Blunt was born on February 23, 1983, in Roehampton, South West London, England, the second of four children in the family of Joanna Mackie, a former actress and teacher, and Oliver Simon Peter Blunt, a barrister. Her grandfather was Major General Peter Blunt, and her uncle is MP Crispin Blunt. Emily received a rigorous education at Ibstock Place School, a co-ed private school at Roehampton. However, young Emily Blunt had a stammer, since she was a kid of 8. Her mother took her to relaxation classes, which did not do anything. She reached a turning point at 12, when a teacher cleverly asked her to play a character with a different voice and said, "I really believe in you". Blunt ended up using a northern accent, and it did the trick, her stammer disappeared.
From 1999 - 2001, Blunt went to Hurtwood House, the top co-ed boarding school where she would excel at sport, cello and singing. She also had two years of drama studies at Hurtwood's theatre course. In August 2000, she was chosen to perform at the Edinburgh Festival. She was signed up by an agent, Kenneth Mcreddie, who led her to the West End and the BBC, scoring her roles in several period dramas on stage as well as on TV productions, such as Foyle's War, Henry VIII and Empire. In 2001, she appeared as "Gwen Cavendish" opposite Dame Judi Dench in Sir Peter Hall's production of "The Royal Family" at Haymarket Theatre. For that role, she won the Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer. In 2002, she played "Juliet" in "Romeo and Juliet" at the prestigious Chichester Festival.
Blunt's career ascended to international fame after she starred as "Isolda" opposite Alex Kingston in Warrior Queen. A year later, she won critical acclaim for her breakout performance as "Tamsin", a well-educated, cynical and deceptive 16-year-old beauty in My Summer of Love, a story of two lonely girls from the opposite ends of the social heap. Emily Blunt and her co-star, Natalie Press, shared an Evening Standard British Film award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 2005, she spent a few months in Australia filming Irresistible with Susan Sarandon and Sam Neill. Blunt gave an impressive performance as "Mara", a cunning young destroyer who acts crazy and surreptitiously provokes paranoia in others. She also continued her work on British television, starring as "Natasha" in Stephen Poliakoff's Gideon's Daughter, opposite Bill Nighy, a role that won her a 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.
She continued the line of playing manipulative characters as "Emily", a caustic put-upon assistant to Meryl Streep's lead in The Devil Wears Prada. Blunt's performance with a neurotic twist added a dimension of sarcasm to the comedy, and gained her much attention as well as new jobs: in two dramas opposite Tom Hanks, then in the title role in the period drama, The Young Victoria. Her most recent works include appearances as antiques dealer "Gwen Conliffe" in The Wolfman and as the ballerina in The Adjustment Bureau.
Emily Blunt is a highly versatile actress and a multifaceted person. Her talents include singing and playing cello; she is also skilled at horseback riding. She was in a relationship with Canadian singer Michael Bublé, whom she met at the Australian Logie Awards in 2005 and, again, a few months later, backstage at his Los Angeles concert. Their relationship ended in 2008. Blunt's friend, Anne Hathaway, introduced her to John Krasinski, and they have been together since November 2008. On August 28, 2009, Blunt and Krasinski announced their engagement. The couple married on July 10, 2010, at the estate of their friend, George Clooney, on Lake Como in Italy. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are living in the Los Angeles area, California.
Zachary David Alexander Efron was born October 18, 1987 in San Luis Obispo, California. He is the son of Starla Baskett, a former secretary, and David Efron, an electrical engineer. He has a younger brother, Dylan. His surname, "Efron", is a Biblical place name, and comes from Zac's Polish Jewish paternal grandfather. The rest of Zac's recent ancestry is English, German, and Scottish. Zac was raised in Arroyo Grande, CA. He took his first step toward acting at the age of eleven, after his parents noticed his singing ability. Singing and acting lessons soon led to an appearance in a production of "Gypsy" that ran 90 performances, and he was hooked.
After appearing on-stage in "Peter Pan", "Auntie Mame", "Little Shop of Horrors" and "The Music Man", guest parts quickly followed on television series, including Firefly, ER, CSI: Miami, NCIS, and The Guardian. After guest-starring in several episodes of Summerland, Zac joined the regular cast as girl-crazy Cameron Bale. He also starred in several pilots, such as The Big Wide World of Carl Laemke and Triple Play, and played an autistic child in the television movie Miracle Run, alongside Mary-Louise Parker and Aidan Quinn. He graduated from Arroyo Grande High School in June 2006.
Efron came to fame for starring in the Disney Channel original film High School Musical, for which he won the Teen Choice Award for Breakout Star. He returned to the role of Troy Bolton in High School Musical 2, which broke cable TV records with 17.5 million viewers.
He played title roles of the fantasy romance Charlie St. Cloud and the comedy 17 Again, both from director Burr Steers, and as the lovable Link Larkin in 2007's smash hit musical Hairspray, directed by Adam Shankman. As part of the all-star cast he shared a Critics Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble, the 2007 Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year, and was honored with a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture Cast. In addition, he won an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance.
Efron also starred in Richard Linklater's Me and Orson Welles, an adaptation of the novel by Robert Kaplow, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival. That same year, he starred in Kenny Ortega's High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which set a box office record for the highest grossing opening weekend for a musical.
In 2012, Efron took the lead in The Lucky One, a film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, playing a marine who returns to North Carolina after serving in Iraq in search for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war. He also lent his voice to the animated feature Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, and co-starred in Lee Daniels' thriller The Paperboy, alongside Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey and Scott Glenn, as well as Josh Radnor's Liberal Arts, which premiered to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. Another indie film he co-starred in, At Any Price, was released in 2013.
Most recently, Zac starred with Seth Rogen in the hit comedy film Neighbors, headlined the 2015 drama We Are Your Friends, and carried three 2016 comedies, Dirty Grandpa, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
Efron's favorite sports include golf, skiing, rock climbing, and snowboarding. He added surfing after spending days on the beach for "Summerland." He played the piano at home. He has also fixed up two cars in his spare time, a Delorean and '65 Mustang convertible, both treasured hand-me-downs from his even-more-treasured grandfather.
Academy Award-nominated actress Abigail Breslin is one of the most sought-after actors of her generation. Her unique and charismatic talents have contributed to her versatile roles in both comedy and drama.
Most recently, Breslin starred in the first season of the horror-comedy series, "Scream Queens" opposite Emma Roberts, Lea Michele and Jamie Lee Curtis. Next, Breslin will star in the coveted role of "Baby" in ABC/Lionsgate's recreation of the pop-culture classic, "Dirty Dancing."
On the big screen, Breslin was most recently seen in the Lionsgate film "Maggie" opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film follows a teenage girl (Breslin) from a small town in the Midwest, who becomes infected by a disease that slowly turns her into a zombie. The film premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival in New York and was released on May 8, 2015.
In October of 2015, Harper Collins published Breslin's first book "This May Sound Crazy". The book is based on her popular Tumblr "Mixtapes & Winter Coats," in which she writes honest, funny and emotional observations on her daily life as a young adult.
Breslin was seen in The Weinstein Company film "August: Osage County" opposite Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney and Juliette Lewis. She starred in the coveted role of 'Jean Fordham' the daughter of Julia Roberts' and Ewan McGregor's characters. Most widely recognized for her role in the critically-acclaimed "Little Miss Sunshine," the irreverent, antic comedy which created a sensation at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, Breslin played the role of 'Olive,' an ambitious young girl who is obsessed with winning a beauty pageant. For her performance, she received a Best Actress Award from the Tokyo International Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award, SAG and BAFTA Best Supporting Actress awards. In addition, she was honored as ShoWest's "Female Star of Tomorrow" in 2008, and made her Broadway debut in 2010 in "The Miracle Worker."
Other film credits include "Enders Game," "Haunter," "The Call," "Rango," "Janie Jones," "Zombieland," "My Sister's Keeper," "New Year's Eve," "Raising Helen, "The Ultimate Gift," "Santa Claus 3," "No Reservations," "Definitely Maybe," "Nim's Island," "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" and M. Night Shyamalan's 2012 film "Signs" opposite Mel Gibson.
Sharon Yvonne Stone was born and raised in Meadville, a small town in Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Marie (Lawson), an accountant and homemaker, and Joseph William Stone II, a factory worker. Her father was strict. She was the second of four children, and has English, German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry. At the age of 15, she studied in Saegertown High School, Pennsylvania and, at that same age, entered Edinboro State University of Pennsylvania, and graduated with a degree in creative writing and fine arts. She was a very smart girl, became a bookworm, and once was told that a suitable job for her (and her brains) was to become a lawyer. However, her first love was still the black-and-white movies, especially those featuring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. So, the 17-year-old Sharon got herself into the Miss Crawford County and won the beauty contest.
From working part-time as a McDonald's counter girl, she worked her way up to become a successful Ford model, both in TV commercials and print ads. In 1980, she made her film debut as an extra in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories. Her first speaking part was in Wes Craven's horror movie, Deadly Blessing. She struggled through many parts in B-movies, such as King Solomon's Mines and Action Jackson. She was also married in 1984 to Michael Greenburg, the producer of MacGyver, but they divorced two years later.
She finally got her big break with a memorable supporting role in the popular Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Total Recall, and also posed nude for Playboy, a daring move for a 32-year-old actress. But it worked; she was cast in the breakthrough role as a sociopath novelist, "Catherine Tramell", in Basic Instinct. Her interrogation scene has become a classic in film history and her performance captivated everyone, from MTV viewers, who honored her with Most Desirable Female and Best Female Performance Awards, to a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. After she got famous, she didn't want to be typecast, so she played a victim in Sliver, and, in Intersection, she was the aloof, estranged wife of Richard Gere. Then she appeared in more aggressive roles, such as The Specialist with Sylvester Stallone and The Quick and the Dead with Gene Hackman.
But it wasn't until she played a beautiful but drug-crazy trophy wife of Robert De Niro in Casino that she got far more than just fame and fortune--she also received the acknowledgment of the movie industry for her acting ability. She received her first Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. She did a couple of films released the next year, teaming up with Isabelle Adjani in Diabolique, and as a woman waiting for her death penalty in Last Dance. In 1998, she married a newspaper editor,Phil Bronstein but they divorced later in 2004. She received her third Golden Globe nomination for The Mighty, a film that her company, "Chaos", also co-executive produced. The next year, she played the title role in Gloria and entered her first comedic role in The Muse, which gave her another Golden Globe nomination.
Sharon Stone, a diva who thoroughly enjoys her hard-won stardom, is now a mother of three children: Roan, Laird and Quinn.
Initially an indie film favorite, actor Jon Favreau has progressed to strong mainstream visibility into the millennium and, after nearly two decades in the business, is still enjoying character stardom as well as earning notice as a writer/producer/director.
The amiable, husky-framed actor with the tight, crinkly hair was born in Queens, New York on October 19, 1966, the only child of Madeleine, an elementary school teacher, and Charles Favreau, a special education teacher. His father has French-Canadian, German, and Italian ancestry, and his mother was from a Jewish family. He attended the Bronx High School of Science before furthering his studies at Queens College in 1984. Dropping out just credits away from receiving his degree, Jon moved to Chicago where he focused on comedy and performed at several Chicago improvisational theaters, including the ImprovOlympic and the Improv Institute. He also found a couple of bit parts in films.
While there, he earned another bit role in the film, Rudy, and met fellow castmate Vince Vaughn. Their enduring personal friendship would play an instrumental role in furthering both their professional careers within just a few years. Jon broke into TV with a role on the classic series, Seinfeld (as "Eric the Clown"). After filming rudimentary roles in the movies Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Notes from Underground and Batman Forever, he decided to do some risk taking by writing himself and friend Vaughn into what would become their breakthrough film. Swingers, which he also co-produced, centers on Jon as a luckless, struggling actor type who is emotionally shattered after losing his girlfriend, but is pushed back into the L.A. social scene via the help of cool, worldly, outgoing actor/buddy Vaughn. These two blueprint roles went on to define the character types of both actors on film.
In 1997, Jon appeared favorably on several episodes of the popular TV sitcom, Friends, as "Pete Becker", the humdrum but extremely wealthy suitor for Courteney Cox's "Monica" character, and also appeared to fine advantage on the Tracey Takes On... comedy series. He later took on the biopic mini-movie, Rocky Marciano, portraying the prizefighter himself in a highly challenging dramatic role and received excellent reviews. Other engagingly offbeat "everyman" films roles came Jon's way -- the ex-athlete in the working class film, Dogtown; a soon-to-be groom whose bachelor party goes horribly awry in the comedy thriller Very Bad Things; a newlywed opposite Famke Janssen in Love & Sex; a wild and crazy linebacker in The Replacements; as Ben Affleck's legal partner in Daredevil; and another down-and-out actor in The Big Empty. He wrote and directed himself and Vaughn as two fellow boxers who involve themselves in criminal activity in Made. Both he and Vaughn produced. He also directed the highly popular Will Ferrell comedy, Elf, in which he had a small part.
Jon went on to re-team favorably with his friend, Vince Vaughn, who enjoyed a meteoric rise into the comedy star ranks, in such light-weight features as The Break-Up, Four Christmases and Couples Retreat, the last of which he co-wrote with Vaughn. He also made great strides as a producer/director in recent years with the exciting mega-box office action-packed Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. and its sequel, Iron Man 2.
Favreau's marriage to Joya Tillem on November 24, 2000, produced son Max and two daughters, Madeleine and Brighton Rose. Joya is the niece of KGO (AM) lawyer and talk show host, Len Tillem. On the sly, the actor/writer/producer/director enjoys playing on the World Poker Tour.
Rachel Bloom is best known for co-creating and starring in the tv series "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" for which she has won a Golden Globe, Critics' Choice and TCA Award. She was born in 1987 and hails from Manhattan Beach, California. Rachel attended NYU, Tisch School of the Arts in New York City for theater. After graduating from NYU in 2009 with a B.F.A. in drama, Rachel continued to study improv and sketch at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in NY. In 2010, Rachel released her first Internet music video, "F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury", which went viral and was nominated for a Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form." While working as a tv writer in Los Angeles she continued to make Internet music videos which eventually caught the eye of Rachel's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" co-creator, Aline Brosh McKenna.
Jennifer Saunders was born July 6th 1958 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK. She attended Central School of Speech and Drama where she met her comedy partner Dawn French. Like many of the early 80s groundbreaking "alternative" comedians she began her career as comedienne/actress/writer with Dawn French at "The Comedy Store" in London, where she met fellow comedians Adrian Edmondson (later her husband), Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Alexei Sayle and Peter Richardson, who later opened his own club, "The Comic Strip", where these comedians quickly formed a regular format.
The Comic Strip team were transferred to television screens with great success as they all starred alongside each other in The Comic Strip Presents.... After The Comic Strip she starred in a few episodes of The Young Ones, Girls on Top and Happy Families. Afterwards she and Dawn French wrote a TV show of their own, French and Saunders, which was an immense success due to the double acts genius writing, brilliant acting performances and hilarious spoofs of world famous blockbusters and bands.
It was in one of the episodes of "French and Saunders" that the audience had the pleasure of watching a sketch about an uptight daughter and a crazy, neurotic mother that became a comedy classic sitcom. When the BBC next asked Saunders to write something, she just couldn't come up with any ideas, so she decided to expand on that sketch, making it more outrageous and therefore funnier - Absolutely Fabulous was born.
Perhaps by coincidence Saunders had created one of the most loved, funny, and creative TV Shows in BBC history. Three series were made, in 1995 the show was put on hold until Saunders began writing again and came back with a fourth series in 2001. She is always ready for charity as well, she has been doing "Comic Relief" with a lot of her comedy companions ever since 1986. Jennifer Saunders, one of the most loved TV faces in Britain, will hit the screens with her fifth series of Absolutely Fabulous in 2003.
Dziena studied theatre in New York at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she wrote and acted in plays and was cast in her first role on television at the age of 17.
From 'E's' crazy, jealous girlfriend on HBO's Entourage to 'Lolita' parading around in the buff for Bill Murray in Jim Jarmusch's film Broken Flowers, Alexis Dziena has played a wide range of wonderfully colorful characters in both film and television.
In the upcoming feature Without Ward for director Cory Cataldo, Dziena plays a deaf girl who falls in love with the man who lives across the street. Confined to their homes and never physically touching, they communicate through their windows, as love prevails. Alexis portrays a promiscuous pizza girl looking for love in Wrong from visionary filmmaker Quentin Dupieux for Drafthouse Films.
She has played notable roles in such films as When In Rome, Fool's Gold, Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist, Sex and Breakfast, Havoc and Strangers With Candy.
Alexis starred opposite Marcia Gay Harden in the coming of age movie for cable entitled She's Too Young. She was a regular on the ABC series Invasion and is still asked if she can do an American accent because of the memorable Russian girl she played on Law & Order early in her career.
Mackenzie Gray was born and raised in Toronto. A professional actor for over 40 years, he has appeared in over 150 films and television shows. As of 2017, he is a series regular on the Marvel/FX Series Legion playing "The Eye" and is a recurring cast member on both the CW series Riverdale as "The Pathologist" and plays "The Time Master" on DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
Since moving to Vancouver in 1998 as a series lead for the television series The Net, he has appeared as a guest star in scores of Vancouver or Calgary-filmed productions, recently including the BBC America/Netflix series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Fargo, R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, Alcatraz, and Project Mc². He returned to Toronto to Guest-Star in the series Bitten.
Guest-Starring roles include "John Amos" in If There Be Thorns, "David Bowie" in Some Assembly Required, "Lex Luthor" in Season 10 of Smallville, "The Djiin" in Supernatural, "The Observer" in the series finale of Fringe, as the Devil, in the form of Keith Richards, in R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, as a Southern U.S. Senator opposed to Civil Rights in the mini-series The Kennedys and as a Graphic Novelist with a dark secret again in R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour.
