In the early ’80s, at the height of his Star Wars fame, a unique friendship between Mark Hamill and a fan, Lisa Cowan, blossomed, kickstarting a remarkable journey.
Lisa Cowan, a devoted sci-fi enthusiast and fan of Mark Hamill, initiated contact by writing letters to Hamill, expressing her admiration and eventually proposing the idea of creating a fan club dedicated to him. Her vision was to celebrate Hamill in a mature, non-teenage-heartthrob manner, sharing news and updates about the actor with fellow enthusiasts. Alongside Shari Stitt and Lee Vibber, she formed the “On The Mark” fan club, aiming to gain Hamill’s official endorsement for their endeavor.
After sending several mock-up newsletters to Hamill over several months without a response, Cowan took a bold step by setting a specific date and time for Hamill to call her. To her surprise, on January 2, 1982, at 2 p.m., Mark Hamill actually made the phone call, acknowledging the mock-ups but expressing his inability to commit to an official fan club due to time constraints. Despite this, he admired their efforts and advised against investing too much time or money into the project.
With Hamill’s permission, Cowan and her team published the first edition of “On The Mark” in 1984, initially running it independently until it officially became Mark Hamill’s fan club. The newsletter gained subscribers nationwide and internationally, featuring insights into Hamill’s career, Star Wars trivia, reviews, and ways for fans to connect.
The newsletter’s recognition by Lucasfilm Ltd. led to ongoing support from them and the official Star Wars Fan Club. Cowan and her associates even had dinner with Mark Hamill after attending his performance in “Amadeus.”
Lucasfilm Fan Club Mag 1989 Merchandise Advert – Indiana Jones pic.twitter.com/B4a6sHSLX4
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Eventually, Cowan transitioned away from the newsletter, being hired to write for the official Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine in 1987, enjoying a 20-year career with Lucasfilm. She credits her career growth to the support and generosity of Mark Hamill, who even entrusted her with handling his fan mail at one point.
In a podcast appearance in 2019, Cowan shared her experiences with “On The Mark” and her assignments with Lucasfilm, attributing her success to the supportive environment nurtured by Hamill’s encouragement and involvement. This inspiring tale underscores how a fan’s dedication and an actor’s generosity can lead to unexpected and rewarding opportunities.