Morgan Freeman will no longer pick up your phone for you.
It came as a revelation to me when he explained, on a US TV talk show a couple of weeks ago, that he declines to record answerphone messages when asked.
It seems obvious now and perhaps I was being naive but I was surprised that people would ask such a thing.
It’s been a long time since an autograph was the best way to get a reminder of your encounter with a celebrity.
No, voicemails are a thing. People hand over their phone and demand that an otherwise successful, creative person tells strangers that they can’t come to the phone right now. You can even pay for it. Oh yes.
An online search took me to a slew of sites that allow you to book real celebrities to record your voicemail greeting.
They include, marvellously, almost nobody I have ever heard of, such as Dr Elmo, who was the voice behind the song Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, and several American wrestlers.
I was momentarily tempted to get a message by a couple of Star Trek stars, then collapsed in hysterics when I saw I could book a recording by 71-year-old actress Linda Harrison, who played Nova, Charlton Heston’s cave girl love interest in Planet of The Apes. Yes, the girl who doesn’t speak.
But for celebrities who don’t need to lower themselves to such work, it must be a nightmare.
Imagine being James Earl Jones and popping down the pub for a swift half.
“Hey, Jimmy, do that heavy breathing thing for my wife’s voicemail. Oh, go on. Don’t e-Vade ’er. Ha, ha.”
So you have to understand why Morgan Freeman has decided to opt out. But my solution is better – never answer the phone. Ever.
It’s the best way to teach people to stop calling.