My First Rejection (or, “They Can’t All Be Gems, You Know!”)

I consider myself to have been a pretty normal teenaged girl when it came to having raging crushes on rock stars, tv stars, and movie stars.

I also, as many teenaged girls do, wrote fan letters on occasion. I remember writing to Charlene Tilton once, to tell her how much I loved “Dallas”. I was thrilled to receive, a couple of months later, an original cast photo that was autographed by every single stinking one of them, including Jock and Ellie*.

Much later, when I was crazy about the band Berlin, I wrote a fan letter to John Crawford, who I totally adored.

It won’t surprise you at all, because of my quirky, issue-ridden personality, that I included a postage stamp for him to use when writing me back. What will surprise you is that he did write me back. Personally. On notebook paper. He even told me that he could certainly afford a stamp to put on his own letter. His letter was great. I wrote him back immediately, asking questions about the band. He wrote back. I think I ended up with four letters from him, in his own hand. It was thrilling.

I wrote a very different type of fan letter in 1984. I still cringe about it. There was a model/actor named Jon-Erik Hexum, who I thought was totally awesome (dude). Many of you younger folks have no idea who I’m talking about, so go on, click here. He died while shooting his show “Cover Up”; it was a terrible accident which is detailed at that link.

I was so sad about it that I decided to write a letter to People magazine, and hoped that they would publish it on their reader letter page. This is sort of how my letter went:

Whyyyyyyy? Whyyyyyy did this have to happen to Jon Erik Hexum??? What a loss to the entertainment community!!!! I just don’t understand whyyyyy this had to happen to him! He had such a bright future! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????**

A couple of weeks later, I got a little white postcard from People magazine, thanking me for my letter but saying that they couldn’t use it.

I was crushed all over again. I couldn’t understand why the magazine wouldn’t want to use my letter. After all, I was one of his biggest fans. It took me a long time to get over that one.

But I did. Over time I was able to laugh about the idiocy of my letter and enjoy the fact that my first rejection as a writer came from People magazine. Many more rejections would follow, but that one means the most.

*I can’t imagine what that thing would be worth today at some Dallas Fan Convention. Unfortunately, I think I got rid of it eons ago. Idiot.

**Okay, not my exact words. But you get the flavor of it.



  • Momo Fali

    I don't remember that actor, but I can see why you liked him so much!

    I wrote a letter to Jack Wagner (shut up) once. All I got wss a form letter. I can't believe you got letters that someone HANDwrote! Lucky!

  • Tom

    I remember Jon-Erik Hexum from the Voyagers! show. I loved that show. I thought it was pretty sad that he died, particularly the way he did.

    Neat that you got personal answers to your other letters! I never would have believed big stars would be so personable as to actually write back.

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    You know, I can't say I ever wrote a fan letter. I usually can't recall the damned names of the actors – little good it would do for me to write a letter to "That Really Hot Guy on That One Show". 😉

  • Heather

    Back in the day, when I wanted to be the next "Barbra Walters", I wrote her in 7th or 8th grade, and I got a letter, handwritten from her as a response. It was REALLY cool. I framed it, it's somewhere around the house, I'll have to find it. I remember the feeling I got from it.

    On the rejection issue, isn't it funny, even if we totally deserved the rejection letter we still feel that tinge of "Hrmph!" 🙂

  • surprised mom

    I think it's totally cool that you got handwritten letters back from a star!
    I wrote a letter to Donny Osmond once (hey, I was a 13-year-old dork) and got a fan form letter back. Still, I treasured it.
    And I do remember Jon Eric Hexum and how he died. That was sad. But your letter to People? That was, ummm, sympathetic?

  • Katie

    Ohhh I used to write so many fan letters as a kid. My biggest thrill was when I got a handwritten letter back from Sharon Case (who plays Sharon on Y&R) … I still have that letter. And I still remember to this day, that her mom grew up in Leamington Ontario (one of the little tidbits she wrote in the letter) LOL

  • Isabella

    I'm not sure why they didn't publish your letter. So much emotion packed into a couple of sentences.

    – – –
    I'm impressed you actually got responses!

    I remember writing a letter to New Kids on The Block. I never got a response (but that could have been because the letter was too big for the envelope, so I folded it as best I could. And I'm sure it lacked proper postage).

    In my teens I wrote a letter to Michael W. Smith and got a stock postcard back basically saying "thanks for the letter but he's too busy to read what you wrote." Meh.

    And so ended my celebrity letter-writing.

  • Mrs4444

    How horrible! (the death, not your rejection, Silly!) I got a rejection when I wrote a heartfelt letter with a petition signed by at least 20 people to put Shirley Temple's show back on the air. Crushing. [sniff]

  • Michelle

    Hmmm, I have to go check out that link (sorry). Sadly, my major crushes were John Denver — I blame my mom — and Andre Agassi. And I wonder why I never had a thing for celebrities after that. Thankfully, I never tried to write either of them 🙂