6 things we learned from Claudia Christian's tell-all Babylon 5 bio

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Jul 20, 2012, 5:05:39 PM7/20/12
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6 things we learned from Claudia Christian's tell-all Babylon 5 bio
 
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One of the things I love about Comic-Con happens long after Hall H has
emptied and the cosplayers have disrobed. Days later, when I've
re-emerged from the come-down, I go through all the random crap I
grabbed on impulse and discover a few nuggets of geek gold.
The perfect example: The preview of Babylon Confidential: A Memoir of
Love, Sex & Addiction  , a tell-all by Claudia Christian, aka Cmdr.
Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5. It's a slim, comic-book-sized collection
of excerpts, with a glossy portrait of Christians looking, IMO,
unfortunately soap-operatic. I didn't think much of it when her
promoters were handing it out to all the geeks in line for a solo panel
with Babylon creator J. Michael Straczynski.
 
Serves me right for judging a book by its cover. It was actually kind of
cheeky for her to jump in on JMS' fandom right before his big
announcement  , considering the tale she reveals about the writer.
The book comes out in November 2012, but in the meantime, here are a few
juicy details from the teaser.
Christian's celebrity hookups
In the first lines of the introduction, Christian starts naming names,
but she is also stingy with the juicy details, hinting that she's going
to spill it later in the book. Among her make-out partners: actors
George Clooney and Rob Lowe, Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed (better
known as Princess Diana's lover, who also died in the car wreck) and ...
model and Weird Science bombshell Kelly LeBrock.
Christian's spurned celebrity suitors
Christian mentions that she rejected Willian Shatner's advances, but the
story behind that isn't included among the preview excerpts. However,
she goes into great detail about her most awkward date ever with
Straczynski.
Christian says she had just emerged from a breakup when Straczynski
started singling her out for private meetings in his office. One day he
invited her to see a show with him.
I suddenly knew I'd made a mistake in accepting his invitation when the
next day a dozen red roses appeared at my front door
[$#@!], this is a date
But maybe it wasn't. Maybe Joe was just being nice. I went out to meet
him, and when I saw the black stretch limo pull up any doubts I'd
harbored were washed away.
[#@!$], this is definitely a date!
I was more than a little freaked out. ...
It was clearly an uncomfortable evening for both of us. When he dropped
me off back at home I quickly thanked him and closed the door to the
limo before he had time to move in for anything physical.
Their friendship was never the same again, she says.
Booze and contracts
There was a lot of contention over season five of Babylon 5, Christian
remembers, because the decision to renew had come so slate and many of
the actors, herself included, had already made plans for other
productions.
In one passage, she explains that while the cast was in the U.K. for a
convention, the studio guys turned up, got them drunk on wine and nice
scotch, then started making the rounds of the hotel rooms at about 3
a.m. to pressure the actors to sign contracts. Christian called her
manager, who flipped out.
I packed my bags and left the UK. The deadline passed, and by the time I
got home there was a fax waiting for me telling me that I was fired from
the show. My manager contacted them to see if we could salvage the
situation. The producer's reply was that we were "a day later and a
dollar short."
Harlan Ellison's diss
Christian is clearly still bitter about one of the season-five episodes
where Ellison wrote in a line in one script that implied that Cmdr.
Ivanova left the station for a job with better pay.
"I think it was a personal jab at me, and I think it was in poor taste,"
Christian writes. "Ivanova and I have one more thing in common: Neither
of us is so career-oriented that we would choose wealth and advancement
over personal loyalties."
Christian was almost Seven of Nine
She read for the Star Trek: Voyager role that ultimately went to Jeri
Ryan. That is all.
Remember that time Christian was shot by a fan in a tribble costume?
I didn't either, but Christian won't forget it, and she recounts the
story hilariously. It starts with a postal-worker fan who kept sending
her doilies, tea cozies and other knitted items. Then he showed up at a
convention in upstate New York and handed her a hideous hot-pink,
lime-green and purple afghan. She pretended to like it.
I could tell the giant tribble was pleased. I could hear him purring
inside the suit. He waddled off, but not before promising to deliver
another gift later in the day.
I was expecting a Day-glo coat the size of Rhode Island or a scarf long
enough to span the English Channel, so was I in for a surprise when,
about an hour later, another giant tribble came lumbering towards me. It
was the same guy, but the costume had been modified. Wires stuck out its
head, dozens of red lights flashed around its furry body. This was
clearly a scary tribble, a tribble with unfinished business.
"I am a morphed tribble. Now you will be morphed too."
And then a gun emerged from the mass of fur and he shot me. I felt the
bullet hit me in the ribs, and I fell back, clutching my side. My life
didn't flash before my eyes, but the next day's headline did-- "Death by
Irony! Babylon 5 Star Shot By Sci-Fi Alien."
The bullet turned out to be a blank and she survived. Ten years later,
the same stalker turned up at another convention and barely remembered
the incident.
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