Other Guest-Star or Lead roles include work on the TV series Human Target, Young Blades, Da Vinci's Inquest, The Collector, First Wave, So Weird, Once Upon a Time, True Justice, The Bridge, Sanctuary, Psych, Kyle XY, The L Word, Romeo!, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight, Big Sound, Andromeda, Cold Squad, Voyage of the Unicorn and Welcome to Paradox.
Mackenzie was recently seen on the big screen in Warcraft, and was celebrated around the world for his portrayal of "Jax-Ur" in Warner Brothers' Zack Snyder-directed Superman film Man of Steel. He appeared as the band's Road Manager in Metallica's 3-D IMAX Feature Metallica Through the Never and appeared in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Other feature film work includes co-starring roles in Grave Encounters, Shooter, Storm Seekers, Riddles of the Sphinx, Destination: Infestation, Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead, Strip Search, Christmas on Chestnut Street, 2103: The Deadly Wake, Word of Honor, The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting, Falling Fire, In Her Mother's Footsteps, Hard Ride to Hell, Shepherd, Fugitives Run, Replikator and The Long Kiss Goodnight.
He co-produced and acted in the upcoming feature film Heart of Clay, and the award-winning feature film Poe: Last Days of the Raven. Mackenzie has written, produced and directed 7 short films. His Crazy 8's Film Noir short Under the Bridge of Fear screened at Cannes Court Métrage at The Cannes Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Whistler Film Festival and was broadcast by the CBC. It was nominated for 10 LEO Awards, winning one. Mackenzie has been nominated for many awards and is a 16-time Leo Award "Best Actor" nominee. He composed and recorded the theme songs and score for the films Graceland and My Mind's Eye and is composing the songs for the upcoming feature Earthlickers.
Mackenzie also works extensively as a "voice" performer. He is the voice of "Obadiah Stane" in Marvel Comics' series Iron Man: Armored Adventures, "Gramorr" in LoliRock, and has recurring roles on the animated TV series Tetsujin, Stargate: Infinity, Action Man, Madeline, Evolution and NASCAR Racers. He has also recorded several lead roles in animated feature films. Notable among these are "Long John Silver" in Treasure Island, "Professor Henry" in Madeline: My Fair Madeline and the dual lead roles of "Doctor Nightingale" and "Adrian Rourke" in Groove Squad. Other animated work includes Tony Hawk, Ben Hur (with Charlton Heston) and Ark, Master Keaton, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, Lost Continent, Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action! and Journey to the Center of the Earth. He has created many voices for Video Games, is the lead in the new Black Orchid XBox Game and several characters in the latest edition of Dawn of War.
Mackenzie has worked on stage in Canada, Britain and in the United States in hundreds of plays, musicals and cabarets. He was recently seen onstage as "Steve" in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 'August: Osage County' at The Stanley Theatre in Vancouver. Recently, he played several roles in the Tom Waits/William S. Burroughs award-winning hit rock opera 'The Black Rider', in Toronto and Vancouver. He has played lead roles in many plays, including 'Bloody Poetry', 'The Rocky Horror Show', 'Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang', 'Boxing Shakespeare', 'Playing With Fire', 'The Threepenny Opera', 'Danton's Death' and Videocabaret's multiple-award-winning plays 'The Great War' and 'The Life and Times of Mackenzie King'. Shakespearean work includes lead roles in 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'Macbeth', 'The Winter's Tale', 'Troilus and Cressida', and 'Romeo and Juliet'.
Mackenzie wrote, scored and directed the play/musical 'Math Out Loud' which will tour across Canada this year. He has directed at The Stratford Festival and the Canadian Stage Company, wrote and directed the Ballet/Opera 'The Snow Maiden' at The Royal Alexandra Theatre, produced the award-winning hit play 'Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love' in Toronto and has directed and produced over 25 plays. He is a former board member and Director of the Performers Branch of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
Mackenzie is a 16-time Leo Award "Best Actor" nominee, a 2-time Dora Award nominee, recently winning two Leo Awards for his work on the TV series Spooksville and Bitten and has won or been nominated for many awards in his various disciplines.
Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York City to a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland, where her parents ran a dress shop. At 12 years old, she was the tallest girl in her school at 5'9". She earned the title "wittiest" girl in her school, and Bea's dream was to be in show business, but she didn't think her family would support it. She then worked as a laboratory technician, drove a truck and worked as a typist in the Marine Corps. She also had a brief first marriage, which ended in divorce. Afterwards, she told her parents she wanted to pursue a career in show business, and they supported her decision to join the New York's Dramatic Workshop for the New School for Social Research. She played classical and dramatic roles, but it would be years before she found her niche in comedy. Her breakthrough came on stage while appearing in the musical play "The Threepenny Opera," with Lotte Lenya. For one season in the 1950's, she was a regular on Sid Caesar's television show,Caesar's Hour. In 1964, she became truly famous as Yente the Matchmaker, in the original Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof." While a small supporting role, Bea stole the show night after night.
In 1966, she went to work on a new Broadway musical, "Mame", directed by her second husband, Gene Saks, winning a Tony Award for the featured role of Vera Charles. The show's star, Angela Lansbury, also won a Tony Award, and she and Bea became lifelong friends. In 1971, Arthur appeared on the hit sitcom All in the Family as Maude Findlay, Edith Bunker's cousin, who was forever driving Archie Bunker crazy with her liberal politics. The guest appearance led to Bea's own series entitled Maude. The show was a hit, running for six years, during which many controversial topics of the time, including abortion, were tackled, and Bea won her first Emmy Award. While doing Maude, Bea repeated the role of Vera Charles in the film version of Mame, again directed by Gene Saks, but it was a dismal flop. She also appeared on The Star Wars Holiday Special. While playing "Maude," she raised her two adopted sons with then-husband Gene Saks. After the show ended, so did Bea's marriage to Saks. She never remarried, and became a lifelong animal rights' activist.
In 1983, she started working on a new sitcom, Amanda's, patterned after Britian's"Fawlty Towers" (1975)_, but it was short-lived. In 1985, came what many consider the highlight of Bea Arthur's career, when the sitcom"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ made its debut. Co-starring Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, the show was about the lives of three middle-aged women, and one's elderly mother, (played by Getty, who was actually younger than White and Arthur), living in Miami. It was an immediate hit, running for seven seasons. All of the cast members, including Bea, won Emmy Awards during the show's run. It's worth noting that"Maude" (1972)_ and"The Golden Girls" (1985)_ were canceled when Bea announced she was leaving. She left when she thought each show was at its peak. The producers realized the shows wouldn't be the same without her. In 1992, The Golden Girls was canceled. Bea kept a low profile, appearing in only two movies: For Better or Worse and Enemies of Laughter.
In 1999, she made a very successful and welcome appearance at The N.Y. Friars Club Roast of Jerry Stiller. She did a one-woman stage show in 2001, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. In 2003, she reunited with Betty White and Rue McClanahan for The Golden Girls reunion special on the Lifetime Channel. Noticeably absent was supporting actress Estelle Getty, who was ill. The three lead actresses made appearances together for the rest of the decade to promote DVD releases of The Golden Girls. They appeared together for the last time in 1998, at the TV Land Awards, where they received a standing ovation as they accepted the Pop Culture Award. Bea then attended, with Angela Lansbury, when she was inducted to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.
On April 25, 2009, at home with her family, Bea Arthur died of cancer. She was 86. She's survived by her two sons, Matthew and Daniel, and her grandchildren, Kyra and Violet. In her will, she left $300,000 to New York's Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youths.
Comic brat extraordinaire David Spade was born on July 22, 1964, in Birmingham, Michigan, the youngest of three brothers. He is the son of Judith J. (Meek), a writer and editor, and Wayne M. Spade, a sales rep, and is of German, English, Irish, and Scottish descent. Raised in both Scottsdale (from age four) and Casa Grande, Arizona, he graduated with a degree in business from Arizona State University in 1986. A natural prankster most of his life, Spade was pushed immediately into stand-up comedy by friends and appeared in nightclubs and college campuses all over the country.
A casting agent saw his routine at "The Improv" in Los Angeles and offered him a mischievous role in the film Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. In 1990, the diminutive, flaxen-haired comedian finally hit the big time as a regular cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live. Slow at first in gaining acceptance on the show, his razor-sharp sarcasm eventually caught on by his second season, when he played a number of smart-aleck characters in a variety of sketches, including a highly disinterested airline steward who bids each passenger adieu with a very sardonic "buh-bye" and an irritating receptionist for Dick Clark Productions who greets each huge celebrity with an unknowing "And you are . . . ?" A master of the putdown, Spade's "Hollywood Minute" reporter also took cynical advantage of tabloid-worthy stars. Spade impersonated such luminaries as Michael J. Fox, Kurt Cobain and Tom Petty during his tenure.
Following his SNL departure after six years, he spun off into a slapstick movie career, most noticeably as the scrawny, taciturn foil to SNL's wild and crazy big boy Chris Farley in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep. The teaming of this unlikely but funny pair ended with Farley's death from a 1997 drug overdose. Since then, Spade has appeared in his own lukewarm vehicles, including Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star. More recently he teamed with former SNL member Rob Schneider on the film The Benchwarmers. Television has been more accepting over the years, with Spade earning an Emmy nomination as the droll, skirt-chasing secretary Dennis Finch on Just Shoot Me! and filling in after the untimely death of John Ritter on ABC's 8 Simple Rules as Katey Sagal's unprincipled nephew.
More recently he was the star of the Comedy Central show The Showbiz Show with David Spade in 2005 wherein he more or less resurrected his obnoxious, razor-tongued gossipmonger from the old "Hollywood Minute" put-down segment on SNL, as well as co-starring in the adult-oriented ensemble sitcom Rules of Engagement.
Mira Katherine Sorvino was born on September 28, 1967 in Manhattan. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis, an actress turned drama therapist, and veteran character actor Paul Sorvino. Her father's family were Italian immigrants. The young Sorvino was intelligent, an avid reader and an exceptional scholar. Her father discouraged her from becoming an actor, as he knew how the industry often chews up young stars. She attended Harvard, majoring in Chinese, graduating magna cum laude in 1989, largely on the strength of her thesis, a Hoopes Prize-winning thesis on racial conflict in China, written and researched during the year spent in Beijing, which helped her fluency in Mandarin Chinese.
However, she showed interest in a career in acting from an early age, and moved to New York City to try her hand in the City's film industry, waitressing, auditioning and working at the Tribeca production company of Robert De Niro. She succeeded in getting a little television work in the early 1990s, but got her first film job in the independent gangster movie Amongst Friends, on which she worked her way up the ladder behind the camera to eventually associate-produce the film, and, more importantly, was eventually cast as the female lead. The indie production was well-received, and Sorvino's performance attracted enough buzz to get her cast in two more movies, one a more prominent indie, Barcelona, the other her first Hollywood feature, Quiz Show, and her skillful performances brought her yet more attention.
An exceptionally poised and articulate young woman, she may have seemed inappropriate to play a crazy hooker, but Woody Allen took the chance, and her magnificent performance as the female lead in his Mighty Aphrodite proved her range as a performer and earned her an Oscar (at the tender age of 29) for Best Supporting Actress. Since winning the Oscar, Sorvino has continued to take a wide range of roles, including another stretch as Marilyn Monroe in Norma Jean & Marilyn, co-starring with another very intelligent and skilled young actress, Ashley Judd. Forays into action and horror, such as Mimic and The Replacement Killers show that Sorvino is not above being playful in the film roles she chooses.
However, what forever cemented her role in popular culture was her performance as charmingly silly California beach girl Romy White in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, in which she and co-star Lisa Kudrow utter one hilarious absurdity after another.
Mira Sorvino married Christopher Backus on June 11, 2004, and the couple have four children.
|John C. McGinley
John C. McGinley's path to stardom is a story that reads like a classic Hollywood script. While an understudy in New York in the Circle-In-The-Square production of John Patrick Shanley's "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," he was spotted by director Oliver Stone and soon after was cast in "Platoon," the first of a long list of collaborations between Stone and McGinley which includes "Wall Street," "Talk Radio," "Born on the Fourth of July," "Nixon" and "Any Given Sunday."
He stars as the title character in IFC's scripted comedy-horror series, "Stan Against Evil," on which he also serves as a producer. John C. stars as disgruntled former police sheriff 'Stanley Miller,' a sour, aging bulldog who has recently lost his position as head honcho due to an angry outburst at his wife's funeral. When the new sheriff opens his eyes to the plague of angry demons haunting their small New Hampshire town, 'Stan' begrudgingly joins an alliance with her to fight them off.
John C.'s deep commitment to independent films has driven him to star in and complete production on three upcoming motion pictures in 2016 alone! James Gunn's "The Belko Experiment," Paul Shoulberg's "The Good Catholic" and Richard Dresser's "Rounding Third."
He is an audience favorite for his hilarious portrayal of 'Dr. Perry Cox' in the Emmy-nominated medical comedy series, "Scrubs," which ended its successful nine season run in 2010. He starred for two seasons in TBS's workplace comedy series "Ground Floor," which reunited him with creator Bill Lawrence ("Scrubs"). John C. played 'Mr. Mansfield,' the critical boss to hot-shot young banker 'Brody' (Skylar Austin). He also made a memorable arc on season 6 of USA Networks' hit drama series "Burn Notice."
John C.'s impressive career in film spans a diverse range of characters in over seventy films to date, including such features as the recent "Get A Job," "Alex Cross," "Wild Hogs," "Identity," "The Animal," "The Rock," "Nothing to Lose," "Set It Off," "Seven," "Office Space," "Mother," "Wagons East," "Surviving the Game," "On Deadly Ground," "Point Break," "Highlander II," "A Midnight Clear" and "Fat Man and Little Boy." He also previously starred opposite Ice Cube in Sony/Revolution Studios' feature, "Are We Done Yet?," the sequel to the hit comedy "Are We There Yet?" He recently received critical acclaim for his role as Brooklyn Dodgers' radio broadcaster 'Red Barber' in Warner Bros.' "42," the life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
As a testament to his passion for the independent film community, John C. has appeared in director Eriq La Salle's "Crazy As Hell" and director Scott Silver's "Johns." He also worked on "Truth or Consequences, N.M.," Kiefer Sutherland's feature directorial debut and on "Colin Fitz," a film John C. co-produced which premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. He starred in director D.B. Sweeney's independent feature, "Two Tickets to Paradise," which received raves on the festival circuit. For his performance in the later film, John C. was awarded Method Fest's Festival Director's Award, which is awarded for special recognition/excellence in film.
John C. is a partner at McGinley Entertainment Inc., an independent film production company with several projects currently in development. John C. first worked both sides of the camera, serving double duty as actor and producer for the romantic comedy "Watch It!" (with Peter Gallagher and Lili Taylor).
He received stunning reviews for his starring role in Dean Koontz's gripping and highly rated suspense drama, "Intensity," a four-hour original film for FOX-TV. He executive-produced and starred opposite John Cusack in HBO Pictures' western, "The Jack Bull," directed by John Badham; and he appeared in HBO NYC's "The Pentagon Wars."
In addition to film and television, John C.'s background is heavily rooted in theater. He received stellar reviews for his starring performance as 'Dave Moss' in the Broadway revival of David Mamet's acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Glengarry Glen Ross." According to Newsday, "John C. McGinley is especially dazzling as the hothead who plans the office crime." The play also starred Al Pacino and Bobby Cannavale and ran through January 20, 2013.
He was previously featured on Broadway in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and off-Broadway in "The Ballad of Soapy Smith" and the original cast production of Eric Bogosian's "Talk Radio," both at the renowned Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival. He often cites Papp as the most instrumental force behind his career.
In May 2005, John C. was invited and honored to deliver the keynote address at the commencement ceremony for the University of California San Francisco's (UCSF) School of Medicine, one of the top medical schools in the nation.
As the father of Max, his eighteen-year-old son with Down syndrome, John C. is committed to building awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. He serves as an Ambassador for Special Olympics and is a board member of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. John C. is also one of the original creators, in conjunction with Special Olympics, of the groundbreaking "Spread the Word to End the Word" national campaign to eradicate the "R" word (retard). He has blogged repeatedly on the Huffington Post, advocating acceptance and awareness of people with special needs as well as the importance of eliminating the "R" word.
He can be seen in high profile commercial campaigns for Speed Stick (as Coach Speedman), Halls Cough Drops (as Tough Love/menthol-lyptus and Soft Love/honey-lemon) and Carhartt (as the voice of founder Hamilton Carhartt).
John C. resides in Los Angeles and enjoys stand-up paddle surfing, weight lifting and golf. He married Nichole Kessler on April 7, 2007 at the couple's home in Malibu and they now have two young daughters Billie Grace and Kate Aleena, in addition to big brother Max.
The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents. Always willing to take responsibility for her brother and young cousins, she was a restless teenager who yearned to "make some noise". She entered a dramatic school in New York City, but while her classmate Bette Davis received all the raves, she was sent home; "too shy". She found some work modeling for Hattie Carnegie's and, in 1933, she was chosen to be a "Goldwyn Girl" and appear in the film Roman Scandals.
