Klingon role is a dream come true for Dorn

TELEVISION

July 15, 1991|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Evening Sun Staff

WHEN ACTOR Michael Dorn was young, he watched the television series "Star Trek" and imagined how neat it must be to act in such a show.

"It's like my life has come full circle . . . and then they stick thhead on me," he told a crowd of some 900 "Trek" fans yesterday, some of whom had greeted his arrival with the chant 'Worf! Worf! Worf!"

For Dorn now plays the character of Worf in the syndicateseries "Star Trek: The Next Generation," the first member of the fierce intergalactic race of Klingons to serve in the United Federation of Planets Starfleet corps.

And that means the 38-year-old actor, when clad (as yesterdayin a yellow shirt and blue jeans, often passes unnoticed in a crowd, lacking the carapace-like forehead, furrowed and bearded face and stringy hair of his on-screen makeup job.

In fact, Dorn told fans gathered at Shore Leave 13, the latessemi-annual gathering of "Star Trek" and other science fiction fans at the Hunt Valley Inn in Cockeysville, in a future episode of the show he may play two roles -- one as Worf, the security chief of the starship Enterprise, and another as a handsome human, as he is off the set.

"I am amazed. It doesn't seem like there is any end to it, and it'gaining momentum," said Dorn of the "Star Trek" fan phenomenon as he prepared to sign autographs after his hourlong talk. Worf's deep, almost guttural voice is almost the actor's own.

Dorn sat with actor George Takei, who played Commander Sulin the original "Star Trek" series" and all five of the "Star Trek" movies. They were featured guests of the three-day convention, along with Michael Okuda, the scenic art supervisor and tech consultant for both "The Next Generation" series and the "Star Trek 6" feature film due out in December.

All, however, were mum about many details of the film's actionbeyond its subtitle, "The Undiscovered Country."

"Any one of you might be a spy for Paramount, and I like my job,joked Okuda, who hosted a slide show which detailed the amazingly meticulous world created by the "Star Trek" productions.

And Dorn told fans he wouldn't say much because as a moviviewer, "I would like not to know what's going to happen.

"It will be wonderful," he added, however, acknowledging he is ithe film in spite of the supposed time lapse between the fictional casts. (Reportedly, he plays the grandfather of Worf.)

Dorn said he has been to 60 or 70 fan conventions in the fouyears that "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has been on the air. (It is seen here at 10 p.m. Wednesdays, with multiple repeats, on WBFF-Channel 45).

He has had roles in the series 'CHiPS,' the film "Rocky" and iadvertising as the Viceroy cigarette man. But he said the scope of joining the "Trek" scene recently came home to him at a dedication in Hollywood of a building named for Gene Roddenberry, "Trek's" creator and producer.

Present were both first and second series and movie productioand cast members.

"I looked around at all these people and said 'They've beedoing this 25 years.' And then I thought, '25 years as Worf? It's going to be a little tough.' "

At the convention this weekend, a locally based Michael DorAppreciation Organization was holding events, and a fan club of the fictional Klingon people was also recruiting members.

"People like to get out of the human character when they can'be what they'd like to be in reality," said Tom Scheuer in explanation of the group's fascination with the warrior Klingons.

Known when in costume as "Lord Krell," Scheuer said the NeYork-based Death's Hand Battle Fleet club (rough English for the Klingonese "Mortas-t-Kamse"), "is one of the biggest Klingon organizations in existence" and has been functioning for some 15 years.

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