Photo of an autographed photo of Lois Lane with Superman (1978)
Over the years, I have attended many comic cons and have met a multitude of celebrities. I thought it would be fun to reminisce about some of the interactions I have had with celebrities here in this blog post. I'm a rather socially awkward person anyway, so I hope these stories give you a chuckle as much as they do me. Who knows, maybe I will do a blog series on this? I do know that a lot of our Toy and Tee crew have had similar experiences, so maybe we'll expand this out? Anyway, let's go going on my comic con celebrity encounters.
I would like to begin by saying that I have mixed feelings about paying someone to meet them. On one hand, it is pretty awesome to meet the people that I grew up watching on television or in the movies. It's interesting to get a glimpse of how they portray themselves in public. I am careful not to use the phrase “see who they really are” as we all know that people rarely expose who they really are in public settings, especially celebs. And I don't really blame them, their life lacks privacy as it is, and there are all sorts of unrealistic expectations placed on them. That's the name of the game, however.
For this blog post, I will simply talk about my comic con interactions with celebrities that come to mind. There’s not going to be a rhyme, reason, or theme to any of this; I’m just reminiscing. Maybe you’ve met some of these folks as well? If so, feel free to compare your experiences with mine. Anyway, here we go.
Margot Kidder (Lois Lane from the Superman Movies of the Late 70s-early 80s)
I had the pleasure of meeting Margot Kidder just before she passed back in 2018. I recall that she was having some health issues during that time, which was evident by the way she would walk around the convention center. There was a lot of press as well covering her battle with mental health issues, which I can identify with to a small degree.
Margot was perhaps my first celebrity crush. I remember being in love with Lois Lane at an early age, so it was very special for me that I had the opportunity to meet the lady behind the character. As I approached her counter, I noticed a sign on the table that said something to the effect of “autographed Playboy photos (cost an additional fee)”. I wondered why? Maybe she was embarrassed about that? Who knows? I do find it strange to ask someone to sign a nude photo of themselves for your collection. That, in my opinion, is weird. But I'm old fashioned I guess?
Margot was warm and inviting. Despite my wife being with me, I couldn’t help myself. “You’re my first crush!” I gushed as I approached her. She was so personable and authentic. I believe she truly loved her fans, as she was very conversational and was in no rush with us. My wife and I both got a photo with her, and she autographed the photograph shown above. My wife was excited that I got to meet her, which looking back, was kinda funny. But then again, she doesn’t have any qualms about professing her love for Christopher Reeve.
Margot’s passing was rather sad for me, especially given this brief but memorable interaction I had with her. As with the passing of any iconic actor or actress, it feels like a piece of my childhood died with her. Maybe that's being a bit dramatic, time marches on after all.
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk TV Show of the Late 70s-early 80s, The King of Queens TV Show)
Speaking of crushes, my wife and a friend of ours wanted to meet Lou at a comic con several years ago, and I was along for the ride. I liked Lou’s work as the Incredible Hulk, but I wasn’t really interested in spending money to meet him, let alone get a photo with him. But it meant a lot to our friend, so I thought I’d wait in line with them just because.
Lou was a charming guy, I must admit. The dude exudes confidence, and man, this guy is massive. He truly is a certified hoss cat. I can't imagine his rival Arnold Schwarzenegger being close to as large as he was. Lou greets my wife and our friend, and they are stunned. His massive frame cast some weird spell on them, they could barely speak or move. Part of me was jealous, yet part of me was like “Well, he is a Greek god, so he gets a pass”.
I decide to take the photograph as Lou wraps his pythons around the ladies. As I snap the photo, Lou flexes a little, causing our friend to let out a squeal. This brief interaction with Lou did something to my friend, she is normally a stable, mentally solid person. But she was transfixed by Lou. Even to this day, if I bring up our interaction with him, you can see the spell come over her. I must admit, Lou has a presence about him that is truly epic. What a perfect casting for the Incredible Hulk.
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca, Star Wars)
Peter Mayhew was one of the first celebrities that I met in my comic con adventures. My wife and I are big Star Wars fans, so when we heard that he was going to be at the convention, we were beyond stoked. After all, the lovable Chewie is one of our favorite characters (along with pretty much every other main character from the original series of movies).
If I am being honest, our meeting with Peter was rather disappointing. He had an off-putting attitude like he was annoyed that we were there. He autographed our action figure, and we paid for a photo with him as well. Peter didn’t look at the camera when the photo was taken; it was very much a transaction. That being said, I realize that Peter suffered from a lot of physical ailments due to his size and so forth, and he likely had to work these cons for some extra dough. Also, you never know what a person is going through in their life, and these are, after all, human beings.
Disney World Chewie turning my bro hug into a full embrace.
Given this lackluster experience, I am still happy that I got to meet him before he passed. I don’t want to assume that he was just being disrespectful, but the experience did open my naive eyes to the reality behind some of the characters I love. Due to this experience, I’m also more careful these days to observe celebrities at conventions before paying good money to meet them.
Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian, Star Wars)
Ah, Billy Dee Williams. We waited in line for what seemed like an eternity to meet Lando himself. This guy is a master of charm, it is no wonder he was so good as Lando in the Star Wars films. He was eating a pretzel while meeting fans, and we had a brief conversation about how salty the pretzel was. What a weird and meaningless thing to remember from a conversation. Given the amount of people he was meeting, he didn’t really have the time to have a full blown conversation with anyone. Even so, he was a nice guy and appeared to really enjoy meeting his fans.
Butterbean (Pro Boxer, Mixed Martial Artist, King of the 4 Rounders)
I recently got the opportunity to meet Butterbean, the guy who helped discover the multiverse by knocking Johnny Knoxville into another dimension. This guy had a very kind, upbeat personality, at first. There were a lot of people purchasing autographs and photos with him, so he got mixed up on who had paid and who hadn't, and he thought I hadn't paid for the autograph and photo op he just gave me. "Am I about to be knocked out by Butterbean?", I thought. Part of me was like, "That's awesome!", and part of me was about to crap my undies.
Growing up in Appalachia, every boy (and many girls) has been in plenty of fist fights, but not with the likes of Butterbean. I could see myself bragging to my friends that I had taken a shot from the man himself, assuming my jaw was functional. The lady handling the money came to my rescue, reminding him that I had indeed paid. So cool, kind, lovable Butterbean was back.
I think he was on the mend because he looked like he was recovering from some injury. He had crutches there I believe, and he was quite a bit slimmer than I remember seeing him as well, but he didn't seem to be frail or anything (as you can see above). I always found it comical that people would underestimate him, given his physique, but the guy knows how to land. I'm glad I got to meet him.
Well, that’s it for my first episode. I’ve met oodlins of celebrities, so if you folks like this sort of thing, let me know. I plan on doing another episode here shortly. Next up, my interactions with pro wrestlers.
- Jay C. Shepherd
- Content Creator
- Jay is a graphic designer, board game enthusiast, and professional wrestling fan who loves all things 80's, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and of course, video games. He is one of the rare few that believes that one can be a Trekkie and Star Wars fan at the same time.