She was put under contract to RKO Radio Pictures and several small roles, including one in Top Hat, followed. Eventually, she received starring roles in B-pictures and, occasionally, a good role in an A-picture, like in Stage Door or The Big Street. While filming Too Many Girls, she met and fell madly in love with a young Cuban actor-musician named Desi Arnaz. Despite different personalities, lifestyles, religions and ages (he was six years younger), he fell hard, too, and after a passionate romance, they eloped and were married in November 1940. Lucy soon switched to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she got better roles in films such as Du Barry Was a Lady; Best Foot Forward and the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy vehicle Without Love. In 1948, she took a starring role in the radio comedy "My Favorite Husband", in which she played the scatterbrained wife of a Midwestern banker. In 1950, CBS came knocking with the offer of turning it into a television series. After convincing the network brass to let Desi play her husband and to sign over the rights to and creative control over the series to them, work began on the most popular and universally beloved sitcom of all time.
With I Love Lucy, she and Desi pioneered the 3-camera technique now the standard in filming sitcoms, and the concept of syndicating television programs. She was also the first woman to own her own studio as the head of Desilu Productions. Lucille Ball died at home, age 77, of an acute aortic aneurysm on April 26, 1989 in Beverly Hills, California.
Steve Martin was born on August 14, 1945 in Waco, Texas, USA as Stephen Glenn Martin to Mary Lee (née Stewart; 1913-2002) and Glenn Vernon Martin (1914-1997), a real estate salesman and aspiring actor. He was raised in Inglewood and Garden Grove in California. In 1960, he got a job at the Magic shop of Disney's Fantasyland, and while there he learned magic, juggling, and creating balloon animals. At Santa Ana College, he took classes in drama and English poetry. He also took part in comedies and other productions at the Bird Cage Theatre, and joined a comedy troupe at Knott's Berry Farm. He attended California State University as a philosophy major, but in 1967 transferred to UCLA as a theatre major.
His writing career began on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, winning him an Emmy Award. Between 1967 and 1973, he also wrote for many other shows, including The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. He also appeared on talk shows and comedy shows in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1972, he first appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, doing stand-up several times each year, and even guest hosting a few years later. In 1976, he served for the first time as guest-host on Saturday Night Live. By 2016, he has guest-hosted 15 times, which is one less than Alec Baldwin's record, and also appeared 12 other times on SNL.
In 1977, he released his first comedy album, a platinum selling "Let's Get Small". He followed it with "A Wild and Crazy Guy" (1978), which sold more than a million copies. Both albums went on to win Grammys for Best Comedy Recording. This is when he performed in arenas in front of tens of thousands of people, and begun his movie career, which was always his goal. His first major role was in the short film, The Absent-Minded Waiter, which he also wrote. His star value was established in The Jerk, which was co-written by Martin, and directed by Carl Reiner. The film earned more than $100 million on a $4 million budget. He also starred in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, The Man with Two Brains, and All of Me, all directed by Reiner. To avoid being typecast as a comedian, he wanted do more dramatic roles, starring in Pennies from Heaven, a film remake of Dennis Potter's 1978 series. Unfortunately, it was a financial failure.
He also starred in John Landis's ¡Three Amigos!, co-written by himself, opposite Martin Short and Chevy Chase. That year, he also appeared in the musical horror comedy, Little Shop of Horrors opposite Rick Moranis. Next year, he starred in Roxanne, co-written by himself, and in John Hughes' Planes, Trains & Automobiles, opposite John Candy. His other films include Parenthood and My Blue Heaven, both opposite Moranis. In 1991, he wrote and starred in L.A. Story, about a weatherman who searches meaning in his life and love in Los Angeles. It also starred his then-wife, Victoria Tennant. Same year, Father of the Bride was so successful that a 1995 sequel followed.
During the 1990s, he continued to play more dramatic roles, in Grand Canyon, playing a traumatized movie producer, in Leap of Faith, playing a fake faith healer, in A Simple Twist of Fate, playing a betrayed man adopting a baby, and in David Mamet's thriller The Spanish Prisoner. Other, more comedic roles include in HouseSitter and The Out-of-Towners, opposite Goldie Hawn, in Nora Ephron's Mixed Nuts, and in Bowfinger, written by himself and co-starring Eddie Murphy. After Bowfinger, he starred in Bringing Down the House and Cheaper by the Dozen, both earning more than $130 million. He wrote and starred in Shopgirl, and appeared in the sequel of Cheaper by the Dozen. After them, he appeared in The Pink Panther and The Pink Panther 2, which he both co-wrote, as Inspector Clouseau.
He continues to do movies, more recently appearing in The Big Year, Home, and Love the Coopers. Besides aforementioned, he has been an avid art collector since 1968, written plays, written for The New Yorker, written a well-received memoir (Born Standing Up), written a novel (An Object of Beauty; 2010), hosted the Academy Awards three times, released a Grammy award winning music album (The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo; 2009), and another album (Love Has Come For You; 2013) with Edie Brickell. Since 2007, he has been married to Anne Stringfield, with whom he has a daughter.
Mallory Jansen is an Australian actress, born and raised in Melbourne.
Mallory studied drama in New York in 2011, being coached by some of the world's best acting, accent, analysis, method and film teachers at some of the most renowned schools such as Stella Adler and T. Schreiber Studio.
After completing her studies, Mallory returned to Australia where it wasn't long before she scored roles on a string of mini-series hits. They included Channel Nine's 'Howzat! Kerry Packer's War', Network Ten's 'Mr & Mrs Murder' and Australian Broadcasting Commission's (ABC) 'Twentysomething'. However it was her role playing supermodel Helena Christensen on Channel 7's 'Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS' that proved she was making a name for herself in the Australian TV industry and which also created a flutter of interest for the young actress in Los Angeles.
Mallory made the move over to the US in mid-2013 and only weeks later scored her first recurring role of Caroline Huntington in ABC Family's 'Young & Hungry', shortly followed by the recurring role of Georgie Farlow in ABC Family's hit show 'Baby Daddy'.
That same year news broke that Mallory was to play the starring role of Madalena in ABC's fresh new comedy 'Galavant', a musical fairytale with a twist. Written and created by Dan Fogelman ('Crazy, Stupid, Love', 'Tangled', 'Cars') who teamed up with Broadway and award-winning musical team - composer Alan Menken ('The Little Mermaid', 'Aladdin', 'Beauty and the Beast') and lyricist Glenn Slater ('Tangled') - for the four-week comedy extravaganza. 'Galavant' premiered on ABC on Sunday, January 4, 2015 to excellent ratings of 7.9 million viewers, making it TV's top-rated comedy debut since 'Black-ish'.
Due to the success of the show, "Galavant" will air its second season in January 2016.
Robert Anthony Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Rebecca (Villegas), a nurse, and Cecilio G. Rodríguez, a salesman. His family is of Mexican descent.
Of all the people to be amazed by the images of John Carpenter's 1981 sci-fi parable, Escape from New York, none were as captivated as the 12-year-old Rodriguez, who sat with his friends in a crowded cinema. Many people watch films and arrogantly proclaim "I can do that." This young man said something different: "I WILL do that. I'm gonna make movies." The young man in question is Robert Rodriguez and this day was the catalyst of his dream career. Born and raised in Texas, Robert was the middle child of a family that would include 10 children. While many-a-child would easily succumb to a Jan Brady-sense of being lost in the shuffle, Robert always stood out as a very creative and very active young man. An artist by nature, he was very rarely seen sans pencil-in-hand doodling some abstract (yet astounding) dramatic feature on a piece of paper. His mother, not a fan of the "dreary" cinema of the 1970s, instills a sense of cinema in her children by taking them on weekly trips to San Antonio's famed Olmos Theatre movie house and treats them to a healthy dose of Hollywood's "Golden Age" wonders, from Sergio Leone to the silent classic of Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
In a short amount of time, young Robert finds the family's old Super-8 film camera and makes his first films. The genres are unlimited: action, sci-fi, horror, drama, stop-motion animation. He uses props from around the house, settings from around town, and makes use of the largest cast and crew at his disposal: his family. At the end of the decade, his father, a salesman, brings home the latest home-made technological wonder: a VCR, and with it (as a gift from the manufacturer) a video camera. With this new equipment at his disposal, he makes movies his entire life. He screens the movies for friends, all of whom desperately want to star in the next one. He gains a reputation in the neighbourhood as "the kid who makes movies". Rather than handing in term papers, he is allowed to hand in "term movies" because, as he himself explains, "[the teachers] knew I'd put more effort into a movie than I ever would into an essay." He starts his own comic strip, "Los Hooligans". His movies win every local film competition and festival. When low academic grades threaten to keep him out of UT Austin's renowned film department, he proves his worth the only way he knows how: he makes a movie. Three, in fact: trilogy of short movies called "Austin Stories" starring his siblings. It beats the entries of the school's top students and allows Robert to enter the programme. After being accepted into the film department, Robert takes $400 of his own money to make his "biggest" film yet: a 16mm short comedy/fantasy called Bedhead.
Pouring every idea and camera trick he knew into the short, it went on to win multiple awards. After meeting and marrying fellow Austin resident Elizabeth Avellan, Robert comes up with a crazy idea: he will sell his body to science in order to finance his first feature-length picture (a Mexican action adventure about a guitarist with no name looking for work but getting caught up in a shoot-'em-up adventure) that he will sell to the Spanish video market and use as an entry point to a lucrative Hollywood career. With his "guinea pig" money he raises a mere $7,000 and creates El Mariachi. But rather than lingering in obscurity, the film finds its way to the Sundance film festival where it becomes an instant favourite, wins Robert a distribution deal with Columbia pictures and turns him into an icon among would-be film-makers the world over. Not one to rest on his laurels, he immediately helms the straight-to-cable movie Roadracers and contributes a segment to the anthology comedy Four Rooms (his will be the most lauded segment).
His first "genuine" studio effort would soon have people referring to him as "John Woo from south-of-the-border". It is the "Mariachi" remake/sequel Desperado. More lavish and action-packed than its own predecessor, the movie--while not a blockbuster hit--does decent business and single-handedly launches the American film careers of Antonio Banderas as the guitarist-turned-gunslinger and Salma Hayek as his love interest (the two would star in several of his movies from then on). It also furthers the director's reputation of working on low budgets to create big results. In the year when movies like Batman Forever and GoldenEye were pushing budgets past the $100 million mark, Rodriguez brought in "Desperado" for just under $7 million. The film also featured a cameo by fellow indie film wunderkind, Quentin Tarantino. It would be the beginning of a long friendship between the two sprinkled with numerous collaborations. Most notable the Tarantino-penned vampire schlock-fest From Dusk Till Dawn. The kitschy flick (about a pair of criminal brothers on the run from the Texas Rangers, only to find themselves in a vamp-infested Mexican bar) became an instant cult favourite and launched the lucrative film career of ER star George Clooney.
After a two-year break from directing (primarily to spend with his family, but also developing story ideas and declining Hollywood offers) he returned to "Dusk till Dawn" territory with the teen/sci-fi/horror movie The Faculty, written by Scream writer, Kevin Williamson. Although it's developed a small following of its own, it would prove to be Robert's least-successful film. Critics and fans alike took issue with the pedestrian script, the off-kilter casting and the flick's blatant over-commercialization (due to a marketing deal with clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger). After another three-year break, Rodriguez returned to make his most successful (and most unexpected) movie yet, based on his own segment from Four Rooms. After a string of bloody, adult-oriented action fare, no one anticipated him to write and direct the colourful and creative Spy Kids, a movie about a pair of prepubescent Latino sibs who discover that their lame parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are actually two of the world's greatest secret agents. The film was hit among both audiences and critics alike.
After quitting the Writers' Guild of America and being introduced to digital filmmaking by George Lucas, Robert immediately applied the creative, flexible (and cost-effective) technology to every one of his movies from then on, starting with an immediate sequel to his family friendly hit: Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams which was THEN immediately followed by the trilogy-capper Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. The latter would prove to be the most financially-lucrative of the series and employ the long-banished movie gimmick of 3-D with eye-popping results. Later the same year Rodriguez career came full circle when he completed the final entry of the story that made brought him to prominence: "El Mariachi". The last chapter, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, would be his most direct homage to the Sergio Leone westerns he grew up on. With a cast boasting Antonio Banderas (returning as the gunslinging guitarist), Johnny Depp (as a corrupt CIA agent attempting to manipulate him), Salma Hayek, Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe and Eva Mendes, the film delivered even more of the Mexican shoot-'em-up spectacle than both of the previous films combined.
Now given his choice of movies to do next, Robert sought out famed comic book writer/artist Frank Miller, a man who had been very vocal of never letting his works be adapted for the screen. Even so, he was wholeheartedly convinced and elated when Rodriguez presented him with a plan to turn Miller's signature work into the film Sin City. A collection of noir-ish tales set in a fictional, crime-ridden slum, the movie boasted the largest cast Rodriguez had worked with to that date. Saying he didn't want to mere "adapt" Miller's comics but "translate" them, Rodriguez' insistence that Miller co-direct the movie lead to Robert's resignation from the Director's Guild of America (and his subsequent dismissal from the film John Carter as a result). Many critics cited that Sin City was created as a pure film noir piece to adapt Miller's comics onto the screen. Co-directing with Frank Miller and 'Quentin Tarantino' (who guest-directed in That Yellow Bastard) allowed Rodriquez to again shock Hollywood with his talent.
In late 2007, Rodriquez again teamed up with his friend Tarantino to create the double-episode film, The Grindhouse featuring Rodriquez's offering of Planet Terror. Planet Terror was a film shot in the specific genre of "hardcore, extreme, sex-fueled, action packed." Rodriguez flirts with his passion to make a showy film exploiting all of his experience to make an extremely entertaining thrill ride. The film is encompassed around Cherry (Rose McGowan), a reluctant go-go dancer who is found wanting when she meets her ex-lover El Wray (played by Freddy Rodríguez) who turns up at a local BBQ grill. They then, after a turn of events, find themselves fending off brain-eating zombies whilst trying to flee to Mexico (here we go off to Mexico again). Apart from directing, Rodriquez also involves himself in camera work, editing and composing music for his movies sound tracks (he composed the Planet Terror main theme). He also shoots a lot of his own action scenes to get a direct idea from his eye as the director into the film. In El Mariachi, Rodriquez spent hours in front of a pay-to-use, computer editing his film. This allowed him to capture the ideal footage exactly as he wanted it. Away from the filming aspect of Hollywood, Rodriguez is an expert chef who cooks gourmet meals for the cast and crew. Rodriquez is also known for his ability to turn a low-budgeted film with a small crew into an example of film mastery. El Mariachi was "the movie made on seven grand" and still managed to rank as one of Rodriguez' best films (receiving a rating of 92% on the Rotten Tomatoes film review site).
Because Rodriquez is involved so deeply in his films, he is able to capture what he wants first time, which saves both time and money. Rodriguez's films share some similar threads and ideas, whilst also having differences. In El Mariachi, he uses a hand-held camera. He made this decision for several reasons. First, he couldn't afford a tripod and secondly, he wanted to make the audience more aware of the action. In the action sequences he is given more mobility with a hand-held camera and also allows for distortion of the unprofessional action sequences (because the cost of all special effects in the film totaled $600). However, in Sin City and Planet Terror, the budget was much greater, and Rodriquez could afford to spend more on special affects (especially since both films were filmed predominately with green screen) and, thus, there was no need to cover for error.
Playing by his own rules or not at all, Robert Rodriguez has redefined what is and is not for a film-maker to do. Shunning Hollywood's ridiculously-high budgets, multi-picture deals and the two most powerful unions for the sake of maintaining creative freedom are decisions that would (and have) cost many directors their careers. Rodriguez has turned these into his strengths, creating some of the most imaginative works the big-screen has ever seen.
Born on August 5 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, Courtney Paige Theroux fell utterly in love with acting at a very young age and by the age of 11 was performing for the Kelowna Community Theatre Company; she went on to graduate from the Certified Educational Assistant Program and Nursing Unit Assistant Program at the Okanagan College. After doing a year of her Bachelor of Arts, Courtney realized the only career she could imagine herself pursuing would be one as an actress. Paige moved to Vancouver, BC in 2010 to start training and auditioning professionally. As a child growing up, Theroux was always heavily involved with dance, cheerleading, and making movies with friends. Courtney wrote her first short film at the age of 9, and is a self taught horse back trick rider. In 2007, she was crowned "Miss BC Interior". Theroux helped raise money for the BC Children's Hospital and has volunteered with many charitable events. Some of Courtney's credits include ones on the Lifetime Network, Universal, YTV, Discovery Channel, and Movie Central. Courtney owns her own production company called "Crazy Sunshine Films." She plans to write and star in her own films and hopes to someday do theatre on Broadway.
Xander's father was a painter and his mother a school teacher who sewed, providing him with costumes (his preference over toys). School plays and Community Theater were next. An experimental theater troupe in the area (which was an offshoot from Joseph Chaikin's Open Theater in New York) took Xander under their wing when he was 16. He credits this group for shaping him as both a person and an actor, committed to taking risks and remaining open to the unknown. Xander went to Hampshire College, the progressive brainchild of Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts. He would continue in the theater at Hampshire, studying and doing plays at each of the other schools, all of which were there in the area.
A move to New York after college brought him access to private teachers from the Royal Academy of the Arts, the Moscow Arts Theater and HB Studios. Later in Los Angeles, Xander would spend time with Lee Strasberg at The Actor's Studio during the last years of his life.
Xander worked in Regional and Repertory Theaters in addition to off-Broadway while living in New York but, despite a classically trained theater background, he was increasingly drawn to the subtleties of film acting. A play, written by the great southern novelist Reynolds Price, called "Early Dark" had such a cinematic feel to it, that an agent saw the film acting potential in Xander and encouraged him to make the move out west.
Soon Mommie Dearest provided Xander with his film debut in the role of "Christopher Crawford", and simultaneously gave his career a slightly cultish twist. Alex Cox with Sid and Nancy, James Cameron with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Bernard Rose with Candyman, Todd Haynes with Safe, Mike Figgis with Leaving Las Vegas, Andrew Niccol with Gattaca all helped to further associate Xander as an actor in his own rather unusual category.
