by Gayle Stever
When I saw the first cast photos for DS9, the only person I recognized was RenÚ. I had watched Benson and knew him as Clayton Endicott III. I really am not a big movie or theater person and so I didn't know him from very much else I must admit.
And then, in watching DS9, Odo seemed to be a sort of cantankerous and curmudgeonly character-dry and irritable. So with these two characters as back ground, it was with some amazement that I experienced RenÚ as a convention guest.
In March of 1993, I attended one of my first conventions, the Creation Grand Slam. Those of you who have attended one of these huge productions know that they can be large and impersonal. So I was particularly impressed with RenÚ whose convention style was pleasant and very personal. While the details of the appearance have faded in my memory, I remember vividly the warmth of the man. I also remember sneaking out to watch him sign autographs for a few minutes. I wasn't into autographs and the line was about five hours long so I didn't wait in it, but I watched RenÚ interacting with people and he was so charming and pleasant to each person!
I didn't have the opportunity to see RenÚ again for over a year. The next time was in San Diego, August of 1994. I should say at this point that I finished my doctorate that same month and that my dissertation was on fans and the motivations for their interest in celebrities. I had interviewed a number of DS9 cast members for this document although I had never been able to be the same place at the same time as RenÚ in order to ask him to contribute his thoughts. However, I wanted to share the final document with him and elicit his opinions if possible.
So in August of 1994, I gave RenÚ a copy of my dissertation, briefly introducing myself and frankly I thought that this might be the end of it. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I received a note from RenÚ just three short days after the convention thanking me for my dissertation and expressing a desire to chat about it at some point in the future.
Two things facilitated this happening sooner rather than later. First of all, I met Lisa and found out that she was starting ORACLE. Then we realized that we were both going to the Creation convention in San JosÚ on October 9, so we made plans to meet up there and get to know one another better. Kathy Bayne who runs Armin's fan club was also attending the convention and with RenÚ and Armin as the guests, the stage was set for a get together!
It was a great privilege to have breakfast with RenÚ, Lisa and Kathy the morning of October 9, just before the convention. The conversation ranged from the theoretical to the practical. On the practical side, we talked about fan clubs and the kinds of things that fan clubs can do. The more esoteric topics ranged from Trek as mythology to the topic of my dissertation and the kinds of fans who seem to be drawn to each of the different Star Trek characters and actors who portray them. RenÚ had just received the script for "Fascinations" and was enthusiastic about that and also was enthusiastic about the growth and development of Odo this third season.
I've heard that RenÚ will do the Grand Slam again this year and I can't wait to hear him talk about things Trek once again! I hope to see you all there!