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Brushes With Fame!

  • Jan 7, 2011
I'm not bragging here, folks.  I just decided to start a list that includes celebrities that I've met over the years.  I'm a sucker for celebrities no matter how popular they are.

Most of these people were met at conventions or at public appearances, but I ran into one particular person on an airplane.  While I've seen plenty of bands in concert and watched a few pro athletes in action, this list only includes people that I met face-to-face and actually said a few words to.

As I get the chance to meet more celebs, I'll add them to this list.

I hope you enjoy this list.  Granted, there are no Al Pacinos or Diane Keatons here, but all of these folks were pretty cool.

The very first celebrity that I ever met wasn't even human!  I met Benji the dog, THAT Benji, when I was around seven years old when he appeared at Barger's Drugs and Gifts in Lake Charles, LA.  He shook my hand and somewhere in the world my mother has a photo of me and my sister sitting with Benji and his trainer (who's name escapes me right now).  I thought it was so cool that when we took the picture, Benji put his paw on me.  Ahh, childhood, I miss ya!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan
The first autograph that I ever received was from professional wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan.  At the time, he was affiliated with Mid-South Wrestling.  This was right around the same time as when I had the chance to meet Benji.  Hacksaw shook my hand, patted me on the head and signed a piece of paper that my mom had given me from her purse.  To this day, Hacksaw is my favorite wrestler, tough guy!!

The Public Enemy
I met Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge, aka The Public Enemy, when I was in college.  I scored free tickets to a WCW event and myself and a couple of friends were given passes to meet these guys.  Unfortunately my camera battery was dead and I don't have a photo with them.  They were both really nice fellows.  Unfortunately both of them passed away just a few years ago.

Jars of Clay
Literally just a few weeks before Jars of Clay became a household name in the 90's with songs like Flood and Liquid, I saw them as an opening act for PFR, a Christian rock band.  I actually went to the concert to see PFR, but was surprised at how good this opening act really was.  There was about a thirty minute break between the two bands performances, and Jars was kind enough to come out and sign any and everything we threw at them.  I have all of the band members' autographs on a tour poster.  They were very nice guys and actually held conversations with everyone who approached them.  Cool guys and a great band!

Chase Masterson
I met Chase in June of 2010 at a local science fiction convention.  For those of you who don't know her, she was a cast member of Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine and played Leeta on that show.  Chase is the nicest celeb I've ever had the opportunity to meet.  She actually approached me and introduced herself first and then talked with me a number of times over the course of the convention. 
See the full review, "Fan Friendly".
Lucianna Carro
Along with Chase, I had the opportunity to meet Lucianna Carro of Battlestar Galactica.  Ms. Carro was very nice, albeit a bit reserved.  She's been a very shy person for all of her life, and being extremely shy myself, I can understand where she comes from.  She talked with me for a few minutes and also had two Q&A sessions at the convention I saw her at.  I hope she keeps up the good work in sci-fi!
See the full review, "Meeting The Kat".
In 2009, Richard Hatch appeared at Convention Du Lac in Lake Charles, LA.  I talked with him for quite awhile about his time with both the old and new versions of Battlestar Galactica.  Much like Chase Masterson, he's a very outgoing and friendly person.  He also has a very positive outlook on life, which is refreshing to see these days with so many actors and actresses finding themselves in trouble with drugs, alcohol, and all sorts of other things. 

See the full review, "The Original Apollo!".
Donna Lacroix
Donna Lacroix is very nice.  She was a part of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International.  She acted quite surprised when I asked her if I could get a photo with her and thanked me for asking her to be in the pic.  She's a really sweet lady and I wish her the best of luck.

Keith Johnson
Keith Johnson and his lovely wife, Sandra, were at the same convention as Donna Lacroix and Shannon Sylvia.  Keith is very, very intelligent on a number of subjects.  He's very reserved and thinks out everything he says very slowly and carefully.  I picked up a copy of his book and he signed it for me.  I also got a picture with him and Sandra, who was exceptionally nice.