Xander's choices were often determined by the opportunity to learn from directors he admired, certainly all those listed above fell into that category. Clint Eastwood with The Rookie, Ron Howard with Apollo 13, Rob Reiner with A Few Good Men, Michael Mann with Heat, Wolfgang Petersen with Air Force One, Steven Spielberg with Amistad are obvious examples of others Xander actively sought to work with and learn from.
From obscure independent movies where Xander could play lead roles to the big budget studio movies where he might often play smaller character-driven parts, an education was taking place. Just as working with older directors like Mihalis Kakogiannis on The Cherry Orchard and Robert M. Young on Human Error (aka "Human Error") brought insights to ways of working that are being lost in pop cultures tendency to slide toward slickness. Not to mention bringing him to places like Bulgaria and China along the way.
Perhaps because a life in the foreign services, or espionage was seen as a road not taken, living on location in foreign countries, working as an actor, has somewhat fulfilled the impulse. As early as 1987, a film took Xander to Nicaragua while the Contra War was taking place. It was during this three month shoot on the film Walker (starring Ed Harris) that Xander got an offer to do a film with his friend, director Jon Hess, in Chile for the following three months. Taking him straight from the revolutionary left-wing Sandanistas to Pinochet's fascist, right-wing regime.
In 2001, an offer came in to play a part on a TV pilot called 24. It was another shady agent-type, and reluctant to repeat his performance from Air Force One as the turncoat secret serviceman, Xander almost passed on the job. Fortunately for him, he said yes. He met his future wife, Sarah Clarke during the first day of filming. His character, "George Mason", was just a guest star in the pilot, but the producers liked what Xander brought to it and continued to write more episodes for him. By the second season, it had become perhaps the most interesting, leveled character Xander had ever gotten to play. Sarah and Xander were married in 2002 and had their daughters, Olwyn in 2006 and Rowan in 2010.
Other favorite roles of late have been "Arlen Pavich", the middle management dweeb, in Niki Caro's North Country, and the Irish hooligan/railway foreman in David Von Ancken's Seraphim Falls and, more recently, "The King of Sodom" in Harold Ramis' Year One, "Sonny" in David Pomes' Cook County, the recovering meth head coming out of prison to discover the life he had left (and destroyed), and crazy "Uncle Doug" in David Wike's Out There (aka "Out There").
Aduba began earning recognition for her work in 2003, with a performance in "Translations of Xhosa" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that won her a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Play. Her Broadway debut was in 2007 as Toby in "Coram Boy". She was a member of the Original Revival Cast of "Godspell" at the Circle in the Square Theatre from 2011 through 2012. She also played the mother of the title character of "Venice" at The Public Theater in New York.
Her first television appearance was on the TV Series "Blue Bloods" in 2012. In 2013 she began to receive wider recognition and acclaim for her portrayal of Suzanne Warren, also known as "Crazy Eyes", in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
|Harry Dean Stanton
Prolific character actor Harry Dean Stanton's drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent have been his ticket to appearing in over 100 films, and 50 TV episodes.
Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a barber and tobacco farmer. Stanton served as a cook in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and was on board an LST during the Battle of Okinawa. He then returned to the University of Kentucky to appear in a production of "Pygmalion", before heading out to California and honing his craft at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse. Stanton then toured around the United States with a male choir, worked in children's theater, and then headed back to California. His first role on screen was in the tepid movie Tomahawk Trail, but he was quickly noticed and appeared regularly in minor roles as cowboys and soldiers through the late 1950s and early 1960s. His star continued to rise and he received better roles in which he could showcase his laid-back style, such as in Cool Hand Luke, Kelly's Heroes, Dillinger, The Godfather: Part II, and in Alien. It was around this time that Stanton came to the attention of director Wim Wenders, who cast him in his finest role yet as Travis in the moving Paris, Texas. Next indie director Alex Cox gave Stanton a role that really brought him to the forefront, in the quirky cult film Repo Man.
Stanton was now heavily in demand, and his unique look got him cast as everything from a suburban father in the mainstream Pretty in Pink to a soft-hearted, but ill-fated, private investigator in Wild at Heart and a crazy yet cunning scientist in Escape from New York. Apart from his film performances, Stanton is also an accomplished musician, and "The Harry Dean Stanton Band" and their unique spin on mariachi music have been playing together for well over a decade. They have toured internationally to rave reviews. Stanton became a cult figure of cinema and music and when Debbie Harry sang the lyric "I want to dance with Harry Dean..." in her 1990s hit "I Want That Man", she was talking about him.
As he moved into the time in his life when most other people would be calling it a day, Harry Dean Stanton has remained consistently active on screen, most recently appearing in films including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Green Mile and The Man Who Cried. A true gem amongst character actors, and with an on screen presence capable of adding that something extra to any production.
Barbara Goodson is a "lifer" in show biz. Truly in love with all aspects of this wild & crazy craft. Was aware of her mimicry skills early on in life when she imitated family members & caught on to the positive attention it gave her & the pleasure & camaraderie it gave to others. She delights in the task of putting her own stamp on a character whether it be dramatic, musical, comedic &/or in film, cartoons, v/o, nightclubs, stage, TV, etc.
Stuck in a tiny woman's body has always been her challenge since she's always felt much bigger than her under 5' stature & has been recognized for her powerful vocal range playing many nasty yet amusing "bad ladies" on & off screen.
She has no intention of ever retiring...& continues to dream of working with more of the 'heavy weights' & being cast in meaningful, well received & lucrative projects. Believes acting is a blessed career that can move mountains. It's not for sissies & contains a community of (mostly) evolved, concerned humans. She is proud to have had the modicum of success she has achieved & looks forward to more.
Teressa Liane is an Australian actress born in Melbourne, Victoria. Best known for her portrayal of the lovable, larger-than-life character Rhiannon Bates on Australian TV Show, "Neighbours" (1985) Fremantle Media. Now working in the US, Teressa will soon be on screen as Angelica in AMC's 'Into the Badlands' (airs Fall, 2015) as well as "feisty" heretic, Mary Louise on Season 7 of 'The Vampire Diaries' (airs October 8th 2015)
Teressa's love for Film and Musical Theatre ignited at a very young age when her mother introduced her to the magic that was... the musical (on VHS). The middle child of a single-parent household, Teressa would often be left to entertain herself...and so she did, literally. Putting on shows, telling stories, it wasn't long before her work evolved from mirror to schoolyard. At eight years of age, a visit to The Arts Centre to see HMS Pinafore and that was it. Jon English won the fight and Teressa cleared the 'Dream Job' list, with one goal in sight... to act.
Throughout high school Teressa discovered she had a knack for impressions: Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Molly Shannon - you name it you'd probably find her testing and perfecting it! - But more importantly, she discovered a thrilling love for theatre and performance. The incredible support of friends and a fabulous Drama teacher gave her the confidence to join a local Theatre Group, First Impressions Youth Theatre (FIYT) Here she was surrounded by unique performers, and gained invaluable experience as a writer and actor.
While studying at La Trobe University, Teressa was swept up in the crazy world of Student Theatre. Here she made her singing debut, her writing was honoured in the Beatnik Cabaret (2008) and she made the decision to stop studying Acting, and just do it.
Transitioning from stage to screen, she took on various classes until she came across TAFTA - The Australian Film & Television Academy, in Melbourne. Founder/Director & high-profile Actor/Writer/Director John Orcsik, soon took on the role as a mentor & friend. To this day, Teressa praises John's honesty, belief and passion for his students and credits this to her own success.
-- Teressa is represented by Active Artists Mgmt. (AU) & LINK Ent. (US)
Eli Marienthal was born on March 6, 1986, in Santa Monica, California, though he has lived most of his life in Berkeley. His career started in Bay Area theatres, where he has performed in "Missing Persons," "The Cryptogram," "Hecuba," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Every 17 Minutes the Crowd Goes Crazy," and "The Life of Galileo." His parents' names are Joe and Lola, and he currently lives with his mother in Berkeley, though during the 3rd and 4th grades he spent some time in Paris with his father. He graduated from the private East Bay French-American School, where all the students learn to speak fluent French and attend classes in two languages.
Margot Kidder was born Margaret Ruth Kidder in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, to Jocelyn Mary "Jill" (Wilson), a history teacher from British Columbia, and Kendall Kidder, a New Mexico-born mining engineer and explosives expert. Margot was a delightful child who took pride in everything she did. At an early age she became aware of the great emotions she felt towards expressing herself, and caught the acting bug. As a child she wrote in a diary that she wanted to become a movie star, and that one day it would happen, but she had to overcome something else first. She was aware that she was constantly facing mood swings, but wasn't aware why. At odd times she would try to kill herself - the first time was at age 14 - but the next day she would be just fine. Her father's hectic schedule and moving around so much didn't help matters, either, causing her to attend 11 schools in 12 years. Finally, in an attempt to help Margot with her troubles, her parents sent" her to a boarding school, where she took part in school plays, such as Romeo and Juliet", in which she played the lead.
After graduation Margot moved to Los Angeles to start a film career. She found herself dealing with a lot of prejudice, and hotheads, but later found solace with a Canadian agent. This was when she got her first acting job, in the Norman Jewison film Gaily, Gaily. This led to another starring role in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx, in which she co-starred with Gene Wilder. After some harsh words from the film's director, Margot temporarily left films to study acting in New York, doing television work to pay her bills, but when the money ran out, she decided it was time to make a second try at acting. When she arrived in Hollywood she met up at a screen test with actress Jennifer Salt, resulting in a friendship that still stands strong today. Margot and Jennifer moved into a lofty beach house and befriended other, then unknown, struggling filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Steven Spielberg and Susan Sarandon, among others. Late nights would see the hot, happening youngsters up until all hours talking around a fire about how they were all going to change the film industry. It was crazy living and within the Christmas season, Margot had become involved with De Palma, and as a Christmas present he gave her the script to his upcoming film Sisters. Margot and Salt both had the leads in the film, and it was a huge critical success.
The film made branded Margot as a major talent, and in the following years she starred in a string of critically acclaimed pictures, such as Black Christmas, The Great Waldo Pepper, 92 in the Shade - directed by Thomas McGuane, who was also her husband for a brief period - and a somewhat prophetic tale of self-resurrection, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud.
After three years of being a housewife, looking after her daughter Maggie and not working, Margot decided it was time to let her emotions take control and get back into acting. Once her marriage to McGuane was over she eyed a script that would change her life forever. Her new agent hooked her up with a little-known director named Richard Donner. He was going to be directing a film called Superman, and she auditioned for and secured the leading female role of Lois Lane. That film and Superman II were to be filmed simultaneously. After the success of "Superman" she took on more intense roles, such as The Amityville Horror and Willie & Phil. After that, Margot did numerous films, television and theater work throughout the 1980s, including Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. When the 1990s erupted with the Gulf War, Margot found herself becoming involved in politics. She made a stir in the biz when she spoke out against the military for their actions in Kuwait. She also appeared in a cameo in Donner's Maverick.
In 1996, as she was preparing to write her autobiography, she began to become more and more paranoid. When her computer was infected with a virus, this gave her paranoia full rein, and she sank into bipolar disorder. She panicked, and the resulting psychological problems she created for herself resulted in her fantasizing that her first husband was going to kill her, so she left her home and faked her death, physically altering her appearance in the bargain. After an intervention took place, she got back on her feet and started the mental wellness campaign. Since then she has sustained her career in film, television, and theater, recently appearing in a Canadian stage production of "The Vagina Monologues".
Peter Henry Fonda was born in New York City, to legendary screen star Henry Fonda and New York socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw. He is the brother of actress Jane Fonda and the father of actress Bridget Fonda. His ancestry includes Dutch, English, Scottish, and distant French and Italian.
Fonda made his professional stage debut on Broadway in 1961 in Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole, for which he received rave reviews from the New York Critics, and won the Daniel Blum Theater World Award and the New York Critics Circle Award for Best New Actor. He began his feature film career in 1963, playing the romantic lead in Tammy and the Doctor and joined the ensemble cast of the World War II saga The Victors. Shortly thereafter, Fonda began what would become a famous association with Roger Corman, starring in Wild Angels, as the ultra-cool, iron-fisted leader of a violent biker gang, opposite Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, and Diane Ladd. Fonda also starred in Corman's 1967 psychedelic film The Trip, also starring Dern and Susan Strasberg.
Fonda's next project was the seminal 1969 anti-establishment film Easy Rider which he produced and co-scripted, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Fonda's acting credits also include the feature films Outlaw Blues, an expose of the country music business; Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry; Race with the Devil; Robert Rossen's Lilith; Split Image; Robert Wise's Two People; and the cult films Love and a .45 and Nadja. He appeared in Grace of My Heart, directed by Alison Anders, and John Carpenter's Escape from L.A., starring Kurt Russell. He also made a cameo appearance in Bodies, Heat & Motion, which starred his daughter Bridget.
Fonda wowed audiences and won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Ulee Jackson, the taciturn beekeeper in the 1997 film Ulee's Gold, earning him both a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and the New York Film Critics Award, as well as an Oscar nomination. Following this, he published his autobiography, Don't Tell Dad, and was then seen in the NBC movie The Tempest, for which he had been nominated for another Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series. Fonda then appeared with Helen Mirren in the Showtime telefilm The Passion of Ayn Rand, where he won the Golden Globe for outstanding supporting actor in a mini-series or movie made for television and was nominated for both an Emmy and SAG Award.
Fonda co-starred in Steven Soderbergh's 1997 film The Limey, which also starred Terrence Stamp and Lesley Ann Warren. Following this he appeared in Thomas and the Magic Railroad for director Britt Allcroft, starring Alec Baldwin.
Fonda directed his first feature film, The Hired Hand, in 1971. A critically acclaimed western in which he also starred, the film debuted with a restored version at the 2001 Venice Film Festival; it then screened at the Toronto Film Festival before reopening in theaters in 2003. Other directing credits include the science fiction feature Idaho Transfer, starring Keith Carradine and Wanda Nevada in which he starred as a gambler who wins Brooke Shields in a poker game.
Fonda co-starred in HBO's The Laramie Project, based on the true story of openly gay college student Matthew Shepard, killed in an act of senseless violence and cruelty, which attracted national attention. Fonda starred in The Maldonado Miracle directed by Salma Hayek for Showtime Networks, and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for his role. Fonda also starred opposite Kris Kristofferson in Wooly Boys, which was released in March 2004, and the television drama Back When We Were Grownups, opposite Blythe Danner and Faye Dunaway. Fonda was seen in Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve and can be seen in Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider, opposite Nicolas Cage.
Fonda's other projects include director Ron Maxwell's Civil War-era drama Copperhead, alongside actors Billy Campbell and Angus MacFadyen and The Ultimate Gift directed by Michael Landon Jr. Up next, Fonda can be seen in John McNaughton's The Harvest with Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon.
Wendy Makkena is an accomplished actress, musician and entrepreneur from New York City, with a diverse background in film, television, theatre, and the arts. Ms. Makkena is a classically trained Juilliard harpist, performing at Carnegie Hall. She also plays R&B guitar, danced for six years with Balanchine's New York City Ballet, and is the founder of a successful startup.
In feature films Ms. Makkena recently appeared in "The Discovery" with Rooney Mara, Jason Segel, and Robert Redford, as Mr. Redford's beloved wife Maggie; "The Enchanted Forest", directed by Josh Klausner, and as the British real estate agent Maggie in "Fair Market Value", which had its world premiere at the Bentonville Film Festival winning the Best Ensemble Award. Other films include State of Play as Ben Affleck's erstwhile assistant Greer Thornton and leads in "Finding North", "Camp Nowhere", "Noise", "Air Bud" and John Sayle's "Eight Men Out". Wendy is perhaps best known for her role of shy novice sister Mary Robert in "Sister Act" and "Sister Act 2".
In television, Wendy has a recurring role on "NCIS" as Kate Todd's sister Dr. Rachel Cranston. She has also starred in the Fox comedy series "Oliver Beene"; the CBS series "Listen Up" opposite Jason Alexander; the ABC series "The Job" opposite Denis Leary; Fox's "The Mob Doctor" and the role of "All the Way" Mae in the TV series A League of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall. Other TV roles include recurring roles on "Judging Amy" opposite Tyne Daly; "NYPD Blue" opposite David Caruso; "Alpha House" on Amazon Prime; "Rizzoli & Isles", "The Good Wife", "Desperate Housewives", "Law & Order", "Law & Order: SVU", "CSI", "House", "The Nine" and "Philly".
As a theatre actress, her roles on stage as varied as they are on screen, ranging from leads in the farce of Broadway's "Lend Me a Tenor", to the holocaust drama, Cynthia Ozick's "The Shawl" opposite Dianne Wiest and directed by Sidney Lumet. On Broadway, Wendy has appeared in numerous productions earning rave reviews, including the leading role of Crazy Terry in Roundabout's "Side Man", Tony Award winner for Best Play, and "Pygmalion" with Peter O'Toole. Off Broadway, she has appeared in Richard Greenberg's "American Plan"; Donald Margulies's "Loman Family Picnic" and "Prin" with Eileen Atkins. At Playwrights Horizons, Wendy originated the roles of Carmen Berra in "Bronx Bombers" and Megan in The Water Children (NY & LA), winning the LA Drama Critics Circle Award and the Robby Award for Best Actress. She was selected by Harold Pinter to appear in the American premiere of "Mountain Language", opposite David Strathairn, and performed in "The Birthday Party" with Jean Stapleton. She has also worked with such artists as Beth Henley at New York Stage & Film and Julie Taymor in "The Taming of the Shrew".
