Stana Katic finished two films during her Castle hiatus - The Rendezvous directed by Amin Matalqa and Sister Cities based on the play by Colette Freedman. She is currently filming her 8th season of Castle.
Stana's other feature film work includes: CBGB about the Punk Rock club in NYC, Big Sur about Jack Kerouac's life after writing On the Road, The Polish Brothers' For Lovers Only, Frank Miller's film The Spirit, Robert Benton's Feast of Love, The Double with Richard Gere and Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig.
Katic has three award nominations and seven wins - including three People's Choice Awards, a PRISM Award, and three TV Guide Awards. Katic plays multiple sports and often performs her own stunts. Katic voiced the character of Talia al Ghul in the popular video game Batman: Arkham City. In 2008 she established her own production company, Sine Timore Films, which in Latin means Irreverent. The film company is currently in development with several TV and movie projects, first and foremost being Elephant Winter, written by Ernie Contreras to be directed by Holly Dale.
In 2010, Katic started a non-profit organization called The Alternative Travel Project, a global initiative encouraging people to go car-free for just one day. The Alternative Travel Project (ATP) focuses efforts on creating a worldwide community of people looking to enjoy the social, health and environmental benefits of traveling alternatively (bike, pedestrian, public transit, & new technology travel). ATP looks for opportunities to have individuals volunteer days outside the bubble of their cars and into an integrated, powerful, and positive future for our selves, communities and planet.
Katic currently resides in Los Angeles, speaks five languages, and holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada.
Patricia Rooney Mara was born in 1985 in Bedford, New York. She is one of four children of Kathleen McNulty (née Rooney) and NFL football team New York Giants executive Timothy Christopher Mara. Her grandfathers were Wellington Mara, co-owner of the Giants, and Timothy Rooney, owner of Yonkers Raceway, and her grand-uncle is Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, the former Ambassador to Ireland. She is the great-granddaughter of Art Rooney, Sr., the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers football franchise. Her father has Irish, German, and French-Canadian ancestry, and her mother is of Irish and Italian descent.
After graduating from Bedford's Fox Lane High school, she enrolled in the Traveling School, which took her to South America to study. She spent a year at George Washington University before transferring to New York University, where she studied international social policy and psychology. She took her degree from NYU in 2010. Her studies focused on non-profit organizations, as her family has a tradition of involvement in philanthropic causes.
She had thought of acting after watching old movies and attending musical theater, but did not think of it as a serious vocation and was afraid she might fail at it. As a result of her reservations, she appeared in only one play while in high school.
She began seriously focusing on acting when she was at New York University, appearing in student films. Inspired by her older sister, actress Kate Mara, she began to pursue the craft, auditioning for acting jobs at the age of 19. She appeared with her sister Kate in the video horror movie Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, billing herself as "Patricia Mara". As "Tricia Mara", she had guest roles on TV and won her first lead in the movie Tanner Hall, which was shot in the fall of 2007.
She originally auditioned for the supporting role of Lucasta in "Tanner Hall", a $3-million independent film, but director Tatiana von Furstenberg was so impressed by the young actress, she had her return to audition for the lead role of Fernanda, which Mara won. Furstenberg was delighted with her nuanced performance, saying, "Still waters run deep".
Continuing to call herself Tricia Mara, it was during the making of "Tanner Hall" that she considered changing her professional name to Rooney Mara, soliciting the advice of the cast and crew. After premiering at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, her performance in "Tanner Hall" brought the rechristened Rooney Mara a "Rising Star" award at the 2009 Hamptons Film Festival and a "Stargazer Award" at the 2010 Gen Art Film Festival.
In 2010 she got her first lead role in a major feature, in the $35 million remake A Nightmare on Elm Street. The movie proved disappointing at the box office, grossing only $63 million domestically and racking up a world-wide gross of just under $116 million. However, that same year, she was noticed by critics in the small but pivotal role of the Boston University undergrad Erica who dumps Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Director David Fincher subsequently cast her as the lead in his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.
In the spirit of her family's philanthropic endeavors, Rooney created Faces of Kibera, a charity that provides food, medical care and housing to orphans in Nairobi, Kenya's Kibra district, a small slum that houses a million people. There are many orphans as AIDS is rampant in the slum.
Alison Brie was born in Hollywood, California, to Joanne (Brenner), who worked at a non-profit child care agency, and Charles Terry Schermerhorn, a musician and entertainment reporter. Her mother is Jewish and her father has Scottish, Dutch, English, German, and Norwegian ancestry. Brie grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South Pasadena. Interested in acting at an early age, she began her career performing in community theater shows at the Jewish Community Center in Los Feliz. Her very first role was "Toto" in the Wizard of Oz. After graduating from South Pasadena High School in 2001; Alison attended California Institute of the Arts where she received her BFA in Acting. While there, she was one of the original cast members in the world premiere of The Peach Blossom Fan, performed as the inaugural theater production at Disney's REDCAT Theater in Downtown LA. During that time, Alison also studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland.
Since graduating, she has continued to work in all forms of media, including film, television, and theater. She has performed in the Blank Theater Company's Young Playwright's festival and in shows at the Odyssey, Write-Act, and Rubicon Theaters, receiving an Indy Award for her haunting performance as "Ophelia" in the Rubicon's production of Hamlet. She had performed guest spots for Comedy Central and Disney's Hannah Montana as well as leading roles in some independent films before landing her role on Mad Men. Since then, she has continued to work in film and TV.
Alison lives in South Pasadena.
A talented actor, comedian and writer, Seth Rogen has come a long way from doing stand-up comedy as a teen.
Rogen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Sandy (Belogus), a social worker, and Mark Rogen, who worked for non-profits. His father is American-born and his mother is Canadian. He is of Russian Jewish descent. He attended Vancouver Talmud Torah Elementary School and Point Grey Secondary School (although he dropped out of high school to move to Los Angeles) and was known for the stand-up comedy he performed at Camp Miriam, a Habonim Dror camp. At 16, Rogan came in second place in the 1998 Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest.
Soon after that he landed his first role in Judd Apatow's short-lived but well regarded TV series Freaks and Geeks, taking on the role of Ken Miller. Though the show only lasted one season, it was the launching pad for many careers, including Rogen, Apatow, James Franco, and Jason Segel. This early work sharpened Rogen's keen improvisational skills, which he's used on many projects since.
Following Freaks and Geeks, he participated in a few unsuccessful television projects, and then joined the American television version of Da Ali G Show as a writer during its second and last season, along with his childhood friend and writing partner Evan Goldberg. The writing team received an Emmy nomination. As a huge fan of the first season, Rogen was thrilled to get the chance to work with Sacha Baron Cohen.
Continuing his work with Apatow, he joined the cast of Apatow's debut film The 40-Year-Old Virgin and is credited as co-producer. After that he took the lead in Knocked Up, Apatow's second movie and a huge success. He's since been a frequent collaborator with Apatow, in projects such as Superbad, Pineapple Express and Funny People. He co-wrote Superbad, with Goldberg; the pair started the project when they were teens. They won the Canadian Comedy Award for Best Writing in a Film in 2008. They later wrote Pineapple Express and The Green Hornet, also starring Rogen.
Rogen was named the Canadian Comedy Person of the Year by the Canadian Comedy Awards in both 2008 and 2009.
Rogen lives in Los Angeles with Lauren Miller, whom he met in 2004. They became engaged in September 2010 and married in October 2011.
Peter Mayhew was born on May 19, 1944 in Barnes, London, England. Now residing in Texas, this former resident of Yorkshire, England, was working as a hospital attendant at the King's College Hospital in London when film producer Charles H. Schneer saw his photo, literally standing above the crowd around him. Charles H. Schneer cast him in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Ray Harryhausen's newest special effects film. It was just over a year later that he was asked if he wanted to do another role. Mayhew was told it was for a big hairy beast. It was the role of Chewbacca, the faithful 200 year-old Wookiee in Star Wars and his life was changed forever. Following the original Star Wars trilogy, Mayhew has done several commercials in the Wookiee costume including one for Cingular and Orange associated with Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. In 1997, the twentieth anniversary celebrations of Star Wars were announced with the release of the "Special Edition" and all the conventions started. He is now active on the "Star Wars" convention circuit where he signs autographs. He has written two books, "Growing Up Giant" and "My Favorite Giant" and founded a non-profit 501(c)3 charity organization called "The Peter Mayhew Foundation" and is the purveyor of chewbacca.com.
Bradley Charles Cooper was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother, Gloria (Campano), is of Italian descent, and worked for a local NBC station. His father, Charles John "Charlie" Cooper, who was of Irish descent, was a stockbroker. He has a sister, Holly. Immediately after Bradley graduated from the Honors English program at Georgetown University in 1997, he moved to New York City to enroll in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the Actors Studio Drama School at New School University. There, he developed his stage work, culminating with his thesis performance as "John Merrick" in Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man", performed in New York's Circle in the Square. While still in school, Bradley began his professional career, appearing opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City and in the series, The Beat. His weekends were spent with LEAP (Learning through the Expanded Arts Program), a non-profit organization that teaches acting and movement to inner city school children. The summers took him all across the globe, from kayaking in British Columbia with Orca Whales to ice-climbing in the Peruvian Andes, while hosting Lonely Planet's Treks in a Wild World for the Discovery Channel. Bradley had to skip his graduation ceremony from the Actor's Studio in order to star in his first feature film, Wet Hot American Summer. After finishing his second feature, Bending All the Rules, his plans to relocate to Los Angeles were delayed when Darren Star hired him to star in the series The $treet. Bradley went on to win the role of young law student Gordon Pinella in the film Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, and also played Travis Paterson in My Little Eye. He finally decided that it was time to forgo his other New York projects and move to Los Angeles when he was cast in Alias.