Tyrone Braxton

I can honestly say that I've met one Super Bowl champion.  He sat just a few seats behind me on an airplane trip to Denver.  While on the flight, myself and plenty of other people noticed that the flight attendants were paying a lot of attention to one particular passenger.  That passenger turned out to be Denver Broncos defensive back, Tyrone Braxton.  He signed my airline ticket for me and talked freely with everyone on the flight.  He was a really cool guy.

Denver Pyle
If you grew up in the early 80's, you probably watched The Dukes of Hazzard.  If you did, you probably remember Bo and Luke's wise old moonshinin' uncle Jesse.  Denvery Pyle portrayed that iconic character and one summer when I was still a young boy I met him at Dogpatch, USA, a now closed amusement park in Arkansas.  The General Lee was also in attendance, and I got to touch it on the hood!  Uncle Jesse shook my hand and my mother, ever quick with her camera, snapped a photo of the moment.  Now if I could just find that pic!  It's probably tucked away with my Benji photo!

Ashley Massaro
I met Ashley Massaro a few years ago when she was still part of WWE.  There was a huge crowd of people standing at the back of the Lake Charles Civic Center waiting for the WWE stars to pass by as they headed to their next show.  By dumb luck I happened to be standing by Ms. Massaro's rental car.  She walked up and talked to a number of people in the crowd and then talked with me and one of my friends.  Then she was nice enough to take a picture with me.  She was very friendly and I've been a fan of hers ever since.

Daniel Logan
I had the opportunity to go to the first ever Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con in January of this year.  The list of celebrities included a ton of people from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters fame, Billy Dee Williams from Star Wars:  The Empire Strikes Back, and many other stars.  On the second day of the convention and with just a little bit of cash left in my pockets, I took a chance on walking up to Daniel Logan.  He portrayed Boba Fett as a young boy in Star Wars:  Attack of the Clones and also voices the role on the Clone Wars animated series.  There was no one at his table so I walked up and asked him how it felt to portray the younger version of one of the most beloved characters in Star Wars history.  He gave me a very honest answer in which he admitted that he wished he knew then how important Fett is to his fans.  Now he is very humbled when people approach him about the character.  We talked for a few more minutes and had a couple of laughs.  He autographed a photo for me and thanked me for supporting him.  He was a very cool guy, and if I ever cross his path at another convention, I'll definitely chat with him again.

Ray Park
When I saw that Ray Park was going to make an appearance at the Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con, I told my wife that it would be very cool to meet him.  "Who's Ray Park?," she asked, and then I proceeded to list a number of big roles that he's been in that most people probably don't even realize that it was him in the role.  Why?  Because in almost every role he's played, he's caked in makeup or hidden behind a mask.  Park has played everyone from Darth Maul in Star Wars:  The Phantom Menace, Toad in X-Men, Edgar on Heroes, Snake-Eyes in G.I. Joe, and has been a stunt double for numerous actors including Christopher Walken in Sleepy Hollow (He's the Headless Horseman in almost all of the action sequences).  I waited in a fairly long line to meet Mr. Park, and when I got up to him, I turned into a mega fanboy.  I said, "How cool is this?  You've been Darth Maul, Snake-Eyes, Toad--all of these cool characters!"  He then politely smiled and said that it's like playing make-believe all over again as a child.  We talked a few more minutes and then he gladly signed a Darth Maul photo for me.  He's a very cool guy and nice to boot.  I definitely enjoyed my chat with Ray Park.

See the full review, "You Don't Recognize Him, But You Do Know Him!".
Gary Graham

In Biloxi, MS at CoastCon 34, the oldest and largest sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming convention in Mississippi, I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Graham.  If you were a fan of the 1990's television program Alien Nation, you'll recognize Graham as Detective Sikes from that show.  He's been on a number of other TV series, including Enterprise.  He's also been in many movies.

