Hello all! Damianista here. Welcome to Fan Story Tuesday!
Those of you from Michigan may know Cynthia from her program Stateside on Michigan Radio, part of the NPR digital network. Cynthia has had work experience in radio and TV for more than 35 years. She has been a popular radio host, a TV news anchor, producer and a medical and consumer reporter. She has won a number of awards for her writing and reporting — including an Emmy! And, in addition to all this, Cynthia is a Damian Lewis fan. Big thanks go to her for being one of the first to respond to our call for fan stories and sharing this very special story.
Without further ado: What were YOU doing in 1995? This is Cynthia’s story.
When I say that I’ve been a fan of Damian Lewis & his work for a long time, I come by that honestly.
In June 1995, I traveled, along with three friends, to New York City with one goal in mind: to see the Almeida Theatre production of Hamlet, starring Ralph Fiennes. It was playing a limited-run at the Belasco Theatre on West 44th in NYC.
The show we saw the night of June 10th, 1995 was absolutely stunning. Ralph Fiennes was a wonderfully brooding Hamlet, Francesca Annis was Gertrude, Tara Fitzgerald was Ophelia. Amidst this stellar cast, my friend Susan and I couldn’t stop focusing on the long-haired “ginger” playing Laertes. He was great in the role and, we both agreed, “The ginger is HOT!”.
Yes, it was Damian Lewis.
We went back the next afternoon for Playbill autographs from the cast after the Sunday matinee. Damian had a gash on his hand from a sword-fight scene that went a bit awry. He politely signed our Playbills and then hopped on his bicycle and headed down the street.
The next time I saw him was September 9, 2001. The night HBO premiered its mini-series Band of Brothers. I knew little about who was going to be in the cast, only that it focused on fighting World War Two in the European Theatre–one of my historical passions.
And–A-HA! Who’s starring as Lt. Dick Winters? The “hot ginger from Hamlet”!
In no time at all, I stopped thinking about the “hot ginger” as I was completely won over by the way Damian Lewis brought the young Dick Winters to life.
It was kind of cool being able to talk about the show with friends and astonish them by announcing that yes, the actor who plays Dick Winters is doing a helluva good American accent…because he is a BRIT! People were astonished. And I smiled when he accepted his Emmy for Homeland by announcing, in his real accent, “I’m one of those pesky Brits.”
The entire BOB cast did great justice to Easy Company of the 506th PIR. It has been great seeing them turn up in so many different films and TV productions.
As for Damian, I’ve continued to be a fan… through The Forsyte Saga, Life, Homeland, Wolf Hall, Billions and more. Each role brings even more reason to admire his acting talent.
And it makes me happy to know that I twigged on to this incredible actor more than 21 years ago!