After supporting roles in Wedding Crashers, Failure to Launch, The Comebacks, The Rocker, and Yes Man, Cooper broke out with major roles in He's Just Not That Into You, The Hangover, and Valentine's Day. He co-starred in the action film The A-Team and headlined the thriller Limitless.
Cooper received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor after starring opposite 'Jennifer Lawrence' in David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, as Pat Solatano. He then received two more consecutive Oscar nominations, Best Supporting Actor for playing Richie DiMaso in Russell's American Hustle (again opposite Lawrence, though their characters shared no significant screen time), and Best Actor for playing Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood's American Sniper, the highest grossing film of 2014. During this time period, Cooper also reprised his role in The Hangover Part II and The Hangover III (2013)_, turned in another strong dramatic turn in The Place Beyond the Pines, and voiced Rocket Raccoon in the third highest grossing film of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy.
Alluring, extraordinary, and a natural talent are all ways that actress on the rise Lana Condor could be described. As one of the most up and coming talents in the entertainment industry today, Condor has already made a name for herself with her innate ability to bring characters to life on screen. In 2016 she will make her feature film debut in the highly anticipated, Twentieth Century Fox Film X-Men: Apocalypse [set to be released May 27, 2016]. Condor will star as 'Jubilation Lee,' AKA 'Jubilee,' alongside Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Rose Byrne. A sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past, the newest installment will focus on the origin of the mutants and will complete a trilogy that began with X-Men: First Class .
Originally from Can Tho in Vietnam, Condor was adopted by her parents at four months old [along with her brother, Arthur] and spent her early years of life in the Chicago area. By six years old the family had settled in Washington State, where Condor took her very first dance class. Her love of the arts flourished and she went on to dance at The Rock School of Dance Education and Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle. At 13 years old Condor and her family moved to New York City and while there, she continued her classical ballet training, dancing at multiple prestigious dance academies including: The Joffrey School of Classical Ballet, The Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
While living in New York, Condor's parents encouraged her to give acting a chance seeing a natural ability in their daughter. She took her first acting class during her freshman year in high school and was hooked. Condor and her family moved to Los Angeles her sophomore year of high school, where she auditioned and landed a coveted spot in The Los Angeles Ballet. She was one of their youngest and most accomplished dancers. Although Condor was making a name for herself in the dance community, she was bit with the acting bug and couldn't shake it. She joined the theater department at Notre Dame Academy and also studied at the Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors. During her senior year of high school, she went out on her very first handful of professional auditions and landed her role in X-Men: Apocalypse right out the gate.
Condor lives in the Los Angeles area and loves all things involved with the outdoors: hiking, swimming, kayaking, and surfing. She also has a big place in her heart for charity work, and has volunteered at nursing and convalescent homes since she was in 8th grade, and is an avid supporter of the non-profit environmental group Heal The Bay, who work to restore the Santa Monica Bay.
Shannon Elizabeth was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of a Syrian/Lebanese father and a mother who is English, Irish and German. When Shannon was in 3rd grade, her family moved to Waco, Texas, where most of her relatives already lived. As a girl, Shannon took dance lessons, including tap, ballet, and jazz. While attending high school, however, she was very interested in tennis. She even considered going pro, and making tennis her life. Also during high school, she was active in cheerleading, dance team, and the student council. As a senior, Shannon was in a music video shot in Waco. The music artists were local ones named "Hi-5", and the director of that video just happened to be Antoine Fuqua. After graduating, Shannon moved to New York City to model. She then traveled all over the world with her newfound career to places that included Japan, Italy, France, and Australia. After moving to Los Angeles years later, she signed on with Ford Models and, eventually, Elite. Shannon had always wanted to start her acting career and had just modeled in hopes that it could help lead her into the acting. About a year after moving to Los Angeles, she started taking acting classes with several different coaches. She got an agent eventually, and in 1999, she landed the iconic role of "Nadia" in the movie American Pie.
(2016) Shannon is still acting in projects she loves and is enjoying wearing more hats these days. She directed and produced the music video, "More Than Friends", by the rapper Tha Vill and British sensation Kele Le Roc, and she also started her production company called "Ganesha Productions". The company is currently (2016) focused on financing and shooting a film called Hazard, based on the Richard Marx song of the same name.
Shannon's other love, and what she refers to as her purpose in life, is her non-profit, Animal Avengers. Started in 2001 as a Los Angeles animal rescue, the charity became international in 2015 and moved into doing conservation work in Africa.
In his second collaboration with Academy Award-winning Quentin Tarantino, Walton Goggins stars in the writer/director's THE HATEFUL EIGHT. He plays the integral role of 'Chris Mannix,' a southern renegade who claims to be the new sheriff.
In the last few years Goggins has had pivotal roles in films by two of Hollywood's most important auteurs: Quentin Tarantino, in DJANGO UNCHAINED; and Steven Spielberg in LINCOLN. He has also appeared in such diverse films as AMERICAN ULTRA, G.I. JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA, Robert Rodriguez's PREDATORS and MACHETTE KILLS, Jon Favreau's COWBOYS & ALIENS, and Rod Lurie's STRAW DOGS.
Goggins next stars opposite Danny McBride in the upcoming HBO series "Vice Principals." Created by McBride and Jody Hill, who also created "Eastbound & Down," "Vice Principals" is a dark comedy about a high school and the two people who almost run it, the vice principals. McBride and Goggins star as the V.P.'s who are in an epic power struggle, vying for the top spot: to be school principal. The half-hour series is slated for 18 episodes to air over two seasons.
For more than a decade, Goggins has been one of the most magnetic and intense actors on television. He received an Emmy® nomination and four Critics Choice Award nominations for his mesmerizing portrayal of 'Boyd Crowder' on FX's Peabody Award-winning Drama series "Justified," which ran for five seasons. Goggins' 'Boyd' was the long-time friend, yet ultimate nemesis to U.S. Marshal 'Raylan Givens' (Timothy Olyphant). Elmore Leonard, executive producer and writer of the short story "Fire in the Hole" on which the show is based, says of 'Boyd,' "There has never been a more poetic bad guy on television in the way that he sees the world." "Justified" completed its fifth and final season earlier this year.
Goggins' critical turn as the complex transgender prostitute 'Venus Van Dam' on the FX drama series "Sons of Anarchy" earned him two Critics Choice Award nominations and helped shed a fresh light on the transgender community. The role reunited Goggins with series creator Kurt Sutter, who was also a writer on "The Shield."
He previously garnered much acclaim for his complex and edgy portrayal of 'Detective Shane Vendrell' on FX's gritty, award-winning drama series "The Shield." He was nominated for a Television Critics Association (TCA) Award in the category of "Individual Achievement in Drama."
In the last ten years, Goggins has also taken his turn behind the camera. He recently collaborated with writer Adam Fierro ("The Shield") on the pilot "Gringo" which sold to FOX. Goggins' prior collaborations with his partners at Ginny Mule Pictures include winning an Academy Award® for their short film, THE ACCOUNTANT, which he produced and starred in. The team produced, directed and starred in their first feature, CHRYSTAL, starring Billy Bob Thornton, which was accepted into the 2005 Sundance Film Festival's Dramatic Competition.
For their third collaboration, Goggins produced and starred in the feature RANDY AND THE MOB, which won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2007 Nashville Film Festival.
Goggins and his Ginny Mule partners completed their fourth feature, THAT EVENING SUN, starring Hal Holbrook and Goggins. The film made its world premiere at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, TX in March 2009, where it won the Narrative Feature Audience Award and received the Special Jury Award for "Best Ensemble Cast." The film continued winning awards at over 14 film festivals, culminating with the honor of the "Wyatt Award" from the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and two Independent Spirit Award nominations.
Goggins also takes time to lend a hand to various non-profit organizations and has joined forces with City Hearts, whose focus is bringing the arts to underfunded schools. He has also worked closely with Global Green USA, which is committed to sustainable development and the legislation to support it.
He enjoys traveling the world and has spent time in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Central America, Morocco and India last spring. Goggins is an avid photographer and has captured many of his journeys on film.
Demi Moore was born on November 11, 1962, in Roswell, New Mexico. Her father, Charles Foster Harmon, Sr., left her mother, Virginia Beverly (King), before Demi was born. Her stepfather, Danny Guynes, did not add much stability to her life, either. He frequently changed jobs and made the family move a total of 40 times. The parents kept on drinking, arguing and beating, until Guynes finally committed suicide. Demi quit school at age 16 to work as a pin-up-girl. At 18, she married rock musician Freddy Moore; the marriage lasted four years. At 19, she became a regular on the soap opera General Hospital (1982-1983). From the first salaries, she started partying and sniffing cocaine. That lasted more than three years, until director Joel Schumacher threatened to fire her from the set of St. Elmo's Fire when she turned up high. She got a withdrawal treatment and returned clean within a week... and stayed clean. With determination and a skill for publicity stunts, like the nude appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair while pregnant, she made her way to fame. Thanks to the huge commercial success of Ghost and the controversial pictures Indecent Proposal and Disclosure, she became Hollywood's most sought-after and most expensive actress.
