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It was October 1990 and my dad was on location in Wilmington, North Carolina, working as a second assistant director on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. My mother, who was hanging out on the set with my dad, had contractions two weeks ahead of schedule. Despite the hurricane watch outside the windows of the hospital, out I came. Born October 12, 1990, I was a Ninja Turtles baby.

Having a dad in “the industry,” as it’s called, added excitement to what was otherwise a pretty normal childhood. My grandpa directed the NBC Nightly News for a short time, and even though he’s in his late 70s, he still writes screenplays. My dad got into the business when he was young. It’s the only thing he’s ever done. He has worked his way up from office PA to producer of one of the most successful shows on television, Grey’s Anatomy.

As laid-back as San Diegans claim to be, the Hollywood stuff is exciting to people. Who doesn’t like hearing the inside scoop on McDreamy’s hair or what really happened when they shot that controversial scene on last week’s episode? Is McSteamy really as hot as he looks on television?

Nothing beats the reaction I get locally when my family comes up in conversation.

“So, Hayley, what do your parents do for a living?”

“My mom is a preschool teacher, and my dad is in the television industry.”

It is not the details of early childhood education that everybody wants to hear about.

“Oh? What does he do?”

“He’s actually working on Grey’s Anatomy right now.”

Then they ask if my dad has worked on other shows they might know.

“He worked on a season of CSI: NY. He also did Fried Green Tomatoes and The Big Lebowski.”

I visited the Lebowski set when I was seven. I remember going to the wardrobe trailer and getting a pair of black ratty sweats and an oversize gray T-shirt. My ten-year-old brother Andrew was getting the same outfit. My dad was on the second unit, already on location at a park in Santa Monica. We spent an afternoon posing for a picture: short kids on the bottom, tall kids at the top. It was much like a class portrait until a PA rolled out a wheelchair and placed it directly to my left. I was down in front. Then an older character actor sat down. Twenty extras joined us. All of a sudden, my dad put bunny ears on the still photographer. I muffled my laughter by biting my lip and bringing my hands up to my stomach. My dad walked up to retrieve us, laughing.

“But, Dad!” I yelled. “They have to retake it. You made me laugh. I probably look so dumb!”

That picture is in The Big Lebowski. And when the camera zooms in close, I look like a little mouse with my arms scrunched up and my face squished.

My brother and I got paid $75 each. We went to Disneyland the next day and spent it all.

In January 2010, my friend Serina and I went to a midnight showing of The Big Lebowski at the Ken Cinema in Kensington.

A guy dressed as Walter — John Goodman’s character — was walking through the crowd, asking people to sign up for the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers mailing list. It’s part of a gag from the movie. As a seven-year-old, I had posed as one of the achievers.

“Good evening, ladies,” said the man in the Walter costume. “Would you like to join the mailing list? We’ll let you know about all the meet-ups and events we do in the area.”

We obliged, and Serina piped up. “You know, Hayley here is an actual Lebowski achiever.”

The guy looked at her. “You mean she’s already signed up?”

“No, no,” Serina said, laughing.

I don’t really like the attention, so I didn’t say anything. But secretly I crave it, so I didn’t stop her.

“She is in the movie. Her dad worked on it, and when they do the shot of the picture, you can see her in the front row.” Serina told this story with great enthusiasm. She was proud to show me off.

“Shut the hell up!”

“I’m serious.”

The Walter look-alike was loving it. He looked at me for confirmation.

“Yep,” I replied, feigning modesty.

He called to his friend. “Jason! Get over here.”

Walter gushed, “Dude, this girl is in the movie! She’s in the picture of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. Her dad worked on the movie.”

Jason stared at me. “Dude. You’re a celebrity! Can we honor you?”

“What do you mean?” I was shocked that this was such a huge deal.

“At the next event we have,” Walter said, “if we can’t get Tara Reid [a Lebowski actress] to come out, would you be willing to be our guest of honor?”

Serina and I were having a hard time keeping straight faces.

I smiled and curtsied. “I would be glad to.”

Walter and Jason high-fived, and Walter said, “Or better yet, would you be willing to get in a boxing match with Tara Reid?”

I had a slight panic attack over how hard I was laughing.

“I don’t know about that.”

Walter had no shame. “Come on! She probably won’t even show up.”

