Celebrity autographs serve two purposes. They can provide tangible evidence once they’ve caught the attention of a celebrity, and they can be profitable if you choose to resell them to collectors.
In 2014, a man who really loved Charles Dickens bought a signed copy of A Tale of Two Cities for about $400,000. Either way, when celebrities go out in public there’s usually one for them.
But not everyone with a recognizable face agrees to put pen to paper. Take a look at eight people who usually refrain from writing on handkerchiefs. (This list does not mean that the nominees never sign, only that they have expressed a will.)
The 91-year-old Star Trek actor—and most recent Blue Origin astronaut—will usually pass autograph requests unless he is present at a convention.
After some fans deemed the policy harsh, William Shatner explained his reasoning in a 2018 Twitter thread: “If I’m out and about with family or waiting for a plane and I can’t do it for an If I do, a quick line 50 forms,” he wrote.
“So if I say no to No. 1 or No. 21 it’s the same- I’m a jerk. So to save time the answer is no. There is a time and place for everything and traditions are that places.
A fan asked Shatner if there was a good time to ask him out while out in public. “No,” she replied.
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston is one of television’s most beloved celebrities, but a tsunami of Breaking Bad merchandise and accompanying pleas to personalize them ultimately left the actor disappointed.
“After 18 years of signing everything for fans, I’m retiring,” he said in 2018, leaving the door slightly open for “selfies.”
Cranston still appears to be liable to sign during the pre-planned events. In the spring of 2022, he and Breaking Bad co-star Aaron Paul promoted their Dos Hombres Tequila by signing the bottle.
Steve Martin, who is winning over a new generation of fans thanks to the success of Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, once devised a clever way to avoid autograph seekers without making them feel alienated.
In the 1980s, Martin handed out business cards that read: “This proves that you have met me in person and that you found me affectionate, polite, intelligent, and funny.”
Actor Jonah Hill adopted a similar strategy. In 2015, a fan reported that Hill gave her a card that read: “I just met Jonah Hill … and it was completely disappointing.”
Ringo Starr, who was the drummer for the Beatles, is arguably one of the most famous people on the planet—which makes his signature demand understandable.
Yet the star has stalled an order first announced in 2008 that it would never grant autograph requests because it is uncomfortable with those who benefit from them.
He announced in a video, in which he said “I am warning you calmly and lovingly” that he will no longer sign any mail sent to him.
“I do not autograph,” he said in 2016. “All autographs are on stuff that I (have) done. One or a few of my paintings that I’m in include, and it goes to charity. It just doesn’t go to sell to other people.”
Beatle bandmate Paul McCartney shared the sentiment, telling Reader’s Digest in 2021 that he “doesn’t usually do photo work these days” and prefers conversation over autographs.
The cult star of The Evil Dead franchise frequently appears at conventions, where he will happily sign papers or pose for photographs.
But it looks like Bruce Campbell isn’t much interested in signing something sent to him. “I want to poke a hole in the Hollywood myth that it means something,” he said in 2000.
“I often send 3 x 5 index cards for people to sign, which means people are collecting them. I often do conventions so I can meet people.
I respect and mingle with them- Want to meet them. I think this is the best format to autograph. I don’t like the impersonal side of celebrities.
Overall I hope people will understand. People are putting people on the chair in the public eye which is not right. ”
The singer said that she stopped taking autographs in 2019 because autograph seekers made her uncomfortable.
She said, “It’s something I don’t do because I used to, but I realized that nobody sold everything I did, so I stopped doing it.”
“It was like a policy of mine that I don’t.” Once, when Eilish opted not to sign, fans started booing him.
“The fact that people can switch like, hey. They wait for you outside and then immediately they don’t get what they want and they boo you and curse you. I’m like, ‘ Brother, I am 17 years old.'”
It is clearly hard to stop the signing of Greta Garbo, who died in 1990. But even at the height of his fame, Garbo was unconvinced by the demands of his attention.
The actress reportedly declined all autograph requests and ignored all her fan mail. One theory is that he hated his handwriting.
Lacking it, a Garbo autograph fetched $5355 at the 2021 Bonhams auction. It was given to his translator, Sven-Hugo Borg.
Bonus: Joaquin Phoenix
The Oscar-winning star of Joker may not be interested in autographs, but he is against photographs. Phoenix told Playboy that once a woman came up to him in a store and asked for a picture.
“I said, ‘You know what? I don’t, but thank you so much for coming over… We had a little chat. It was fun. Then he went and bought his tube socks, and I bought my stupid little sweatpants, and that was it.
All Image Credit: GettyImages