Jim Spellman/WireImage; Inset: Michael Putland/Getty
Maggie Parker
March 19, 2015 11:45 AM

Legendary Oscar winner Al Pacino has no doubt left many fans in awe, but the actor is himself not immune to getting starstruck.

He had what would prove to be a prescient encounter.

“I met John Lennon once – it was great,” Pacino revealed to PEOPLE Wednesday at the N.Y.C. premiere of his new film, Danny Collins, about a washed-up musician who finds a long-lost note from none other than Lennon himself. “I’ll never forget that moment. You can’t say that about many people,” he added.

Picture this: “It was a typical New York day. He was walking with Yoko, I was walking alone, as usual,” Pacino, 74, quipped. “And there I am, walking, we pass each other. And I look at him, he smiled at me, I smiled at him. And we waved.”

“It was great,” the actor added. “Just in that smile, you could see that spirit right there.”

It was a high point for Pacino, but the star also opened up about surviving the lows.

“I haven’t been, at times in my life, grounded. I really haven’t,” he told reporters. “I’ve felt what they call the vicissitudes of fame. I have felt it and gone through it, the high and the lows. You keep looking for the middle.”

So how does he stay grounded?

“I don’t know, basket-weaving helps a lot,” he joked.

Still, Pacino says he tries to move forward without regrets. “None. I will tell you why. I don’t regret things because out of mistakes – and I’ve made plenty – but through those mistakes I learned, I met people, my life was changed a couple of times,” he told PEOPLE. “So mistakes aren’t quite mistakes.”

And as he approaches turning 75 – his birthday is next month – don’t expect the actor to slow down anytime soon.

“I don’t think of numbers. I have young children, too, which helps my life,” he said. “I have no sense of that. I never did.”

And while he claims that he’s “looking forward to a porch and a rocking chair” someday, “so far things keep pulling me back in” – much to the delight of fans everywhere.

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