On the Sly

John Cunningham, the man behind Driveways of the Rich and Famous, works his magic in Miami

The gawkers who putter by Stallone's gaudy, vaulted portal confirms the assessment. "This is the most traffic I've seen in front of a star's driveway," Cunningham says as a three-car minicaravan rolls by for a look-see. Yesterday the public-access pseudo-star stopped at Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago castle in Palm Beach. Uniformed security officers stonewalled him big-time, he says. But that didn't stop him from getting usable footage.

The housekeeper's admiration for the neighborly qualities of Stallone, star of Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, surprises Cunningham. "'Stallonegate' was as big in our news [in Los Angeles] as it was here in Miami," he says, referencing the star's controversial and unsuccessful efforts to erect a metal fence at the north end of the cul-de-sac to exclude foot and bicycle traffic.

Cunningham has had a few near misses of his own. A potty-mouthed David Hasselhoff of "Baywatch" and "Knight Rider" fame/infamy came close to running him over. Cunningham admits that he never considered the possibility that Hasselhoff's car might have been telling him to "Get the fuck out of here!" and trying to kill him.

Martha Stewart's duplicitous housekeeper once lured him past the Yberhomemaker's driveway and into a Greenwich, Connecticut kitchen, then locked him in and called the police. "I don't blame Martha Stewart, I blame the housekeeper," he relates.

At the other end of the spectrum: singer, actor, Ed Sullivan Show perennial and Palm Springs resident Trini Lopez. According to Cunningham, "He pulled up in his Cadillac, saw me there, and said, 'You're the driveways guy!' He was totally into it, as gracious as could be."

As Cunningham tells his tales of celebrity weal and woe, his wide blue eyes flicker down 32nd Road, scouting for possible interview subjects. A black stretch limousine with midnight-tinted windows spurs him to action. As the limo pauses in front of Stallone's driveway, Cunningham strides over to it, camcorder rolling, his head bent over the eyepiece. But before Cunningham can attempt a conversation with the driver, the limo swings around and purrs away.

The nearby U-Haul truck turns out to be for Stallone's fragile, valuable items. The movers open up the back and rig the loading ramp, revealing luxuries such as chandeliers, rolled-up rugs, and antique furniture. As Cunningham swoops in to chronicle the packed-up objets, a mover arrives with a hand truck bearing a nearly life-size bronze statue of a muscular male nude. Its head and upraised elbows are swathed in bubble wrap. Maintaining a respectful distance, Cunningham posits that it's a sculpture of Stallone. "I think that was him ... It was the right height and build, anyway."

ted_kissell@miaminewtimes.com

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