Stars come out for Festival

July 3, 2011 • Local News

Roy Thinnes talks to a fan about “The Invaders,” Friday at the UFO Museum and Research Center. Also pictured is Mira Furlan, far left. (Mark Wilson Photo)

Out-of-town visitors may not catch a glimpse of an extraterrestrial this weekend, but tourists did witness another rare sighting: celebrities at the UFO Museum and Research Center Friday morning helping kick off the 20th annual UFO Festival.

A crowd of adoring fans surrounded Mira Furlan, who played an alien on the TV show “Babylon 5” and Danielle Rousseau in “Lost,” and Roy Thinnes, of the sci-fi series “The Invaders” and “The X-Files,” to snap a picture with the pair and get their autographs.

“She’s just starstruck,” Phil LeHardy, of Denver, said, [auth] teasing his wife Amber as they waited in line to meet Thinnes.

“I am,” Amber confessed. “My dad grew up watching ‘The Invaders.’ To be able to see a hero of his is cool.”

Los Angeles science fiction memorabilia collector Barry Lasky and his wife Ann Wilmer-Lasky, a science fiction, fantasy and horror writer, brought DVDs and vintage Invaders comic books for Thinnes to sign.

“I’ve loved the show forever,” Lasky said. “I’ve been selling all the old science fiction comics since the ’70s in LA.”

Laskey added that he and Ann first met at a convention for “Dark Shadows,” a gothic soap opera that ran on ABC in the late 1960s and early ’70s and featured Thinnes playing the character of Roger Collins.

During a Q&A session with fans, Thinnes said he resisted attending conventions when “The Invaders” was on the air in 1967-68 to avoid self-promotion.

“I didn’t want to be self-serving,” he said simply.

But now he says he enjoys meeting fans because they remind him of things past. He added this was his second time being in Roswell; the first trip was to see the archeologists dig at the alleged 1947 alien crash site near Corona about 70 miles northwest of Roswell. As he was speaking, one woman in the crowd with rosy cheeks quietly murmured, “He’s still cute after all these years.”

Furlan said she was excited to visit Roswell with her 12-year-old son Marko Lav Gajić, who is interested in physics, astronomy and the presence of extraterrestrials in the universe.

“When this opportunity came, I thought maybe we could go together and visit this place,” she said, calling Roswell “an important place, a mystical place.”

To much applause, Furlan confided to the audience that she is a believer, and that it is “egocentric to think that the human race is the only one in this infinite universe.”

According to the official UFO Festival schedule, Furlan and Thinnes are slated to be at the UFO Museum and Research Center again at 9 a.m., today, Sunday and Monday.

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