Before going to the convention, I did a little research on Mr. Graham in order to have something besides Alien Nation to talk with him about.  If you venture over to his webpage, you'll find that he is an ultra-conservative person when it comes to politics, so I ask him jokingly who, outside of Tom Selleck, could he talk to in Hollywood circles.  His answer was both interesting and revealing as he listed a number of notable film and television stars who are very conservative. 

We talked a bit longer and then I scooped up an autographed photo from him.  He was a very nice gentleman and held nothing back when talking politics.  Whether you agree or disagree with any or all of his views, you have to respect him for being open about them.

Dino Andrade
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and hang out with Dino Andrade for an entire weekend as I helped host him, Max Grodenchik, and Vaughn Armstrong at the convention that I am currently vice president of, BayouCon.  Dino has voiced a number of characters over the years.  Most recently he has taken on the voice of Pop from the Rice Krispies commercials and the voice of the Scarecrow in the Batman:  Arkham Asylum video game.

Dino is a hilarious man.  I laughed at him all weekend, and it was wonderful to get an insider's look at the world of voice over work.  Oh, and for you lonely geeks out there, Dino runs a website for geeky singles at www.soulgeek.com

Max Grodenchik
If you've ever watched Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine, then you've seen Max Grodenchik.  He portrayed Rom, the brother of Quark, who started out as a Ferengi who lacked the"lobes" for business but eventually rose to the post of Grand Nagus.  Grodenchik has had numerous other roles on television and on the big screen as well.

I hosted Max along with Dino Andrade and Vaughn Armstrong at the recent BayouCon in Lake Charles, LA.  As vice president of the convention, part of my duties involved hanging out with these guys from time to time.  It was wonderful getting the chance to meet all of them.  Max was very inquisitive about the local area and came across as a very genuine guy.

Max joined fellow Star Trek alum Vaughn Armstrong for a concert on Saturday evening of the convention.  Not only could both of them sing, they were hilarious as well.  The concert was a huge success.

I hated seeing Max and the others leave on the Monday following the convention.  I hope to see all three of them again real soon.

In the photo below, you'll see from left to right:  Max, myself, and Star Trek author Larry Nemecek.  In the background is Vaughn Armstrong, giving you just a hint as to how much fun these guys were.

Vaughn Armstrong
No one has played more characters across the Star Trek universe than Vaughn Armstrong.  In all, he has played twelve characters spread across all of the Trek shows with the exception of ST:  TOS.

From Klingons to Borg to Cardassians and a number of species in between, Armstrong has played them all.  He even got the chance to play a human on Enterprise as Admiral Forrest.  His career also extended to the likes of Babylon 5 and Seinfeld.

Vaughn is a true showman.  Along with Max Grodenchik, he performed an excellent concert that had everyone laughing and singing along.  He also played the ukelele and harmonica during the performance.

It was very cool to hear all of his wonderful tales from television.  I truly miss seeing him, Max, and Dino.  I hope to see them all once again real soon.

Jeremy Bulloch
Having already met young Boba Fett, Daniel Logan, earlier this year, I jumped at the chance to meet the original Boba Fett from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Jeremy Bulloch, at the recent Comicpalooz in Houston, TX.  Meeting Mr. Bulloch was a two-fold treat.  Not only did he portray one of my favorite characters from the Star Wars universe, he is also the first person associated with my favorite television show of all time, Doctor Who, that I've had the opportunity to meet.  He appeared in The Space Museum with the first Doctor, William Hartnell, and in The Time Warrior with Doctor Three, Jon Pertwee. 

I own The Time Warrior on DVD, so when he saw me wearing my Doctor Who themed t-shirt, he immediately mentioned his time on the show.  I laughed and said that I owned The Time Warrior on DVD and he begin laughing as well saying, "Oh, do you now?" 

He was a very pleasant person to meet and unlike most celebrities at these types of events who sit behind a table to sign autographs, Mr. Bulloch stood in front of the table and gladly posed for photos with everyone. 

