Jimmy Star knows all about pop culture, celebrities and living life to its fullest
Jimmy Star has almost five million listeners or viewers tune into his hit show The Jimmy Show with Ron Russell each week and once you hear or see an episode for yourself it is immediately recognizable that they have the power to make anything funny and interesting.
Not to put too fine a point on it, he was voted the fifth most influential radio personality to follow on social media and there is no wonder why. He is unique, quick-witted and fun.
Jimmy Star acts, writes books, serves as a publicist, was a noted fashion designer who dressed some of the world's biggest stars and hosts one of the most popular radio and web series in the world. He works his buns off, but only on things that he enjoys doing.
This South Florida native studied finance in school and did earn a doctorate, hence his moniker Dr. Jimmy Star, but his charming personality and love of all things pop culture took him another way.
He loves people, probably no one more than his husband and professional partner an industry guru on all things Old Hollywood, Ron Russell, but he tries hard to find something interesting about everyone. His kindness and generosity of spirit come through easily. While he'd rather lend a hand than throw shade, he can do that with panache as well, which is why he is so different.
His show The Jimmy Star Show with Ron Russell debuted in May 2011 and it is extraordinary for many reasons. First, it is the first hit syndicated show to feature a gay married couple as co-hosts. Next, it seamlessly blends Old Hollywood with what's going on now. And it is super funny and easy to tune in to as it airs on Wednesdays on W4CY.com from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Pacific time and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. To watch live go to W4CY.com and hit the iTV button.
It also steams just about everywhere: Roku, YouTube, Sound Cloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher and iTunes.
Jimmy Star spoke with Michelle Tompkins for TheCelebrityCafe.com about, well everything. We spoke of his origins, how he got into fashion, how he met his husband Ron Russell, what he loves about his show, who he loves to talk to, why he sometimes prefers talking to people connected with the entertainment industry, his passion for horror and superhero memorabilia, what he does for fun and more.
Michelle Tompkins: You're a publicist too so you do a lot of things.
Jimmy Star: Yes, I do a lot of things. I'm an actor, publicist, I work for a record label, I'm a celebrity clothing designer, I host my own television and radio show, and I was voted the fifth most influential radio personality to follow on social media.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, that's exciting. Yeah, I love that you're such a Renaissance man. It's been fun to study up on you.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, you know what? You've gotta have fun doing everything and you know what? Nowadays it's difficult to make money doing any one thing so I do a much of different things and they all are inter-related. I'm also an author. Forgot, I'm an author too.
Michelle Tompkins: I know that too. I have questions about your books as well [laughter].
Jimmy Star: There you go. Okay. Well, I'm ready when you're ready.
Michelle Tompkins: Okay. Well, you're known as Dr. Jimmy Star. Is doctor just an honorary title or are you actually a doctor?
Jimmy Star: I have a Doctorate of Education.
Michelle Tompkins: Great.
Jimmy Star: So yeah, so I am a doctor. I really just started that such a long time ago and too many people followed me and if I changed it, I wouldn't be able to do it. So I've just kept it and branded it everywhere.
Michelle Tompkins: I understand. That makes sense.
Jimmy Star: Yeah.
Michelle Tompkins: So let's go to the beginning. Where are you from?
Jimmy Star: I'm from Florida. I was born in Miami. I went to school in West Palm Beach and I went to College in Gainsville. When I graduated I moved to Fort Lauderdale and then I lived in South Florida my whole life until five years ago where I moved to Pennsylvania and then four months ago I moved to Palm Springs, California.
Michelle Tompkins: And why did you go to Palm Springs?
Jimmy Star: I'm married, I'm gay. I'm married, my husband used to live here. It's very entertainment industry oriented. Lots of people live here. A lot of people who have come on our TV shows who Skype in have houses here and we wanted to come to California to help build the show and to build my PR business, and two years ago we got nominated to be on the ballot for the Emmy Awards. I'm hoping to expand and make the show bigger by coming here. I didn't want to live in LA, it's a little bit too much for me. Palm Springs is very laid back and nice.
Michelle Tompkins: And very, very hot.
Jimmy Star: Yes. It is very hot, but you know what? I'm from Florida and we don't have any humidity here so it's not hot like when it's 113 degrees here, it's hot, but you don't sweat.
Michelle Tompkins: Like 80 degrees will make you feel better. When its 80 degrees in Florida or New York you feel like you're going to die.
Jimmy Star: That's right and you get out of the pool here when it's 110 degrees and you're actually cold, it's chilly. I can't explain it. If you would have told me that. My husband told me that when he moved here. When you get out of the pool you'll be chilly. I was like, ‘Oh, you're full of shit. That'll never happen.’ But it really is true [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Now tell me about your childhood.
Jimmy Star: Well, I grew up in South Florida. As a kid, I was an athlete. I played tennis and up until I got into college I was a competitive tennis player and I traveled all around the United States playing tennis. And then I went off to college and I wasn't good enough to start for the school that I wanted to go to so I kind of quit and just played tennis while I was in college and joined a fraternity and had a good time.
