I have been fortunate enough to meet quite a few celebrities in my day. One of my favorite memories from childhood was the chance to meet and take a photo with Benji (yes, the dog) at a local drugstore in the Lake Charles area. He was the main attraction, but there were a few other “celebrities” there like He-Man, Skeletor, and Tinkerbell. I was scared to death of He-Man and Skeletor, and firmly rooted my feet into the concrete of the store’s sidewalk when I saw both of them walking to the store. My mother eventually convinced me to get a high five and a handshake from He-Man, but I didn’t want anything to do with Skeletor. I’m sure that my mother has the photo with Benji somewhere and I also believe that I took a picture with He-man, but I guess you could say that my interaction with Benji was the first in what has turned out to be a long line of celebrity meetings over the years.
One of my biggest fanboy moments occurred when I met Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor from Doctor Who. I grew up on the classic Doctors, so the chance to meet one was very exciting. Mr. McCoy was extremely courteous and joked around with my son about the pronunciation of his name. I was a tad bit speechless when I first saw Mr. McCoy, and was very glad that he decided to speak with my son for a bit. To this day McCoy is the only person that I’ve ever paid to have a professional photo-op with, and it was done with the TARDIS console from the television movie from the 90’s. Hopefully I will get to meet more of the Doctors as the years go by.
Another celebrity that I entirely fanboyed over was Jeremy Bulloch (pictured in the featured image). While most of the celebs I have met over the years have been very nice, Mr. Bulloch went out of his way to be super friendly to all of the folks that came to see him. When he saw me walking up to him, he noticed my Cybermen shirt and talked to me about it. He mentioned that he was also on Doctor Who and, being a typical nerve-rattled fanboy, I cut him off and told him that I owned one of the serials he was featured in on DVD. He laughed, talked for a bit more, and posed for a photo. He was a truely nice gentleman.
The most recent celebrity that I met was Mary Kate Smith. For those of you who might not recognize Ms. Smith, she’s from Season Two of King of the Nerds. She was extremely friendly, extremely positive, and I’m glad to say that I met her. She’s an excellent role model for not only young girls, but for young boys interested in science and engineering.
Some other celebs that I have met over the years include Hacksaw Jim Duggan (pro wrestler), Brent Spiner (Data from ST:TNG), LeVar Burton (Geordi from ST:TNG), Michael Dorn (Worf from ST:TNG), Chase Masterson (Leeta from DS9), Ray Park (Darth Maul from SW Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and a ton of other films), Daniel Logan (Young Boba Fett from SW Episode II: Attack of the Clones), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Jon Bernthal, Michael Rooker, Steven Yeun, and many, many more.
Meeting Chase Masterson actually got me into the local newspaper. They took a photo of us while I was handing Ms. Masterson a photo to autograph. She is another celeb that is very nice and goes above and beyond to make sure that her fans have a good time with her. I can also say that the cast members from The Walking Dead that I have met over the years have been very cordial as well.
Two celebrities in particular that I want to mention are Zendaya (pop singer and Disney Channel star) and Marina Sirtis (Troi from ST:TNG). I met Zendaya a few years ago at an auto show in New Orleans. I was actually attending a Wizard World event on the same weekend and overheard that she was at the auto show next door. Knowing that my daughter was a huge fan of Zendaya, I paid the small entrance fee and stood in a line with a friend of mine for roughly twenty minutes. Needless to say that we were the oldest (and only male) people in the line. Roughly estimating, I’d say that the average age of girls in the line was twelve. When it was my turn to get an autograph and a photo with Zendaya, she was noticeably shaken by the appearance of an overweight dude nearing forty in the line. My face went red and I immediately said that I was there because my daughter was a huge fan. She laughed and said something about that being sweet of me and signed the autograph. One of her handlers, a massive mountain of a man with a deep voice, looked at me and said, “Come on, man. You know you love Zendaya!” It was an embarassing moment, but the look on my daughter’s face after giving her the autograph was more than worth it.
Finally, I have to mention one of my favorite celebrity encounter stories. It was at Comicpalooza in Houston, TX a few years ago. I was standing in line to meet Marina Sirtis of TNG fame. There were a couple of people ahead of me in line and no one behind me at the moment except for this one person who doesn’t have the best personality on the planet. We are former friends, and I’ll leave it at that. When I approached Mrs. Sirtis, she introduced herself and called me “Love.” That right there was really all I needed, but I was there for an autograph, so I started to look over the photos she had to offer.
There were many photos to choose from, and it was taking me quite a bit of time to decide on which one I wanted. She and I made small talk until the acquaintance behind me said, “Hurry up and pick one! Just pick one!” In one sharp movement, Marina turned to the dude and said, “You shut up. He can take all the time he wants!” She then turned to me and said, “Take all the time you need, sweetie. Pay no attention to that nasty man.” It took everything I had to stifle my laughter. What made the moment especially funny was that the guy is a massive TNG fan and he just got owned by Counselor Troi!
When I finally picked a photo for her to sign, I chose one from Star Trek: Nemesis. I’m a big fan of that film despite the fact that a lot of people, including the schmuck behind me, dislike it very, very much. He again opened his mouth and said, “Nemesis? Nemesis? You picked a photo from Nemesis?” to which Marina once again snapped at him with, “He can like Nemesis if he wants. Leave him alone!” She signed the photo for me, said, “Here you go, love,” and told me to be extra careful with it since she used a silver marker and it takes longer to dry. The scolding of that “nasty man” made getting that autograph one of my favorite moments of all time.
Sadly I didn’t have enough money on me to get a photo with Mrs. Sirtis, but if I ever run into her again, I plan to recount the story of my first meeting with her and will definitely get a photo with her.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ll post more celebrity encounters later.