In 1986 and 87, I worked on a show called Starman. It was a spinoff of the movie of the same name
about an alien who crash lands on earth and, to survive, clones the body of a dead man utilizing DNA
from hair left in the man's hair brush. The movie was directed by John Carpenter and starred Jeff
Bridges as the "Starman" and Karen Allen as the widow of the man the alien has cloned. The alien
after being pursued by government agents is picked up by a mother ship, but, he leaves the widow
The TV series took the license of putting the events in the 1984 movie fifteen years in the past as of
1986. The alien returns to earth, to try to find the woman, Jenny Hayden, and their child. Robert Hays
played a dual role: a devil may care photographer, who is killed in a helicopter crash, and the alien
who clones his body. Stepping, rather clumsily, into the life of photographer Paul Forrester, the alien
begins again to learn what it is to be a human being on the planet Earth. He finds his child, a son,
Scott Hayden, but Jenny Hayden has disappeared.
Scott Hayden was played by Christopher Daniel Barnes. In the roles of Paul and Scott, Robert Hays
and Chris Barnes portrayed a relationship such as has never been seen on television, before or since.
I can't describe it. It needs to be seen.
Complicating their search for Jenny Hayden is the fact that they are being pursued by a fanatical,
government agent named George Fox, played by Michael Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh played an all too
human Federal Security agent, who truly believes that the world is in danger of infection from
extraterrestrials. To be more specific, he fears the human race will be compromised if humans and
aliens mate. Paul, Scott and Jenny represent Fox's worst fears. His relentless pursuit has driven Jenny
into deep hiding, and keeps Paul and Scott on the run.
Occasionally, Fox is joined by other federal agents, and that's where I came in. I played F.S.A. Agent
Ben Wylie. Wylie seems to be Fox's assistant. He is often in on the chase.
Recently, I watched all 22 shows on DVDs produced by a fan, Todd Andrews. I had not seen most of the
episodes in 20 years. I remember being very impressed by the level of writing on the show when we
were working on it. The writing still impresses me, but now, I can appreciate the acting which was
uniformly excellent. I'm not speaking of myself. I was not in there that much, and I'm more critical of
myself anyway. But, the guest casts were always good and included some of the best actors I've ever
I don't know if there is someone out there who felt differently, but it seemed as if everybody loved
working on that show.
A dedicated group of fans came close to getting the show back on the air but it didn't quite happen.
Many of those fans became friends and have stayed in touch with each other and the cast and crew,
and every couple of years, they meet somewhere and have a party for the Starman family.
All these many years later, Bob Hays, Chris Barnes, Mike Cavanaugh, writer producer director Mike
Gray, production manager Jim Dennett, many members of the crew, and people from the guest casts,
most notably Erin Gray, still show up at these things. Erin always gives a tai chi class. The Starman fans
call this get-together Family-Con, and indeed it is. We have watched each other's children grow, in time
I hold the Starman television show in the highest esteem. Honestly, there is only one other one season
show that I ever liked as much, and that was Eastside-Westside starring George C. Scott.
|I was Wylie on the TV series Starman
|I can't help but feel that if I hadn't saved Robert Hays' life when we served in
the French Foreign Legion, I never would have played Wylie in Starman.
At a Starman celebration in San
Diego, Mike Cavanaugh and I
continued the petty bickering that
kept the Starman set in a constant
state of turmoil. The photographer,
Sandra L. Smith, was mad at herself
because her shadow splashed
across our legs. I think it's very artsy.
Sandra was the first fan I personally
heard from. I wasn't working on the
current episode when I got a call
from the office telling me that they
had received a package addressed
to me and did I want them to send it
The person on the phone said, "we
haven't opened it, but, if it's like the
ones the others got, it's really nice."
I told her I was coming over to get it.
It turned out to be this big beautiful
calligraphy hand-made by this
woman, Sandra L. Smith, who is a
North Carolina-based artist, honoring
me as a member of the cast of
I can't tell how much it meant to me.
She had made them for Bob Hays,
Chris Barnes, and Mike. And, oh
yeah, me, Wylie.