I attended Slanted Fedora 2001 in November of 2001. It was a bit smaller than the organizers were hoping, I suspect, due to the unfortunate timing. Andy and Sid were scheduled to perform their play, but Sid wasn't able to make it. (Marc, Casey, and Jeff were able to come and perform their Shakespeare piece.) Now, when A Stitch In Time came out earlier in 2001, people on the fan club e-mail list wrote reviews that appeared in Andy’s fan club newsletter, which he read. He told more than one person that he was particularly happy with my review, and they passed that along to me. One of my friends knew Andy well enough to approach him outside the structured meeting times. She introduced me and reminded him that I was the one whose review of ASIT he’d liked so much. He shook my hand and we exchanged pleasantries. It was thrilling but manageable in terms of excitement. 🙂 Most of the Q&A I remember from Andy was about ASIT. I have vague memories of asking him during the Q&A about A Stitch In Time as meta-narrative, which is something I’d remarked on in my book review – basically, the reader imagines Bashir receiving this tome, trying to figure out what’s true and what’s lies and what’s something in between, and reacting to it. He said that was an important part of the story – it’s not just what’s on the page, it’s Garak *telling* the story and Bashir hearing it. (One of my autographs says, “To Mark, Great review of the book – you got it!”) What really made the weekend special was that people were able to arrange a private fan club meeting with Andy and Irene. About 20 of us in a room with him for about three hours, talking about directing and acting and all kinds of stuff. He had directed The Glass Menagerie with his daughter Rachel and Susan Sullivan in 2000, and we talked about that. Andy had recently directed, or was about to direct, a Pinter play and was quite excited about it. Something that kind of blurs my memory of the whole weekend with my overwhelming fanboy reaction: After the fan club meeting, Andy and Irene left, and the rest of us lingered for a few minutes. When my roommates and I went to get the elevator to our floor, Andy and Irene were on it. Andy clasped my hand in that Roman-style handshake Garak and Tain used in Improbable Cause, looked down at me, and said, “I really, really liked your review of my book.” 🙂 🙂 🙂
Weekend on the Promenade 1999 happened just after they finished filming the last episode. During the Q&A I asked Andy to talk about playing Liberace. He told a story about the real Liberace once being the victim of bad wire-work – he’d been on wires and the person responsible had lost control and dragged him painfully across the stage. He could easily have had the person fired, blown his stack, etc., but all he did was say to the person, “That’s not going to happen again, is it?” (Andy put on sort of a half-Liberace, half-Garak voice for that.) After the banquet Andy read excerpts from “Garak’s Diaries” – A Stitch In Time was well on its way to being a Real Book, so he read passages from the draft. I seem to remember that he was relieved DS9 had finished without messing up his book! (He said that for the first time he’d made a request of another actor for their performance – he asked Julianna McCarthy to play Mila as Garak’s mother so that he wouldn’t have a major changed book-premise on his hands.) During Andy’s performance, there were some sound-related problems – the Abraham Lincoln impersonators convention in the ballroom next door had music on, and when Andy started, they turned it up, so Andy talked louder, so they turned it up again… someone went next door to let them know they were affecting a live performance by an actor and they turned their music down to a tolerable level. A couple of them came over to watch!
Weekend on the Promenade 1998 was a fan club convention with an attendance cap of around 120 people, with money going to the actors’ chosen charities. There were long, satisfying Q&As, at the lunches and dinners the fans would draw lots to sit at the tables of actors and spouses, and autograph sessions. There was a cool charity auction where they offered scripts and some fairly cool memorabilia. Andy read from Garak’s Diaries, which was at that point in early development as A Stitch In Time. It probably won’t surprise you to hear how Garaky he became despite lack of makeup. He also talked about directing Jack Klugman in Death of a Salesman. It was after Klugman had throat cancer — he talked about the parallel of Jack’s post-cancer voice and Willy Loman’s more metaphorical struggle to communicate. Sid and Andy obviously have a lot of affection and respect for each other. They missed playing the relationship between Garak and Bashir onscreen and were unhappy with the decision not to pursue the relationship. They weren’t optimistic about getting any more scenes together. (This was around the beginning of Season 7. They’d filmed around 7 or 8 episodes.) At one point during his Q&A, Andy was distracted by a plane taking off. (There were big windows and he was facing them.) He started to tell us something a pilot friend had told him about this airport, but Irene firmly shushed him. (People have to fly out of this airport to get home, Andrew! Don’t tell this story!) Later I heard that a tall building was built a little too close to the airport, so planes had to take off at an unusually steep angle to avoid it.
