McAlpin's were my customers. That included ... the young man that got the female tellers' attention, George Clooney. ... I enjoyed waiting on him, since he would take a minute to tell his plans for the future. One week he was going to be a stockbroker, another week he was going to get into banking. One week he came in and closed his account. He told me that he was headed to Hollywood. I took him to the office and had him sit down. ... He told me he would stay with Aunt Rosie for a year and if it didn't work out he could come home and finish his education. I tried to talk him out of going. ... I told him how many, many people go to Hollywood and get their dreams squashed. He said he had to go. I ran into George at the Florence Mall after he did "Batman." I called out his name and he gave me that big Clooney smile. He introduced me to the young lady with him as "his banker that told him not to go to Hollywood."

--Bill Lawrence, Villa Hills

I met George once back in 1980. I was 21 and working at WKRC-TV as the sales assistant. Nick Clooney always had a wonderful Christmas party each year at their home in Augusta, and that year I was invited. Although I came with a date, I was very young and felt out of place. George was at the party. We sat on the steps talking about our futures. He told me he wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be a model or on TV. He was very nice and good looking, but at the time, just a boy to me. I also remember Nina being so beautiful and supportive when George told her I wanted to be a model. She would cointo the TV station at times and say hello and ask how my career was going. (I am only 5'3", so it was 'short'.)

--Kathy Christman Santangelo, Crescent Springs, KY

A long time ago (probably in about '86), my younger sister was the flower girl in George's sister's wedding. We knew George had been on "The Facts of Life," but at the time, we were more star-struck by Nick Clooney than we were by George. The entire family, including George, was SO nice and made us feel so welcome! My sister was only about 4 at the time, and she got to dance with George. It was very cute! I have been so happy over the years to watch George enjoy such success. Well-deserved, in my humble opinion.

--Krista L. Hamilton, Taylor Mill

In the mid-1980s, when I was starting out in TV, a mutual friend introduced me to this guy named George Clooney at the Greater Cincinnati airport. My friend said, "He's going to be really big." And I said, "No way." ... Being somewhat acquainted with the Clooney family, as we attended the same church in Mason, I had never given George much thought. Turned out he and I were on the same flight back to L.A.. We talked a little and agreed to meet after we landed. When we met up at LAX, he gave me his phone number and said we should get together some time. I thought, "Oh, sure." Later, I threw the number away. How stupid was I? Now he's the "sexiest man alive," and I'm just alive. Uh, George? I know it's been awhile, but is it too late to go grab a beer? Call me!

--Charlie Bowyer, creative director, on-air promotion, ABC Entertainment



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