The Abandoned Locker
For Anton Lulgjuraj, bidding on abandoned storage lockers had become a sort of hobby. He loved the suspense of not knowing what might be inside. Sometimes the lockers would prove to be valuable and other times worthless, but for Anton, he enjoyed the thrill of the gamble.
An Unexpected Surprise
So, when Anton bid and won a storage locker in Brewster, New York he had no idea that what he was about to find inside. After searching through a stack of old photographs, he began to recognize one of the faces. Could it be? It seemed he had purchased a storage locker that belonged to none other than Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton.
You won’t believe this incredible story.
Love for Acting
Diane Keaton was born in 1946 and from an early age was fascinated with the acting world. Her mother inspired Keaton after she won a pageant for homemakers, which increased her desire to act on both the stage and in film. Little did she know what a star she would be in the future…
At first, Keaton began her acting studies in her hometown of Los Angeles, California. However, the stage began to call her creative fire. Therefore, she moved to New York City and joined the Actors’ Equity Association.
Unfortunately, Keaton discovered that another actress had registered her name, Diane Hall. Deciding to take a stage name, she officially became Diane Keaton, a name that would eventually become cemented in film history.
After struggling to land a role in New York, Keaton finally made her acting debut on Broadway in the original production of Hair in 1968. It was an incredible time for Keaton, who would see her career go from 0 to 100 over the course of the next few years.
Working with Woody Allen
The next year, Keaton would land a part in the play, Play It Again, Sam with Woody Allen. The performance was so well-received she was nominated for a Tony Award. At this point, people in Hollywood and NYC began to take notice of Keaton’s rising star.
The Role of a Lifetime
It would be three years later in 1972 that Keaton would make her film debut in the critically acclaimed film, The Godfather. This would open the door to a flood of acting opportunities for the budding actress. She would eventually come back for the sequel The Godfather Part II.
A Career Flourishes
Despite her role in The Godfather receiving acclaim, it would be the 1977 romantic comedy, Annie Hall that would skyrocket Keaton into stardom. Written and directed by Woody Allen, the film was based on Allen and Keaton’s off-screen romance. To say it was a hit would be an understatement.
The Academy Awards
Keaton won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film. She would also go on to become a fashion icon thanks to her unique way of dressing. Soon fans began to emulate her clothing style, with more women taking to vintage men’s clothing than ever before.
More Than A Movie
Despite the film Annie Hall being iconic, Keaton doesn’t want to be defined by one film or role. “I don’t want to be identified as one thing only. I remember somebody once said to me, ‘Don’t ever change’ when I did Annie Hall.”
An Evolving for Career
For Keaton, being defined by one role meant stunting her growth as an actress. “I think that stunts any kind of growth,” she continued. “And so, my feeling was that scared the hell out of me. I knew I had to change. You’ve got to change, don’t you think? I mean, otherwise, what are you going to do?”
A Long and Lengthy Career
Over the course of 50 years, Keaton has had a flourishing career. Starring in films like The Family Stone, The First Wives Club, and Father of the Bride, she has become a household name in Hollywood. Keaton even started her own line of red wine!
So, for a simple man like Anton to discover what could possibly be photos owned by her…it was an incredible discovery.
Out of the Spotlight
While Diane Keaton loved being in the spotlight, Anton enjoyed a much quieter life. Living in New York City, Anton had inherited his father’s candy shop, along with decades of sweet secrets that had been charming the locals for years.
An Unfortunate Closing
Despite finding success, the candy shop closed in 2006. It was a devastating blow for the entrepreneur, who became “semi-retired” in the aftermath of the shuttering of his father’s business. However, he did develop new hobby–bidding on storage lockers that had been abandoned.
The Storage Locker Wars
Storage lockers become available for bidding at auction when the renter fails to pay the monthly bill. The sell-off process is a way for the business owner to reclaim some of the funds they lost when the owner chooses to stop paying the rent.