A true gentleman, Jeremy Bulloch made me an even bigger fan of his when I got to meet him.

Marina Sirtis
At the recent Comicpalooza in Houston, TX, I got the chance to walk right up to Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi from ST:  TNG) and briefly talk with her.  What I noticed right away was how strong her natural accent was.  I'm so used to her subdued line delivery on Star Trek:  The Next Generation that I was takenn aback at first.

Once I settled down a bit and actually managed to say a few words, Marina came across as a very nice lady.  Top that off with the fact that she called me "Sweetie" and "Love" with that wonderful accent of hers and I now know why trekkers all over the world refer to her as their Imzadi.

Peter Mayhew
I had a very brief encounter with Peter Mayhew at the Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con recently.  He signed an autograph for me, shook my hand, and posed for a quick photo. He's a really tall dude.

Michael Biehn
I had a very nice talk with Mr. Biehn at the Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con 2012.  He was there with his wife, Jennifer, who is an actor as well.  I was most interested in getting his take on the death of the real man he portrayed in Tombstone, Johnny Ringo.  Very little is known about how this man died.  Some say suicide and a few others believe he could have been murdered by any number of people.  Mr. Biehn said the one thing he was sure of was that "He didn't die the he did in the movie and he didn't kill no priest!"

Mr. Biehn came across as very cerebral and was very nice.  I wouldn't mind talking to him again.

Doug Jones
Of all of the celebrities (and normal people for that matter) that I met in New Orleans recently, Doug Jones had to be the friendliest and most likeable.  He was more than happy to talk to me about portraying Abe Sapien from the Hellboy films.  He talked at length about how Abe was his favorite character to portray and also about getting into character for roles that require makeup, masks, prosthetics, etc.

When it was time for me to go, Mr. Jones hopped up, gave me a full hug and patted me on the head saying, "Be a good boy now, Kendall." 

Mr. Jones, you have now been moved to the top of my "Friendliest People" list!

The Defuser
Quite possibly the busiest man in all of Wizard World-dom, Jarrett Crippen, better known to fans of Stan Lee and SyFy's Who Wants To Be A Super Hero? as The Defuser, took a quick break from his busy Wizard World job as an emcee for the event to snap a quick photo with me.  He didn't hesitate to take the picture and wasy a very nice fellow.

He's also a big dude, and in a tuxedo, he stuck out from the crowd at the convention. 

The Defuser was cool, but Mr. Crippen was great.

Joseph Gatt
I had the chance to meet Joseph Gatt at the recent Space City Con in Houston, TX.  To be quite honest, I had no intentions to talk with him or get his autograph, as he is best known for his work in the "God of War" games as the character of Kratos and I'm not that big of a gamer.  My only real connection to him was the fact that he played Grundroth (a Frost Giant) in the recent Thor film.  However, I sat in on his Q&A panel and was completely floored by how articulate and fun this guy really was.  He shared his wonderful journey of becoming an actor and joked along with the crowd about how he is in the upcoming Star Trek film but could not (and would  not) give us any hints as to who or what he was going to be in the film or what the film was about.

When I went to his table later that evening, I asked him who would win in a straight ahead fight between Thor and Kratos.  He thought very long and went over a few scenarios with me before finally saying that Kratos would win, although it would be a very tough battle for both demi-gods.

Bonnie Piesse
Bonnie Piesse was the primary reason that I attended Space City Con in Houston, TX of August, 2012.  I've gotten the autographs from Star Wars actors bug and she is the latest actor that I've had the chance to meet.  I went to her table as soon as I saw her there (yep, that's a bit stalker-like, isn't it?) and begin to talk with her.  Right away I was amazed at how nice she was.  She was downright sweet to me and autographed a photo and took numerous photos with me (the guy taking the photos kept messing up, so we took multiple photos together.  LUCKY!).  I went to her Q&A panel a bit later and she talked a lot about her music career, which is really starting to take off.

