Speaking of celebrity members, did anyone else recognize John Astin on a big nationwide telecast around 1990-1991? I was shocked - and thrilled - to see him. He had starred in the original Addams Family as Gomez Adams, was on Twilight Zone and Outer Limits and Gunsmoke and even the Partridge Family, plus did voice work for Scooby Doo and others - an incredible filmography: [www.imdb.com
] My favorite film of his was a made-for-TV movie: "Evil Roy Slade" :)
Well, I never really *heard* anything else about him after that!
From his biography at the above site: He and his wife Val are leaders of a Buddhist group in Santa Monica.
They married in 1989.
One of his sons (adopted - wife's son) is Sean Astin, known for The Goonies, Encino Man, and playing Sam in the Lord of the Rings movies, among others.
The Wikipedia entry on him lists this: Religion: Theravada Buddhism
It also notes that he's a vegetarian.
I'm guessing that when he married Val, she was SGI and he was Theravada Buddhism, and after an initial flirtation with the SGI, they both decamped to Theravada Buddhism. Probably triggered by the priests' excommunication of the SGI, I'd wager.
This up-to-date site lists his religion as Theravada Buddhism: [www.spokeo.com
Apparently he joined in 1985: [groups.yahoo.com
In the summer on 1985, we in NSA held our convention in Hawaii for the
third time. The first one was in 1968(?), then 1975 and now we were
preparing for 1985. John Astin was a new member having joined a few
months before that date.
Cleve Ford and I were in charge of plane seating arrangements and
hotel room assignments for LA Territory III. As I recall we had
upwards of 3000 members to assign seats and rooms for. The parade
alone, down Kalakaua Avenue, had over 13,000 NSA members carrying
American Flags right through the heart of Waikiki.
Cleve and I had little problem with the plane seating, and the hotel
paring was going along fine until we were left with one person who we
did not know who to room with - John Astin! After about an hour of
trying to figure it out, we both looked at each other and said, "let's
just put him in our room" (it's good to be the Cho!)
As we were standing in line at LAX waiting to board, I approached John
Astin who I did not know, and said, "I think were gonna be room mates
when we get there." Later he would give experiences about how "some
guy came up to him in line saying he was my room-mate, and how shocked
he was as he had never had a room-mate in his life."
All the members in our Territory were staying at the Sheridan Waikiki
(ah, paradise found.) The rooms had two double beds so we had to
order in an extra roll-a-way bed. Cleve and I were the Cho's so
naturally the roll-a-way was John's bed.
The whole weekend was one
joke filled, gag laden, slapstick laugh after another. There was no
air of John Astin the famous actor, as on that trip, we were all just
one of the boys.
I don't know him well but at that convention I came to respect him as
a great guy and a totally real person.
Oh gawd - the gakkaispeak! "Cho" indeed! And, yes, whoever was the "Cho" certainly took the best for himself! No sense of "making sacrifices" for the "precious members"!WEST LOS ANGELES - About 650 people attended a memorial service Wednesday night for actor Anthony Dwain Lee, who was shot to death at a Halloween party by an LAPD officer investigating a noise complaint.
Packed into the auditorium of the Buddhist SGI-USA Los Angeles Friendship Center, friends and family remembered the 39-year-old as a ``brilliant spirit,'' dedicated to peace as a practicing Buddhist and excited about his career.
Among those at the service was actor John Astin, who played Gomez on ``The Addams Family'' television show and who has been a Buddhist for 17 years.
Astin, 70, said he didn't know Lee but wanted to attend the service in his memory.
Okay, 70 + 30 means this was from 2000. 2000-17 = 1983? He had supposedly only been a member for a few months in 1985 :/
Oh, and where were the "Buddhist Gods" that night for Anthony Dwain Lee????
Anyhow, that's all I could find for actor John Astin. He apparently had a buddhist group in Santa Monica (likely SGI) but is now living in Baltimore.