When I was 11 years old I wrote my first of many fan letters. The very first autographed photo came from Valerie Bertinelli. She was on One Day At A Time. The most important fan letter was sent to Michael Gregory. He played Rick on General Hospital. I asked this man to marry me. He wrote back a beautiful note that explained I was too young to get married and how the love I have for a television person is different from the love I would feel for a husband. He said when I got older I would understand. I’m older and do understand, but this still makes me smile. This beautiful man took the time to explain this to me in a sensitive way and included a great autographed photo.
Today I’m 40 and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Celebrities asking the fans to include a self-addressed stamped envelope with their fan letters, if they want an autographed photo. Not all celebrities do this to their fans but more and more have started. This disturbs me for many reasons but mainly because the celebrity has more money than the average fan.
Fans will spend money on books, movie tickets, DVDs, anything associated with their favorite celebrity. The important point is they support the career of the celebritiy. The fans spend money even if just for the electricity to watch a favorite show. Which turns into ratings and a nice salary for the actor/actress. So when an established performer asks for a SASE, I think its greedy and insulting.
I tried to get an autographed photo for a friend, from an actress who starred in Lost In Space. I received a letter back asking for $25 and then a photo would be sent to me. Needless to say I threw the letter away.
I understand that there are autograph collectors out there who may profit from autographs but why punish the true fan? Sending a SASE is a typical thing for the collector as a courtesy and assurance of a response. But it shouldn’t be a requirement for a response from someone who lives the good life thanks to the fans. Often all the fan wants in return is an autograph.
I watched Intimate Portrait the other day. Leah Remini from The King Of Queens was interviewed. I think that show is hysterical and the actress equally entertaining. Her baby picture resembled a little girl in my family. I went to her site to see if her baby photos were on it to show the little girls grandma. The photo was there but so was information on how to get an autograph. You must send a SASE with your fan letter. I was so disappointed to read this requirement.
She softens the blow by saying she reads and answers all her fan mail herself. So does Sela Ward and Judge Marilyn Milian, only they don’t require anything from the fans except a letter requesting an autograph. They are truly aware and grateful for the lifestyle the fans have provided them.
It’s sad to see that being a fan today actually costs money. I would think the cost of stamps and envelopes would be a tax deduction as a business expense. In the end it’s costing the celebrities their image; it looks really greedy to me.