In 2009, Demi Moore and spouse Ashton Kutcher launched The Demi and Ashton Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization directed towards fighting child sexual slavery. Its first campaign in "Real Men Don't Buy Girls". On April 23, 2011, Demi and Ashton appeared together for their first on-air interview on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight to promote their foundation and start the work towards ending child sexual slavery. The foundation's website enables people to educate themselves, show support and take action or make a donation. They first got involved in the issue in 2008 and that a great deal of the early work just involved starting discussions, raising awareness and creating urgency.
Kate Bosworth was born in Los Angeles, California, to Patricia (Potter), a homemaker, and Harold Bosworth, who was an executive for Talbots. Unlike the characters Bosworth has portrayed in television and in film, which are known as "townies", Kate spent most of her childhood in different cities and states. At age 6, she and her parents moved to San Francisco, then to Connecticut at 9, and to Cohasset, Massachusetts, at 14. It was at 14 that Kate, a champion equestrian, learned of a casting call for a movie about horses.
Although Kate attended the open audition in New York for the Robert Redford film The Horse Whisperer simply in hopes of getting the experience of what it was like to audition for a movie role, she won the role of the female lead's best friend and the chance to work with director/star Robert Redford. Her previous acting experience had consisted of singing at county fairs in California and acting in a community theatre production of "Annie". However, since landing the movie role, Kate seemed to be in more sound stages than ranches. Fearful that an early career would rob her of her childhood, she took 18 months off to live a normal life before opting to plunge into acting again. In 2000, she landed the role of the bratty sister in the feature film The Newcomers and the part of a football co-captain's girlfriend in the Denzel Washington movie Remember the Titans.
Throughout high school, Kate maintained academic excellence and was an honor roll student and a member of National Honor Society. In her spare time, she has volunteered with various non-profit organizations, including a Los Angeles program for physically challenged children who learn to ride horses with assistance.
Mariska (Ma-rish-ka) Magdolna Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. Her parents are Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield. She is the youngest of their three children. In June 1967, Mariska and her brothers Zoltan and Mickey Jr. were in the back seat of a car when it was involved in the fatal accident which killed her mother. The children escaped with minor injuries. Her father remarried a stewardess named Ellen, and they raised the three children and gave them a normal childhood. They also financially supported the children, since Jayne Mansfield's debt-ridden estate left no money for them.
Mariska majored in theater at UCLA. Her first motion picture feature was the cult favorite, Ghoulies, where she gave a memorable performance as Donna. Unlike her mother Jayne, who had changed her name, her hair color, and did nude pictorials to become a star, Mariska took a very different approach on her journey to become a star. She rejected advice to change her name and appearance. And she refused to copy her mother's sexy image by turning down nude scenes in her next film Jocks. She told casting directors that she was her own person when she held onto her dark locks and athletic figure, when they were expecting another blond, buxom Jayne Mansfield. Mariska continued with her acting classes and waited on tables, while she landed forgettable roles in short-lived television shows. She appeared a few times on the nighttime soap Falcon Crest. She also appeared in the hit film Leaving Las Vegas, credited as 'Hooker at the bar', and in the flop film Lake Placid as Myra Okubo. Her recurring role on the top-rated show ER in 1998 gave her career enough of a jolt to land her the starring role of Det. Olivia Benson in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the first spin off from the excellent franchise of Law & Order. The hour-long show deals with sex crimes and the detectives who solve these cases. Mariska played Olivia as a tough, compassionate detective, who did action scenes and her own stunt work. She reaped the rewards from the hit TV show, after struggling and studying her craft for fifteen years. She became the highest paid actress on television, and she won Emmy and Golden Globe awards for her performance. The show also changed her personal life, since she met her husband actor Peter Hermann on the set and married him on August 28, 2004. That same year, she appeared in the television movie Plain Truth, in which she played attorney Ellie Harrison. Mariska became an activist, when fans of her show who were abused, would write to her, and she founded a non-profit organization called "Joyful Heart Foundation" to help "survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse."
Mariska gave birth to her son August in 2006. But that tremendous joy was soon followed by tremendous sadness when her beloved father Mickey died just two months later at the age of 80. Mariska and her husband Peter adopted two children, a girl named Amaya, and a boy named Andrew, within a span of few months in 2011.
Mariska speaks English, Hungarian, French, Spanish, and Italian, and her husband also speaks several languages, including his native language German. They divide their time between New York and Los Angeles.
Melanie Griffith was born on August 9, 1957, in New York City, New York, to model and actress Tippi Hedren, and advertising executive and former actor Peter Griffith. Her mother, from Minnesota, is of Swedish, German, and Norwegian ancestry, and her father, from Maryland, was of English, as well as Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, descent.
Her parents' marriage ended in 1961 and Tippi came to Los Angeles to get a new start. Tippi caught the eye of the great director Alfred Hitchcock, who gave her starring roles in The Birds and Marnie. Tippi married her then-agent, Noel Marshall, in 1964 (they divorced in 1982), and Melanie grew up with three stepbrothers. Meanwhile, her father married Nanita Greene Samuels, with whom he had two more children: Tracy Griffith and Clay A. Griffith.
Melanie also grew up with tigers and lions, as Tippi and Noel were raising them for the movie Roar, in which the family later starred. Her career began as a model at just nine months old and she later appeared as an extra in Smith! and The Harrad Experiment, where she fell in love with her mother's co-star, Don Johnson. She was only fourteen years old, while he was a twice-divorced 22-year-old. Tippi took a very liberal approach and allowed Melanie to move in with Don at a tender age. Even though Melanie didn't like modeling, she continued to do so to pay the bills. One day, she went to meet with director Arthur Penn for what she thought was a modeling assignment. It was actually an audition for his film Night Moves, and Penn gave her the role of a runaway nymphet, which got her noticed in Hollywood. She didn't really want to be an actress, but Johnson encouraged her to do it. She agreed but was terrified of performing in front of the camera. Penn took a paternal interest in her, and she felt confident and gave a riveting performance, doing racy nude scenes. She was immediately typecast in more nymphet roles, with her beautiful nude body a permanent fixture in films like Smile and Joyride. She also married Johnson, but it ended shortly afterwards, possibly because her early movie success outshone his.
Unfortunately, as her career progressed, she became increasingly dependent on drugs and alcohol, a fact well known to studio executives, who stopped considering her for film roles. She started doing television work, and met her second husband, Steven Bauer, on the set of the TV movie She's in the Army Now. He helped her to overcome her addictions and got her to take acting classes with Stella Adler in New York. The classes paid off, and she returned to acting in feature films, when director Brian De Palma cast her as a porno actress in his murder mystery Body Double and her sexy, funny performance won her rave reviews and the Best Supporting Actress Award by the National Society of Film Critics. Jonathan Demme was so impressed with her performance that he gave her the title role in Something Wild without even auditioning her. The film became a cult favorite, with Melanie again getting critical plaudits and a Golden Globe nomination.
The birth of her first child, Alexander, in 1985, didn't help to save her struggling marriage, and she and Bauer separated shortly thereafter. Soon after, Melanie's career skyrocketed when Mike Nichols cast her in Working Girl, a box-office hit for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress and won the Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Comedy. However, her ongoing substance abuse problems almost destroyed her career yet again, and Nichols pushed her into a rehabilitation clinic. En route to the clinic she called ex-husband Johnson for support, and they reconciled after her release from the clinic. She got pregnant and they remarried in 1989, and soon thereafter their daughter Dakota Johnson was born.
A sober Melanie concentrated on her film career, but her competition was stiff since younger actresses like Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Demi Moore became major stars during the two years that Melanie was absent from the screen since "Working Girl." Worse, Melanie made some bad choices, such as The Bonfire of the Vanities. Even though she gave heartfelt performances in all her films, she was often miscast, with her breathy little-girl voice not helping matters in her starring roles as a spy in Shining Through and as a homicide detective going undercover in the Hassidic Jewish community in New York City in A Stranger Among Us. Melanie had other high-profile flops with Born Yesterday and Milk Money. It seemed like she was on the verge of a comeback when she received glowing reviews for her supporting role as a desperate housewife in Nobody's Fool, reuniting her with Bruce Willis, her co-star in "Bonfire", and Paul Newman, her co-star from The Drowning Pool. She returned to television and received a Golden Globe nomination for the mini-series Buffalo Girls. Her personal life was making headlines again, though, as she left Johnson because of his own substance-abuse problems, reconciled with him briefly when he became sober, only to leave him again, this time for Antonio Banderas, her married co-star from Two Much. Both she and Banderas created a scandal in 1995 with their torrid romance, and the tabloids followed their every move, including her divorce from Johnson and his divorce from wife Ana Leza. Melanie became pregnant with her third child, and she and Banderas married in 1996. Their daughter Stella Banderas was born, and the notorious couple were forgiven by the public and the media.
Melanie again tried to resurrect her career by signing onto the television series Me & George, but it never even aired. She turned to independent films and earned strong reviews for her role as a heroin user on the run in the crime drama Another Day in Paradise. She also acted in Woody Allen's Celebrity, and portrayed actress Marion Davies in the made-for-cable TV movie RKO 281, a part that garnered her both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. Melanie also starred in Crazy in Alabama, which marked the directorial debut of her husband and produced by the couple's production company, Greenmoon Productions. Unfortunately, the film was yet another major flop for Melanie. As a result, film offers dried up. Melanie became dependent to pain killers, and returned to rehab in 2000. She wrote about her struggle and recovery in her journal on her official website.
