Super-Fan Chief Zee's Heartfelt Comfort to the Enemy

Chief Zee's car ad with Antwaan Randle El, Santana Moss and Jason Campbell.
Chief Zee's car ad with Antwaan Randle El, Santana Moss and Jason Campbell. (Easterns Automotive Group)

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, September 14, 2007

No matter what happens at the games, Redskins devotees count on one person to keep them cheering: Chief Zee, the team's No. 1 fan for almost three decades. Many folks probably worried when the Chief, who's instantly recognizable in full feathered headdress and Indian costume, was nowhere to be found at Sunday's season opener against Miami.

Turns out he was in enemy territory -- Texas Stadium -- to honor the godfather of superfans, Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones. Crazy Ray died in March after 44 years of rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, and Chief Zee escorted Jones's widow onto the field in Sunday's pregame ceremony. It was only the second time in 29 years that the Chief missed a Redskins home game; the last was in 1981, when his father died. "The only thing that would keep me away was the death of my father or Crazy Ray," he told us yesterday. "We became like brothers."

Chief Zee -- whose real name is Zema Williams -- first showed up at a Redskins game on Sept. 5, 1978, and quickly became a favorite for his unbridled antics and enthusiasm for the team. "Everybody's the number one fan," he said. "I'm just the messenger."

He was inducted into the fan section of the Football Hall of Fame in 2000, and is featured in the new ads for Easterns Automotive alongside Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Jason Campbell. Last year, one of Chief Zee's big toes was amputated, and now the 66-year-old races around the grounds of FedEx Field on a moped: "I'm scooting all through the parking lots, entertaining the tailgaters and harassing the visitors -- with love."

Last week, he watched the Skins' overtime win on television ("Loved the outcome, hate that [Jon] Jansen got hurt") and expects to be back for the next home game against the Giants on Sept. 23.

QUOTE

"Everybody was very annoyed with me for a long time: 'Come on, Nancy, get rid of these things.' Now, of course, I'm everybody's sweetheart, because I have all of these things that they can use. But no, no, I took a lot of heat."

-- Nancy Reagan, clearly still bitter about her clotheshorse image, in an interview with W magazine about a forthcoming exhibit at the Reagan Library displaying some 80 designer outfits she wore during her years as first lady.

GET THIS

The publishing industry is giving disgraced memoirist James Frey a second chance in a genre that might suit him better: fiction. HarperCollins will release a new novel by Frey, "Bright Shiny Morning," next summer, the Associated Press reports. Frey, 38, is the author who got chewed out by Oprah Winfrey and subjected to all kinds of scorn after admitting his best-selling life story, "A Million Little Pieces," was filled with stuff he just totally made up.

How to Get Russell Crowe to Visit Your Front Yard

An Annapolis family gave Russell Crowe a Hollywood welcome when a film shoot for "Body of Lies" set up on their block -- yes, literally. The cast and crew of the new Ridley Scott thriller (co-starring Leo DiCaprio, but we haven't seen him yet, have you? reliablesource@washpost.com) arrived in the waterfront neighborhood that plays the Oscar winner's home to find that the folks next door had set up a greeting on their front lawn -- a perfectly scaled rendering of the famous HOLLYWOOD sign in two-foot-high white letters. Apparently the neighbors -- whom a publicist on the set would ID only as the Wuest family -- had the sign left over from a Rat Pack-themed party a while back. They also (very smart!) set up a picnic table with snacks and a generally welcoming vibe, which lured Crowe over to chat and sign autographs for half an hour Wednesday night. Take note, star stalkers.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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