Tennis was my whole life. I always thought I'd be a professional tennis player, but just didn't work out. I was good, but not that good [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: As is the case with a lot of people. Now, are you following the tennis matches right now?
Jimmy Star: Not at all. You know what? I played for a couple years when I got out of college and now that I moved to California I'm hoping to start playing it again, but I don't follow it at all. Not even a little bit. I don't know anybody. My college roommate my best friend all growing up, he's got a daughter, and I follow her a little bit because she's 14 and she's really really good. And so he's always calling me and asking me tennis questions because I know a lot about it, I'm just not participating in it at the moment.
Michelle Tompkins: Fair enough. And tell me about your educational background. Where did you go to school?
Jimmy Star: I went to the University of Florida. I'm a Gator, and I was in a fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and I had a great time, and I played intramural tennis and dated.
I knew there was something different, but I dated girls and everything all through college. And then I got out of college and moved to where I lived in Fort Lauderdale, or Hollywood, Florida first. And believe it or not, that's where I kind of figured out that I was actually gay. I knew there was something weird and different, I just didn't know what [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Okay.
Jimmy Star: Believe it or not, I went to a gay bar in New Orleans with my roommate and his girlfriend, and her gay brother, and that was the first time I even knew what gay was. I was like, ‘Oh my god, there's all these like guys and they're like dancing together and kissing and hugging.’ Because you don't really see that. You know I'm old, first of all. I'm in my mid-50s [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: You're not that old, but yeah.
Jimmy Star: Yeah [laughter]. But that's what I did. So I went to the University of Florida, I got a degree in finance, and then continued my education, then I moved to Hollywood, Florida. I don't do anything I went to school for whatsoever. I'm a community host, a radio host, and a clothing designer, and an author and a publicist [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: A little bit of everything. But at least you can try to balance your own checkbook, which is a plus then.
Jimmy Star: Oh, absolutely. No problems whatsoever. You got to love it.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, did you want to be an actor? Was that your first calling?
Jimmy Star: No, not at all. I'm not even a good actor. I get put in a lot of things only because I have good promotional skills. So I'm not delusional where I think I'm a great actor. But believe it or not, and this is a stupid story, but I used to always watch CSI Miami. And that guy from CSI Miami, David Caruso, was on there, and he really, in my opinion, I guess I need to say, I don't think he's a very good actor. And so one day I was watching, and I have all these friends that are actors, and I was like, ‘He's the same, it doesn't matter whatever you see him in, he's the exact same character, he's not really an actor, he just plays himself. And so I bet I could do that.’ And so I looked for some auditions.
I booked my first eight auditions, and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I could do this a little bit,’ but once I started hosting radio and television, then I liked that. I prefer to be a host way more than I prefer to be actually acting.
Jimmy Star finds his calling as a host
Michelle Tompkins: But what drew you to hosting in the first place?
Jimmy Star: You know what? Remember that Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the first time it came out? Well, they did a radio version that Y100 and Z100 in New York, and it was Y100 in Miami and Z100 in New York, I guess they were the same, back with Kenny and Footy back in the day. This was before the guy who's on there now. And they did a radio version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and I was a celebrity clothing designer, so I was the celebrity fashion guy that taught everybody how to dress. And I was on the radio every day for three months. And I had a blast doing it.
Michelle Tompkins: Tell me a little bit about your fashion designs.
Jimmy Star: I used to make all one-of-a-kind clothing. Really wild stuff, dressed mostly like rock stars and horror movie icons. I did some costume design for films. I dressed like Madonna and Elton John and George Clinton, and all the horror people, all the people from Saw, and Malcolm McDowell, and Clive Barker and Lance Henriksen, all the major people, David Arquette, Freddy Kreuger. Basically, all sorts of the different people. I dressed a lot of musicians and I made all cool, one-of-a-kind clothes and I was featured in Women's Wear Daily and it was a great thing. I loved it to death. It was really, really cool.
I stopped doing it—my building got eminent domained. It was a long story, but basically, the government illegally eminent domained my property and I lost a lot, a lot of money. And when I lost the money I was already doing radio and I just decided to— since it cost a lot of money to be an independent clothing designer, I decided to go into entertainment in other areas and come back to that when I'm a little bit more flush.
Michelle Tompkins: All right. Well, what do you love about the radio?
Jimmy Star: You know what? It's just fun. Everything I do that I love, I do because it's fun. Because if it's not fun, I don't do it. I've already had all the jobs where I made a lot of money and busted my ass but didn't have any fun. So now I'm doing all the jobs that are fun, and maybe I don't make as much money, but I'm enjoying myself and enjoying all the different things that I have the opportunity to do. I get to do a lot of really cool things.
Michelle Tompkins: It seems like you do. Now, what do you love about collectible sculptures?