A successful entrepreneur, Wendy is the founder and recipe inventor behind "Ruby's Rockets" frozen fruit and veggie pops. Conceived and crafted with her daughter Ruby, their first-to-market recipes have won the Masters Of Taste Award, The New Hope Editor's Choice NEXTY Award, and the SupplySide West Award. Ruby's Rockets have been featured on The Today Show, Forbes, and NY Business Insider, among others, and were selected to be in Oprah's coveted O list. They are now in over 3,000 doors nationwide.
Larry Wilcox grew up in Rawlins, Wyoming, with three siblings and raised by a single parent - his mother. He graduated and then went to the University of Wyoming and studied pre-med and then transferred to Cal State University Northridge in Southern California. His sister was tragically murdered by her husband in front of her mother and their three children and Larry returned home to assist the family. During this time Larry was drafted in the Army but he wanted to be in the best outfit during the Vietnam War and so he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He honorably served thirteen months in Vietnam with five campaign stars and two meritorious promotions. He was discharged as a Sergeant and then went back to school. Wilcox hit the pavement running and began working two to three jobs to make ends meet. He began studying acting and music and soon got a Hollywood agent and landed many commercials and then beat 300 actors to win the co-star role on Lassie in 1970. He then went on to guest star in many popular TV shows from MASH, Love Boat, Police Story, Room 222, The Partridge Family, Hawaii Five-0 and many others. He was subsequently picked to star in CHiPS with co-star Erik Estrada which he did for five years and the show was syndicated in one-hundred foreign countries. During this time Wilcox, a businessman at heart, formed his own production company and began buying scripts and books and making deals with studios and networks. He produced the Death of a Playmate: The Dorothy Stratten Story for MGM and NBC which he believed had many parallels to the death of his sister. He then developed, funded and produced the award winning TV Series, The Ray Bradbury Theater for HBO for five years. Wilcox has a long list of productions and is presently negotiating some very significant projects we all hope to see in the near future.
Wilcox has been married to Marlene Harmon for over thirty years with three boys and two girls which are all adults now. Wilcox was an avid sportsman and, as he states, "I enjoyed pushing the envelope." He set eight Land Speed Records at the infamous Bonneville Salt Flats, was a race car driver and competed in SCCA events and was a cowboy competitor and member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Wilcox is also a pilot who is known for some crazy rides in his very own military plane with a cockpit. He has flown with the Blue Angels and the Marines as a Celebrity Guest and is famous for asking the military pilot to "let it all hang out" and to try and make him sick.
Presently (as of April 2016) Wilcox is focused on two arenas: filmmaking and digital distribution tools that he owns and/or participates in. He has been the past national spokesperson for The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Red Cross. He was the national celebrity spokesperson for the Vets Save The Flag campaign. He has also been the celebrity filmmaker and spokesperson for TheFallenHeroes.org. Wilcox believes that man was put on this earth to help each other and to perpetuate better offspring than yourself. He said his credits are not about his life.....his credits are his family. His fan site is larrywilcox.net and he has a Facebook site that he writes a monthly journal to keep in touch with his fans. When asked what advice Wilcox would give to the world he says: "Love and be Loved; and walk tall through the fire and stay in your bubble of personal belief because HE is with you all the way!"
Jodi Benson, a native of Rockford, Illinois, has received worldwide recognition and critical acclaim as the voice of "Ariel" in the Academy Award-winning Walt Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid, as well as the bubbly voice of "Tour Guide Barbie" in Disney's Toy Story 2, winner of the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. She also gave life to the spirited "Weebo" in Disney's live action Flubber, starring Robin Williams. For Warner Brothers, she created the spirited voice of "Thumbelina", a Don Bluth animated feature, Thumbelina, with songs by Barry Manilow. Jodi's recent projects include The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea as "Ariel", Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure as "Lady", 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure as "Anita", Dreamwork's animated movie Joseph: King of Dreams as his wife "Asenath" starring Ben Affleck and in Balto: Wolf Quest and Balto III: Wings of Change as "Jenna" for Universal Studios. She appears as "Sam" (Patrick Dempsey's assistant) in Disney's feature film Enchanted as a real person - with legs!
Ms. Benson received a Tony Award and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for creating the starring role of "Polly Baker" in the Tony Award-winning Broadway Ira Gershwin musical, "Crazy For You". Other Broadway credits include: creating the starring role of "Doria Hudson" in the Howard Ashman-Marvin Hamlisch musical, "Smile", "Betty Bursteter" in Cy Coleman's "Welcome to the Club" and "Virginia" in Kenny Ortega's Marilyn: An American Musical". Internationally, Ms. Benson has had the honor of sharing the stage with her husband, Ray Benson, in the European premiere of Ira Gershwin's "My One and Only", starring as "Miss Edythe Herbert". In Los Angeles, Ms. Benson starred in the critically-acclaimed Reprise/UCLA production of "Babes in Arms" as "Bunny", "Nellie Forbush" in "South Pacific" (Pasadena Civic), "Flora the Red Menace" (Pasadena Playhouse), "Ado Annie" in "Oklahoma!" (Dorothy Chandler Pavillion), "Eliza Doolittle" in "My Fair Lady" (Alex Theater) and as "Florence Vassey" in "Chess" (Long Beach Civic Light Opera) for which she won the Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress.
Jodi can be heard on over a dozen recordings and has a 6-part DVD series entitled "Baby Faith" from the creators of "Baby Einstein". Her animated-TV series include the hit, Camp Lazlo!, for the Cartoon Network, The Little Mermaid, Batman Beyond, "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy", The Wild Thornberrys, "Barbie", Hercules: Zero to Hero and P.J. Sparkles, as well as many others. On the concert stage, Ms Benson has performed as a concert soloist with symphonies all over the world: The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The National Symphony, Cleveland, Dallas, Tokyo Philharmonic, San Francisco and Chicago, to name a few. She has starred in the Kennedy Center Honors for Ginger Rogers, The 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney, Central Park Disney Spectacular and Disney's 100 Years of Magic. Ms. Benson is honored to be the resident guest soloist for the Walt Disney Company/Disney Cruise Line and ambassador for feature animation. Jodi gives thanks and praise to the Lord for her family, friends, for her loving and amazing husband, 'Ray Benson (I)' , and her precious children; son McKinley Benson and daughter Delaney Benson.
John Daniel Tooz Matuszak was an American football defensive lineman in the National Football League and also an actor. Matuszak was born in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Tampa and played for their football team. Matuszak also played for the Houston Oilers of the NFL and joined the Houston Texans of the World Football League, but never played for them. His first major role as an actor was in the 1979 movie "North Dallas Forty" as a football player. He also appeared in the movies "Caveman", "The Ice Pirates", and "One Crazy Summer" but is known for his role in "The Goonies". He also had guest appearances on popular TV shows "Perfect Strangers", "M*A*S*H", "The Dukes of Hazzard", "Hunter", "Silver Spoons", "The A-Team", "1st & Ten", "Miami Vice" and "Cheers". He died on June 17, 1989 aged 38 due to a heart failure.
From India to Canada, England to America, Karen David has crisscrossed the world making true fans everywhere along the way. With her exotic beauty and multicultural pedigree, of which she includes Chinese, Khasi tribe, and Indian, the actress and singer/songwriter has found equal diversity in her film, television, stage and recording career, fueled in no small part by an extraordinary talent and natural charisma. 2016 has been a very busy year for the sought after actress, in both North America and in the UK.
Fully revealing her comedy chops, Karen David returned for Season 2 to star in the Emmy nominated, ABC comedy musical fairytale, "Galavant", earlier this year. In the medieval adventure, described as "Monty Python meets Princess Bride," David played Princess Isabella, who enlists a once-gallant prince in order to save her people from an evil king. Shot in Bristol, England, the show is the creation of Dan Fogelman (Cars, Tangled, Crazy, Stupid, Love.), with songs by Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz, with lyricist Glenn Slater. Seasons 1 and 2 were recently added to Netflix, due to popular demand for the show from fans across the globe.
Shortly after the Galavant season 2 premiere, Karen was snapped up to play opposite James Nesbitt, (The Hobbit Trilogy, Babylon) in the highly anticipated return of "Cold Feet", on ITV in the UK. Playing the glamorous, bio medical engineer, Angela Zubayr, she has quickly become the darling of the show as Adam's new love interest. The September 5th premiere debuted to 8.2 million viewers.
From one Disney princess to another, Karen is now filming on ABC's, "Once Upon A Time" in the coveted role of Jasmine from Aladdin. The news of her casting was met with fanfare and press for being "perfectly cast in the role" and trended on Facebook worldwide for a week, as the top news item.
Also on the horizon is "The Tiger Hunter", an independent film comedy with Danny Pudi, Kevin Pollak, Sam Page and Jon Heder, which kicked off to a great start in the festival circuit, having picked up 4 awards at the LAAPFF: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Ensemble Cast and the Audience Award. The film went on to win Best Feature at the Carmel Film Festival. She also has a leading role in two motion-capture video game projects, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst (EA) and another top game franchise (Capcom) which will be released this coming December.
Born in Shillong, India in the foothills of the Himalayas, Karen David was raised in Toronto and came of age in the UK. At 17 she won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied jazz and gospel. It was here she discovered a flair for songwriting and a love for drama, which led her to study at the Guildford School of Acting in London. It wasn't long after finishing drama school that she landed her first acting role in the original stage cast of the London West End musical Mamma Mia!
Her talent as a singer and all-around performer led her to sign a record deal with BMG Europe, generating the 2003 single "It's Me (You're Talking To)," which became a Top Ten hit in Austria, Germany and Switzerland as well as BMG's fourth highest airplay hit for a debut artist. Soon after, she was discovered by composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) who, impressed by her talents, invited David to help develop the soundtrack for the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. They subsequently created the theme tune for the British drama "Provoked," in which David had a supporting role.
Unquestionably, it is her acting work in television that has earned Karen David the majority of her diehard fans in the UK and America. In the BBC's BAFTA-nominated "Waterloo Road" she played Francesca Montoya, a teacher who fell in love with a student. The storyline generated plenty of controversy, and more and more admirers fell for her compelling performance, with the series generating over nine million viewers per episode.
Going on to co-star for two seasons on the hugely popular BBC comedy series "Pixelface," produced by comedian Graham Norton's BAFTA award-winning company So Television, Karen David has begun to reap success on the other side of the pond: in MTV's "Top Buzzer" as a co-lead, in the action/thriller "Strike Back" for Cinemax, and in guest roles in the Fox drama "Touch" and the ABC crime drama "Castle," prior to her work in ABC's "Galavant."
Her film career began with a supporting co-lead role as a member of an R&B band in the UK cult hit, "Bollywood Queen" with James McAvoy, leading to a supporting role in Batman Begins, a co- leading role in The Scorpion King: Rise of a Warrior, and notable performances in the Vince Vaughan comedy, "Couples Retreat", and in the Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro drama, "Red Lights." More recently she portrayed a tough FBI agent in the blockbuster, "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit", and part of a dysfunctional family in the acclaimed British comedy romance Amar Akbar & Tony.
On the musical front, Karen David is continually refining her passion for writing and recording "feel-good, indie-girl pop with a twist." In the wake of her hit 2003 single, "It's Me (You're Talking To)," she released her first two EPs, The Live Sessions EP (2008) and Magic Carpet Ride (2009), followed by the 2010 single "Hypnotize" and three mixes. She shepherded the 2013 EP Dust to Stars, collaborating with such established songwriter/producers as Stefan Skarbek (Amy Winehouse), Carl Ryden (David Guetta, Nabiha, Cher, The Saturdays, Booty Luv), Boots Ottestad (Robbie Williams, Andy Grammer), Adam Argyle & Martin Brammer (Will Young, Newton Falkner, Olly Murs). She is back in the studio recording a new EP.
Karen David is also an avid supporter of charity who devotes much of her time to campaigning for various issues. She has been active in raising funds for the Alzheimer's Association, and is also an ambassador for the Prince's Trust. Combining her love of music and support for charity, she released a charity Christmas album in 2010, entitled My Christmas List, to raise money for a housing and homelessness shelter. She is also an active supporter of SOS Children's Villages Foundation and Designers Against AIDS.
Allison Munn was born and raised in South Carolina, where she spent her childhood taking voice and dance lessons and performing in local theatre productions. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Munn knew she wanted to pursue acting full time and moved to New York to study. She soon joined the cast of the famous off-Broadway production of "The Fantasticks" at New York's Sullivan Street Theatre. After starring in over 500 performances of "The Fantasticks" in the role of Luisa, Munn made the move to the west coast. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, she landed the recurring role of (Crazy) Caroline on Fox's "That '70s Show," and then joined the cast of the WB's "What I Like About You" as Tina. After her time at the WB, Allison jumped over to ABC as Cindy in "Carpoolers," and then proceeded to make her way over to the CW, where she joined the cast of "One Tree Hill," as Lauren.
Allison resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their son.
Highly gifted, heavy-set character actor Fred Melamed was born in New York City, the son of Syma (Krichefsky), an actress, and Louis Melamed. His father was a television producer, having contributed to such watershed comedies as Car 54, Where Are You, and Sargeant Bilko. He received his theatrical training at the Yale School of Drama, after which he appeared with resident companies including Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater, The Kennedy Center, The Yale Repertory Theater, and as a founding member of Shakespeare & Co. In 1983, he made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-Winning Amadeus.
On television, Melamed headlines with Maria Bamford on the hit Netflix series, Lady Dynamite, from Mitch Hurwitz and Pam Brady. He recurs as errant father Charles Cole on Hulu's Golden Globe-nominated Casual, patrician chick-magnet J. Cronkite Valley Forge on New Girl, sports casting legend Glen Klose on Now We're Talking, and Sir Patrick Stewart's messed-up psychiatrist Dr. Mendelson on Starz' Blunt Talk. In the past, Melamed's major small screen roles have included Harvey Oberholt on House of Lies, Avi Mensusen on Girls, Professor Donald Holt on Married, Leonard Hillman on Childrens Hospital, Larry David's name-dropping psychiatrist Arthur Thurgood from Curb Your Enthusiasm, tough-guy jurist Alan Karpman on The Good Wife, and irascible voiceover legend Fred Melamed opposite Robin Williams on The Crazy Ones.
In film, Melamed has had a long association with Woody Allen. He has appeared in 7 Allen films, including the Oscar-Winning Hannah and Her Sisters, Another Woman, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Radio Days, Husbands & Wives, Hollywood Ending, and Shadows and Fog.
But it was for his portrayal of "sensitive" villain Sy Ableman, in Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man, nominated for Best Picture at the 2010 Academy Awards, that Melamed became most widely known. For his performance, he won the Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award, New York Magazine listed his as among the Best Performances of The Decade, and Empire called Sy Ableman "One of The Best Coen Bros. Characters of All Time." Melamed appeared on the Best Supporting Actor Oscar ballot of several American critics, including A.O. Scott of The New York Times, Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times, and Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune. He was named by Harry Domenico Rossi as among The 25 Greatest Screen Villains of All Time.
Melamed also starred as Sam Sotto, insecure king of movie trailer voices in Lake Bell's "In a World..." , a film about a father and daughter in the voiceover world. The film won the Waldo Salt Award for Best Screenplay at Sundance. He starred opposite Elliott Gould in Fred Won't Move Out, a picture detailing the decline of a stubborn patriarch and his family, and as James Brown's record company owner Syd Nathan in Get On Up.
Among Melamed's other films are Bone Tomahawk, opposite Kurt Russell and Richard Jenkins, The Dictator, with Sacha Baron Cohen and Sir Ben Kingsley, Peter Yates' Suspect, with Cher, Dennis Quaid and Liam Neeson, The Good Mother, with Diane Keaton and Jason Robards, Roland Joffe's The Mission, with Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, James Toback's The Pickup Artist, with Robert Downey, Jr. and Dennis Hopper, and Marshall Brickman's Lovesick, with Dudley Moore and Sir Alec Guinness.
As a writer, he has produced screenplays including Girl of the Perfume River, A Jones for Gash, and most recently The Preservationist, a fictional film inspired by the case of Melamed's college friend, Edward Forbes Smiley III, a renowned cartographic expert and dealer, who admitted to having been the most brazen and prolific map thief of all time.
He lives with his wife and twin sons in Los Angeles.
Nicki Aycox has lived a full artistic life since the age of nine, when she fell in love with the family piano and began playing music. By the time she had reached her preteens Nicki was performing Beethoven for audiences all around Oklahoma, until her family had a huge financial setback and was forced to sell her piano. Nicki has said that this sad circumstance played a major role in her shift to the theater. Like a lot of kids her age she began performing in her high school theater, and also in drama competitions. She won state titles in different categories, and became very comfortable with being in front of an audience. She once said that she was on stage long before she ever actually sat in an audience. After high school graduation she attended the University of Oklahoma and began serious academic study. Soon, however, she found herself driving to California to enroll in the theater department at Long Beach State. While working two jobs and participating in the theater department, Nicki found little time to study and take a full class load. In her second year at Long Beach State Nicki was able to sign with a small agency in Hollywood, and thus began her career as a professional performer - a career which began relatively quickly compared to most. She was working small bit parts on several popular networks and shows within a year of making the move from Oklahoma to Los Angeles. In the beginning of her career Nicki acted opposite actor Stephen Rae in an HBO film called "Double Tap", as well as appearing in shows like "Third Rock from the Sun", NBC's "Providence", David Kelley's "Ally McBeal", and in the X-Files episode "Rush" in 1999. That role from the TV show lead to a role in the second "X-Files" film "I Want to Believe" in 2008. In a time when an unspoken difference between "film" actors and "television" actors existed, Aycox did not allow this rule to apply to her.
