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Actor Casey Biggs to share experiences with UT students

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    The Cardassian Damar (Casey Biggs), right, and Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor), a Bajoran offi cer, were allies on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

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    Biggs

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Actor-Casey-Biggs-to-share-experiences-with-UT-students

The Cardassian Damar (Casey Biggs), right, and Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor), a Bajoran offi cer, were allies on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

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Actor Casey Biggs knows that his most widely recognized role is also the one that will never get him recognized.

So when the Toledo native, who donned heavy makeup to create Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was approached by a young fan in Italy years ago, he was shocked by her adoration of the obscure 1978 TV movie, The Beasts Are on the Streets.

"She comes up and said, 'Oh my God, are you Casey Biggs? I've seen The Beasts Are on the Streets 13 times,' " Biggs recalled in a recent telephone interview.

Then he saw an old classmate from Central Catholic High School, whom he realized had put his daughter up for the gag. "She was quite a good actress," he laughed.

Biggs, 51, will return to his hometown today to share some of his experiences with another group of budding young actors at the University of Toledo. Next month, his former high school will honor him with an induction into the school's Music Hall of Fame.

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Biggs

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A 1973 graduate of Central Catholic, Biggs is remembered for his many roles in the high school's musical productions and for his work in community theater.

"We have a great musical tradition at Central and this Hall of Fame has been born of that," said high school friend Terry Baker, who is on Central Catholic's Board for Music Hall of Fame. The quickly growing hall of fame is a way to help inspire those young people now in the school's theater programs, he added.

Biggs said he always felt the bug for acting. In fact, it bit him so hard, he had no problem giving up football practices for musical rehearsals at Catholic Central. After graduation, he was one of a select few to pursue his dream in the halls of New York's Juilliard where he met fellow classmates and future actors, such as Robin Williams and Christopher Reeves.

After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Juilliard, Biggs jumped into roles on television and on stage.

Over the years, he has appeared in numerous television shows such as The X-Files and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He even starred in a start up show called, Stat, a medical drama that was shortly canceled. But it was in 1995 that he entered deep space as Damar, a Cardassian officer who started out as the villain Dukat's right-hand man and was killed off in the last few minutes of the series' final episode. Then he became enveloped in the phenomenon that is Star Trek.

"I had no idea that I was stepping into that type of world. It's global in its appeal," he said.

Star Trek offered Mr. Biggs something he had not counted on when he first sat in the studio's makeup chair - a regular chance to earn money for charity. His numerous appearances at conventions - and his involvement in the Enterprise Blues Band, a group made up of Star Trek actors that is now releasing their second CD - has allowed him to raise money for the foster care center, Penny Lane, in the form of The Casey Biggs Scholarship Fund.

"I was in a foster home when I was younger. My mother took me back ... I wanted to start a scholarship fund for those students in foster care," he said. "My only regret is that I can't raise more money."

Now splitting his time between upstate New York and Los Angeles with his wife, Brigit Binns, a celebrated cookbook author, Mr. Biggs said his first love has always been theater. Throughout the years, he has spent much of his acting career on the stage. It was there, before a live audience that he worked each night to transform, that he was the happiest, he said.

Among his favorite roles? The musical Elmer Gentry, which played at the Ford Theater in Washington in 1988. He has most recently worked as a director for The Acting Company in New York, of which he was once a member, and now spends time as an adjunct professor at the New School of Drama in New York.

His time teaching students is why Biggs suggested to the alumni relations department at the University of Toledo that he not only spend time speaking to the community about his experiences but that he join several of the school's drama classes.

He will spend the day working with three different classes, said Brian Weinblatt, outreach coordinator for the Office of Alumni Relations. He'll share wisdom on directing, on film technique, and in a class called Professional Aspects, where students learn "tricks of the trade," Weinblatt said.

The community can then join him for a 7:30 p.m. presentation at the university's Center for Performing Arts where he will discuss his experiences growing up in Toledo and what it's like working on stage and in Hollywood.

"We thought it would be a great opportunity because Casey Biggs is from Toledo and he's quite accomplished in theater and film, and of course, he's become very popular from Deep Space Nine," Mr. Weinblatt said. "We want to show that you can do anything coming from Toledo."

Biggs agrees.

"It's what I call 'following your bliss,'" he said of his journey in life. "The thing is that you have to work very, very, very hard at figuring out what your bliss is and once you figure it out, you can truly be happy."

For tickets to Casey Biggs' appearance at the University of Toledo, go online at www.toledoalumni.org or call 419-530-2586. Tickets are $10 or $5 for UT students.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-724-6076.

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