In 2003, Melanie turned to the Broadway stage, and packed houses with her turn as the murderess "Roxie Hart" in the musical "Chicago," for which she received a rave review from the New York Times theater critic. It renewed her confidence, as she had never sang, danced or been on the Broadway stage before. In 2005 she surprised viewers by playing a sexy mom to two grown women in the TV series Twins, which was canceled after one season. Her career took another blow when her next attempt at a TV series, Viva Laughlin, was canceled after just two episodes. Melanie would not act again for the remainder of the decade, because, by self-admission, she couldn't obtain any worthwhile roles. In 2009, Melanie was back in rehab yet again for continued substance-abuse problems, and emerged after a three-month stay. Professionally, she was faced with more disappointment in 2012 when This American Housewife, a Lifetime series that Banderas produced for her to star in, never aired. She went back to the stage in 2012 and played mother to Scott Caan in a play that he wrote titled "No Way Around but Through." She impressed Caan enough to recommend her to the producers of his television show Hawaii Five-0. In 2014, she played a recurring role as his mother on the show.
Also in 2014, Melanie filed for divorce from Banderas citing "irreconcilable differences" after nearly twenty years together. She never publicly discussed her reasons for the divorce, and she didn't promote her feature film Automata, the final time that she acted with Banderas. It took a year for the divorce to be finalized, during which time, she and Banderas made one important appearance together at their daughter Stella's high school graduation. She also made another public appearance with another ex-husband, Don Johnson, on Saturday Night Live to promote their daughter Dakota, who was the host for that week. Dakota was promoting her star-making turn in Fifty Shades of Grey, thus carrying on the family tradition of being a film actress. Melanie maintains close ties with her three children and her mother Tippi Hedren. She is involved in various charities, including raising funds for Tippi's Shambala preserve, a refuge for wild animals. Melanie also runs a non-profit organization for benefiting burned children. She continues to seek out acting roles.
From the age of five, Linda Blair had to get used to the spotlight, first as a child model and then as an actress, when out of 600 applicants she was picked for the role of Regan, the possessed child, in The Exorcist. Linda quickly rose to international fame, won the Golden Globe, and seemed to be set to take the Academy Award for that role, but when it leaked how some parts of the role were not performed by her (the demonic voice was dubbed by Mercedes McCambridge, and eight seconds of a stunt dummy were used) that dream broke, and with that disappointment probably came the first blow to what looked like the beginning of an A-list career.
Over the next few years she had no trouble securing lead roles in a number of pictures, including the highly successful television films Born Innocent (the #1 TV movie of that year) and Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, as well as the Exorcist sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic. However, when she was peer pressured into buying cocaine at the age of 18, it led to an arrest and subsequent sentencing to three years probation. The much-publicized drug bust caused Linda to be blacklisted in Hollywood, and her career was soon reduced to B-movies and occasional TV guest appearances only.
Although her career never returned to its former glory, Linda proved to be a good sport about embracing the change, and out of the '80s emerged lead roles in two cult classics: the women-in-prison film Chained Heat and the femme fatale vigilante action film Savage Streets. She continued acting in numerous films throughout the '80s and '90s, including the Exorcist spoof Repossessed. In 1997, she also took to the Broadway stage and starred as "Rizzo" in the revival of "Grease." She received widespread mainstream attention again in the 2000's with the theatrical re-release of the Exorcist, followed by a hosting job on the hit Fox Family TV series Scariest Places on Earth, which ran for six years and followed Linda as she visited notorious "haunted" locations around the world.
Today Linda has been a Hollywood icon for 40 years, but it is her first love of animals that has ultimately taken center stage in her life. She now runs the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, a non-profit 501C3 tax deductible organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused, neglected, and abandoned animals from the harsh streets of the Los Angeles area, as well as from the overcrowded and overwhelmed city and county animal shelters. She works and lives on the 2-acre rescue sanctuary full-time in California, which was featured on The Today Show in a segment titled "From Devil to Angel." Of course, she also makes frequent appearances at horror fan conventions to celebrate the legacy of the Exorcist.
Nazanin Boniadi is rapidly making her mark in both film and television. She co-starred as CIA analyst Fara Sherazi on seasons three and four of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama "Homeland," for which she shared a 2015 SAG Award nomination in the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series category. Boniadi will next appear in the 2016 MGM-Paramount remake of Ben-Hur. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film stars Ms. Boniadi in the female lead role of Esther opposite Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman and Toby Kebbell.
Among her many television credits, Boniadi portrayed Nora, a relatively longstanding love interest to Neil Patrick Harris's Barney Stinson, in seasons six and seven of How I Met Your Mother. She also appeared as the notorious Adnan Salif in season three of Shonda Rhimes' hit political drama Scandal.
Born in Tehran at the height of the Iranian Revolution, Boniadi's parents relocated to London shortly thereafter, where she was raised with an emphasis on education. While she was involved in theatre early in life, Boniadi later decided she wanted to become a physician. She moved to the United States to attend the University of California, Irvine, where she received her Bachelor's Degree, with Honors (Dean's Academic Achievement and Service Award) in Biological Sciences, and won the "Chang Pin Chun" Undergraduate Research Award for her work in heart-transplant rejection and cancer research.
Switching gears to pursue her first love, Boniadi then decided to study acting, which included training in Contemporary Drama at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London under the supervision of dramaturge Lloyd Trott.
Boniadi is fluent in both English and Persian. She is a dedicated human rights activist. Boniadi served as a spokesperson for Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) 2009-2015, and continues to partner with the non-profit as an AIUSA Artist of Conscience. In 2014, she was selected for term membership by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Born in Sugarland, Texas, Allison Tolman earned a BFA in theatrical performance from Baylor University. After graduation, she moved to Dallas where she helped found and foster the independent ensemble based non-profit Second Thought Theatre while also learning that the whole being an adult thing is like, super hard. In 2009, she was accepted into Second City's Conservatory Training Program and later went on to write and perform sketch and satire with several groups throughout Chicago, most notably the monthly comedy podcast The City Life Supplement.
Throughout her career, Tolman has played a veterinary receptionist, personal assistant, children's theatre teacher, vocal coach, phone sales associate, client services representative, and dog walker - never on film, but in her actual life in order to pay her rent and be able to afford more tank tops from Target than any human actually needs.
(2014) Tolman lives in Chicago with a portly cat named Annie who enjoys staring at her blankly whenever there is a house centipede in the kitchen.
Madeline was born March 18, 1996 and raised in Los Angeles, California. She began modeling when she was 3 years old, soon after she was discovered by her Theatrical agent "Wendy" in a nail shop in Sherman Oaks and began her theatrical acting career. She has performed in around 60 principal role/national commercials. you may have seen Madeline in guest-starring performances on several TV shows and series. Madeline absolutely enjoys scary movies, and her favorite roles so far, White Queen, in Resident Evil 3: Extinction, and Molly from Swing Vote. Madeline also enjoys playing with her 3 brothers and has a dog named Spot. She is very active in giving to foundation "Zoe International" a non-profit Christian organization which rescues children from child prostitution.
Tina Louise was born Tina Blacker in New York City, the daughter of Sylvia (Horn) and Joseph Blacker, who owned a candy store. Tina was still in her teens when she burst upon the national scene by starring on Broadway in the critically acclaimed box-office success "Li'l Abner", based on the famous comic strip character created by Al Capp. Stellar reviews caught the attention of Hollywood and Tina signed up for her first feature film, God's Little Acre, which was an entry in the Venice Film Festival. It was at this point in her career that she began studying with Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio in New York because she believed it was "time to develop and deepen my knowledge of the craft . . . Lee Strasberg," says Tina, "had the most dynamic effect on me. He influenced my life as no other man ever has."
After several more films, Tina returned to Broadway to star with Carol Burnett in "Fade in, Fade Out". She continued her work in Hollywood, starring in the CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island as Ginger Grant. Moving among Broadway, television and motion pictures, she next starred in The Happy Ending, directed by Richard Brooks, The Stepford Wives with Katherine Ross and Dog Day, with Lee Marvin and French actress Miou-Miou. Tina was cast as a regular on the first season of Dallas and has profuse credits in made-for-TV films for ABC and NBC, including Friendships, Secrets and Lies, The Day the Women Got Even, Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby and the famed ABC movie Nightmare in Badham County.
In 1991 Tina appeared in Johnny Suede, in which she co-starred with Brad Pitt. The film marked the debut of director Tom DiCillo, and won the 1992 Gold Leopard Award for Best Picture at the 44th International Film Festival at Lorcano, Switzerland. Other film and television work followed, including Stephan Elliott Welcome to Woop Woop and Growing Down in Brooklyn, and she guest-starred in the syndicated television series L.A. Heat.
In 2004 she received the coveted TVLand Pop Culture Icon Award in Los Angeles, which was aired nationally. She has made numerous television appearances, from The Rosie O'Donnell Show to Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.
