The guy sitting across the aisle from me in church looked quite familiar. He had one of those “I know I’ve seen you somewhere, but I can’t place it” faces. I’d seen seen him several times before, sitting on the left side of the church, near the back. I normally sit on the right side of the church, near the back. On occasion, we’d nod at each other. But I couldn’t place where I knew this man from. Yesterday, it hit me: I’d seen him on TV. He reminded me of Jim Brown

Sam Scarber

Sam Scarber

Sherman Oaks is full of people like him. You know their faces, but you can’t remember where from right away. Then, there are some who you know immediately. Like the time I passed Michael Chiklis from Vegas near my neighborhood Cold Stone Creamery ice cream store on Ventura Boulevard, or coming up behind Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (DeAngelo Barksdale from The Wire) in the pasta aisle at the Pavilions supermarket, or passing Robert Blake (Baretta) at the corner of my block as he walked his dog.

I was even sitting at a table in my neighborhood Starbucks when Paul Schulze (Nurse Jackie, The Sopranos) asked if he could sit in the empty seat across from me and eat his oatmeal. In Los Angeles, you often see celebrities doing everyday, noncelebrity things like walking the dog or strolling and eating ice cream or grocery shopping or eating oatmeal or sitting in church.

After yesterday’s service, I went into the fellowship room for a cup of coffee and to chat with some of the people there. The “mystery man” was there, so I went up to him and introduced myself. He was gracious and I saw a smile come across his face as he nodded when I asked if he was an actor. I delicately danced around the issue that I recognized his face, but I didn’t know his name.

“Scarber,” he said. “Sam Scarber.”

We chatted for a minute about my being new to the church and that I lived nearby and had been doing background work of late. He chuckled again when I mentioned something to the effect that doing background work is a different ballgame.

“Hang in there, though,” he said.

When I got home, sometime later, I did a Google search for Sam Scarber: drafted by the Dallas Cowboys as a running back in the third round in the 1971 NFL Draft. After his football career ended, he started doing TV work and Scarber has a long list of credits: CHiPs, Hill Street Blues, The A-Team, 90210, Southland, Criminal Minds … the last two on this list are shows that I’ve worked on.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to speak to Sam Scarber some more, about football (I played a little in junior high back in Gary, Ind.) or about “the business.” Or life in general.

“Hang in there,” he told me.

I think I will …

Back to one!

— Former Noozhawk copy editor Cliff Redding blogs at ReddMeat. Click here for previous columns. Follow Cliff on Twitter: @CliffRedd. The opinions expressed are his own.