Jimmy Star: You know what? Again, it's just fun. I collect action figures, I guess, is the best way to say it. I have the action figure of anybody who's ever been on my TV show. If they have an action figure, I have it. Some of the people that have been on our shows have four or five action figures and so I have all of those. But I've always collected action figures. I have four-foot-tall Batmans and Darth Vaders and seven-foot-tall Jason from Friday the 13th. I'm a big horror movie fan lover. My office is just filled with pop culture memorabilia. I've always just loved it. I love music, I love movies, horror movies, movies with kids in them, superhero movies. Yeah, I like all the really cheesy stuff [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah, I do, too. One of my favorite interviews ever was with Glenn Hetrick, one of the guys who is a judge on Face Off and he's the makeup designer for Star Trek and a couple of other things. He was a really neat guy. Nice guy, too.
Jimmy Star: I love that. I think it's just so much fun. I have all kinds of autographs, merchandise from different people that I've met or hung out with or dressed, possibly, in my office. I just think it's fun. I just love all of it.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what's your favorite thing to do when you're on the red carpet?
Jimmy Star: Smile and wave [laughter]. Get a lot of good pictures. I don't know. I've done a lot since I've done a lot since moving to California. I've got another one Saturday. I did three of them in the last two weeks. But, you know what? For me, the biggest point is to get to meet other people who do the kinds of things that I do and network and just meet other interesting people who are very involved in pop culture the way I am, because those are the people that I usually enjoy meeting the most.
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah, people with similar interests, that makes sense.
Jimmy Star: Right. Yeah, and it's easy to have conversations that way. Most of the people that I hang out with and most of the people that I talk to and do business with, everybody's kind of in the entertainment industry. And it's easier for people in the entertainment industry to talk with other people in the entertainment industry.
But sometimes it's harder to talk to people that have more mainstream jobs, I guess. Because I can't talk about going, ‘Oh, I went on a red carpet and I met this person, this person, this person.’ It might sound like I'm name-dropping, but I'm actually not, it's just what actually happened [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: What did you do yesterday? Well, I met this person, this person, this person.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, I met the girl from Star Wars. We actually had coffee and it was a lot of fun. And sometimes it had the potential to come off not always good and a lot of times I don't even mention their name so I don't get myself in trouble. But I feel like people who appreciate pop culture, who love pop culture, who are either working in it or just have an appreciation for it are way easier to talk to than maybe the guy next door who's a doctor or a lawyer or a plumber or something like that.
Michelle Tompkins: That makes sense unless the doctor, lawyer, plumber love pop culture too.
Jimmy Star: RIght, unless they're a pop culture nerd too. Correct. You got it.
Jimmy Star meets and falls in love with Ron Russell
Michelle Tompkins: Now how did you connect with Ron Russell?
Jimmy Star: I picked him up in a mall. He's my husband.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, he's your husband. Okay. I thought he was your radio partner.
Jimmy Star: He's my husband. And we're the first syndicated gay married couple's show in the world. And we've been on the air for seven years and I actually picked him up in a mall because he was really cute. I tried to actually. He told me to go take a hike but then I saw him again a couple weeks later and it took me a while but I won him over. He had a popular television show here in Palm Springs and in California called Set the Record Straight where he interviewed all the legends of Hollywood.
He was friends with all the legends like Elizabeth Taylor and Betty Davis. And he was best friends with Jane Russell and he interviewed Tab Hunter who just recently passed. Lauren Bacall and all the major people so he's kind of a Turner Classic Movies expert. And he had that show and I had a radio show and we got together and joined forces. I went from the Jimmy Star Show to the Jimmy Star Show with Ron Russell.
Michelle Tompkins: Okay. Well, what's the best thing about working with your husband?
Jimmy Star: He's 78 years old even though he only looks like he's in his 50s. So he comes with a whole knowledge of old Hollywood. So basically he covers all the older Hollywood and I cover the 30 to 55-year-old Hollywood. So working with him, between the two of us we have a vast knowledge of movies and radio and film and television and everything spanning 50, 60 years.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what's the hardest thing about working with your husband?
Jimmy Star: We're from two different generations and sometimes we don't look at things the same. Because I'm super into modern technology and he's a little bit old school [laughter]. But he does it all pretty well though, everything considering. We don't have too many problems and we have a lot of fun. We have different ideas of who a big star is because he's from the area where the big stars are Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant. Those are big stars and all these other people that we have nowadays they're all talented working actors but they're not the same kind of stars they had back in the '50s.
Michelle Tompkins: I completely agree with that. I have probably have more in common Ron [laughter]. Now, where can we find your show?
Jimmy Star: Well, we're live on W4CY.com on Wednesdays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Pacific time and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. And then just go to W4CY.com and hit the iTV button and you can watch us live. Guests Skype in from all over the world from wherever they are to do the interviews and then we have our own channel on Roku and we have a YouTube channel. We're on Sound Cloud, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, iTunes, We're on all the different platforms.
Michelle Tompkins: Which awards has your show won?
Jimmy Star: We haven't won a whole lot of awards. We've been nominated for a lot of awards but we haven't won them. We got nominated to be on the ballot for the Emmys. We came in third place for the Shorty Awards a couple of times. We have more accolades because we've been featured in the Huffington Post and we were on the cover of Get Out! Magazine, which is the largest gay magazine in New York City. We had the cover of that, and we're always featured in a lot of articles all over the place and on different entertainment sites around the world.
