Visitors of the GalaxyFest convention that took place a few weeks ago in gorgeous downtown Colorado Springs, CO soaked up all the sci-fi and pop culture goodness they could get. Geeks from all over the Rocky Mountain region celebrated Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Anime, Fantasy, and Zombie fun last Feb 21-23 at the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs. Those lucky attendees who joined in on a sci-fi panel with actors Richard Herd, Marta Kristen, and Beverly Washburn left with smiles. All three of these actors shared entertaining and insightful stories in an hour that passed far too quickly. One thing they had in common was their gratitude for being character actors. They talked about how the big stars come and go while the characters are always there and always working.
Richard Herd, best known as the alien commander from the original V series shared his stories with wit and humor. He had no problem getting the audience involved when he told someone who had not heard of a particular sci-fi film to go home and do his homework. When asked what actor he was in awe over he praised Jason Robards, James Cagney, and Christopher Plummer. “Watch the classics and learn, learn, learn” he told the audience. When approached about Tim Russ’ highly anticipated series Star Trek: Renegades Herd was fairly tight lipped about it. The pilot was finished a little over two months ago and he is hoping it will be picked up soon. Gratefully he told that even if his character is killed off, he is determined to come back. “Hey, it’s outer space. We can do anything!”
Marta Kristen lit up the room when she joined Richard and Beverly for the panel. She looked stunning, charming, and was full of energy. Lost in Space started out as a more serious project the first season, Kristen explained. When asked what actor inspired her she talked about how Loretta Young was so gracious and wonderful. Then, of course, there was Jonathan Harris from Lost in Space. He apparently re-wrote every line the writers gave him to ensure Dr. Smith was a more likeable bad guy. Interestingly enough Harris always made sure the last line of the episode belong to him.
Along with Richard Herd and Marta Kristen was the lovely Beverly Washburn. Best known from her role as Lt. Galway from the original Star Trek episode The Deadly Years, Washburn has enjoyed a full career from her role in Old Yeller as well as a mile long filmography of guest roles. She was very charming with a shy sense of humor. She recalled her favorite actors as Jack Benny, Kirk Douglas, and Ernest Borgnine.