Abbotsford man’s ‘bad’ photo leads to a moment of TV fame on Ellen

An old high school photo provided Tim Rempel with his 15 minutes of fame. He appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

Abbotsford's Tim Rempel appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show to explain his high school picture in a segment called Bad Paid-For Photos.

An old high school photo provided Tim Rempel with his 15 minutes of fame – or in this case, one minute.

Rempel and his daughter Julie travelled from Abbotsford to Los Angeles last week for a brief appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

Julie sent the show a photo of her dad – a 1978 high school picture combining his profile and his face framed by the huge afro he once had – for a segment known as Bad Paid-For Photos.

“I didn’t have to curl it, that was natural,” said Tim.

Producers liked the image, and flew Tim and his daughter to Hollywood on Wednesday to tape an episode.

Tim said he was calm during his brush with fame, until show time.

As he waited backstage for his cue, the anxiety began to build.

“Oh, my heart was pounding.”

But his daughter was even more excited.

“I was kind of nervous, just hoping he wouldn’t say anything, you know, stupid,” Julie said with a laugh. “But he did really well.”

Tim can’t quite remember the experience.

“I went on stage, I gave Ellen a hug and said it’s nice to meet you Ellen. I looked at her face and then we went to the picture.”

After that, his recollection is hazy at best.

“I remember saying Abbotsford, B.C. and then I remember answering a few questions … my mind went blank. The lights, the camera, Ellen, the audience … I said to my daughter after, was I okay?”

But Julie wasn’t much help.

“I can’t really remember what she (Ellen) said. I was like shaking,” said Julie.

But she does remember that Ellen really liked her dad’s photo.

“It went way too fast.”

Tim said his ears were ringing for the next two days because of the loud music and “the women in the audience screaming” but it was worth the trip.

“It was a good time, a whirlwind.”

He and Julie had a few hours to themselves and took the opportunity to stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and check out the walk of fame.

A minute of fame wasn’t the only thing the Rempels received for being on the show.

During the holiday season, the Ellen show gives away prizes to the audience in a promotion known as the “12 Days of Giveaways.”

Tim was given the same prize audience members received, about $3,000 worth of electronics, including a laptop computer, digital camera, smart phone and more.

It’s a prize which Julie said needs to be shared.

“I told my dad, I’m taking about half the items,” she said.

Rempel’s episode aired yesterday afternoon.

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