From ‘stalker’ to ‘walker’: Grandma gets dream job as zom­bie

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - By Brinley Hineman

AT­LANTA — When she’s not spend­ing time with her grand­chil­dren, Ter­rie Ham­rick is likely dressed as a zom­bie.

Ham­rick’s dream of be­ing a “walker” for “The Walk­ing Dead” came true two seasons ago when she was cast as an ex­tra by AMC, the com­pany that pro­duces the crit­i­cally ac­claimed tele­vi­sion series. The show, based on graphic nov­els, fea­tures a group of peo­ple fight­ing to sur­vive a zom­bie apoca­lypse.

“Since the show started, I told my chil­dren, ‘I want to be a walker,’” said Ham­rick, 68, who added that she never re­ally be­lieved the dream that has been at the top of her bucket list since 2012 would be­come re­al­ity.

She’s one of the 15 reg­u­lar walk­ers and even has her own out­fit on the set la­beled with her name that she wears while film­ing, she said. The days are gru­el­ing: 14 hours — some­times longer — in the Ge­or­gia heat.

The show has filmed in Senoia and nearby Har­al­son since 2012.

Ham­rick proudly ac­knowl­edges that she was one of the orig­i­nal “walker stalk­ers” — ex­treme fans who hang out by the show’s set. She be­came so well known around the set that Michael Rooker, who plays Merle Dixon, warmly called her his “lit­tle walker stalker,” and An­drew Lin­coln, who plays lead char­ac­ter Sher­iff Rick Grimes, would point to her when­ever he saw her in the dis­tance, Ham­rick said.

De­spite her new­found fame, Ham­rick hasn’t quit her other day job: work­ing as a walker for a tour com­pany in Har­al­son that brings “The Walk­ing Dead” to life for fans. The owner of The Walkin Dead Har­al­son Tours and Events, Jamie Thomp­son, scouts lo­ca­tions in Senoia and Har­al­son for the show.

On the tour, fans are guided by a man play­ing the part of Daryl Dixon, one of the show’s most pop­u­lar char­ac­ters, and get to re­live mo­ments from the series.

That’s where Ham­rick comes in. She makes her en­trance in bloody zom­bie makeup, both ter­ror­iz­ing and de­light­ing those on the tour.

One minute she’s snarling, ready to devour them. Mo­ments later, she trans­forms into her grand­moth­erly self, laugh­ing and tak­ing pho­tos with fans.

Less than 5 feet tall — she of­fi­cially mea­sures 4 feet, 10-and-a-half inches, she said, stress­ing the im­por­tance of that ex­tra half-inch — she’s doesn’t seem at all threat­en­ing. But once artist Michelle Mola­nari trans­forms her into a gory monster, fans on the streets of Senoia cer­tainly are cau­tious as they ap­proach, many ut­ter­ing un­der their breath, “It looks so real.”

Ter­rie Ham­rick

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