We haven't won them yet but we're going to win them now because you've got to remember we're like a little independent show and all the shows that we're competing against are backed by NBC and CBS and all these big people. And here we are a little show, independently produced with two people with four million viewers a week.
Michelle Tompkins: Wow. Well, it's branded as the number one web show in the world and you have four million?
Jimmy Star: Between four and five. Right now it's averaging about four point five million.
Michelle Tompkins: Wow. Well, tell me about your show for people who haven't seen it.
Jimmy Star: It's basically a conversation show so it's an interview show but it's not like I ask a question and I get an answer. It's more we start a conversation like if we knew you and if you were sitting in our living room and we're having coffee and cake. And so the conversations sometimes get super wild. Ron is very crazy and he just comes off with the great questions right off the bat like. A lot of times he doesn't know who the people are so he doesn't research anybody. And it's a conversation. It's promotional because celebrities come on if they have a new movie and then we always make sure we talk about that. But depending on how answers go, the conversations could go all over the place. So it's very wild, unscripted, unfiltered, unscripted, just talking with whoever we have on the show.
We have a new show, too, it's called Around the Table with Ron and Jimmy. We've only done one episode so far and that's just basically a conversation where we have between eight and ten celebrities sitting around the table and we just start talking about the entertainment industry.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, that sound like fun.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, we've got one episode that we just put out, our first one.
Michelle Tompkins: Is that one on YouTube or Hulu? Or where can I find that one?
Jimmy Star: It's on YouTube.
Jimmy Star dishes on favorite and least favorite interviews
Michelle Tompkins: All right. Well, who are some of your favorite people that you've interviewed?
Jimmy Star: John Barrowman is my favorite. I don't know if you know who John Barrowman is or not. But John Barrowman was in Dr. Who. He's the lead guy in Torchwood, if you like Dr. Who and that sci-fi stuff and he's played the Dark Archer on Arrow on the CW. And then he's also in that Legends, Hero, Legends, something like that.
Yeah. He's also in one of those. And we got 10 million plays on that. That was our best one but we've had good people on— Chad Lindberg from the Fast and Furious has been a great one. Malcolm McDowell was a great one.
Michelle Tompkins: He seems like a neat guy.
Jimmy Star: Yeah. He's a neat guy. Yeah, well, pretty much everybody. We've recently had Karyn White who was the first female to have three number one hits off the R & B charts from her debut album. We just had her on the show and she was totally amazing. By the way, if you want to interview her I will set that up.
Michelle Tompkins: I do. I do. I do. I do. I do. I do. I do. No, I'm serious. My dad actually plays “Superwoman” at least once a week. She's really a favorite.
Jimmy Star: She's got new stuff that just came out. A new movie that just came out, a new single that came out, a soundtrack for it that just came out. So she's like super great. I'm trying to think who are other good-- isn't that funny when you asked me who are good guests, I can't think— Linden Ashby was a lot of fun because he's from Teen Wolf and I love Teen Wolf.
Fran Drescher was great. She was a lot of fun. Actually, Charles Shaughnessy was really good [laughter]. Patrick Fabian was really good, from Better Call Saul. And John Carroll Lynch, who is in everything, American Horror Story, and he was in The Walking Dead. I like The Walking Dead people a lot. Illeana Douglas was really good. Stephen Lang from Avatar was really good. I like the soap opera people, so we've had all of them, Tristan Rogers, Michael Damian, Crystal Chappell. Jon Lindstrom was a good one. Caroline Williams, the horror scream queen from a bunch of stuff is a really good one. Grant Cramer who was really great. I really enjoyed him because he’s in Killer Clowns From Outerspace. That's kind of a dumb movie but he has just a unique life because now he's a producer and his mom was married to Howard Hughes, and his godfather is Cary Grant.
Michelle Tompkins: That's quite a lineage.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, so he has some lineage. So that was really good. Jillian Armenante was really good, from Girl Interrupted. I don't know, I'm just looking at pictures of people who've been on, but we've had some really great—really really great people on the show.
Michelle Tompkins: Now do the celebrities come to you or do you go them, or is it kind of a combination between the two?
Jimmy Star: It's a combination of both. When we first started I had to kind of go to them. Now, more people know who we are so a lot of them come to me. But I have to have two guests a week, so we're always looking for good guests. But we're always looking for them.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh good. They're always are interesting people with interesting stories.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, we always have good ones. And I have to say, because we've got over 500 shows, and realistically we've only had two or three people who were like what I would consider dud-y. I'm not going to tell you who they are, but... [laughter]
You know another really good one that everybody should pay attention to is James Faulkner. He was in Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, he just did that move Atomic Blond with Charlize Theron, and now he just did the Apostle Paul movie where he played Apostle Paul, which I didn't see that one yet, but he was super amazing.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, well, good to know. Now, who are five people on your wish-list to interview that you haven't got around to interviewing yet?
Jimmy Star: You mean like the ones I've asked but they haven't responded or said no [laughter]?
