By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
After dinner, they went to Sipango and met Stodghill's 10 best buddies, all trying to sell Ann on Stodge.
"His posse was so much fun, so nice," Ann says. "Steve collects people. He can be one of the meanest guys on the planet, but if you are his friend, he will unfold his bat wings and envelop you in them."
Their wedding took place at the Dallas Museum of Art with 500 of their close friends at a sit-down dinner. Everyone marveled at the life-size ice sculpture of Bevo bathed in orange light.
Which brings up the UT connection...
Slit Stodghill's wrists and he bleeds burnt orange. Virtually everyone in their wedding had some connection to the University of Texas.
Melsheimer says that the lowest he's ever seen Stodghill was at the end of the Texas-OU game when Oklahoma won by 50 points. He cried at the end of the most recent Rose Bowl, when UT beat USC. Soon after the game he bought a signed and framed Vince Young jersey. His and Ann's new kitten is named Vince Young.
Stodghill's intense loyalty to UT and his fraternity has created a sort of Longhorn Mafia.
"I have three kids, and Steve can do more schmoozing in a week than I can do in a year," Melsheimer says. "I like to say Steve has a Ph.D. in schmoozing. He gets out there and helps develop business. Some people do that and are very ham-handed about it. They'll meet someone and hit them up for business after a few weeks or months. Steve never does that. He'll know people for years before a business opportunity presents itself. Most of the time the other person raises it."
Stodghill sells his colleagues, Melsheimer says, not himself. "He's the best salesman for me that I know," Melsheimer says. "Nobody wants someone who's a pest--tugging at their sleeve and saying, 'Give me business' or 'Cast me in your movie.' He's the opposite of that."
Stodghill's celebrity encounters began with Gilpin's casting as Roz on the TV sitcom Frasier. They'd been each other's biggest cheerleaders for years. Before Roz, Gilpin would call Stodghill to catch up and complain she couldn't get arrested and was a terrible actress and should abandon her Hollywood dreams. "He'd say, 'Right,' and he'd name the 20 great things you've done," Gilpin says. "He knows how to get you out of your funk."
Then there was the time he was shown on TV with Courtney Love at a Mavs game. Even Stodghill doesn't remember how that came about.
When Stodghill finds time to practice law is a mystery. He's always jetting off with Wagner to play golf in the Dominican Republic, attending a movie premiere in Los Angeles or hanging out at an expensive resort in Cabo. If Wagner invites Stodghill to China, he says yes. If actor Adrien Brody comes to town and wants to see the Mavs, Stodghill not only takes him to the game but out to dinner.
"We all tease him about the fact that he's always available," Wagner says. "If a friend comes in town, he magically carves out the time to take them to dinner. Steve's always up for adventure. He's mastered the skill of balancing his life."
Balance is relative. When not invited on the trip, Ann goes shopping. Hanging in her closet is an Ocean's Twelve ballgown, purchased when her husband went as Wagner's "date" to the premiere.
At that event, Stodghill was introduced to Bruce Willis. "He's fantastic," Stodghill says. "He was saying, 'Where are you from?' Just a nice guy."
Willis caught Stodghill gawking at his date, a voluptuous actress and, in a room of gorgeous babes, by far the most stunning. Willis gave Stodghill a big wink.
"Bruce, you're the man," Stodghill said.
"Steve, I know I'm the man," Willis replied.
He met Chris Tucker after the actor pitched a script to 2929 Productions. Stodghill zipped around on the set of Rush Hour II with Tucker in the actor's new $300,000 Ferrari. One day, Ann answered the phone and heard Tucker's high-pitched voice: "Is Stodge-Dog in the house?"
She turned to her husband and asked, "I guess you would be Stodge-Dog?"
Stodghill may be a joke among some of Dallas' legal community, but he's in on the joke. "He's just incredibly sticky," says Simon, who has seen Stodghill walk into Hibiscus with the oddest collection of people. "People meet him, and they stick to him. He regards life as a great adventure. He's unabashedly enthusiastic. There's nothing Machiavellian about him. I've seen how he treats people of no particular consequence."
Terdema Ussery says that Stodghill doesn't realize that some of the situations he gets himself into are "pretty unique."
Take Stodghill's friendship with Elizabeth Hurley. Six weeks before his wedding, Hurley was in Dallas filming the movie Serving Sara with Matthew Perry and had a lot of down time, thanks to her co-star's sudden need for rehab. Stodghill met her through a mutual friend and ended up taking her to dinner.