He promised he would email me to work out details. I never heard from him.

While we were watching the movie, during the part where the picture comes on and you can see me, Walter stood up and shouted, “Haaayyyyyllllleeeeyyyyy!”

∗ ∗ ∗

Trips to the set to visit Dad were a constant in my childhood. I have cloudy memories of meeting Tracey Ullman on the set of Tracey Takes On…. My dad reminds me of our Christmas in 1993 when he was working on Wyatt Earp starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, and Dennis Quaid. The set was in New Mexico, where we went skiing and had the traditional Christmas dinner of KFC.

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Comments

Altius March 23, 2011 @ 2:01 p.m.

Cute story, Hayley. Plenty of name-dropping, of course, but it was done in light, pleasant style. Brava.

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chargernation24 March 24, 2011 @ 9:45 a.m.

I don't want to take anything away from your writing skills in particular but this was a huge waste of my time! Why would I want to read about somebody bragging about their parent's job and basically rub it in the face of others. It's a perfect example of the problem with Hollywood, everyone involved thinks that they are hot stuff.

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Jay Allen Sanford March 24, 2011 @ 7:40 p.m.

This young lady had an interesting story to tell, and she told it very well! Enjoyed this feature a bunch ---

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Visduh March 24, 2011 @ 8:07 p.m.

Yeah, babe, you were name-dropping like mad. Now that you've had your fifteen minutes of fame, try doing some serious writing. You might find out that you're good at it.

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SurfPuppy619 March 24, 2011 @ 9:41 p.m.

Chyler Leigh and Chris Lowell wanted to take a picture, and Taye Diggs was upset when he realized he was too late to get in the shot.

Chyler Leigh is so SMOKING HOT!.....Loved her in "Not Another Teen Movie" with Chris Evans ("Captain America", Torch of "Fantastic 4")......

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SurfPuppy619 March 26, 2011 @ 9:10 a.m.

But I am sure it's just as exciting to her as meeting the Brady Bunch would have been to me.

One of the ALL TIME best kids show to ever hit the TV screen.

I watched it every Friday on the ABC kids line up;

1) The Brady Bunch 2) The Patrdige Family 3) Nanny and the Professor

ABC was insane to cancel that line up.......it was GOLD.

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SurfPuppy619 March 27, 2011 @ 10:02 a.m.

David Cassidy during the first 2 years of "The Partridge Family" was BIGGER than the Beatles! He was selling out 50K seat stadiums. That to me is just unbelievable, yet true.

I loved the show (I loved the entire 3 show line up), because me and Danny Bonaduce were about the same age and he was the funniest kid on TV back then, we all wanted to be like Danny Partidge...Susan Day was pretty hot to all of my buddies too, a bonus-sort of like how David Cassidy was to you and millions of girls! Thos ewere awesome times for me.........very special.

TV back then-like everything back then- was so different. We had the three main VHF channels; ABC, NBC and CBS, and a few UHF channels and that was it. And they all went off the air bewteen midnight and 2 AM. Today you have 200 channels and they are on 24/7.

I would not trade those times for anything though.

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SurfPuppy619 March 27, 2011 @ 9:54 p.m.

Oh Mindy-I agree with you TOTALLY, you left out the "Beverly Hill Billies" "I Dream Of Jeannie" and "I Love Lucy" (I still find Lucy as funny today as I did in the 60's growing up watching the re-runs).

And I can still see my FAVORITE comedy shows from the old, old days almost everyday -"The Three Stooges"

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tomjohnston March 29, 2011 @ 11:18 a.m.

Actually Mindy, it's in Bel Air, not Beverly Hills.

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SurfPuppy619 April 6, 2011 @ 6:08 p.m.

The "Kikby Mansion" 750 Bel Air Road, Bel Air. It no longer has the front entrance, from when they filmed the BHB there from 62-65. You go in from an access road to the west, but the home is the same home with the same courtyard and trees from when they filmed there 50 years ago-they totally remodeled the inside, but the BHB never filmed inside. They were no long allowed to film on the property after the 1964/65 season, the third season, sot he only shows the manion are in are the B&W shows, since they switched over to color the year after they stopped filming at th emansion. The mansion was also used in the Jerry Lewis film Cinderfella and the Grace Kelly film High Society (I think it was Grace Kelly).