Her work during these early years has included guest spots on "CSI", and "Dark Angel", a recurring role n NBC's "ED" playing the wild and crazy sister of Julie Bowen. At some points Nicki would be pulling double duty playing roles on different shows. She played the sister of Katherine Morris on CBS's "Cold Case", while shooting the series "LAX" with Heather Locklear. By 2005, Aycox was made a series regular on shows such as FX's "Over There" created by Steven Bochco and Chris Gerolmo. She moved on from there to play a very memorable role as a psychotic serial killer in an episode of "Criminal Minds" titled "The Perfect Switch". The following year Nicki appeared in the Halle Berry film "Perfect Stranger". One of her most widely known roles has been that of Meg Masters in "Supernatural".
In the years 2009-2013 Aycox enjoyed success as a series regular as Jamie Allen in the Bruckheimer series "Dark Blue". Next she was cast as Lisa Matthews in the Indie film "Lifted", directed by Oscar nominated director Lexi Alexander. Around this time she also awarded a best actress award by the Buffalo Niagara film festival for her portrayal as a German woman fighting to save her sanity in the World War II film "Christina". Her co-star, Stephen Lang, was also awarded for his role as Inspector Reinheart. Today Aycox has reclaimed her love of music, playing the guitar and singing for audiences, as well as continuing her acting career. She lives on both the East and West coasts.
Raul Julia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Olga Arcelay, a mezzo-soprano singer, and Raúl Juliá, an electrical engineer. He graduated from Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola High School in San Juan. Here he studied the rigorous classical curriculum of the Jesuits and was always active in student dramatics. Julia was discovered while performing in a nightclub in San Juan by actor Orson Bean who inspired him to move to the mainland to pursue other projects. Julia moved to Manhattan, New York City in 1964 and quickly found work by acting in small and supporting roles in off-Broadway shows. In 1966, Julia began appearing in Shakespearean roles, creating a deliciously conniving Edmund in "King Lear" in 1973 and a smoldering Othello in 1979. Julia also made his mark on the musical stage playing one of the "Two Gentlemen of Verona" during its run in 1971, and a chilling role of Mack the Knife in "The Threepenny Opera" in 1976 and as a Felliniesque film director in "Nine" in 1982. The stage successes led to his movie works where he is better known.
One of his best movie roles is a passionate political prisoner in Kiss of the Spider Woman. Julia also appeared as dramatic heroes and memorable villains in a number of films and made-for-TV-movies. His later roles included the crazy macabre Gomez Addams in two Addams Family movies. With his health declining from 1993 onward after he underwent a surgical operation for stomach cancer, Julia kept on acting, where he traveled to Mexico during the winter of 1993-1994 to play the Brazilian Amazon forest activist Chico Mendes in The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story, for which he posthumously won a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award. His last theatrical movie was filmed shortly after The Burning Season: The Chico Mendes Story when he traveled to Australia to shoot all of his scenes for Street Fighter, based on the popular video game where he played the villainous General M. Bison. His last role was a supporting part in another made-for-TV movie titled Down Came a Blackbird.
On October 16, 1994, the weakened and gaunt Raul Julia suffered a stroke in New York City where he fell into a coma a few days later and was put on life support. He was transferred to a hospice in nearby Manhasset, Long Island where his weakened body finally gave up the struggle on October 24, at age 54. His body was flown back to Puerto Rico for burial where thousands turned out for his state funeral to remember him. Two honoring ceremonies were held at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola High School, and at the Headquarters of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture prior to his burial.
Born "Omari Latif Hardwick," he grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Hardwick's parents gave him a name to set a precedent, "Omari" meaning "most high," and "Latif" meaning "gentle." He shares, "I in no way believe that I am the highest or most high, but I feel like my name gives me something to strive for." Growing up, sports were Hardwick's world, but early on he knew he had a passion for the arts. By the age of 14, Hardwick was writing poetry on a regular basis, a passion he would carry with him into adulthood. In high school, he excelled at basketball, baseball, and football, and went on to play football at the University of Georgia. Although a star on the field, Hardwick never gave up his passion for acting, and minored in theatre in college. He shares, "I hugely attribute sports to my success in entertainment business. Being on the field taught me dedication and discipline - I already came from a strict household when I was growing up, sports just took that to another level. Whenever I approach a set, I always feel as though the cast, crew, director, are all part of a team. I have always married athletics and art, two huge parts of my life."
After graduation, Hardwick relocated to San Diego for a spot on the San Diego Chargers (NFL) however a knee injury cut his football career short. He decided to revisit his original passion for acting, and moved to New York to study his craft more extensively. In New York, Hardwick studied off Broadway until 2000, when he made the move to Los Angeles. As a struggling actor, he worked odd jobs to pay for acting classes, however the security gigs and substitute teaching at times were not enough to make ends meet, and at one point he lived out of his car. Hardwick shares, "what is so crazy, is that where I presently shoot my series 'Dark Blue,' is where I lived in my car when I first moved to Los Angeles. It is surreal at times."
Hardwick's first big break came in 2003, when he was cast in his first major role as a series regular in Spike Lee's Sucker Free City. Two years later, he landed the feature The Guardian and TNT's Saved - both of which he booked within a three-week span in 2005. He notes, "I felt like I had arrived when I went back to one of my odd jobs that had let me go several years prior, and I looked out over Sunset Boulevard right next to the Chateau Marmont, and saw myself plastered on a billboard overlooking the city. I had to break down a little at that point, it was a big moment for me." Throughout 2007 - 2009 Hardwick worked on various projects, including guest starring on several television series, and filming several movies including Summit Entertainment's Next Day Air and Touchstone Picture's Miracle at St. Anna. In 2008 he landed the role of "Ty Curtis" on the TNT series Dark Blue. Season 1 aired throughout 2009.
In addition to acting, Hardwick is a founding member of Plan B Inc. Theater Group, and a co-founder of Los Angeles Actor's Lounge. He has big plans for his production company, Bravelife, in 2010 as well, and plans on expanding the company. Hardwick also continues to work on his poetry, and has written over 4,000 poems.
Gifted stage, film and TV actress J. Smith-Cameron was born Jeanie Smith in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, the daughter of an architect. Known simply as J. Smith by us students of the Florida State University School of Theatre program in the mid-1970s, I was privileged to work with and witness firsthand the extent of J.'s talent early in the game. A slender figure with tight, curly hair and intent, hooded eyes, she showed amazing talent and potential back then. Despite her age, she made a dazzling young "Anne Frank" in "The Diary of Anne Frank" and an equally touching and memorable "Helen Keller" in "The Miracle Worker". She was a wonderfully bizarre "Honey" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and showed off her skill and versatility in an all-female version of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew". J.'s older sister, JoAnn, also attended FSU at the time and performed with me in a production of the classic Iranian allegory, "The Butterfly" (Shaparak Khanoom), by Bijan Mofid, directed by his actor/brother Ardavan Mofid. JoAnn later became a teacher.
J. made her film debut while at FSU, starring in the acclaimed low-budget production of Gal Young Un, directed by Victor Nunez, who later helmed Ulee's Gold. The film, which was shot in Florida, starred and featured several fellow FSU alumni including David Peck, Marc H. Glick, Tim McCormack, Gil Lazier (FSU acting teacher), and Randy Ser (who later won an Emmy as production designer for the Whitney Houston version of Cinderella). The film would not be released until a few years later in 1979, years after they all graduated. Following college, J. Smith added the hyphenated "Cameron" name to her moniker as both a tribute to her great-grandmother and in order to avoid confusion once she joined Actor's Equity. Her peers in college all knew it wouldn't take long for J. to establish herself. A remarkably unique and impressionable lady both on and off stage, J. has the requisite flair for playing neurotic, off-the-wall characters, both comic and tragic. Abnormality has been a specialty on her menu and most often the delightful main course. By 1982, J. was showcasing on Broadway as the crazy, suicidal "Babe" in Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart". She never had to look back. In the course of her veteran on- and off-Broadway career, J. has received a Tony nomination for "Our Country's Good" (1991), an Outer Critics Circle award for "Lend Me a Tenor" (1989) and an Obie award for her flashy, no-holds-barred portrayal in "As Bees in Honey Drown" (1997). Other successes have included "Wild Honey", "Tartuffe", "The Memory of Water" and "Night Must Fall" with Matthew Broderick.
Her TV and film work has become stronger and more frequent with each decade. She has shown that, even in the smallest role, she can draw attention to herself, as witnessed by her hysterically funny bit as a sexual compulsive in the gay film Jeffrey. She has played various mom parts, some more stable than others, in such films as Harriet the Spy, and The Rage: Carrie 2. J. met and, later married, playwright/film writer Kenneth Lonergan. They are the parents of daughter, Nellie. She was featured as "Mabel", the secretary, in Lonergan's Oscar-nominated breakthrough play-turned-film You Can Count on Me, which made film stars out of Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo. One of her latest roles of interest was as a shifter/lowlife mother in the cult TV favorite True Blood. The diverse range of her talent is what still separates J. from the much of the pack, and should certainly serve her well for years to come.
|Donna Lynne Champlin
OBIE and Drama Desk winner Donna Lynne Champlin graduated with high honors from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993. A Princess Grace Foundation award winner and a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, she also received intensive training in Shakespeare and Chekhov at Oxford University on the Advanced Acting Scholarship and The Vira I. Heinz Grant to study abroad. While still in college, she received her Equity card starring as "Dorothy" in The Wizard of Oz with the celebrated Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
Champlin made her New York Debut in 1994 at Carnegie Hall starring as "May" in a concert version of Very Warm for May under the direction of acclaimed conductor John McGlinn. Her Broadway debut in 2000 as "Mary Jane" in James Joyce's The Dead was quickly followed by another Broadway turn as "Honoria Glossop" in the Alan Ayckbourn/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical By Jeeves in 2001. In 2002, came the opportunity to work with Carol Burnett and Hal Prince in Broadway's Hollywood Arms - the dramatization of Carol's biography One More Time, in which Champlin played the iconic comedienne. Critics across the country proclaimed Champlin a "show-stopping star in the making" and described her performance as "brilliant", "a triumph", and "a tour de force."
Next on Broadway, Champlin played "Pirelli" (and the accordion, flute and piano) in the groundbreaking 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd where the press called her both "hilarious" and "superb". She then joined the Broadway company of Billy Elliot as "Lesley" in 2009 and simultaneously self-produced her solo debut CD "Old Friends" which was voted "One of the Best Ten Albums of 2009" and was hailed by critics as "brilliant", "a masterpiece" and "breath taking". She can also be heard on numerous cast albums including See Rock City, Sweeney Todd, By Jeeves, three and My Life With Albertine as well as many voice-overs.
Her film credits include Birdman, A Secret Promise, The Audition, The Dark Half, By Jeeves, and Sweet Surrender. And while her TV credits include The Good Wife, Law And Order, Mother's Day, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Annual Tony Awards on CBS, The View (guest star), The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Regis and Kelly and Emily Dickinson of the PBS Voices and Visions series, she is perhaps most well known for her work as the caustic "Kim Gifford' on the hit web-series Submissions Only.
Off Broadway, her performance as "Cora Flood" in the 2009 production of The Dark At The Top of the Stairs at The Transport Group (hailed by the NY press as "perfection", "brilliant" and "a privilege to watch"), earned her the prestigious OBIE award. DL went on to win the 2013 Drama Desk Award for her performance as "Woman #3" in Working, The Musical at the Prospect Theatre and the NYMF Award for "Outstanding Performance" for not one but three separate productions including as "Jane Austen" in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Other favorite Off-Broadway credits include "Audrey" opposite Oliver Platt's "Touchstone" in Shakespeare In The Park's As You Like It and "Sophie" in Master Class opposite Edie Falco at the Broadhurst produced by the Metropolitan Opera.
Champlin also continues to perform her critically acclaimed one-woman show Finishing The Hat in NYC (SRO at Birdland, Ars Nova and The Laurie Beechman Theatres) and across the country while teaching master classes in acting at many prestigious colleges such as CMU, Hartt and NYU. Also of particular importance to Champlin is her fundraising for three of her favorite charitable organizations, BC-EFA, the ALSA and The Actors' Fund.
In addition to being an actress, Donna Lynne also works as a director, writer, stand-up comedienne, pianist, composer, musical director and choreographer. A free-lance writer for Comedy Central, she is currently working on two books; a humorous non-fiction book inspired by her (mis)adventures in the theatre and the other a 'how-to of comedy'.
Donna Lynne lives in New York City with her husband, actor Andrew Arrow and her son, Charlie.
Rodney Dangerfield was born Jacob Cohen on November 22, 1921 in Deer Park, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. He was the son of Dorothy "Dotty" (Teitelbaum) and Phillip Cohen, who performed in vaudeville under the name Phil Roy. His father was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents, and his mother was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant. Rodney began writing jokes at the age of fifteen, and started performing before he was 20. He took his act to the road for ten years, his stage name was "Jack Roy". While working as a struggling comedian, Rodney Dangerfield worked as a singing waiter. His first run at comedy was to no avail. Rodney Dangerfield married Joyce Indig, in 1949 and had two children: Brian and Melanie. During the 1950s, Rodney was an aluminum siding salesman, living in New Jersey. The comedian made another attempt at stand-up comedy, this time as Rodney Dangerfield. In 1961, Rodney divorced from his wife. When he appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (The Ed Sullivan Show), Rodney Dangerfield made Ed Sullivan laugh. Few people ever provoked any kind of reaction out of the legendary Ed Sullivan. Dangerfield had the image of a lovable disgruntled everyman type that became a hit all across nightclubs in the 1960s. Dangerfield also made many appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Dean Martin Show in the 1970s. Rodney Dangerfield snatched a minor supporting part in the movie, The Projectionist, in 1971. By the mid 1970s, he had cemented his image as a comedian constantly tugging at his red tie, always proclaiming he gets no respect. His big break came with many appearances on Saturday Night Live, bringing himself to a much wider audience and proving hysterical on many occasions. In 1980, Dangerfield became a cornerstone of American comedy with the classic Caddyshack. Here, he played "Al Czervik", a rich golfer who was a basically nice guy who was extremely outspoken and very obnoxious. His character was often unhappy with the rich snobbery he was around, and he takes on the rich people that are so snobby to him. The average guy that his character portrayed was an instant hit, and a formula that Dangerfield often stuck with. Also, in 1980, Rodney came out with a popular comedy album, "Rappin Rodney". The album earned Dangerfield a Grammy for best comedy album. The next movie on Rodney's agenda was Easy Money, a comedy that showed him as an insulting working class person who suddenly becomes a millionaire. The movie was also a big hit. Dangerfield became very sparse in his roles on TV and film about this time. The year 1986 saw the comedy, Back to School, his biggest film to date. The comedy was one of the first to gross over 100 million. In 1994, Dangerfield starred in his first dramatic role in the successful Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers. He played an abusive father who drove one of the killers crazy. His part was critically-acclaimed. In 1995, Dangerfield entered the world of cyberspace, becoming the first entertainer to have a website on the world-wide web. In 1997, he starred in Meet Wally Sparks, a political and talk show satire which was poorly received. In 2000, Dangerfield starred as "the Devil" in Little Nicky. The movie was potentially a huge hit, but was a failure by most accounts. Dangerfield took a very small part, but was top-billed in the direct-to-video The Godson, and starred in the direct-to-video My 5 Wives. But it has not been all smooth sailing for this comedian. In 1997, he admitted to a lifelong bout with depression and, on his 80th birthday, had a mild heart attack. He has major fans from all kinds of people from all different backgrounds. Dangerfield had made a record 70 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and had discovered many struggling comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr, Robert Townsend, Sam Kinison and Tim Allen. The comedian owned a legendary nightclub in Manhattan called "Dangerfield's". In the 1990s, he made highly-publicized appearances on The Simpsons, In Living Color, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Home Improvement, Suddenly Susan, among others. In 1993, he married Joan Dangerfield (aka Joan Child), a woman thirty years younger than him, and a Mormon. He died on October 5, 2004, after falling into a coma following heart surgery.