Michelle Tompkins: Welcome to my world…
Jimmy Star: Yeah, I have to tell you one and I don't even know why I can't get her, but Molly Ringwald is my favorite. She's my favorite on my hit-list, and I can't get Molly Ringwald and I'm not sure why because we have literally big celebrities and she was really big at a time, but she just blows me off every time. So Molly Ringwald. I would love to get Charlize Theron. I would like to have Michelle Dockery which, I don't have contact information because she's not on Twitter, but I would love Michelle Dockery.
Michelle Tompkins: I love her.
Jimmy Star: Yes. Let's see. Isn't that funny, you know whenever you get put on the spot and then you can't think. But I think I would like Lady Gaga.
I'm a big Christina Aguilera fan but I'm also I'm afraid that if I interviewed her and she wasn't nice then it would like blow my whole everything [laughter].
Because you always have to worry about that too because once in a while you interview people and then they're nothing like what they thought. But I'm a big '80s person so I would actually like to get everybody from the '80s. Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez.
Michelle Tompkins: Rob Lowe and the rest of the Brat Pack?
Jimmy Star: Rob Lowe, I would love to get all those kind of people because I'm really like an '80s guy.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, is there anyone that you do not want to talk to or will not be invited back to your show?
Jimmy Star: Let's see. Besides the two or three that were really boring—you know we've had other people that weren't phenomenal interviews but they weren't terrible either. You know a lot of times I look at the results because sometimes the people that I think are popular end up not being very popular. And sometimes the people who I think nobody's going to listen to and then everybody listens to.
Michelle Tompkins: And I agree. There's always a little bit of a gray area, what's going to be good and what isn't.
Jimmy Star: Yes. So we have shows that have not done as well as I thought they would do. I also like all the superhero people. So I would like Chris Hemsworth, not Robert Downey, Jr. so much but Chris Hemsworth. Who's the guy you plays the Hulk? My husband loves him.
Michelle Tompkins: Mark Ruffalo?
Jimmy Star: Yeah. Mark Ruffalo. I would like Mark Ruffalo. Yeah, those are like the big ones. I would really like Chris Pratt. I'm a big Guardians of the Galaxy fan.
Michelle Tompkins: He seems like a sweetheart too, actually.
Jimmy Star: Yeah. So he would be a good one. Sean Connery but I heard he's not too gay-friendly so maybe not.
And Chloe Grace Moretz for Girls, too. I think Chloe Grace Moretz is like super talented, awesome. It's kind of funny, I'm looking around my office at all my action figures and except for the— I've already met almost all these people, except for Jason Momoa. Oh my god. I would love to meet Jason Momoa and interview him. Aquaman's my favorite. I'm watching this $5000, 6-foot statue on eBay, which I cannot afford, at the moment. But if I could afford it I would buy his Aquaman statue in two seconds.
Michelle Tompkins: Well he's also going to be at Comic-Con in New York in October. Have you any favorite celebrity run-ins that you'd like to discuss?
Jimmy Star: You know what, well, we were in Pennsylvania and we went to this really cool event, it was for a TV series and one of the people there was Kathy Sledge across the room. And my husband, who has met every major—I mean, major, major stars on the planet, and Angelina Jolie grew up in his house when she was little.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, wow.
Jimmy Star: She was friends with his daughter. And Liv Tyler, and all these cool people. And so he's really-- he's the one who was friends with Jane Russell, and he knew Elizabeth Taylor, and Bette Davis, and all these people. And he got so excited to meet Kathy Sledge. He was jumping up and down and hollering, ‘Jimmy, you've got to come here. You've got to meet Kathy Sledge.’ And Kathy Sledge is from Sister Sledge, ‘We are Family…”
Michelle Tompkins: I know. I get the reference.
Jimmy Star: It is a gay, iconic song for us LGBTQ people. And so he was so excited, and to see him so excited was really cool and a lot of fun. I met the Backstreet Boys on a red carpet of an event, and I've always liked boybands so that was kind of a big deal for me. And I met Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro on a red carpet, and they were really cool. I met David Arquette after I had sent him some clothes. And a picture of him wearing my clothes were in People magazine, and then I actually got to meet him, and that was kind of fun. And Exposé is my favorite group, and so meeting them was a big deal for me because that's one of my favorite girl singing groups of the late '80s and early '90s. And they actually became really good friends of mine. One of the singers, Gioia Bruno, is a really good friend of mine now.
Michelle Tompkins: Wow. That's great. Now, you're into fashion, so who are some designers that you particularly like right now?
Jimmy Star: I always like the avant-garde, even though now I'm old, and fat, and I can't wear it [laughter]. But I'm a big Vivienne Westwood fan. I think she's probably one of my favorites. I still wear a lot of my own clothes that I had made, because I had a whole bunch of them. But as far as your more avant-garde designers, John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood. Those are probably my two favorites. Now I have to wear more traditional stuff. And because I'm older, I wear a lot of Ralph Lauren and things kind of like that, that are a little bit more conservative. It’s very difficult if you're dressed really avant-garde and you're old, like me. You don't get very many TV hosting jobs that way, everybody wants you to look normal [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Now, how many books have you written?