A unique opportunity pursued Tina in 2005 with IGT (International Game Technology) in conjunction with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, when she inked a six-figure deal in exchange for 80 lines of voice-over work for a highly publicized gaming machine, a MegaJackpots product with the chance to win $1 million. The slot machines appeared in casinos from coast-to-coast as well as internationally.
Tina is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. As a literacy and academic advocate, she became a volunteer teacher at Learning Leaders, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing tutoring to New York City school children. It has been her passion to help young students gain not only literary skills, but also confidence, self-determination and proof of their own potential. Besides continuing her volunteer work in literacy, she has written several books. Her first book, a personal memoir on her first eight years entitled "Sunday", was published in 1998. She followed Sunday, with a children's book, "When I Grow Up", published in 2007. "Teaching children the skill of reading and a love for the written word is important because this will remain with them throughout their lives. If we can reach children at an early age, I believe it will make a difference. This thought brings me tremendous joy." Says Tina. She embarked on a book tour that included New York City and then continued to New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, Philadelphia and the Festival of Books at UCLA. Her third book, "What Does a Bee Do?" was published in 2009 (available only at Amazon.com) and was inspired by The Colony Collapse Disorder, otherwise known as Honey Bee Depopulation Syndrome. The book continues to be an educational tool for children, as well as adults and was recently approved by Joel Klein, chancellor of New York City Public Schools, and is tentatively awaiting on the E-Catalog for principals in the fall of 2010. An animated version of "What Does a Bee Do?" is in development.
Besides being an accomplished actress and author, she recorded an album, "It's Time for Tina", a sultry warm and breathy collection of standards. The enchanting album features music from saxophone legend Coleman Hawkins and lyrics and music by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, Jule Styne and Cole Porter. She also made her debut as a visual artist when she exhibited her paintings at the Ambassador Galleries, and later with newer works at the notable Gallery Stendhal in Soho. Most recently she exhibited her original paintings at the Patterson Museum of Art. Tina Louise continues to live in New York City.
Most remembered for his extravagant costumes and trademark candelabra placed on the lids of his flashy pianos, Liberace was loved by his audiences for his music talent and unique showmanship. He was born as Wladziu Valentino Liberace on May 16, 1919, into a musical family, in Wisconsin. His mother, Frances Liberace (née Zuchowski), whose parents were Polish, played the piano. His father, Salvatore Liberace, an immigrant from Formia, Italy, played the French horn. His siblings, George Liberace, Angie Liberace and Rudy Liberace, also had musical ability. Liberace's own extraordinary natural talent became evident when he learned to play the piano, by ear, at the age of four. Although Salvatore tried to discourage his son's interest in the piano, praises from Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a famous Polish pianist, helped the young musician follow his musical career.
As a teenager, Liberace earned wages playing popular tunes at movie theaters and speakeasies. Despite being proud of his son's accomplishments, Salvatore strictly opposed Liberace's preference for popular music over the classics. Pianist Florence Bettray Kelly took control of Liberace's classical training when he was 14.
He debuted as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, under the direction of Dr. Frederick Stock. At age 17, Liberace joined the Works Progress Administration Symphony Orchestra. He received a scholarship to attend the Wisconsin College of Music. In 1939, after a classical recital, Liberace's audience requested the popular tune, "Three Little Fishes". Liberace seized the opportunity and performed the tune with a semi-classical style which the audience loved. Soon, this unique style of playing the piano got Liberace bookings in large nightclubs.
By 1940, Liberace was traveling with his custom-made piano, on top of which he would place his candelabrum. He then took Paderewski's advice and dropped Wladziu and Valentino to become simply Liberace. South Sea Sinner, a movie with Shelley Winters, was Liberace's film debut. He played a honky tonk pianist in the movie, which opened in 1950.
In 1952, The Liberace Show, a syndicated television program, turned Liberace into a musical symbol. It began as a summertime replacement for The Dinah Shore Show, but after two years, the show was one of the most popular on TV. It was carried by 217 American stations and could be seen in 20 foreign countries. Sold-out live appearances at Madison Square Garden enhanced the pianist's popularity even more. Soon, Liberace added flamboyant costumes and expensive ornaments to his already unique performances. His second movie, Sincerely Yours, opened in 1955, and Liberace wrote his best-selling autobiography, "Liberace", in 1972. His first book, "Liberace Cooks", went into seven printings.
In 1977, Liberace founded the non-profit "Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts". The year 1978 brought the opening of "The Liberace Museum" in Las Vegas, Nevada, which serves as key funding for the Liberace Foundation. The profits from the museum provide scholarship money for financially needy college musicians. He continued performing until the fall of 1986, despite suffering from heart disease and emphysema during most of the 1980s. A closeted homosexual his entire life, Liberace was secretly diagnosed with AIDS sometime in 1986, which he also kept a secret from the public until the day he died. His last concert performance was at Radio City Music Hall on November 2, 1986. He passed away in his Palm Springs home on February 4, 1987 at age 67.
Liberace was bestowed with many awards during his lifetime including: Instrumentalist of the Year, Best Dressed Entertainer, Entertainer of the Year, two Emmy Awards, six gold albums, and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In The Guinness Book of World Records, he has been listed as the world's highest paid musician and pianist. Liberace was an extremely talented and versatile man. He not only played the piano, but sang, danced and joked during his performances. In fact, one of Liberace's biggest accomplishments was his ability to turn a recital into a show full of music, glitter and personality.
From her breakout role as "Audrey Griswold" in Vegas Vacation, to her powerful performance in the prison drama Felon, to commanding the Counter Terrorist Unit in 24_, Nichols has consistently garnered award recognition and critical acclaim. Her evocative performances have cumulated three ALMA Award nominations and won the distinguished Golden Eagle Award for Most Promising Actress.
Nichols is currently recurring on the CBS series, NCIS, as Special Agent Zoe Keates. Nichols previously starred in the Darren Star / ABC series, GCB, opposite Kristin Chenoweth; Steven Bochco's drama Blind Justice; ABC series The Gates; ABC series In Justice; Fox's 24; Showtime's groundbreaking Resurrection Blvd. and an Emmy-nominated episode of ER, alongside Ewan McGregor. On the film side, in addition to Vegas Vacation and Felon, Nichols has also starred in Delta Farce, Big Momma's House 2, Jane Austen's Mafia!, with special appearances in Scream 2, Can't Hardly Wait and Bowfinger.
In addition to her work on screen, Nichols has been fighting for human rights abuses for over a decade. Her most recent passion has been putting an end to the most egregious human rights violation, human trafficking. In the last two years, Nichols has made over eight trips to DC, meeting with members of Congress and other organizations and has supported imperative trafficking legislation. Nichols has produced two celebrity human trafficking events to raise awareness for this cause and is hard at work producing the third this September. Nichols is currently forming her own non-profit, 501(c)(3) to lend an even bigger voice for this issue.
Gloria Elizabeth Reuben is a Canadian born actress and singer who has amassed impressive credentials in television, film, theater, and music.
Reuben was born in Toronto, Ontario and started classical piano lessons at the age of five. It was the beginning of a lifelong love of music.
Gloria's career includes many memorable acting roles, from Jeanie Boulet in the hit NBC drama "ER", to Elizabeth Keckley, in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln".
Gloria's portrayal of Condoleezza Rice in David Hare's play "Stuff Happens" (at New York City's Public Theater) garnered her a Lucille Lortel Best Actress Award.
Gloria's music career includes being a backup singer for Tina Turner in 2000, recording a solo album in 2004 titled "Just For You", and completing her second album to be released in the spring of 2015 titled "Per Chance to Dream".
Reuben is an avid supporter of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization that spreads awareness of, and solutions for the global climate change crisis. She also supports the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Lindsey McKeon began her career at the age of 12 when her mother's agent suggested she take an acting class. She discovered she had an aptitude for acting, her career took off with an impressive range of roles on both television and in feature films.
She starred as "Katie Peterson" on Saved by the Bell: The New Class from 1996-2000, but is best known for her roles as "Taylor James" on One Tree Hill and "Marah Lewis" on Guiding Light, where she became a two-time Daytime Emmy nominee. Lindsey has also appeared as a series regular in FOX's Opposite Sex, and has had recurring and guest-starring roles on shows such as House M.D., CSI: Miami, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Supernatural, _"Trish" on "Veronica Mars", among others.
McKeon recently created a healthy living blog at LindseyMckeonBlog.com, and a YouTube channel, HSMLiving. Where she posts interviews with stars like Chris Evans, and Arielle Kebbel. On her off time she can be found producing charitable events for women's and children's non-profit organizations.
Emma Fuhrmann is an up and coming young talent with a deep body of work seldom seen in someone of her age. At just 9 years old she worked opposite Morgan Freeman in the Rob Reiner directed feature, "The Magic of Belle Isle", playing a girl who just wanted to learn more about imagination and where it comes from. She went on to star in a Warner Brothers/Happy Madison feature film, "Blended", with Drew Barrymore & Adam Sadler playing the quirky, deeply emotional middle daughter, Espn.
