My favorite actor is David Hedison. If the name’s not familiar, he was on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and James Bond. That’s where most people know him from. I first got hooked on him when KTLA began running a science fiction afternoon of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea at 4:00 and Star Trek at 5:00 (hey, I’m an equal opportunity action girl). He was tall, dark, and Armenian. Classic leading man looks. This was when the Fonz was popular. I thought Henry Winkler was not really good looking, and all he said was, “Heeyyy!” David Hedison played a military man, and there were great action scenes. He even did his own scuba diving for the underwater scenes — most aired in beautiful color.
I eventually started hunting through the TV Guide to find other shows he was on so I could watch them. The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman. I just couldn’t get enough of seeing him on the screen.
But I never thought I would have the opportunity to actually meet him …
He was going to be in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, in a theatre in Massachusetts, starring with Juliet Mills. Two friends came to join me, one from Canada and one from England, and we drove up the East Coast. We were attending the last two nights because that’s when the best performances are. The actors are constantly working on the roles, and it’s an ongoing process of improvement over the course of the play. We went to two because it’s a live performance, so no two are alike.
Because we’d called ahead and said we were friends of David — he knew we were coming — the theatre gave us good seats. On the first day, we were in the second row, and the stage was right there, so close we could have touched it.
I was really nervous. I felt like my clothes were breaking out in wrinkles. As I waited for the play to start, waited for the moment when I would see David Hedison in person, I was so tense. I was afraid I was going to need to race out of the theatre in the middle of the play to use the bathroom.
Then the play started, and he walked out on stage.
My first thought? He’s in 3D! I never realized how flat television makes an actor until I saw David Hedison live.
Then he turned and his gaze fell on us. He didn’t recognize me obviously, but he did the other two women. There was a second where he froze, and the women I was with swore he dropped a line.
My nervous continued to jangle throughout the first act, and I was certain everyone must be able to see it. By the time I’d returned from the first intermission, I’d calmed down a little so I could enjoy the play. There was a scene that was pure fun to watch. The other cast members were the focus of the scene, and David’s character had retreated by the fireplace. He had a cigarette with him — character smoked, actor didn’t. While the cast conversed, the things he did with that cigarette stole the scene.
After the play, he came out to greet us — even me — like old friends. Coffee, tea, soda? He checked with my Brit friend on how his accent was. Then he brought Juliet Mills over, and she told tall true tales about David to us. When it was time to close up, David drove us out to my car, since it was dark out.
The next day, I was able to relax during the performance and enjoy it. We were in the front row this time. With live performance, anything can happen, and during this one, one of the actors had to eat a sandwich on stage. She swallowed the wrong way and choked. It became part of the performance. David came to her side, but she cleared the sandwich and the play went on. After the performance ended, we got to watch a promotional photo shoot. David and Juliet posed in costume for numerous pictures. We were there until almost midnight, and it almost seemed sad to let to fairy tale end when we finally had to leave.
Have you ever run into your favorite celebrity? What was it like?