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Don't be afraid — pop figures abound at Steel City Con

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 8:27 p.m.
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Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis, guest starring on 'Star Trek: Enterprise'
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Ernie Hudson
Poster from the 'Ghostbusters II' movie from 1989.
WWE wrestler Roddy Piper arrives at the World Wrestling Entertainment SummerSlam kick off party benefiting Betty's Battle in Los Angeles on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. Betty's Battle was started by television host Nancy O'Dell, named after her mother who passed away from ALS.

Steel City Con will celebrate its 24th year this weekend at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Hundreds of toys, comic books and childhood collectibles will be on display and up for sale, and attendees will get the chance to get autographs, take photos and interact with famous guests.

WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Growing Pains” actress Tracey Gold, “The Dukes of Hazzard” actor James Best and Theodus Crane of “The Walking Dead” are among the celebrities set to make appearances. “Star Trek's” Marina Sirtis will attend, and Ernie Hudson, who portrayed Winston Zeddemore in 1984's “Ghostbusters” and its 1989 sequel, will be there, dressed in full-on Ghostbuster gear.

“It means a lot to me to come out and meet these guys,” Hudson says. “People have been so loyal and dedicated to (‘Ghostbusters') — they convert cars, make suits, build backpacks. It's great to come and hang out with fans that love and support the movie.”

Since “Ghostbusters,” Hudson has acted in several television shows and movies like supernatural action film “The Crow,” psychological thriller “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” HBO series “Oz” and ABC network hits “Desperate Housewives” and “Modern Family.”

The actor is often cast in “good guy” roles, like an FBI agent in the comedy “Miss Congeniality” and Dr. Ken Fields in ABC Family's “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Hudson says he identifies with these roles, as he's never fully understood the evil mindset.

“You bring a lot of yourself to a role,” he says. “I've never seen myself as a ‘bad guy'; it's not my perspective, necessarily. I do both, but usually, whatever characters I play, there's a certain dependability and trust.”

Hudson is shooting a Christmas movie starring Tatyana Ali, as well as working on a new series for TNT called “Lost Angels,” written by “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Walking Dead” creator Frank Darabont. With so many projects weighing on his time, Hudson is happy to take a break and engage with fans at events like Steel City Con whenever he gets the chance.

“When I come to conventions, I'm there for that reason. It's the one situation where you can just relax and be with people who love movies,” Hudson says.

“I'm not the kind of guy to watch a movie 30 times, but I've met people who know every single line of ‘Ghostbusters,' and I admire that. I'm sort of an admirer of the dedication. It's cool to see what people come up with, and some of it is extraordinarily creative stuff.”

Emma Deihle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7834 or edeihle@tribweb.com.

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