Jimmy Star: Well, let me go to my Amazon thing. I have written a bunch of short stories. I like horror, so I've written a bunch of horror short stories. Then I put a bunch of them together in one book, also. I have a book called The Beaumonts: The Kentucky Bourbon Series, and I'm trying to turn that into a web series.
I have a writing partner called Bobby Collins and we write everything together, so when you see it has two names on all of them, because it's just more fun to write somebody and have somebody else to help promote the whole thing, too.
I have a book that's a lot of short stories that are all put together, and it is called Dreamscapes: Monsters, Misery and Mayhem, and that's got a whole bunch of different books in it. My first short story that I wrote was called Belladonna: A Vampire Journal. And it won the Charles Dickens Award for best short story.
Michelle Tompkins: Congratulations. That's good.
Jimmy Star: Thank you. And then I have a book I did on Charlie Chaplin that was turned into a documentary. And then I have all these other short stories. And I guess that's it. Oh, I did a book on Presidential Inaugural Addresses. That one's kind of boring.
Michelle Tompkins: That's a little off-brand.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, it's off-brand. Devil's Bluff is a great story. It would make a great movie. And Belladonna would make a great movie. And The Beaumonts is kind of like Dallas or something like that, except for that it's set in the world of Bourbon in Kentucky.
Michelle Tompkins: Well, you did so much stuff. Tell me what your schedule is like during the week?
Jimmy Star: I get up at 6:00 a.m. because I moved here from the East Coast, and I still work with a lot of people on the East Coast, so I try to work on East Coast time and six o'clock for me is nine in the morning there where everybody gets started. And I basically work to 5:00 p.m. my time. Then I do stuff with my husband Monday through Friday at night. And when he goes to bed I get on Twitter and do all my social media stuff [laughter]. I look for great publications and cool people to interview and find cool people to interview. PR clients. So I basically work all the time. Because for me, it's not really work, it's fun. I love it so much. I love everything I'm doing so much that I don't really consider it work.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, are you going to Comic-Con?
Jimmy Star: I am not going to Comic-Con. It's actually this weekend coming up I think. I'm going to the Santa Barbara Film and Fashion Festival Red Carpet event on Saturday in the same area so we may try to go to one of the days.
I can't stand those big crowds like that. I don't mind a couple of thousand people, but you're talking hundreds of thousands of people. It's a little bit too much. I'm past the point where I would go up on a booth and pay somebody for their autographs. I'm used to being the one sitting behind and talking to them while they're doing the autographs as we leave when it's over and going for lunch [laughter]. I'm a fan who is also a contemporary. And so I really can't go to those things. I have to do more intimate type ways to meet cool people because it's just too much. You just can't breathe when there's that many people [laughter].
Jimmy Star talks things to do for fun, favorite movies and TV shows
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah, it's true. Now, what do like to do for fun?
Jimmy Star: I play tennis. I do social media for fun because I enjoy it. I like to go antique shopping looking for old toys and old action figures. I do tennis, and I go swimming. My husband likes to take drives, so we go basically driving to other towns to see what kinds of things are out there since I'm new to California, and I'm not familiar with very many places. Movies. We go to a lot of movies. There's a thing called MoviePass.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, Movie Pass. People love MoviePass.
Jimmy Star: I just found out about MoviePass two weeks ago. So I've seen five movies since I got it in the last week [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: That's getting your money's worth.
Jimmy Star: It's the greatest thing ever. We're going to go tonight and see that new Dwayne Johnson one about the skyscraper. I think it's called Skyscraper.
Michelle Tompkins: Yep, yep. Die Hard with the Rock [laughter].
Jimmy Star: Yeah, and Neve Campbell. I love Neve Campbell from Scream.
Michelle Tompkins: I haven't seen her in years…
Jimmy Star: I haven't either. And she's in it. I'm so happy she's back to a big blockbuster thing yeah.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, which shows are you watching these days?
Jimmy Star: You know what? I watch a lot of shows. Right now, I'm watching Night Shift because I'm on Netflix and I was just watching it. And I love S.W.A.T., the new S.W.A.T. that came out. Riverdale is probably one of my favorites. Do you watch Riverdale?
Michelle Tompkins: I do. It's really fun. And Molly's in that too.
Jimmy Star: I know and I like Riverdale a lot. Let me go into my Netflix. I like all the superhero stuff but a lot of them I only watch the first season and then, I don't know, somehow something happens and I don't like it as much in the second season. In the past, I was always big fan of True Blood and I kind of like the stuff that's kind of either horror-y or superhero-y but I love medical shows too. There’s a new one called The Good Doctor.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, that's the best show of the new season I think.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, I watch The Good Doctor and then there's another one called The Resident I like a lot.
Michelle Tompkins: That one's dark. I kind of like it.
Jimmy Star: Yeah, I like that one too. And then there's another show. Oh, I like the Chicago one? Not the med one, the police one with Jason Beghe. Chicago. I'm not sure what that one is. It's on Hulu. I have all the different things. So I have Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. So we have all of them. Let's see. I love Downton Abby. You know they're making a movie now?