I asked her one of the last questions during her panel.  I asked her if she was a fan of Star Wars before and she admitted that she wasn't very aware of the mythology and popularity of the films.  She said she watched all of the films to catch up on what was going on with the series.  I then asked her which film in the series was her favorite and she laughed a bit and said that she was biased a bit, but Revenge of the Sith was her favorite.  She said it tied everything up quite nicely.

Ms. Piesse was extremely nice and very fun to talk with.  Check her out if you ever get the opportunity.

Jason David Frank
Okay, right out of the box I have to admit that I had no intention of meeting or getting an autograph from Jason David Frank.  If you don't know who he is, he was the original Green Ranger on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and went on to reprise the role multiple times during the Power Rangers' twenty+ year run.  When I was younger, I identified with Billy, the Blue (and very nerdy) Ranger and wasn't all too fond of Tommy when he popped on the scene and took over things.

However, while hanging out in the lobby prior to Jason David Frank's Q&A panel, I saw him enter the room and immediately get mobbed by fans.  They ranged in age from five and six years all the way up into people knocking on forty's door (like myself).  Instead of telling them to visit his table to buy photos/autographs/merchandise, he took time with each and every person.  He seemed genuinely happy to talk with all of them. 

Seeing this convinced me to sit in on his panel, and it was a riot.  He made numerous jokes about the Rangers, himself, Hollywood, big snobby celebs, and the MMA.  He also talked about his karate schools and how he had a hard life growing up and decided years ago that he would never turn anyone away because they were "below" him as some celebs often do.

He was brutally honest about what happened behind the scenes on Rangers and was interrupted multiple times by his young daughter during the panel, only to draw more laughs from the crowd. 

Afterwards he talked with people, took photos, and finally made it up to his table where he signed more autographs, took more photos, and talked with more people.  The guy completely won me over as a fan and I walked away like a giddy school girl with my autographed JDF Green/White Ranger photo. 

The guy is amazing.  He loves his fans and it really shines through in the way he interacts with them.  He is easily in my top five of the coolest people I've ever met.

Burton Gilliam
Have you ever watched Fletch, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Honeymoon In Vegas, or Back To The Future III?  If not, perhaps you've seen Paper Moon?  Still not ringing a bell?  If so, I'm pretty sure most of the people who read this list have at least seen Blazing Saddles and remember the brilliant Burton Gilliam as "Lyle."  I had the very pleasant and unique pleasure of meeting Mr. Gilliam on October 5, 2012 at the Kick-Off Party for the first annual Lake Charles Film Festival.  Mr. Gilliam opened the festival and welcomed everyone, showed a demo reel of his excellent (and very funny) work, and then hung out with the crowd for a few hours.  He posed for countless photos and signed a number of autographs.  The guy was straight-up cool and I'm glad I had the chance to meet him.  I only wish I could have gone to the second day of the festival to get a chance at seeing him again. 

What did you think of this list?

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January 11, 2011
Nice! The only one I met too is your # 2 when he was in WCW...helluva nice guy!!
January 11, 2011
I am ashamed to say that outside of Benji, Hacksaw and Richard Hatch, I never heard of the other people on your list. It is really fun meeting someone you grew up watching and getting a chance to chat with them even if it is just to say a few brief words. Thanks for sharing!
January 11, 2011
You don't know Uncle Jesse?!?! I thought everyone knew about him. Most of the people on this list are or were minor stars, so I wouldn't expect a whole lot of people to know the whole list. In fact, I think most of them have only had minor roles since they first became popular or have retired completely from showbiz. I do know that Jars of Clay still produce successful albums, but only on the Christian charts. They haven't had a crossover hit since the mid-90's.
January 10, 2011
So cool! Especially Benji! I'm not sure if I've ever met anyone famous before, much less a furry one :P Awesome list, K! Hope you can dig up some of those photographs and autographs ;)
January 11, 2011
I've got three of the autographs and a few of the pics. What I really want is to find my old Benji and Uncle Jesse snapshots!
About the list creator
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #16
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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