A Golden destination for fans

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Like a seasoned hunter, Ruth Turpin carefully awaits her quarry. She knows that if she remains calm and patient, the big game will come to her. It's all about being in the right place at the right time.

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In this case, the right place is the Beverly Hilton during Golden Globes weekend every January. But Turpin has no intention of harming her prey. She has traveled from Fort Worth, Texas, to the site of the Globes for the past 17 years to get a rare inside peek at showbiz and to snag a few trophies -- up-close snapshots of her with her favorite stars.
"It's something you wouldn't be able to see in your wildest dreams," she says.

Turpin is one of the small yet loyal cadre of superfans who take up residence in the Beverly Hilton each year for their own personal taste of the Globes. The hotel offers about 100 luxury packages annually that include a two-night stay, reserved bleacher seats along the red carpet and a gift bag including an autograph book and binoculars.

The packages range from $2,800-$3,900 depending on what type of room you book and what row you reserve in the bleachers. Certainly not cheap, but guests get a lot of celebrity bang for their buck.

"If you're a big entertainment fan, this is the best awards show because it's got the best of TV and film," says Moira Fraser, a bubbly civil servant who operates a Gerard Butler fan site and travels to the Beverly Hilton each year from her home in Inverkeithing, Scotland. Plus, with the Globes afterparties mostly contained within the hotel, stars tend to linger, rather than being whisked away behind velvet ropes.

Serial Globes crasher Ruth Turpin has made friends over the years.
 

Turpin was first drawn to the Globes by accident. Staying at the Beverly Hilton on a business trip to Los Angeles, "As I was going to one of my evening meetings I got off the elevator and there was Kevin Costner!" she recalls.

After seeing several more stars, Turpin knew something peculiar was afoot. She questioned hotel staff and discovered the Globes were being held that night. "At that time it was a dinner, it wasn't a big presentation at all," she says.

Back then, lucky hotel guests could mingle with stars in the hotel lobby for the price of an average night's stay. Turpin recalls a pleasant chat she had with Renee Zellweger in the ladies' room about their shared love of Austin.

But things have evolved as the show has grown. Bleacher seats were added along the red carpet, and because demand to stay in the hotel skyrocketed, the Beverly Hilton began selling seats along the carpet to nonguests.

One year, things went decidedly sour. "People who paid the $100 for the bleachers but were not guests of the hotel were actually camping out in the hotel," Turpin recalls. "It was a nightmare. People would push and shove and try to get autographs."

Chris Beachum, a devout film and TV buff from Tupelo, Miss., remembers that year well. "A bunch of people that had never been there before heard that they needed to get there early," he recalls. "That forced people who wanted a good seat to camp out for 12-14 hours before the event even started."

The incident prompted the Beverly Hilton to clamp down on Globe trotters. From then on, only guests of the hotel got bleacher seats, a privilege that came with a substantial price hike. The Globes package rose to roughly $800 for a two-night stay for two people before eventually settling at its present rates.

Despite the price hikes, Fraser can't resist the lure. "You keep on thinking, 'All right, I'm not going to do it next year,' " she says, "but there's just something that draws you back."

That something now includes lasting friendships among loyal Globe-crashers.

"Through the years, I've gotten to know people," Turpin says. "There's a camaraderie between the people that do this."

"It's the same people that go year after year," adds Fraser, who is now friends with both Beachum and Turpin and will be sharing a Globes package with Turpin this weekend.

They enjoy the hotel gifts, of course. But the ones that carry the most value are those they've collected on their own. Beachum has accumulated more than 1,000 autographs, while Fraser's favorite item is a brochure personally given to her by HFPA president Jorge Camara, a keepsake only given to attendees of the Globes ceremony.

Turpin might have the choicest Globes trophy of all. Several years ago, she managed to corral George Clooney as he was exiting a party and ask for a photo together.

"His comment was, if I guaranteed him it wouldn't be in the National Enquirer, it was OK," she recalls. "We all laughed and I got a great picture of George. That picture never was in the National Enquirer, but it is on my desk and has been there for several years. My husband's is on the desk in back of me."
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