Michelle Tompkins: We just wrote about it this week. I'm so excited.
Jimmy Star: I am so excited about that too. You just can't even imagine [laughter]. I'm watching Godless. Oh, I love How to Get Away with Murder.
Michelle Tompkins: Okay. I love that you really like TV. That's great.
Jimmy Star: I love Blue Bloods a lot because I think Tom Selleck is one of the hottest men on the planet. How to Get Away with Murder. I think The Defenders is okay and Punisher is okay but I really like Daredevil by itself and Jessica Jones by itself. Orange is the New Black is getting ready to come out with a new season. It's great.
Frankie and Grace, that's a great one. Let's see. I guess those are the ones I watch the most. I love Pretty Little Liars but it's kind of over now but it was a good one because I see it on my thing here. Oh, and I've been watching Ozark.
Michelle Tompkins: That one lost me. It wasn't my thing.
Jimmy Star: I think it's good but it's not the greatest thing I've ever seen. But I thought it was pretty good though. It has points that are good. I love Law & Order still. I still like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Michelle Tompkins: I remember watching Westworld. I wanted to like it far more than I do. I just don't like shows that are complicated just to be complicated.
Jimmy Star: You know what? Westworld is a remake. I saw the original and Ron doesn't like all the remakes as much. He doesn't like it because he likes the old things. And not everything needs to be remade. Even though we've had several of the people that are in Westworld on our show. Clifton Collins Jr. was on our show. He's a great guest.
Michelle Tompkins: Oh, good.
Jimmy Star: I like Sons of Anarchy. I guess that's over too. But current shows though, I would have to say definitely my favorite thing is Riverdale. I freaking love Riverdale. I would love to have a cameo on Riverdale. The Walking Dead is great too but I think it's over now. They killed all the good people. There's nobody good left [laughter]. I don't think it'll be able to sustain itself.
Michelle Tompkins: Well, where's somewhere you want to travel to that you haven't been to yet?
Jimmy Star: Oh, wow. I've been so fortunate. My father worked for Delta Airlines, so I flew for free until I was 21. And so I've been fortunate to go almost everywhere. I think I might like to go back to some places. But I think that everywhere that I've ever really wanted to go, I think I've already been.
Michelle Tompkins: Okay. You're right. Where's somewhere you'd really like to revisit.
Jimmy Star: I like the U.K. a lot. I love the U.K. because I love British music and I think it's a lot of fun. I love Paris. I've been a bunch of times there. I've been to Turkey. Belgium was a great place to go. Back then, I was really doing all fashion stuff when I went to Belgium, and it was a fantastic place to go for fashion.
I would kind of like to go to the Czech Republic. Now they're making a lot of indie films all in that area and stuff. And I'd kind of like to just go and see it because everybody I know that has to make lower-budget movies, they all go into there and the surrounding areas to make films because, for a million dollars there, you can really make a great film. And so that would be kind of cool maybe to go to the Czech Republic. I really want to just stay here and work hard and make a lot of money and be able to have an East Coast and a West Coast residence. I would like to have an East Coast and a West Coast residence.
Michelle Tompkins: Be purely bicoastal. That would be great.
Jimmy Star: Yeah. I mean, that would be really cool. Right now, my partner for World Star PR, Eileen Shapiro lives in New York. So we're able to cover everything bicoastally, but I'm not actually there.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, what kind of PR firm is it? Is it purely entertainment or is it a company sort of thing?
Jimmy Star: Yes. Well, we do authors, actors, models. Yeah, it's all entertainment. Filmmakers, clothing designers, artists. Pretty much everything, though, that kind of fits into entertainment. It's called World Star PR and my partner is a New York Times bestselling author, and she lives in New York, and I live here in Palm Springs, and together, we have a really good time. It's a relatively new company. We're 11 months old. We're really, really strong in music. I won Nashville Music Guide Music Publicist of the Year for the best music publicist in the U.S., after only doing it for 10 months, just because we're really good at it.
Michelle Tompkins: You must be.
Jimmy Star: And you got to have fun. I hear all the little laughs in your voice as we go along. It sounds like you have a good time doing what you're doing and that you enjoy it.
Michelle Tompkins: I do. I do. I like talking to people, sort of like what we are doing now. I've had very few duds.
About seven months ago, I interviewed someone who was the biggest dud ever. He just wouldn't give me anything. It was monosyllabic answers, and, ‘Do you want to talk about this?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well, what do you want people to know about you?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘What other movies and shows do you like?’ ‘I'm not here to promote anyone else.’ Okay. Give people a little love and they'll give you love back.
Jimmy Star: Yeah. Don't you hate that, though, when you get one-word answers?
Michelle Tompkins: Like, ‘What's your favorite movie?’ and they just say two words and then they're done, or something like that. Or, ‘I don't know,’ or ‘Too many to list.’ That's helpful, thanks, buddy.
Jimmy Star: Think about it, luckily I'm sitting next to the TV so I could go on Netflix and look for some answers because I couldn't get them off the top of my head. But it wasn't because I wasn't trying at least make an attempt, bitch [laughter].