My father and I went to Vul-Con 2016 in Vulcan, Alberta. There were a number of guests; Andy was there on Sunday. I was second in the autograph line to meet him, and my father was third. I had a nice brief little exchange, and got my copy of his memoir, Stepping Into The Light, signed. Andy remarked on my father’s copy of A Stitch In Time – it’s so hard to get these days. (My family has four or five copies between us, purchased when it was first released.) Andy also seemed pleased that my father and I were there together. The next thing to do was the photo op. My Dad and I went in together and got a great photo with Andy – again he remarked on the father and son team! Finally, there was the Q&A. The format was more of an interview with questions – the interviewer was good with all the guests, but in my biased opinion, Andy’s Q&A was the best one. There was lots of great energy. I was both delighted and amused that, in the heart of rural Alberta, Andy spontaneously brought up how he decided to play Garak as attracted to Bashir. (He said that upon his first meeting with Sid, he thought Sid was “the most beautiful young man I’d ever seen”.) When he was asked if there was something he wished the writers had done with Garak, he said he’d wanted Garak to have the intimacy of a romance. That the attempt with Ziyal had been a “flop”, that the Garak/Bashir relationship was the closest thing Garak probably had to that intimacy, and that he wished they’d taken the intimacy with Bashir further. He was asked about his writing influences, both personal and literary. For the literary, he answered big thick Russian novels; for the personal, he noted the parallels to be found between Garak’s life in A Stitch In Time and his own life as he talked about in Stepping Into The Light. One of the young fans asked about his experience working with Angela Lansbury. (He did two episodes of Murder, She Wrote.) He spoke about her generosity and how enjoyable it was to work with her. [He didn’t talk about this part, but Lansbury went out of her way to provide work for out-of-work actors on her show. She had a lot of control on the series and she did a lot of good with it.] One person asked him a question that made him think for a long moment – if he could actually *be* Garak, even for a short time, would he do it? Finally, he answered that a lot of Andy had gone into Garak, and ultimately Garak had become a part of Andy. So in some sense he is Garak.
Brilliant work Dawn you have worked hard x
I was fortunate enough to meet Andy twice. The first time was at STLV 2015, and he has his own table in the vendor's room. He was incredibly gracious and kind - not to mention charming! We had a lovely chat about Hellraiser and the nature of consent (long story). I ran into him a couple more times over the weekend, so when it came time for my photo-op at the end of the convention, he threw his arms out and gave me a big hug. The second time was at STLV 2016 and he was very, very busy. They had him signing on a complimentary basis for all the gold ticket holders, and all of us who had to purchase his autograph had to wait. It took hours. In fact, they had to move him out of the auditorium to set up for the Rat Pack and had him signing in the lobby. By the time it got the end of the line, where I was, he had been signing for 3 or 4 hours and they were moving him along at a pretty brisk clip. However, when I slid my copy of Stepping Into the Light across the table, you could just see the delight on his face. He personalized it for me, and even though I didn't have time to tell him how much the book had meant to me, I think he understood. He stood up and from across the table, gave me a hug and kissed me right in my hairline. It was magical and I will never forget it. He must have been incredibly tired, and yet he was still so kind and patient with every single person who came up to him. He is a real class act, and an amazingly talented human being. The world is a better place for having him in it.
This is a wonderful tribute, Dawn!
I'm going to start the stories off: The first time I got to meet Andy was at the LFCC I was very nervous, and blushed quite a bit (and that was just standing in the queue waiting for his Autograph) When I got to the desk I had 2 photos for him to sign Liberace and my personal one which was a genuine headshot of him as Harman in Charley Varrick. I was so happy when he recognised me. He probably found it hard to understand me what with my accent and my nervousness I probably sounded drunk ?. He was so lovely and friendly and made me feel at ease. As I walked towards him to get my Photo shoot done he put his arms around me and gave me a hug. (I was so happy!!) He is a true gentleman and I can't wait to meet him again.
Thank you for your comments, Glad you like the site.
wow, great website about a great actor ?
Thank you for making this site! I love Andy so much and it makes me happy to see other fans appreciating him and his work! 😀 Nice job. LLAP
Thanks for making this, Dawn! It looks great. You have lots of photos that I have never seen before! <3