Guess Who I Saw on Main Street the Other Day?

You really never see paparazzi chasing anyone down Main St. in Sarasota, so you wonder, does anyone famous live here?  Who’s living in all those mansions on the water?  The curious wants to know.  Could it be that the properties of the rich and famous down here are way lower than in 90210?

You can’t beat our beaches, and you can probably be incognito with a hat and some big shades down here.  You won’t find cameras flashing and interfering with getting your “chill” on.  We do have some full-time residents, but other of the fab famous have their homes on the water strictly for getting away for the winter from the bitter cold up north. I had heard Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Tom Selleck and Michael Jordan have passed through in recent years, but here’s the real skinny on some hot names in the celebrity consensus who you might or might not see in your Sarasota travels.

That hottie from Aerosmith, Joe Perry, and his wife Billie live in Longboat Key half the year and spend the other part in South Pomfret, VT Still very much alive and performing on his own as well as with Aerosmith, he is ranked number 48 in Rolling Stone’s  list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time” in 2002.

Brian Johnson, raspy-voiced AC/DC front man, has played the local stages and venues such as the Irish Rover Pub in Gulf Gate and has collaborated with area musicians on various projects. This talented English singer-songwriter and Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer has an estate on Bird Key with his wife, Brenda, and is still touring the globe.

Into late night scary reading?  The one and only Stephen King lives on Casey Key.  In his 60’s this king of suspense fiction lives in Osprey with his wife, Tabitha and is the top suspense thriller novelist, having sold more than 350 million copies of his novels and short story compilations.  As you must know, many of these novels have been adapted for TV and film. He has a second home in Bangor, Maine. Bu-r-r-r!

The former American pro wrestler ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, became an icon in the 1980s for his flamboyant outfits in the wrestling ring.  Randy married Lynne Payne on Lido Beach.  Savage held 20 championships during his career and was the 1987 WWF “King of the Ring.” His catchphrase, “Ooh yeah!” and his cameos in Slim Jim commercials are a part of pop culture.  Randy passed away last year.

Jerry Springer, who used to have the title King of tabloid TV, is a resident of Bird Key, and often seen dining in downtown Sarasota.  Springer is best known for hosting “The Jerry Springer Show” — a portrait of dysfunctional families that battle everything from adultery to racism — which first aired in 1991 and is now syndicated globally. He is also a former Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, as well as a musician, having opened for country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.

If you’re an Allman Brothers fan, you should know that Dickey Betts was a founding member.   Dickey Betts was born in Bradenton and is still a fixture in the city’s music scene. He and his most recent band, Great Southern, played at such events as the De Soto Seafood Festival, and Betts has a home in Osprey with his wife, Donna.  Betts is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1995) and won a Grammy Award for best rock performance for the song “Jessica” in 1996. He is No. 58 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list.

Jane Lynch, of “Glee” fame, made bigger history as she married her partner, Lara Embry at the end of May.  Her partner was then working in psychology at the Florida University.  They have a home in Sarasota, where Embry practices at the Carter Psychology Center, and Lynch stays when she’s not playing the beloved character, Coach Sue Sylvester, in the Fox musical comedy series. As of lately, divorce seems to be on the table for this pair.

Nick Bollettieri, the legendary tennis great, can be seen at the Sarasota Open on Longboat Key, rooting on the up-and-coming players.  He lives on Longboat Key with wife, Cindi, and founded Bradenton’s Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Nick groomed champion Andre Agassi and Monica Seles, and still does some development in the Academy.

Martina Navratilova is considered by some to be one of the best singles, doubles and mixed double players ever to play the courts in the U.S. as well as in other countries.  She has a home in Sarasota and has won the Wimbledon women’s singles nine times and holds a record of having won different titles at Wimbledon over 20 times!

So don’t be surprised to be walking along Main Street on any given day and when you pass someone you do a double-take and say to yourself, “was that really Joe Perry?”

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