Emma's first big break came when award winning director, David Nutter, hired her for the role of "Sissy Peele" in the pilot episode of NBC/Bruckheimer's "Chase." From there, she booked the film "Are We Listening?" in which she was nominated as best actress in a short by the Gideon Film Festival. Soon followed a heavy guest star role in an episode of NBC's "Prime Suspect" as Amanda Patterson, the only witness to her parent's murder. Emma then took that huge leap in her career, booking the lead role in Rob Reiner's film, "The Magic Of Belle Isle" starring alongside Morgan Freeman & Virginia Madsen. She then went on to play a lead role in the Warner Brothers/Happy Madison film "Blended" as Espn, the emotional middle child of Adam Sandler. The movie filmed for 7 weeks in South Africa and released in May of 2014. The indie film "Lost in the Sun" starring Josh Duhamel and Lynn Collins released in the fall of 2015. Emma continues to pursue other film and television projects under the skilled direction of her team at Paradigm and Untitled Entertainment.
Emma has made it her personal endeavor to encourage and support non-profit organizations tied to under-privileged youth, military families, and animals both domestic and international. She has partnered with Gentle Barn, The Humane Society of the United States, the Alzheimer's Association, Swim Today/USA Swimming, Brat Pack 11 and has been a part of several DoSomething.org campaigns.
Emeraude Toubia Mexican-Lebanese actress, whose first name represents a stone the color of beauty and love. The exotic beauty was born in Canada and raised in Brownsville, Texas where she experienced the best of both the Mexican and American cultures. At the age of five, Toubia started to professionally train in classical ballet, flamenco, lyrical, and belly dance. At only fifteen years old, Toubia's love for the stage led her to compete in a series of pageants. She has since been named Miss South Texas, Miss Rio Grande Valley America and Miss Brownsville Teen. In 2008 she was cast to participate in Nuestra Belleza Latina. After weeks of extensive training, her wide fan base selected her as the first finalist to the Crown. As a result of her success, she went on to star in multiple commercials for brands such as Maybelline, JC Penney, State Farm and Sony, amongst others. Toubia has served as a television host for a national-cable network and starred in both youth and primetime Telenovelas for various Latin American markets. Toubia is dedicated to perfecting her skills through education. When she is not on set, she trains with her mentors and coaches. Toubia is also a volunteer for non-profit organizations Toys for Tots, Make a Wish Foundation, and leads the "Queen for a Day" program at her hometown's children's hospital.
Jamie Brewer is best known for her breakthrough dimensional role as Adelaide 'Addie' Langdon in American Horror Story. She has a theatre background which started in 1999, she has trained at 'The Groundlings Theatre and School', and continues her training through the theatre and in improvisation at 'The Ruskin School of Acting'. Jamie appeared/spoke in PSA's for the "Souper Bowl of Caring Houston Food Drive" in Houston, TX for 2 consecutive years which aired on NBC, ABC, and CBS.
Jamie was the youngest to ever be elected President of the ARC of Fort Bend Chapter. From there, she was appointed to the State of Texas ARC Board, then elected to the Executive Board as Treasurer. Jamie was then asked to serve on the ARC Governmental Affairs Committee for the State of Texas. She spoke with Senators at the Texas State Capitol to persuade them to pass the law for Texas to abolish using the "R" word from state legislation, and regarding the needs of people with disabilities in Texas.
Brewer is involved with a several non-profit organizations, including DSALA, DSiAM, BTAP, National Down Syndrome Congress, American Association of People with Disabilities of the United States, and Civitan International.
Chicago native Sufe Bradshaw was born into a family of nine siblings, learning early on the value of hard work and dedication from her Sicilian dad and her mother of Ghanain roots. She began her acting odyssey at the Los Angeles City Theatre Academy, where she earned a degree in Theatre. Soon after her intensive study at The Academy, she went on to train with Ben Guillory at The Robey Theatre, as well as Lee Strasberg's prestigious Actor's Studio, moderated by Martin Landau. Bradshaw continued to refine her craft with The Meisner Technique, along with intensive sessions in cold reading with Jimmy DiStefano, Allan Miller's rehearsal workshop, and Wallace Audition Techniques.
Bradshaw has been featured in stage productions around Los Angeles including The Nat Turner Rebellion, A Raisin in the Sun, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet, Summer and Smoke, and Burn This. Bradshaw's first network television appearance was on the CBS drama Cold Case, and made appearances on Carlos Mencia's sketch comedy series Mind of Mencia (Comedy Central), and MTV's The Hard Times of RJ Burger.
Soon after, she booked her first feature film in the 2006 independent drama "Speechless," followed by the 2007 television movie "Mr. Jackson's Neighborhood." She also appeared in Paramount Pictures J.J. Abram's blockbuster "Star Trek," as well as the Wayans Brothers "Dance Flick."
Those exciting roles led to a string of projects, including a role in the Hallmark movie "Fixing Pete." The spirited actress' career soon turned the corner and she began booking roles on a variety of popular television shows, including: ER (NBC), Bones (FOX), Prison Break, FlashForward (ABC), and Trust Me (TNT).
Now, Bradshaw stars alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, and Tony Hale in the upcoming comedy Veep on HBO, playing the no-nonsense character Sue.
In addition to VEEP, Bradshaw is in development on a documentary titled "New Leaves" about troubled youth and the choices they make to either do the right thing or not. Coming from a family of seven siblings, Bradshaw has taken a personal interest in this subject matter.
In her spare time, Bradshaw is also a community activist, having worked for the last five years volunteering for Humanity for the Homeless. For the last six years, she has been participating in the Humanitarian Day event in Downtown Los Angeles where people get together and gather clothes and food for the homeless as well as volunteering at local soup kitchens. She has also mentored teens for an acting and dance program called Voices Unheard at Fairfax High School, and is a founding member of The Actor's Lounge, an open mic project for recently relocated actors who need a place to perform.
She has also found creative fulfillment practicing the art of spoken word for the last 10 years, reading alongside some of America's premiere poets, including many from Russell Simon's "Def Poetry Jam." In addition to this, Bradshaw does spoken word performances at the Greenway Court Theatre, which is part of the Greenway Art Alliance - a non-profit organization that offers visual and performing arts education for public high school students in Los Angeles.
On a more personal note, one of Bradshaw's favorite hobbies is yoga, which she has been practicing for the last year under her teacher, Brent Laffoon. She says that it has changed her life and loves the idea that "it is not about what you are doing, but who you are being."
Sufe currently resides in Los Angeles.
Andrew Alfred Scott, better known as Drew Scott, was born in Vancouver, Canada. Drew is the youngest of three boys. His father, Jim Scott, worked in the film industry as an actor and assistant director until the late 70s, when he decided to focus on raising his family. Drew's mother, Joanne, worked as a paralegal in downtown Vancouver. Twin brother, Jonathan Silver Scott, is an accomplished actor, host and illusionist. Older brother J.D. Scott, who also shares a love for film and production, resides in Las Vegas where he focuses on writing.
At a young age Drew began acting in theater, improv and sketch comedy. His television appearances have included roles on Smallville, Breaker High & Madison. Drew developed an interest in directing and producing. The brothers began investing in real estate as a means for funding projects. This proved to be a successful venture which later led the Scott brothers to incorporate the Dividian Production Group in 2004. Through DPG, Drew has produced several films which have toured the festival circuit. He has produced film and TV galas and events like the Leo Film & TV Awards in Hollywood North and the Producers Ball during the Toronto International Film Festival.
His latest project is co-hosting the hit HGTV show Property Brothers with his twin, Jonathan. The series focuses on helping families get into their dream homes without breaking their budget. Property Brothers is a perfect project for Drew since it blends two of his passions: real estate investment & TV production.
Another passion for Drew is his philanthropic efforts. From working with the Children's Hospitals to coordinating initiatives to help underprivileged youth, he demonstrates the importance of giving back. Most recently, he collaborated with the network of artists involved in Paul Haggis Artists for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization that supports communities in Haiti through programs in education and health.
Born on January 5, 1962 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Susan Elizabeth "Suzy" Amis first worked as a Ford model before she began acting in the 1980s. She made her film debut in the comedy film Fandango, opposite Kevin Costner. After that, Amis next had roles in Rocket Gibraltar, Where the Heart Is, Rich in Love and The Ballad of Little Jo. She later appeared in Blown Away, The Usual Suspects and Titanic in which she played Rose DeWitt Bukater's granddaughter Lizzy Calvert. That same year, she starred opposite Tom Selleck in the television Western Last Stand at Saber River and appeared in the horror film Nadja. Amis retired from acting after her last appearance in the science fiction action film Judgment Day.
In 2005, Amis founded Muse Elementary, a Reggio-inspired, independent, non-profit school in the Topanga, California area of Los Angeles.
Model & Actress KD Aubert started her modeling career with LA Models in 2001. As a runway model working overseas, she soon ventured into print modeling with Elite models (LA) where she was thrust into major campaigns. Soon after KD entered into the world of commercials where again, she was lucky enough into land some very memorable campaigns. In 2002, while hosting the MTV show Kidnapped with Dave Holmes, she landed her first major role, not surprisingly on her first audition, in the cult classic Friday After Next, followed shortly after with a role in The Scorpion King. The following year she replaced a recurring actress on the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (aka Nikki Wood). While shooting Buffy, KD landed a leading role in the movie Hollywood Homicide starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hatrnett. She has also starred on independent movies such as Dysenchanted (starring Jim Belushi) and Easy. KD also starred alongside Kevin Hart, Tom Arnold and many other superstars while on the comedy Soul Plane. After shooting what was one her favorite sci-fi movies Frankenfish in Mobile, Alabama, she returned to LA to snatch a guest star role on FOX's Bones.
