Peter David is a Cool Guy

peter-david  I meant to post this months ago, but somehow it slipped through the cracks…

You sometimes hear horror stories about people meeting one of their favorite actors, musicians, or athletes and being treated badly or indifferently by them, which often ruins someone’s perception of that person. Usually you can’t really blame the celebrity. After all, nobody wants to be bothered constantly to begin with, and it would be difficult for anyone to always be friendly to strangers who come up an act like they know you. Having lived in L.A. for several years, I grew fairly accustomed to seeing famous people–mostly actors, but sometimes people like Maya Angelou–around town, and generally I know better than to bother them, even if I’m a big fan.  I’ve even had Larry David walk past me not once, but TWICE, on the street, and I didn’t say a word despite the fact that Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm are two of my favorite shows of all time. But there are some circumstances when it should be considered okay to say hi, if not expected. For example, I saw Harlan Ellison speak once and bought a book from him afterwards and got it signed, and he was extremely nice to everyone there.

A situation like Comic-Con in San Diego is kind of a gray area. On the one hand, these actors, writers, artists, etc. are usually there to sell something or to push a movie, TV show, or book, so they know they’re going to be stuck talking to a bunch of fans. But what about when the person is simply trying to walk down the hall, or get something to eat? Usually, I’d say let the person be.

This year at Comic-Con, I was walking with my family and saw one of my favorite comic writers (and absolute favorite Star Trek writer), Peter David (no relation to Larry that I know of) walking a few feet in front of us. I told my wife who he was, and she said I should say hi to him, but I hesitated for two reasons. First, he was just trying to get to where he was going–it wasn’t like he was sitting at a booth selling books or something–and second, I was a little bit scared. Why? Well, Mr. David has a reputation for having a, shall we say…abrasive personality. And a few years ago, I saw him on a panel at an earlier Comic-Con, and what I heard seemed to support that reputation. To be honest, I had been a little disappointed after being a huge fan for so many years.

But my wife was pretty insistent, and said, “Who cares? You’ll probably never get another chance to tell him what a big fan you are.” So I decided to go for it. I sped up a little, and said, “Mr. David, I don’t want to bother you, but I just wanted you to know what a big fan I am.” And he stopped and looked at me. Then he looked at my nametag and smiled and shook my hand and said “Thanks!”

Then, to my surprise, he asked, “Is this your family?” And started talking to us.  He was especially nice to my seven-year-old daughter, asking her things like her name and what grade she was in. He didn’t act one bit annoyed that I had stopped him, or like he was in too much of a hurry to take a couple of minutes to speak to us. Then he shook my hand again and said, “Nice meeting you” and left.

Now, Peter David may not be a household name, but at an event like Comic-Con he’s definitely a celebrity. It was very refreshing to not only have someone like that be so friendly, but also to have my perception of someone I admire change for the better. Thanks, Mr. David.

~ by christophervalin on December 2, 2008.

One Response to “Peter David is a Cool Guy”

  1. It’s always great to read things like this! I really like his work on the Stephen King Dark Tower comic series.

    I got a nice comment recently from David H. Lawrence (he plays Eric Doyle, the puppet master, on Heroes) when I followed him on Twitter. He totally didn’t need to do that, but it sure made an impression on me.

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