A group of local women recently took an overnight trip to see Rosemary Clooney’s home in Augusta.
They thought a ferry ride across the Ohio River would be the trip’s highlight. Shortly after, though, they would trump their river ride with a Hollywood-sized surprise.
Lisa Carrico, Amanda Mattingly, Debbie Collard and Teresa Mattingly got a surprise when Rosemary Clooney’s nephew, George Clooney, walked through the door of his aunt’s home while they were touring.
The women first spotted the movie star while they were checking out the historical home, now owned by Steve Henry and Heather French Henry.
Clooney walked in while they were looking at pictures, and they weren’t sure if what they were seeing was correct.
After double-checking with the tour guide, they discovered it was indeed the famous actor, touring alongside with them.
Amanda Mattingly didn’t see Clooney and his Italian model girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, right away.
She considered walking around the house to find him, but thought better of it.
“I thought, ‘No, I’m not going to be rude. I’m not going to invade their privacy if it really is him,’” she said. “We just stood there and waited.”
Eventually the A-list couple came back into the same room as the local ladies.
“Debbie asked, ‘Can we shake your hand?’” Amanda Mattingly said. “He said, ‘Oh, sure.’”
Feeling bold, Mattingly asked if they could have their picture made with Clooney.
He agreed, and Canalis offered to take the picture.
Canalis had trouble fitting all the ladies and Clooney into the picture, so Clooney made it work.
“Well, he went and hugged us all and he said, ‘Come here,’” Mattingly said. “He hugged us all real close. It was an experience, for sure.”
Teresa Mattingly was impressed with his easy-going attitude.
“He’s just like old home folk,” she said.
Amanda Mattingly agreed.
“He was just easy going, easy to talk to,” Mattingly said.
The group of women were the only ones touring the home besides Clooney and Canalis.
Besides being from Kentucky, they had something else in common with Clooney: they were all seeing Rosemary’s house for the first time.
“He’d never had the opportunity, I guess, to get inside and look around,” Mattingly said.
Once inside, he found some items of interest. One room in the house contained items from his career such as movie posters and costumes.
Also inside were his tennis trophies from high school and the dress worn by his prom date.
“We could hear him yell at his girlfriend, ‘Come here, we’ve got to go upstairs, I’ve got to show you something,’” she said.
Clooney has been working near Augusta in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the upcoming movie, “The March of Ides,” which is why, the women said, he was able to stop by his aunt’s house.
It was good fortune for the group, as they had been planning this trip for some time.
Amanda Mattingly is a big fan of ‘White Christmas,’ a Rosemary Clooney film from 1954.
She had been wanting to see Rosemary’s home during Christmas, but circumstances forced her and her friends to reschedule. They finally made the trip happen this time. As fate would have it, they happened to have an appointment at the same time as Rosemary’s famous nephew.
“We were just in the right place at the right time,” Mattingly said.