Different Types of Auctions
Some business owners hold blind auctions, which means the bidders do not have any access to the inside until after they’ve paid. However, some auctions allow for the bidders to take a look inside the unit and base their bid on what they find. Everything inside is up for grabs.
Lots of Luck
Anton had enjoyed quite a bit of luck when it came to bidding on storage units. In 2016 he had purchased a unit that belonged to singer Keith Diamond. Inside he found an original recording of singer Donna Summer, as well as photographs of Don Johnson and Barbra Streisand.
How cool is that?
A Great Find
It would be May of 2018 when Anton would purchase a large storage unit in Brewster, New York that once belonged to a man named David Parent, an ex-Air Force pilot. Parent had passed away and someone else had taken ownership of the unit, but they eventually stopped paying the rent. After winning it at auction, Anton was pretty thrilled with his find. He even found a motorcycle underneath the mass of boxes.
Anton’s suspicions proved to be correct and there was an old motorcycle in the unit. In fact, it proved to be quite valuable seeing it was an Indian bike from 1913. He would later go on to sell it at auction for ten times its value.
However, that was far from the most intriguing item.
The Old Wallet
As Anton cataloged and sorted the items in the unit, he stumbled upon an old leather wallet. Inside, he found 32 family photos, as well as the driver’s license of the wallet’s owner.
When he looked at the picture, he couldn’t believe who it was.
His Favorite Actress
At first, Anton didn’t recognize the name: Diane Hall. However, when he looked closely at the photos he was floored to see that the wallet belonged to famous actress Diane Keaton. As a fan of The Godfather, Anton was absolutely giddy with excitement over the find.
Anton truly couldn’t believe his eyes, so he continued to dig for more clues. Inside the wallet, he found Keaton’s Actors’ Equity Association card, as well as more documents to confirm that she was, in fact, the owner.
What a once in a lifetime find!
Lost and Found
According to interviews that Keaton had given in the past, specifically one from 1978, she mentioned that she had lost two of her wallets by leaving them in cabs. Could this possibly be one of those wallets that she mentioned?
The situation was definitely clouded in mystery. Did Keaton happen to know Parent? How did he come into possession of her old wallet?
Refusing to Make a Profit
While Anton had sold his rare finds in the past, he didn’t feel right profiting on Keaton’s personal items. Therefore, he made the decision to find a way to return the wallet to the actress. Thankfully, he was able to reach out via Twitter, though he wasn’t sure he’d get a response.
A Simple Tweet
“Hi, I bought a storage unit at auction, and in there I found a wallet and your driver’s license and photos from the 1960s and 1970s. If you have any interest in this, you can have it back,” Anton tweeted Keaton.
Unfortunately, the actress didn’t respond.
Anton went to the New York Daily News with his find, hoping they might have more clout in getting in contact with the actress. The publication tried reaching out to Keaton but also failed to get a response. During this time, Anton reiterated he had no intention of selling Keaton’s personal things, believing her lack of response may have been due to the impression he was trying to make a quick dime.
Thankfully, it only took two days after the story was published for Keaton to acknowledge the lost wallet. She tweeted, “I don’t remember losing this, but I’m not surprised, because I’ve lost my wallet many times.”
Anton was overjoyed that Keaton finally acknowledged the wallet and quickly placed it in the mail for the actress, tweeting “I hope it isn’t lost in the mail for another 50 years.” For Anton, reuniting the actress with her old memories was better than any money he could have made off of the items.
A Thankful Keaton
After receiving the package, Keaton posted an old family photo on Instagram of her with her siblings. “This photo was in the wallet,” the actress wrote on Instagram. “I’m on the far right. Can you believe those bangs?”
A Merry Christmas for All
In the end, Anton was shocked to receive a special Christmas gift from Keaton: a box of her wines The Keaton, and they were signed by the actress herself! Anton was thankful for her gratitude but declared it wasn’t necessary. He was just happy the actress was reunited with her precious memories.
Talk about doing a good deed. We hope there are more Anton’s in the world!