Life in Politics In 2007, while recording music and partly residing in Chicago, she volunteered at Obama headquarters where she met Arne Duncan and Rahm Emmanuel. As a Democrat, KD will always stand with the people, especially those less fortunate. KD feels what makes America great, is the way we have always been able to look out for one another and lend a helping hand.
Charities KD enjoys working alongside some very influential non-profit organizations, such as Urban Born out of Los Angeles, and the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California. Two of KD's sisters live with the Sickle Cell Disease and the foundation truly helped from childhood to now. In addition, KD works closely with the Charlie Mack Foundation out of Philadelphia, PA. Will Smith and his dear friend, Charlie Mack, founded this foundation. Every year KD is called upon to travel to Philly to visit with kids who suffer from illnesses at local medical facilities. She visits young kids and teens that have been incarcerated as well as host fun events for the inner city youths.
Hobbies Aubert's hobbies include: playing golf, tennis, watching CNN & MSNBC, traveling, eating exotic foods, writing songs, spending time with family, going to the batting cages, and fishing to name a few.
Religion KD's religious views are called "non-denominational" with a Christian foundation. She attends a worship center called "Agape" which means unconditional love.
"We do not judge, we believe that we are all beautiful intelligent expressions of GOD here on this planet." - KD Aubert
|Desi Arnaz Jr.
Desi Arnaz Jr. has lived in Boulder City, Nevada, since 1986, where he owns the Historic Boulder Theatre and helps direct non-profit Boulder City Ballet Company (BCBC) with his wife, Amy Arnaz. Boulder Theatre was built in 1932 during the construction of Hoover Dam and operated as a movie theatre until it could no longer compete with the new, modern movie theaters in Las Vegas. When it closed, Desi purchased the theatre and converted it into a live theatre where BCBC performs and where Desi has produced many shows including: "Ricci, Desi & Billy" (a new version of Dino, Desi & Billy), "An Evening with Linda Purl", Torme' Sings Torme', "The Legacy of Laughter", "An Evening with Lucille Ball" (starring Suzanne LaRusch as Lucille Ball), Michael Johnson, "A Tribute to Dean Martin" (by Ricci Martin), "Dam Short Film Festival", "Chautauqua", "The Nutcracker", "Sleeping Beauty", "Swan Lake", annual children's dance recitals from Dance Etc. and many more shows. Haley Arnaz is his wife's child from her first marriage and Desi adopted her when they married in 1987. Desi also has an older daughter, Julia, who lives on the east coast. Recently, Desi has performed "Babalu" (a show dedicated to the music of his father) with his sister Lucie Arnaz in NYC, Miami and in Washington D.C. at the Library of Congress. Most recently, Desi & Lucie appeared at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, discussing the music of I Love Lucy and performed two of their father's songs - "Old Straw Hat" & "Cuban Pete" - with the accompaniment of Ron Abel on the piano.
Actress and philanthropist Jena Michelle Sims was born on December 30th, 1988 in Winder, Georgia USA. This small town beauty queen has shared the screen with Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro and Jeremy Renner, to name a few. Her internationally award-winning non-profit organization holds events, called "Pageants of Hope", giving children facing challenges the chance to escape the hospital life and celebrate inner-beauty, crowning everyone Prince or Princesses. She is best- known for Last Vegas, Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader and Dead Reckoning.
From a hit television drama to a medley of feature films, Roma Maffia graces the entertainment mediums with her trademark sophistication and charismatic appeal.
Roma portrays the smart, no-nonsense anesthesiologist, 'Dr. Liz Cruz,' on the hit FX drama, "Nip/Tuck." 'Liz' has earned the respect of her physician colleagues, plastic surgeons Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon). Often the voice of reason in an otherwise unpredictable environment, 'Liz' is tough on the surface yet shows warmth and concern for her patients as well as for 'Sean' and 'Christian.' An out-and-proud lesbian, 'Liz' is the only female seen as a true equal in the life of 'Dr. Troy.'
The Warner Bros. Television-produced "Nip/Tuck" won the 2005 Golden Globe for Outstanding Drama series and received an American Film Institute Award. The show is now in its fifth season and has relocated its setting from Miami to Los Angeles.
Most recently, Roma wrapped production on writer/director Robert Celestino's feature film "Yonkers Joe," with Chazz Palminteri. She has also completed production on the crime story "Kingshighway," due out in 2008. Also in the can is the psychological thriller, "Ghost Image" for writer/director Jack Edward Snyder. In the later film, Roma plays the lead investigator who probes the mysterious occurrences involving a woman who begins to receive video messages from her deceased boyfriend.
Roma started her acting career performing off-Broadway, off-off Broadway and in regional productions ranging from Shakespeare to Sam Shephard. At a benefit reading for the New Group in New York, she was asked by casting director Jane Jenkins to audition for a role in director Ron Howard's feature film "The Paper," and found a career mentor: "Ron tells people he discovered me, which is absolutely true."
When "The Paper" opened in Los Angeles, Roma took her first trip to Hollywood and her career quickly flourished. She soon met television producer David E. Kelley, who cast her as Adam Arkin's secretary, 'Angela' in his new series, "Chicago Hope."
During her one season on "Chicago Hope," Roma landed a plum role in the Barry Levinson film, "Disclosure," in which she played Michael Douglas' tough sexual harassment lawyer, 'Katherine Alvarez.' Garnering rave reviews for her performance, Roma quickly landed feature film roles in director John Badham's "Nick of Time," playing a kidnapper opposite Christopher Walken and Johnny Depp; "Eraser" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Double Jeopardy" opposite Ashley Judd.
Additional feature credits include "I Am Sam" with Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer; "Kiss The Girls" with Morgan Freeman; "Holes," "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her" with Glenn Close and Holly Hunter.
For television, Roma played the dedicated and intelligent 'Grace Alvarez,' forensic pathologist for the Violent Crimes Task Force, for four seasons on NBC's primetime series "Profiler." Her telefilm credits include "Consensual Relations" for NBC; HBO's "Mistrial" with Bill Pullman; and Showtime's "The Defenders." She had recurring roles on NBC's "Law & Order" and "ER," and she has guest-starred on numerous television shows, including CBS's "Ghost Whisperer," Lifetime's "Strong Medicine," NBC's "The West Wing" and HBO's "The Sopranos."
In her free time, Roma is actively involved with the non-profit organization, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA) which dedicates itself to advancing democracy and equality in South Africa. Although she is happiest when acting, Roma also finds time to run on her treadmill, write, play ping-pong and hang out with her two dogs, Lou Lu and Lucky.
Stephanie Lemelin is a versatile actress appearing in both TV and film, comedies and dramas, and lending her unique voice to many cartoons, movies, video games, and commercials. She has also written and produced two movies with the company In-Motion Pictures.
Stephanie began acting professionally soon after moving to L.A. in 2001 following her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Communications with a minor in English. During her junior year, she spent a year abroad at UNSW (Sydney, Australia), interning for Network 9 as a production assistant.
Born in southern New Jersey to a mom from Philly and a dad from Quebec, Stephanie grew up outside of Philadelphia until she was 10. In the winters, her family (including brother Brian) lived wherever her Dad was playing hockey, which included: Atlanta, Georgia; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Boston, Massachusetts. She credits these moves as her first experiences in acting, learning to blend in different towns and cities at a young age.
As of 2012, Stephanie had been cast in 13 consecutive TV pilots (several of which went to series) including Satisfaction (CTV) Men At Work (TNT), The Whole Truth(ABC), Bunker Hill (TNT), Canned(ABC), Good Behavior(ABC), Cavemen(ABC), The Funkhousers (ABC), as well as FOX's Worst Week of My Life, Dirtbags, and Titletown, and had a lead in the SyFy Channel's original TV movie/back door pilot -- Anonymous Rex, based on the books by Eric Garcia. Stephanie has also guest-starred in many network shows, with comedic and dramatic roles on Bones(Fox), Brothers and Sisters (ABC), The League (FX), The Closer (TNT), Melissa & Joey (ABC Family), CSI: Las Vegas (CBS), Malcolm in the Middle (Fox), Rules of Engagement (CBS), Run of the House (WB), Out of Practice (CBS), The Mullets (UPN). Her network television debut was on the critically acclaimed but short-lived Fox show, Undeclared, in which she was cast after just one month of moving to LA.
In 2008, Stephanie began adding voice-over credits to her resume. Her first big gig was as Mei Ling in the Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda franchise. She also appears as the voice in several commercials, including some by Taco Bell, Nintendo 3DS, Lunchables, and Supercuts. However her best known v/o role so far has been as the series regular Artemis on Cartoon Network's "Young Justice", where she also played Tigress, Catherine Colbert, and the voice of The Computer. She also appears as Sporty Shorty in the children's cartoon "Twinkletoes", and had a recurring role as Nurse Lady Pam on Nickelodeon's "Fan Boy & Chum Chum." Additionally, Stephanie has voiced numerous characters in huge video games-- from the leading role in Sunset Overdrive, to Misty in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, to a killer nun in Hitman: Absolution, to the role of Eep in The Croods video game, along with reprising the role of Artemis in Young Justice: Legacy.
In 2007, Stephanie married her longtime boyfriend, martial artist and Krav Maga third degree black belt A.J. Draven. They have two rescued dogs, both pit bull mixes, named Brucely & Stanley. Brucely was adopted from the South Los Angeles Shelter as a puppy, and Stanley (named for the Stanley cup!) was rescued off the streets of New Orleans while Stephanie was on the ground volunteering post Hurricane Katrina.