This versatile, eclectic, rather wanderlust country crossover star known for his classic ballads ("Always On My Mind"), autobiographical road songs ("On the Road Again") and catchy rhythms ("Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys") started out life as Willie Hugh Nelson on April 30, 1933, in Depression-era Abbot, Texas. He is the son of Myrle Marie (Greenhaw) and Ira Doyle Nelson, a mechanic. After his mother abandoned the family and his father died, he and sister Bobbie Lee were raised by their gospel-singing grandparents. Working in the cotton fields, Willie was handed his first guitar at age six and within a short time was writing woeful country songs and playing in polka bands. During his teenage years he played at high school dances and honky-tonks. He also worked for a local radio station and by graduation time he had become a DJ with his own radio show. Briefly serving a stint with the Air Force (discharged because of a bad back, which would plague him throughout his life), he sold his first song called "No Place For Me" while getting by with menial jobs as a janitor and door-to-door Bible salesman. Married in 1952 to a full-blooded Cherokee, he and first wife Martha had two children. He initially came to be known in Nashville for selling his songs to well-established country artists such as Patsy Cline ("Crazy"), Faron Young ("Hello Walls") and Ray Price ("Night Life"). In 1962 he recorded a successful duet with singer Shirley Collie, whom he would later take as his second wife, but his career didn't progress despite joining the Grand 'Ol Opry. In the early 1970s, after extensive touring with his band (which included sister Bobbie on the piano) and experiencing a number of career downswings, he started performing and recording his own songs instead of selling them to others. Two of his albums, "Shotgun Willie" and "Phases and Stages", helped him gain some stature. In 1975 it all came together with the album "Red-Headed Stranger", which would become the top-selling country music album in history and propel him into the country music stratosphere. His offbeat phrasing, distinctive nasal tones and leathery, bewhiskered hippie-styled looks set a new standard for "outlaw" country music. Around 1978 Willie showed himself to be a loose and natural presence in front of the camera, thus launching a film career. He had roles in several movies, his first opposite Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in The Electric Horseman. His took to leading roles as a country music star in Honeysuckle Rose, which would include a number of his songs on the soundtrack. He played opposite James Caan and Tuesday Weld in Thief and a legendary outlaw in the western Barbarosa. In the movie Red Headed Stranger, which was adapted from his hit 1975 album, he played a preacher, and he teamed up with pal Kris Kristofferson as a pair of country singers in Songwriter. He and pal Kristofferson went on to form The Highwaymen with the late Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and he successfully recorded and toured with the group for a number of years. They also teamed up to remake the classic western Stagecoach as a TV movie (Stagecoach). As a unique song stylist, the bearded, braided-haired, bandanna-wearing non-conformist took a number of non-country standards and made them his own, including Elvis Presley's "You Were Always on My Mind" and Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind." He happily married fourth wife Ann-Marie in 1991 and has survived more hard times in recent years, including a $16.7-million debt to the IRS and the suicide of one of his sons, Billy. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, Nelson received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998.
|Tara Lynne Barr
From a dry, intelligent teenager with a dark sense of humor navigating the waters of her parents divorce, to portraying one of the most notable former members of Charles Manson's commune, to a 16-year-old girl who embarks on a nation-wide killing spree of the country's dumbest, most irritating celebrities, Tara Lynne Barr has quickly become known in the entertainment industry for the complex characters she has brought to life in film and on television.
Tara is currently starring in Hulu and Lionsgate Television's original comedy series "Casual." Executive produced by Jason Reitman [Up in the Air, Juno], Tara is a scene stealer as Laura, the sarcastic yet wise and witty daughter of Valerie [Michaela Watkins]. The series follows a bachelor brother [Tommy Dewey] and his newly divorced sister [Watkins] as they navigate the crazy world of dating while living together and raising a teenager [Barr]. "Casual" premiered in October 2015 to critical acclaim, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Comedy or Musical. In addition to working with Hulu, Tara was also seen throughout the summer of 2015 on NBC's 1960's thriller-drama series "Aquarius". She appeared opposite Golden Globe winner David Duchovny, who stars as a police sergeant in Los Angeles who embarks on an undercover investigation of a cult leader: Charles Manson. Tara portrayed the character of Katie on the show, who was based on real life Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel.
Tara made her feature film debut in the award-winning independent film "God Bless America" [Darko Entertainment, Magnet Releasing] which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, Tara commanded the screen as Roxy, a 16-year old girl who teams up with terminally ill Frank [played by Joel Murray], and heads out on a mission to rid society of its most repellent citizens. The film, which has since gone on to become a cult hit, was nominated for an Audience Award at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, and Tara earned a Young Artist Award nomination as Best Leading Young Actress in a Feature Film for her work in the project. In 2014, Tara once again made waves in the indie scene [in another 1960's period piece] starring as Dawn in the short film "Dawn", Rose McGowan's directorial debut. The dark and dramatic film premiered at Sundance, and was nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize.
Born and raised in Orange County, California, Tara got her start in theater at the age of seven. She was instantly drawn to the stage, and loved bringing diverse characters to life. Although acting quickly became her passion, she also desired a sense of normalcy and realized early on that driving back and forth from the OC to Los Angeles took up a ton of time from school. She dabbled in the Disney and Nickelodeon world growing up and appeared on a handful of series, however at the end of the day, she wanted to wait to seriously pursue a career in acting until after graduating from high school. Shortly before graduation, Tara booked "God Bless America", and she has been working ever since.
While working in television and film are two of Tara's greatest passions, she also has a love of music. She sings, is a self-taught guitar player, and has hopes to learn how to play the bass in the near future. Tara is a fan of the arts, she loves plays, musicals, supporting local theater, and reading crime mystery novels. She also is a big fan of horror films, from classic to contemporary, she tries to see them all. Tara currently lives in the Los Angeles area.
Growing up the middle of five children, Jason Earles was always looking for a way to stand out and get a little attention. In the 3rd grade he stumbled upon theater, playing Hansel in Hansel and Gretel and acting quickly became his life. While growing up in Oregon and then attending Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, Jason began to hone his craft through class and in professional theater. A few roles include Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Alan Strang in Equus, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Ronnie Shaunnesy in House of Blue Leaves and resulted in multiple Irene Ryan Nominations and runs with the Illustrious Virginia City Players and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
Earles made the transition to film and television in 2001 and has spent the last decade and a half being a successful Actor, Producer and Director. Best known for his roles as Jackson Stewart on Disney's record breaking franchise Hannah Montana and Rudy Gillespie in the #1 hit Disney XD show Kickin It, Jason has enjoyed a long and diverse career. He has had the immense pleasure to work with and learn from such talents as Larry David, Brooke Shields, Vicki Lawrence, Dolly Parton in Hannah Montana, James Spader in Boston Legal, Michael Chiklis in The Shield, and Nic Cage in National Treasure.
Jason's love for the business has taken him on a crazy ride that spans just about every corner of the industry. Earles played a lovable killer in the upcoming action film Hunted, has done extensive voice over work including the smash web series The Most Popular Girls in School, and has even added DGA Director to the list, directing multi-camera sitcoms for the past few years.
Living in Toluca Lake, Jason enjoys down time with his fiancé Katie and their two cats, Donut and Zeke. A blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a wanna be world traveler, an avid sports and video game fan, Jason can be found playing Destiny while trying to forget how terrible his beloved Cleveland Browns are.
Joel is a versatile writer-director-actor. The youngest of the nine Murrays is a veteran of over 250 sit-com episodes. He has been a series regular on the comedies Grand, Pacific Station, Love and War, Dharma and Greg and Still Standing. He has also recurred on the series Mike and Molly, My Boys and Two and a Half Men. On the dramatic side, Joel played Freddy Rumsen on AMC's Mad Men as well as Eddie Jackson on Showtime's Shameless. He recently starred in Bobcat Goldthwait's dark comedy, God Bless America. He can be heard playing Don Carlton in the Pixar prequel, Monsters University. He was also in 2011' Best Picture, The Artist. Joel has been in numerous films including One Crazy Summer, Scrooged, Long Gone, Hatchet, Lay the Favorite. Sophie and The Rising Sun, Mr. Pig , Bloodsucking Bastards, Lamb, and Seven Minutes. He can also be seen in the upcoming The Last Word. He studied improvisation with Del Close, among others, and was a founding member of Chicago's Improv Olympic. He enjoyed five years at The Second City in Chicago. He has been doing theater since the 4th grade, performed with the Remains and Organic Theatres Companies in Chicago and still performs frequently at the I. O. West in Los Angeles. Joel loves playing with Whose Live Anyway, playing golf and ordering scotch.
Gabrielle was born in Edinburg, TX. Both her parents, Eduardo and Sylvia Ruiz are of Mexican-American decent.
She studied dance at a very young age and was a natural lover of performance. She was classically trained in vocal technique, credited to public school education. Gabrielle was inspired to be a professional performer at the age of 12 during her first visit to New York City and saw her first Broadway show. She studied at Oklahoma City University and landed Television and Broadway credits immediately after obtaining her Bachelors in Performing Arts. She's been seen in many Broadway shows and landed her breakthrough role in television as Valencia Perez on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. On May 23, 2016 it was announced that Gabrielle was being promoted to series regular returning for Season 2.
In additional to acting, Gabrielle is an advocate for inspiring the next generation of professional performers with master classes around the nation.
A social misfit, was kicked out of every school he ever attended, due to his uncontrollable wit. His mother (Frances) died of breast cancer when Richard was 18. His father (Charles) committed suicide when he was 22. A dedication is written to him in Richard Belzer's "UFO's, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Believe" (Ballantine Books, 1999).
Steve Oedekerk, the Academy Award nominated multi-hyphenate, has built an extraordinary career, experiencing vast success in writing, directing, producing, acting, stand-up comedy and computer generated animation. He has written and directed films that have grossed over $1.9 billion in worldwide box office, including such blockbusters as Bruce Almighty, the Ace Ventura franchise, The Nutty Professor, and Patch Adams. He received an Academy Award nomination for his producing and creative leadership role on Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and with the addition of the CG animated feature Barnyard along with its Emmy Award winning TV series, Oedekerk has created a successful template for turning hit animated feature films into long running hit television series. Having just completed the screenplay for the upcoming live action/VFX, stereoscopic spectacle Stretch Armstrong for Universal, Oedekerk is currently prepping his next round of blockbuster feature films and TV series.
Cult Crazy: Also excelling in the coveted youth demographic, Oedekerk has created cult franchise properties, whose audience continues to grow with each passing year. From his initial indy feature film High Strung, and his Thumb filmettes, including Thumb Wars and Thumbtanic, to writing, directing and starring in the wild retro-martial arts comedy Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Oedekerk has a steadily growing base of Oedefans, who religiously await, track down and tune into the future right-brained creations from Steve.
Television: Further expanding the Jimmy Neutron franchise for Nickelodeon Television, Steve executive produced 63 episodes of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, and 52 episodes of the Emmy Award winning Back at the Barnyard. The Neutron TV series initially released with $100 million dollars of sponsor support, and Back at the Barnyard continually lands in the top 20 ratings of all cable TV, reaching as high as the top 5. The new and raucous, Planet Sheen, a spin-off of the popular Neutron franchise will hit Nickelodeon air in 2010. Oedekerk also starred in his own television special for NBC, produced an animated Christmas special for ABC, and his six Thumb filmette titles: "Thumb Wars","Thumbtanic", "The Blair Thumb", "Bat Thumb", "Frankenthumb" and "The Godthumb" have aired on both Showtime and Cartoon Network.
Digital Media: Always in pursuit of the future of entertainment, Steve is not only focused on the burgeoning areas of new media and social networking, but has created an innovative model defining the future of successful franchise property development, including Gaming, Internet, Mobile, Virtual worlds and Digital Media production. Dirk Derby Wonder Jockey will be the first broadcast length comedy series released exclusively to the online digital media arena and digital hand held media market , including Sony PSP, iPhone and iPad. Dirk Derby will set the pace for the future transition from repurposed online media to full length original content available exclusively in the digital marketplace.
New Technologies: Oedekerk's company, O Entertainment, led the way with the first IMAX 3D animated film,Santa vs. the Snowman 3D, releasing November, 2002 and launching the return of stereoscopic 3D entertainment to the big screen. Oedekerk also created "Thumbmation" the technology behind the series of Thumb Parody projects distributed worldwide on DVD and video by Image Entertainment. Kicking off the series was "Thumb Wars", followed by "Thumbtanic", "The Blair Thumb", "Bat Thumb", "Frankenthumb" and "The Godthumb".
His writing credits include some of the most successful movies in recent history. While writing on the Fox series_"In Living Color" (1990)_, Oedekerk collaborated with Jim Carreyon the surprise hit comedy "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." When that film became a break-out success, Oedekerk was asked to write and directed its sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, which proved to be one of those rare sequels that far surpassed the box office gross of the original.
Following the success of "Ace Ventura" franchise, Oedekerk wrote Universal's_The Nutty Professor (1996)_, which became one of the highest-grossing films of 1996. He also wrote, directed and appeared (in a scene-stealing cameo) in Touchstone Pictures' Nothing to Lose, starring Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence. He then went on to write the box office smash and Golden Globe nominated Patch Adams starring Robin Williams. On the small screen, Oedekerk directed, wrote, and starred in his own television special for NBC, produced an animated Christmas special for ABC as well as the original "Thumb Wars" special for UPN.
Oedekerk resides in Southern California with his wife, two children and a badger, pound for pound known to be the most vicious mammal on the planet.
Jerry Trainor was born on January 21, 1977, and is an American television and movie actor. Jerry graduated from the University of San Diego High School, which is now known as Cathedral Catholic High School, and Jerry's mother teaches both pre-calculus and calculus there. It has been said that Jerry used to be Drake Bell's assistant. Jerry is best-known for his roles in two Nickelodeon shows: Drake & Josh as Crazy Steve and iCarly as Spencer Shay.
Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10, was born in Montrose, Colorado to Orus Trumbo and his wife, the former Maud Tillery.
Dalton Trumbo was raised at 1124 Gunnison Ave. in Grand Junction, Colorado, where his parents moved in 1908. His father, Orus, worked in a shoe store. Dalton, the first child and only son, was later joined by sisters Catharine and Elizabeth. The young Dalton peddled the produce from his father's vegetable garden around town and had a paper route. While attending Grand Junction High School (Class of 1924), he worked at The Daily Sentinel as a cub reporter. Of his early politics, a much older Dalton Trumbo told how he asked his father for five dollars so he could join the Ku Klux Klan, a mass organization after the First World War. He didn't get the five dollars.
While at university, he realized that his calling was as a writer. He worked on the school's newspaper, humor magazine and yearbook, while also toiling for the Boulder newspaper. He left school his first year to follow his family to Los Angeles. The family moved due to financial difficulties after his father had been terminated by the shoe company. In L.A., Dalton enrolled at the University of Southern California but was unable to complete enough credits for a degree. Orus Trumbo died of pernicious anemia in 1926, and Dalton had to take a job to become the breadwinner for his widowed mother and two younger sisters. Dalton Trumbo took on whatever jobs were available, including repossessing motorcycles and bootlegging, which he quit because it was too dangerous. Eventually, Trumbo took a job at the Davis Perfection Bakery on the night shift and remained for nearly a decade. Trumbo continued to write, mostly short stories, becoming more and more anxious and eventually desperate to leave the bakery, fearing that he would never achieve his destiny of becoming an important writer. During this time, he sold several short stories, written his first novel and worked for the "Hollywood Spectator" as a writer, critic and editor. His work also appeared in "Vanity Fair" and "Vogue" magazines. Trumbo's first novel, "Eclipse" (1934), was set in fictional Shale City, Colorado (a thinly veiled Grand Junction) during the 1920s and 1930s, with characters who resembled notable community members. One of its main characters, John Abbott, is modeled after Trumbo's father. Dalton had tried, perhaps unfairly he admitted later, to avenge his father on the town where he had failed.
In 1934, Warner Bros. hired Trumbo as a reader, a job that entailed reading and summarizing plays and novels and advising whether they might be adapted into movies. It lead to a contract as a junior screenwriter at its B-pictures unit. In 1936, the same year he of his first screen credit for the B-move Road Gang, Trumbo met his future soulmate Cleo Fincher and they married two years later. Daughter Nikola was born in 1939 and son Christopher in 1940. A daughter was added, Mitzi, the baby of the family.
He wrote the story for Columbia's Canadian-made Tugboat Princess, clearly influenced by Captain January, which had been made into a silent in 1924 before being remade with superstar Shirley Temple, substituting a tugboat in the original with a lighthouse. His screenplays for such films as Devil's Playground showed some concern for the plight of the disenfranchised, but the Great Depression still existed, and social commentary was inevitable in all but fantasies and musicals.
After leaving Warners, he worked for Columbia, Paramount, 20th Century-Fox, and beginning in 1937, M.G.M., the studio for which he would do some of his best work in the 1940s. By the late 1930s, he had worked himself up to better assignments, primarily for RKO (though he returned to Warners for The Kid from Kokomo), and was working on A-list pictures by the turn of the decade. He won his first Oscar nod for RKO's Kitty Foyle, for which Ginger Rogers won the Academy Award for best actress as a girl from a poor family who claws her way into the upper middle class via a failed marriage to a Main Line Philadelphia swell.
By the time of America's entry into World War II, Trumbo was one of the most respected, highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood. He had also established a name for himself as a left-wing political activist whose sympathies coincided with those of the American Communist Party (CPUSA), which hewed to the line set by Moscow.
Trumbo was part of the anti-fascist Popular Front coalition of communists and liberals in the late 1930s, at the time of the Spanish Civil War. The Popular Front against Nazism and Fascism was been torn asunder in August 1939 when the USSR signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. Many party members quit the CPUSA in disgust, but the true believers parroted the party line, which was now pro-peace and against US involvement in WWII.
Trumbo reportedly did not join the Party until 1943 and harbored personal reservations about its policies as regards enforcing ideological conformity. However, the publication of his anti-war novel "Johnny Got His Gun" in 1939 coincided with the shift of the CPUSA's stance from anti-Hitler to pro-peace, and his novel was embraced by the Party as the type of literature needed to keep the US out of the war. Trumbo agreed with the Party's pro-peace platform. The book, about a wounded World War One vet who has lost his limbs, won the American Book Sellers Award (the precursor to the National Book Award) in 1939. In a speech made in February 1940, four months before the Nazi blitzkrieg knocked France out of the war, Trumbo said, "If they say to us, 'We must fight this war to preserve democracy,' let us say to them, 'There is no such thing as democracy in time of war. It is a lie, a deliberate deception to lead us to our own destruction. We will not die in order that our children may inherit a permanent military dictatorship.'"
His speech was a rebuke to New Deal liberals. The Party began demonizing President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who hated Hitler and was pro-British, as a war-monger. The Party ordered its members to henceforth be pro-peace and anti-FDR in their work and statements. In June 1941, after Nazi Germany invaded the USSR, the CPUSA shifted gears to become pro-war, supportive of FDR's aggressive behavior towards Nazi Germany.