Michelle Tompkins: Really, really. But, no. I get frustrated when I'm talking to someone in the entertainment industry and they say a line like, ‘I don't watch television.’ I don't mind if they say, ‘Oh, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by leaving someone out.’ So that's different. But I hate it when people do not throw love back at other movies, entertainment, TV, whatever because I think the saddest line in the English language is, ‘I don't watch television.’
Jimmy Star: Well, I think it is, too. And I don't even know how that could be possible. When I'm doing placements and when I'm doing things on my computer, a lot of time I have the TV playing next to me. First of all, how else can you even know what's going on in the world if you're not paying attention to what-- I don't work in an office. So I don't have a water cooler for everybody to be talking about the greatest TV shows. But we talk about it on our show. And you got to know what they are. If you don't know what they are, to me, you're just totally missing the loop.
Michelle Tompkins: It is. But now, there's so many options with all the streaming, and TV, and cable, and premium everything. It's, sometimes, a little bit overwhelming.
Jimmy Star: It's very overwhelming. And, sometimes, I watch just a couple episodes of the series. And if I have somebody coming on my show and I've never seen it, just so I know a little bit about it so I'm not an idiot when I'm talking to them. So a lot of times, every week, I'm watching something different just to get an idea of what it is that they do.
Michelle Tompkins: That's a good idea so you could always be up for the right kind of questions to ask them, too.
Jimmy Star: Absolutely, absolutely.
Michelle Tompkins: Now, is there charity work you'd like to mention?
Jimmy Star: I do. I have a couple of different things, which I mostly do it on Twitter. But because I'm gay and I'm an LGBT advocate, I have a big thing that we're going to be announcing on our show for a big charity single we're going to be recording to donate all the proceeds to Stonewall. We have a bunch of people that I don't have specified yet, so I can't say who, that are going to be singing on it, but kind of like a We Are the World for the gay community. And so I like to do things for the gay community.
And on Twitter, I support a lot of brain tumor awareness. And it's funny. I don't really know anybody who has a brain tumor. I just met all these wonderful people with kid's cancer and brain tumor awareness on Twitter that, because I have a big Twitter following, they always ask me to retweet. And then, I start reading about all the tragedies and all these things that are happening, especially to kids. They're five, six, seven years old. I did one today where somebody is a girl and she's not going to live. And she knows she's not going to live. So to make her happy, she's trying to get Ariana Grande to tweet something to her. And so I'm out helping push that because I think, ‘Oh, my God. If I were seven years old and I know I'm going to die, and this is what I wanted, to get Ariana Grande, if she doesn't tweet her, I'm going to be sending nasty tweets to her saying, 'I can't believe you didn't tweet this girl who's dying [laughter]'.’ I think it's terrible. I mean, I think everybody's got a different level of celebrity. And I get that they all want—everybody wants to get some attention from their favorite celebrity. Even I like to get attention from my favorite celebrity. But I think that celebrities wouldn't be celebrities if it weren't for the people who love them.
So I think it's very important to give back as much as you can and to acknowledge the people who help you become who you are in the first place because you wouldn't be there if it weren't for those people.
Michelle Tompkins: That's very true.
Jimmy Star: I try to tweet with everybody. When I'm on Twitter, I tweet with everybody. If you have one follower and you tweet me something, I'll tweet you, unless I just missed it. But I will get back to you. And if you have 10,000 or 100,000, or if you've got 5 million, I try to really answer everybody and tweet with everybody.
Michelle Tompkins: Yeah. I noticed. Actually, when I tweeted you, I think you tweeted me back within two hours. It was very nice.
Jimmy Star: Yeah. I check mine about every two hours. I try to check it every two or three hours.
Michelle Tompkins: So how do you like your fans to connect with you?
Jimmy Star: Twitter is really the best. Twitter and Instagram. My best following is on Twitter and Instagram is getting better. And I'm on Facebook and I literally wasn't on it for years. So I literally just deleted a bunch of people who I didn't know who they were, so I could add more people. So in the last month, I'm back on Facebook again. But really Twitter is the easiest way to get in touch with me because I check it so often. And I have my Twitter set up that anybody can send me messages, whether you follow me or not.
Michelle Tompkins: Now what are your social media handles?
Michelle Tompkins: What's next for you?
Jimmy Star: I always have a lot of things [laughter] going on. Right now, the next is to work on getting the show in a format and more notice, so next year we can qualify and get nominated for an Emmy Award. I've got a bunch of film stuff that's in development right now. I've got the new TV show Around The Table With Ron And Jimmy that we'll get ready to start promoting heavily. And writing a couple books but they're going slow, so that might be a little bit for those. But those are probably the three most important things.
And I'm building my World Star PR clientele of a lot of up and coming bands. Now that we're being much more recognized, we're working on getting more celebrity interviews and celebrity clients. Because the better your clients, or the more distinguishable they are, the quicker the business will grow.
Jimmy Star can be found on The Jimmy Star Show with Ron Russell on W4CY.com on Wednesdays from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Pacific time and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Go to W4CY.com and hit the iTV button to watch it live.