The mansion has one of the largest parcels of land in Bel Air, something like 6, 7 or 8 acres.

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tomjohnston April 7, 2011 @ 12:32 a.m.

Actually, the Kirkeby Estate is now the Perenchio Estate. It's owned by a billionaire named Jerry Perenchio. I read something about him after Liz Taylor died. He was her agent at one time. He also handled Brando. I think he bought the mansion around 85-86. When he and his wife did an extensive remodel, the got rid of the gate and moved the entrance. You actually don't enter from an access road to the west. The main entrance to the estate is on the north east part of the property about 50 yds south of where Bel Air Road and Nimes road meet, hence the new address, 875 Nimes Road. I think the parcel is 9 or 10 acres and I believe it is the largest privately owned parcel in Bel Air. Perenchio is also supposed to be the largest property owner in Malibu. BTW Grace Kelly was in High Society; it was her last movie.

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SurfPuppy619 April 7, 2011 @ 11:58 a.m.

There is another property down the road that has a multiple acres, I cannot remember the name of the street, but it is not far from the mansion. I would not be surprised if the BHB mansion has the most acres is Bel Air, most are on less than 1 acre, if that.

I have some outside pics of when they remodeled the inside, might put them on flickr.

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tomjohnston April 7, 2011 @ 4:07 p.m.

I think you'd be suprised, surfpuppy619. I'd wager there are more larger parcels than you think. On the west side many of the parcels are smaller and the building is denser there. Although there is a 16 acre parcel, but it's not residential, it's a vineyard. It seems that most of the parcels east of BACC are larger. There are some in upper Bel Air that are pretty big too, but they might not actually be considered Bel Air

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adrian_ar3 March 26, 2011 @ 3:14 p.m.

Hayley tisk tisk tisk!(SMH)somebody slap her please!!! this artical although interesting made me wanna vomit, swallow it, and throw it back up again. you sound like a spoiled little girl "while everyone receives calls from their grand parents and blah get one from grays anatomy star" oh stfu! nobody care. that show sucks by the way along with more then half the work you mentioned your dad to be apart of.(just my opinion) and the way you act towards your co-worker is not right granted she sounds kind of annoying, just tell her no. you dont have to hold a ray of hope over her head like you have some kind of power. please just do San Diego a favor go back to Hollywood with all that mess

P.s. I hope you slip on a Starbucks coffee cup at the mall.

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Jay Allen Sanford March 26, 2011 @ 8:11 p.m.

Mindy brings up an interesting point. I've written many celeb-centered features for the Reader, like My Brunch With Yoko, Why I No Longer Date Porn Stars, and How Not to Interview a Celebrity, a collection of my worst celeb encounters. None of those stories generated such discourteous and dismissive comments --

Is it because of Hayley Rafner's youth that her cover feature inspired such vitriolic response from chargernation24 and adrian_ar3? Is she somehow not allowed the latitude of Reader columnists like Duncan Shepherd, Jeff Smith, myself, and other staffers prone to first-person pop culture accounts rife with "name dropping"?

In any event, I second Visduh's suggestion that Miss Rafner pursue more writing opportunities -- if this article is a fair indication, her work may well turn up again in these pages and/or in other publications well worth a read ---

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SurfPuppy619 March 27, 2011 @ 10:04 a.m.

I agre with you Mindy, there is nothing wrong with being proud and sharing your experiences.

And you're never going to please everyone.

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FlyingOwl13 March 27, 2011 @ 9:55 p.m.

This was an enjoyable story to read and I agree with Mindy about Hayley's enthusiasm being exhilarating.

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chargernation24 April 6, 2011 @ 5:51 p.m.

Okay, first of all, nobody is going to write a story about hanging out with their teachers after class. If the purpose of this story is not to show off then please tell me that it is. Also, I'm not here to discourage anyone, as I did write "I don't want to take anything away from your writing skills in particular" before. Apparently I'm not allowed to have or voice my opinion. Sorry Mindy, I guess I missed the "You can only post comments if you loved this story" button.

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ItsJustMe June 8, 2011 @ 5:56 p.m.

I know I am way late to the party but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I too have had experience with "The Industry" and I know exactly how she feels. I dont think she was name dropping, she was pointing out who she has met, much like any of us would do if we met celebrities. I personally would love to hear more. I am sure she has a ton of stories she can share.

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