Vampire film star draws crowd

By Cindi Rickard



It’s not every day a 300-year-old vampire makes an appearance at Eastwood Mall. And people weren’t going to let the chance to see him slip away.

They packed the mall entrance near Dillard’s, carrying books and wearing movie T-shirts. The line continued down the hall toward center court, where Peter Facinelli made his appearance. Another group filled the area around the stage set up for him.

As Dr. Carlisle Cullen in the hit movies “Twilight” and “New Moon,” Facinelli plays the patriarch of a makeshift vampire family. He’s the glue that holds a small group of vampires together.

Domicella Burgess, 11, came from Cleveland to see the actor.

Though Edward is her favorite character, she said she was excited to meet the actor who portrays Cullen.

“I love ‘Twilight,’” she said. She’s seen both movies more than once and is looking forward to the release of “Eclipse,” the next in the series, later this year.

The excursion was a birthday gift from her aunt.

I gave her the choice,” Nancy Vilicka said. “We were supposed to go on a shopping spree today. I saw this online. I said, ‘Do you want to go shopping or do you want to go see Peter Facinelli?’ And she chose this.”

It’s the best birthday present she’s received, Burgess said. And now Nancy is her favorite aunt.

Fans became friends while they waited to meet the star.

Friends Julia Frenzel, 11, and Jenna Bruner, 11, both of Canfield, met Kylie Bokesch, 9, of Austintown, while they waited for Facinelli’s private meet-and-greet before the public event.

They giggled together while they waited for Facinelli, in spite of the fact that Bokesch is an Edward fan, while Frenzel and Bruner both vote for Jacob to win main character Bella’s heart.

Facinelli said he enjoys meeting his fans.

“I’m always humbled that people come and show their support for me and the charity that I do,” he said. “So it’s exciting. I like to meet the fans.”

He also enjoys visiting areas he never would have otherwise, including Niles.

It’s hard to leave his family, however.

“I always have to leave my family for work or for some reason, but it’s never easy,” he said. “But they’re very patient with me and very supportive of the things I do. And they’re always waiting with open arms when I come home.”

Facinelli and his wife, actress Jennie Garth, have three daughters.

At the mall, he met fans, signed autographs and posed for pictures. Autographs were $25 each, and photos with the star were $40. A portion of the proceeds benefited the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a charity that seeks a cure for childhood cancer.

The foundation got its start when Alex Scott, a pediatric cancer patient, opened a lemonade stand in her front yard to raise money to find a cure for cancer. Though Alex died at age 8, the foundation continues to raise funds.

“I think that’s a pretty phenomenal story,” Facinelli said. “How these parents turned something that was pretty devastating to them into something so positive.”

It’s also kids helping kids, he said.

Facinelli will again play Cullen in “Eclipse,” the third film in the Twilight saga. The film will be released in June.

He can also be seen as Dr. Fitch Cooper opposite Edie Falco in Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” and in a recurring role on FX’s “Damages” with Glenn Close, and was previously known as the art student/love interest for Lauren Ambrose’s character in HBO’s award-winning series “Six Feet Under.”

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