Shortly after the German invasion, Trumbo instructed his publisher to recall all copies of "Johnny Got His Gun" and to cease publication of the book. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war against the U.S. catapulted the U.S. into both the Asian and European theaters of World War II, the book - always popular with peace-lovers and isolationists who opposed America's involvement in foreign wars - suddenly became popular among native fascists, too. However, it proved hard to get a copy of the book during the war years.
Trumbo joined the CPUSA in 1943, the same year Victor Fleming's great patriotic war movie A Guy Named Joe, with a Trumbo screenplay, appeared on screens. In 1944, Original Story was a separate Oscar category and David Boehm and Chandler Sprague were nominated in that category for an Academy Award. Trumbo's screenplay was overlooked. Like other communist screenwriters, he proved to be an enthusiastic writer of pro-war propaganda, though except for the notorious pro-Stalin Mission to Moscow, few films displayed any overt communist ideas or propaganda. One that did was Tender Comrade , which Trumbo wrote as a Ginger Rogers vehicle for RKO. Directed by his future Hollywood 10 comrade Edward Dmytryk, it depicted a mild form of socialism and collectivization among women working in the defense industry. He also wrote the patriotic classic Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo for M.G.M., which was based on the Doolittle Raid of 1942.
Trumbo voluntarily invited FBI agents to his house in 1944 and showed them letters he had received from what he perceived were pro-fascist peaceniks who had requested copies of "Johnny Got His Gun", then out-of-print due to Trumbo's orders to his publisher. He turned those letters over to the FBI and later kept in contact with the Bureau, a fact that would later haunt blacklisted leftists, urging that the F.B.I. deal with them. His actions conformed to the CPUSA policy of denouncing anyone who opposed the war.
In 1945, the last year of the war, MGM released the Margaret O'Brien / Edward G. Robinson vehicle, Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, penned by Trumbo. Robinson was a future member of the Hollywood "gray-list" with those, like Henry Fonda who were suspected of leftist sympathies or for being Fellow Travelers, but who could not be officially blacklisted. Drawing on his own rural childhood, it was a picture of a young girl's life on a farm in rural Wisconsin. The year 1945 was crucial for Trumbo and other Hollywood party members in terms of the CPUSA's desire to have their work reflect the party's ideological agenda.
HCUA was originally created in 1934 as the Special Committee on Un-American Activities to look into the activities of fascist and pro-Nazi organizations. Then popularly known as the McCormack-Dickstein Committee, the Special Committee on Un-American Activities exposed fascist organizations, including a planned coup d'etat against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the so-called Business Plot. Later on, it became known as the House Un-American Activities Committee or the Dies Committee after the new chairman, Martin Dies. HCUA originally was tasked with investigating the involvement of German Americans with the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
HCUA became a standing committee in 1946, still tasked with investigating suspected threats of subversion or propaganda that attacked "the form of government guaranteed by our Constitution." The focus was solely on the communists and their allies, so-called Fellow Travelers who made common cause with communists during the War Years. Fellow Travelers was a loose term that seemed to embrace many liberal FDR New Deal Democrats.
HCUA subpoenaed suspected communists in the entertainment industry. Trumbo's screenplay for Tender Comrade, which concerned three Army wives who pool their resources while their husbands are away fighting was denounced as communist propaganda. However, writer-producer James Kevin McGuinness, a conservative who was a friendly witness before HCUA, testified that left-wing screenwriters did not inject propaganda into their movie scripts during World War II. McGuiness testified "[The movie industry] profited from reverse lend-lease because during the [war] the Communist and Communist-inclined writers in the motion picture industry were given leave of absence to be patriotic. During that time...under my general supervision Dalton Trumbo wrote two magnificent patriotic scripts, A Guy Named Joe and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."
Appearing before HCUA in October 1947 with Alvah Bessie, Herbert J. Biberman, Lester Cole, John Howard Lawson, 'Ring Lardner Jr' , Albert Maltz, Adrian Scott, and Samuel Ornitz, Trumbo - like the others - refused to answer any questions. In a defense strategy crafted by CPUSA lawyers, the soon-to-be-known-as "Hollywood 10" claimed that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave them the right to refuse to answer inquiries into their political beliefs as well as their professional associations. One line of questioning of HCUA was to ask if the subpoenaed witnesses were members of the Screen Writers Guild in order to smear the SWG. It was a gambit played by the Committee as it knew that which of the 10 were in the unions, and it knew which were communist. As Arthur Miller has pointed out, HCUA left the Broadway theater alone, despite the fact that there were communists working in it, because no one outside of the Northeastern U.S. really cared about theater or knew who theatrical professionals were, and thus, it could not generate the publicity that HCUA members craved and courted through their hearings.
HCUA cited them for contempt of Congress, and the Hollywood 10 were tried and convicted on the charge. All were fined and jailed, with Trumbo being sentenced to a year in federal prison and a fine of $1,000. He served 10 months of the sentence. The Hollywood 10 were blacklisted by the Hollywood studios, a blacklist enforced by the very guilds they helped create. Trumbo and the other Hollywood 10 screenwriters were kicked out of the Screen Writers Guild (John Howard Lawson had been one of the founders of the SWG and its first president), which meant, even if they weren't blacklisted, they could not obtain work in Hollywood. Those who continued to write for the American cinema had to do so under assumed names or by using a "front", a screenwriter who would take credit for their work and pass on all or some of the fee to the blacklisted writer. Later, as one of the Hollywood Ten, Trumbo claimed for himself the mantle of "Martyr for Freedom of Speech" and attacked, as rats, those who became informers for HCUA by naming names. In 1949, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., wrote in The Saturday Review of Books, that Trumbo was in fact NOT a free speech martyr since he would not fight for freedom of speech for ALL the people, such as right-wing conservatives, but only for the freedom of speech of CPUSA members. The anti-communist Schlesinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard historian, thought Trumbo and others like him were doctrinaire communists and hypocrites. In response, Trumbo wrote a scathing letter to The Saturday Review to defend himself, characterizing himself as a paladin championing free speech for all Americans under the aegis of the First Amendment, which the Hollywood 10 claimed gave them the right to refuse to cooperate with HCUA.
After his blacklisting and failure of the Hollywood 10's appeals, the Trumbo family exiled themselves to Mexico. In Mexico, chain-smoking in the bathtub in which he always wrote, usually with a parrot given to him by 'Kirk Douglas' perched on his shoulder, Trumbo wrote approximately thirty scripts under pseudonyms and using fronts who relayed the money to him. His works included the film noir classic Deadly Is the Female (AKA Gun Crazy), co-written under the pseudonym Millard Kaufman, Oscar-winning Roman Holiday (with screenwriter Ian McLellan Hunter as a front), and The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell for director Otto Preminger and upon which blacklisted Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Wilson also worked).
At the 1957 Academy Awards, Robert Rich won the Oscar for best original story of 1956 for The Brave One. Rich was not present to accept the award, which was accepted on his behalf by Jesse Lasky Jr. of the Screen Writers Guild. When journalists began digging in to the background of the phantom Mr. Rich, they found out he was the nephew of a producer. Suspicion then arose that Rich was a pseudonym for the blacklisted Trumbo.
Though Hollywood has always been inundated with writers, Trumbo, even while blacklisted, was prized as a good writer who was fast, reliable and could write in many genres. Despite being a communist, Trumbo's favorite themes were more in the vein of populism than Marxism. Trumbo celebrated the individual rebelling against the powers that be.
With rumors circulating that Trumbo had written the Oscar-winning The Brave One, it triggered a discussion in the industry about the propriety of the blacklist, since so many screenplays were being written by blacklisted individuals who were being denied screen credit. The blacklist only worked to suppress the prices of screenplays by these talented writers. In 1958, Pierre Boulle won the Oscar for the screenplay adapted from his novel The Bridge on the River Kwai, which was unusual since Boulle could not speak nor write in English, which may have been the reason he did not attend the awards ceremony to pick up the Oscar in person. It was immediately realized that the screenplay had likely been written by a blacklisted screenwriter. It was - Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman.
Kirk Douglas hired Trumbo to write the script for Spartacus in 1958. In the summer of 1959 Otto Preminger hired Trumbo to write the script for Exodus. On January 20, 1960, the New York Times carried the story that Otto Preminger had hired Dalton Trumbo to write the script for Exodus, and that he would start shooting in April. On August 8, of the same year Kirk Douglas announced in Variety that Trumbo had written the script for Spartacus. Both pictures opened in the winter of 1960.
Trumbo wrote many more screenplays for A-list films, including Lonely Are the Brave, The Sandpiper, Hawaii (1966) , and _Fixer, The (1968). In 1970, he was awarded the Laurel Award for lifetime achievement by the Screen Writers Guild. He made a famous speech that many saw as a reconciliation of the two sides of fight. In 1971, he wrote and directed the movie adaptation of his famous anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun. His last screenwriting credit on a feature film was for Papillon, in which he also had a cameo role.
A six-pack-a-day smoker, he developed lung cancer in 1973. Two years later, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (which had supported the black list), Walter Mirisch, personally delivered a belated Oscar to Trumbo for his The Brave One script, now officially recognized by AMPAS as his creation. Eighteen years later, AMPAS would award him a posthumous Oscar for Roman Holiday.
Dalton Trumbo died from a heart attack in California on September 10, 1976. At his memorial service, Ring Lardner Jr., his close friend and fellow Hollywood 10 member, delivered an amusing eulogy. "At rare intervals, there appears among us a person whose virtues are so manifest to all, who has such a capacity for relating to every sort of human being, who so subordinates his own ego drive to the concerns of others, who lives his whole life in such harmony with the surrounding community that he is revered and loved by everyone with whom he comes in contact. Such a man Dalton Trumbo was not."
Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an acclaimed essayist (Crazy Salad 1975), novelist (Heartburn 1983), and had written screenplays for several popular films, all featuring strong female characters, such as anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood (Silkwood, co-written with Alice Arlen) and a mobster's feisty independent daughter Cookie Voltecki (Cookie, also co-written with Arlen). Ephron's hard-headed sensibilities helped make Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally... a clear-eyed view of modern romance, and she earned an Oscar nomination for her original screenplay.
Ephron made her directorial debut with the comedy This Is My Life, co-scripted by her sister Delia Ephron, which starred Julie Kavner as a single mother who struggles to establish herself as a stand-up comedienne. Ephron followed up by helming and co-writing Sleepless in Seattle, a romantic comedy in which lovers Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are separated for most of the film. Less about love than about love in the movies, the film drew inspiration from the beloved shipboard romance An Affair to Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.
Ephron was the daughter of stage and screen-writing team Henry Ephron and Phoebe Ephron, who used her infancy as the subject of their play "Three's a Family" and based their comedy Take Her, She's Mine on letters their daughter wrote them from college. Their screenplays include There's No Business Like Show Business, Carousel and Desk Set. Formerly married to novelist Dan Greenburg and investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, Ephron was wed to crime journalist and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, at the time of her passing, who wrote such films as Goodfellas.
Kevin Weisman is internationally known for his work as "Marshall Flinkman" on the ABC series 'Alias', which ran for five critically acclaimed seasons. TV Guide named Kevin one of television's "Top Ten Scene Stealers", and he appeared on Entertainment Weekly's "Must List" in 2006. Recently, Kevin appeared as series regular "Kives" on Stephen Merchant's two time Emmy nominated HBO comedy series, 'Hello Ladies' (TV.com named Kevin one of the ten best new characters in the fall, 2013 television season), as well as recurring characters "Dr. Jeffrey Maynard" on NBC's 'The Blacklist', "Ray Spiewack" on 'Scorpion' (CBS), and a memorable turn as "Stevie" in the critically acclaimed series, 'Better call Saul' on AMC. He will recur as "Ned Berring" in the upcoming first season of the David Kelly/Jonathan Shapiro drama, "Goliath", opposite academy award winners, Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt, as well as Molly Parker, Nina Arianda and Maria Bello. "Goliath" premieres in the fall of 2016 on Amazon.
Kevin received a BA from Ucla's school of Theatre/Film/Television and studied at New York's Circle in the Square Theater. In the spring of 2014, Kevin appeared as the title character, Francios Villon, in Murray Mednick's world premiere play, 'Villon', at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles (Stage Raw nomination for 'Best leading male performance 2014')
Kevin has worked extensively in the theater, recently at the La Mirada Theater for Performing Arts, where he appeared as 'Gabe' in Donald Margulies' Pulitzer prize winning play, "Dinner with Friends", and as 'Uncle Louie' in Neil Simon's Pulitzer prize winning "Lost in Yonkers". A founding member of the award-winning and critically acclaimed Buffalo Nights Theatre Company, Kevin has served as an actor and producer on numerous productions. He starred as Griffith J. Griffith in the award- winning "Crazy Drunk" at the John Anson Ford Theatre. He also appeared in the title role in Arthur Schnitzler's "Anatol," Jean Giraudoux's "Apollo of Bellac," which received a Garland for Production of the Year and seven LA Weekly award nominations, Archibald McCleish's "J.B.," "Suburban Motel," Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy," Oscar Wilde's "Salome" and the West Coast premiere of Jonathon Marc Sherman's "Sophistry." Additional theatre credits include "Tis Pity She's a Whore," "The Greeks," which received the LA Weekly 2000 Production of the Year Award, and "The Goldoni Trilogy" at the Mark Taper.
Since finishing 'Alias', Weisman has worked with esteemed director Rob Reiner on 'Flipped', reunited with JJ Abrams and Jeff Pinkner on 'Fringe', and with Anthony Zuiker on all three installments of 'CSI', in addition to Zuiker's New York Times Best Selling dig novel, 'Level 26'. Recent television projects include the Emmy nominated 'Better Call Saul', recurring roles as Dr. Jeffrey Maynard on NBC's 'The Blacklist', Ray Spiewack in season 2 of 'Scorpion' on CBS, and simultaneously playing both the mysterious 'Mr. Blonde' and the straight shooting, intense 'Detective Hawkins' on NBC's critically acclaimed drama, "Awake". Other work includes, the duplicitous fight promoter on 'Kingdom' (Audience Network/Direct TV), the mad genius, Martin Gleason, on 'Human Target' (Fox), the villainous poisoner, Reardon Payne on 'Chuck' (NBC), Joseph Feller on 'Fringe' (FOX), Additional television credits include 'Felicity', 'Roswell', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (as fan favorite 'Dreg', Glory's right-hand minion), 'The X-Files' (in a memorable season 7 episode entitled "Je Souhaite'), 'Frasier', 'E.R.' 'CSI', CSI: New York, CSI: Miami, 'The Forgotten' (ABC), 'Numbers' (CBS), 'Fairly Legal (USA), and 'October Road (ABC). Kevin also portrayed Steve Balfour, the 'sarcastic cameraman', on the cult hit, 'Moonlight' starring Alec O'Loughlin (CBS). '.
Kevin's recent film work includes 'Flipped', the Rob Reiner-directed feature adaptation of Wendelin Van Draanen's young adult novel, which revolves around the confusing romantic developments of 2 young neighbors as they age from 7 to 13. Aidan Quinn and Penelope Ann Miller play the girl's parents, and Weisman plays her mentally-challenged uncle. He also stars in the independent horror film, 'Undocumented' (playing a member of a documentary crew that is captured by a gang of sadistic radicals while accompanying a group of illegal immigrants crossing the border), as well as 'The Trust', starring Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood. Previous film work includes Michael Bay's 'Gone in Sixty Seconds', 'Robbers', 'Buying the Cow', Disney's 'Space Buddies', B.O.H.I.C.A., (2008 Winner of Special Jury Award at the WorldFest-Houston Intl. Film Festival and Audience Award at the Newport Intl. Film Festival), 'Man of the Century', the 1998 Slamdance Audience Award winner, and 'Clerks 2', Kevin Smith's cult classic which featured Kevin as the very popular 'hobbit-lover'.
Weisman produced and acted in the feature film Illusion, which was released at theaters in 2006. Fellow Buffalo Nights founder & Emmy winner, Michael Goorjian directed, as well as starred in the film opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas. Illusion won the "Best Screenplay" award at the 12th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival, and it was an official selection of the 16th Annual Palm Springs Int. Film Festival. The film also competed at the 8th Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival, the 1st Annual Inspiration Film Festival (Santa Monica), & the Maui Film Festival. Kevin has also become quite prolific in the world of voice-over. You've probably heard his soul soothing vocal timbre on radio and television ads for such companies as Apple (Ipad), Nike, Coke, ATT, and as one of the current voices of Honda. Kevin has also been busy in the burgeoning world of Internet content, recurring in Level 26: The Dark Chronicles, written and directed by CSI franchise creator, Anthony Zuiker. Kevin was an original member of 'Trainwreck', the L.A. based band featuring Kyle Gass of Tenacious D.
Weisman takes advantage of every opportunity to participate in celebrity golf, ski & poker tournaments (he is an avid player) that benefit organizations such as Tony LaRussa's Celebrities Fore! ARF (Animal Recue Foundation), The Special Olympics, The Urban Health Institute, The Melanoma Research Foundation, and The Clear View Treatment Center, which provides a residential treatment program for adolescent boys who have been neglected,, abused & abandoned. Most importantly, Kevin is the proud parent of Maya Rose (born on 3/31/06) and Eli Samuel (born on 2/11/08). Kevin is an avid supporters of numerous children's charities and Jewish organizations, including the L.A. Children's Hospital, The Children's Defense Fund, Wheels For Humanity, Bet Tzedek, a non-profit law-firm that provides free legal services to low-income, disabled & elderly residents of Los Angeles Country, and Koreh LA, a local Jewish organization that assists kids in advancing their reading skills. Particularly close to his heart is Kevin's involvement in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, serving as a board member of the Dmd Fund.