Celebrities tell us who they'd most like to spend a day with

  • John Ratzenberger would love to spend a day with the ultimate inventor Benjamin Franklin.

    John Ratzenberger would love to spend a day with the ultimate inventor Benjamin Franklin. ILLUSTRATION BY RICHARD WESTGARD

  • Think spending a day with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd would be fun? Comedian Michael Ian Black does.

    Think spending a day with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd would be fun? Comedian Michael Ian Black does.

Published: 12/27/2007 12:02 AM | Updated: 12/27/2007 7:25 AM

If you could spend a day with someone -- anyone -- living or dead, who would it be?

It's a tough question to answer off the top of your head, yet we asked it to many of the celebrities we interviewed in 2007.

Some of their responses made us laugh. Others made us nod in agreement. A few were completely unexpected, even off the wall.

As you'll see, their answers ran the gamut from Moses to Mozart to Groucho Marx.

John Ratzenberger, "Cheers" actor: Benjamin Franklin. He was the ultimate inventor. Benjamin Franklin not only (discovered) the principles of electricity with the famous kite and the key, he invented the bifocal eyeglasses, he invented the wood-burning stove, the Franklin stove … he invented the insurance company, he invented the public library, the modern fire department he invented. The list is quite long.

Lucy Lawless, actress/singer: Jesus' mother. I want to ask her how she feels about things. And I could ask her, "So, what was he like as a teen?"

Halle Berry, actress: Dorothy Dandridge. She's someone I admire. She's been an inspiration to me. Had she not lived and provided that inspiration to me, I'm not sure I would be experiencing my life the way I am. I would love to pick her brain and understand in a real way what her struggle was. I would love to thank her. I would love to let her know who I am and how her struggles have not been in vain. I'd love her to know how things have changed since she left here.

Donny Osmond, singer: Moses. I would love to know how he parted the Red Sea. I'd say, "Moses, we gotta do lunch."

Robert Redford, actor/director: Ted Williams. I'd talk to him about batting. I am left-handed and he was left-handed.

Vanna White, game show hostess: Dolly Parton. I just love the way she is. She seems so down to earth and so sweet.

Geoffrey Edwards, author: Abraham Lincoln. That's far and away the easiest question I've ever been asked because it took dozens of brilliant founding fathers to create the country, but one man preserved it. Plus, the guy was supposedly a great dinner guest, and would go to any expense to get a laugh out of you at a party, pratfalls included.

Margaret Cho, comedian: Billie Jean King. She's a historical figure and an amazing pioneer for gay rights and for women.

Mark-Alan Harmon, celebrity stylist: Tina Turner! She represents the independent spirit. The way she handled the Ike situation … it was all about personal integrity and her future.

George Thorogood, musician: Living, I'd like to spend one day with Hillary Clinton. Because at one time in her life, she was the most powerful person and I'd like to talk to that person. From the past, the one person I'd like to spend a day with is Jesus Christ, and I'll tell you why. He's arguably the most famous person in history, and as a history buff I'd be interested in meeting him. But I'd also like to say to him, "Take some advice. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself."

Jo Dee Messina, country music singer: Princess Diana. When I was growing up, I had seen her wedding and she was the ultimate dream life.

Gabe Kaplan, actor/writer: Groucho Marx. I had met him and … one time, I visited him in the hospital. I asked him to help me come up with a name for the new comedy club I wanted to open. He couldn't think of anything. But then he called me at home later that night and said, "Club Foot." He was still funny, even at the end.

Michael Ian Black, comedian: Living or dead? If I had to sit at a grave all day, I wouldn't really be into that … but I guess I'd like to spend the day with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in 1976. I want to do the drugs, I want to witness the genius and I want to stay out till all hours and eat a lot of food.

Don Rickles, comedian: Frank Sinatra. He created an atmosphere of great excitement and great class. We traveled the world together.

Cynthia Rowley, fashion designer/reality TV judge: My immediate reaction is my family. But after spending a day with them, I might say, "Get me out of here!"

Paula Poundstone, comedian: I've given this a lot of thought, actually, because I don't have a lot of real friends. So I have to do a lot of fantasy in this way. I was kinda thinking Frederick Douglass, and I'll tell you why. I don't want one more educator to test my daughter on whether she's an auditory learner or a visual learner, because it doesn't make a (expletive) of difference. (Douglass) is educated himself, he's a runaway slave.

Jen Schefft, reality TV star: JFK Jr. Oh, he was so cute and so smart and so interesting! He just seemed like such a nice man.

Anson Williams, actor/director/entrepreneur: Thomas Jefferson. I've read so much about him, it's like I know him. He's prophet-like. He's so connected to the natural law and human nature.

Carlos Mencia, comedian: Aristotle. I would like to tell him that all the things he talked about with regards to humanity and mankind and human nature are pretty much exactly the same thousands of years later. It would be a great conversation to have with him, because he would be listening to me. How cool is that? Aristotle would be going, "What is going on, and how do people act, and what do they do, and what is the world like?" There's something kind of cool about me looking at Aristotle and going, "Hey, relax, bro. We're going to get through it. Let me tell you."

Danielle de Niese, opera soprano: The first person I would be curious about would be Mozart, but that's like such a, you know, nerdy thing to say. Definitely I would be interested in Cleopatra. That would be pretty amazing just to know her as a person, because I feel like I know her in so many ways by being in her skin in the opera.

Shélan O'Keefe, 13-year-old star of "Grace Is Gone": Alfred Hitchcock. I am simply in love with his work. I love everything about Hitchcock movies. They've held up all these years and they're still better than a lot of movies being made today.

Jesus and "my wife" were the two most popular answers to our question.

Who answered, "Jesus Christ":

Rick Tramonto, celebrity chef

Linda Evans, actress

Dominique Dawes, Olympic gymnast

George Thorogood, musician

Who answered, "my wife":

Bill Cosby, comedian/author

Weird Al Yankovic, singer

Ted Nugent, musician/activist

Fred Savage, actor/director