In 2010, Stephanie joined the board of the non-profit Angel City Pit Bulls, with whom she is very active. She also actively volunteers with Best Friends Animal Society and NKLA.
In March of 2013, Stephanie & AJ welcomed their first child, a son, named Xavier.
|Sheree J. Wilson
Sheree J. Wilson has gained worldwide recognition starring in two enormously popular long running television series. Appearing in the hit series Dallas for five seasons playing opposite Patrick Duffy, and then for the entire eight year run of Walker, Texas Ranger opposite Chuck Norris. Currently, Ms. Wilson has starred and produced two feature films, Easy Rider: The Ride Back, a prequel to the cult favorite movie Easy Rider, and The Gundown. She also co-produced a zombie/comedy called Dug Up.
While studying for her degree in fashion merchandising and business, Sheree secretly vied for a career in show business. As with many actors, that 'lucky break' came shortly after graduation in 1981 while working in Denver on a fashion shoot. One of the photographers thought Sheree was the model, and introduced her to Vicki Light, head of The Light Company. Vicki in turn introduced her to Wilhelmina, the modeling agenCY from New York, who signed her on the spot. Sheree promptly moved to Manhattan and within eighteen months, had appeared in over thirty commercial campaigns for Clairol, Sea Breeze, Keri-Lotion and Maybelline. Her print work ran in such popular magazines as Mademoiselle, Glamour and Redbook.
After three years of modeling, Sheree's agent, Vicki Light, called her with an audition in a feature film, urging her to move to Los Angeles. She won the starring role, opposite Louise Lasser, Brian James and Reed Burney, in "Crimewave", a 1984 black comedy directed by Sam Raimi. Three days after that film wrapped, she was cast in "Velvet," an ABC/Aaron Spelling MOW/series pilot, in which she played a female "James Bond" character opposite Shari Belafonte. Within the next year, she had a lead with Tim Robbins in "Fraternity Vacation", a summer comedy in which she played an intellectual beauty who was the object of everyone's desire.
Producers began to take notice of this dynamic newcomer to Hollywood, and soon she starred in the 1985 CBS television miniseries "Kane & Abel," with Peter Strauss. This immediately led to "Our Family Honor," a CBS drama about Irish cops vs. the Mafia, in which she starred with Ray Liotta, Michael Madsen and Eli Wallach. Her career continued to grow including "News at Eleven" with Martin Sheen. And then, in 1986, television producer Leonard Katzman called Sheree to talk about a part he thought was tailor-made for someone with her classic beauty and sassy, fun-loving, energetic nature.
The role was that of 'April Stevens' on the CBS mega-hit series "Dallas." For five seasons she played a brainy, wealthy femme fatale. Her character went from being one of the most powerful women in Dallas and J.R. Ewing's nemesis, to being one of the warmest characters in town, eventually marrying Bobby Ewing, the show's ultimate good guy. Ultimately, April Stevens was gunned down during her honeymoon in Paris. Bowing out with a bang, Sheree's performance earned her the "Soap Opera Digest Award" for Best Death Scene.
In fact, Sheree was pregnant and wanted to leave in order to fully devote herself to motherhood.
At the end of 1992, she signed to do the lead female role of 'Alex Cahill' in "Walker, Texas Ranger," opposite Chuck Norris, which ran for eight seasons.
The daughter of two IBM executives, Sheree was born in Minnesota and moved to Colorado at the age of seven, where she learned to ride horses. Her superb equestrian skills won her first place riding cutting horses in the 1995 National Multiple Sclerosis Rodeo. Her love of horses continues to this day - as she recently rescued a retired racehorse and in 2008 helped establish the "White Bridle Humane Society", a horse rescue equine therapy non-profit organization in Texas of which she serves as vice-president.
Currently, Sheree resides in Los Angeles.
Malcolm Barrett, a native of New York City, studied at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He recently worked on several NY based television series including "Law & Order" and "The Sopranos", "As the World Turns" and "The Beat". His feature film credits include "King of the Jungle," "Swimfan," and most recently, "The Rhythm of the Saints," shown at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Barrett received his Equity membership at the age of 16 when he appeared in the McCarter Theatre production of "The Stonemason." He later appeared in the national tour of "Wit" with Judith Light, while simultaneously continuing his education at NYU.
Barrett is also talented in poetry, improvisation and stand up comedy. He was a member of the 2001 Nuyorican Slam Poetry team and the winner of the Young Playwright competition at Manhattan Class Company. He is a founding member and artistic director of the non-profit New York City theater company Real Theatre Works. Barrett developed and directed the theater's production of "Fallen Patriots" off-off Broadway and will direct the play for the upcoming Fringe Festival in New York.
Jeff Probst is the Emmy Award-winning host of Survivor. He won the inaugural Emmy for Best Reality Show Host in 2008 and again in 2009. Probst also received an Emmy as Host/Producer of Survivor back in 2001.
He was also voted one of People Magazine's Most Beautiful People.
Finder's Fee premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival where it won "Best Picture" and a "Best Director" award for Probst. Other awards: "Best Screenplay" at Method Fest, "Breakout Director" at Sonoma Film Fest. Probst was also selected as one of the "Ten Directors in the World to Watch" in a series presented by the American Cinematheque showcasing innovative and exciting new directors from around the world.
Prior to that, he hosted a variety of shows for KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle.
Probst hosts the "Howard Stern Celebrity Fan Roundtable" for Howard Stern on Sirius/XM radio.
In 2007, Probst founded The Serpentine Project a non-profit that empowers youth transitioning out of foster care to reach for their dreams by opening the door to possibilities.
Allie Gonino was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in the small Dallas suburb of Heath. As the youngest of three half-siblings, Allie knew what she wanted out of life, very early on. The arts have always been a strong and varied passion for her, and at the ripe age of four, an unexpected encounter with the pre-fame country band, The Dixie Chicks, was the trigger that jump started Allie's move into music. The meeting ignited a spark in her, and after hearing Martie Maguire play the fiddle, Allie asked her mom for violin lessons. Growing up, as a dancer she studied ballet, hip-hop, and jazz, played violin in the Dallas Youth Orchestra, and regularly performed country music at local opry houses. Music has been Allie's biggest influence in every aspect of life, though it wasn't the only art form that inspired her from a young age. She credits the classic film, 'The Wizard of Oz', for her love of acting. Her drive and talent grew past her hometown of Heath, and by the time she was sixteen, Allie and her mom made the move to Los Angeles. The Stunners marked the next chapter in Allie's life. In 2007, Allie's rep received a call from Colleen Fitzpatrick, (AKA pop singer Vitamin C), who was looking to start an all-girl pop group. After an audition, Allie agreed to join, and the roller coaster ride began. The Stunners were initially signed to Columbia Records, then later to Universal Republic. During their run, they released an EP and four music videos, (two of which the girls wrote, directed, and produced themselves - sans record label.) They were played on numerous Top 40 radio stations, and opened for Justin Bieber on his 'My World Tour' in 2010. The band parted ways in 2011 when Allie booked the role as Laurel Mercer on ABC Family's original series, "The Lying Game." Though the show was canceled after a season and a half, she continues to split her time between acting, creating music with her folk band The Good Mad, as well as a new solo music venture. Yoga, reading, writing, dancing, and traveling can be found at the top of her to-do list when she's not working. Allie is also active in raising awareness about climate change, and the global water crisis, and works closely with The Thirst Project, a non-profit organization that builds wells in developing countries.
Five-time Emmy Award winning actress Heather Tom (Victoria Newman on the The Young and the Restless) is one of the most talented and promising young actresses working in Hollywood today. She possesses beauty, brains, talent and a passion for acting.
When Heather was only 16, she won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of the tempestuous, troubled and oft-married Victoria Newman. Last year Heather became the most nominated actress in her category, receiving her 8th consecutive Emmy nomination. Heather has won the Emmy award twice (1993, 1999). The title was especially sweet because her brother David Tom (Billy Abbott on The Young and the Restless) also received his first nomination. In 1997, Heather won Best Younger Leading Actress at the Soap Opera Digest Awards. With her best friend Chad Allen (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), Heather has moved into the role of theatrical producer, successfully producing a revival of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues as well as appearing in the play as Daisy. The revival was so well received that it has won 5 Dramalogue Awards. Quite an accomplishment for a fledgling producer! Recently, Heather produced and starred in Gila, a play by Mark Medoff (Children of a Lesser God) and starring Phyllis Freilich, which received rave reviews. For this role, Heather had to be fluent in sign language. Her talent overwhelmed audiences once again, earning Heather a Robbie Theatre L.A. Award nomination for Best Actress. Heather's love for acting and theatre is life long. A commercial actress at the age of two, Heather was dancing with the Seattle Pacific Ballet at age 10. By the time she was 13, Heather and her actor-siblings Nicholle Tom (The Nanny) and David were ready to break into Hollywood. They made a temporary, trial-run move to Los Angeles, found work immediately and turned an out-of-town tryout into a long-running hit. Her natural talent and ability got her started; her hard work, determination and intelligence keep her working. As a young actress, Heather took acting classes at the Young Actor's Space, paying for each weekly session with the money she earned working at a local cookie shop. A focused, dedicated and giving performer, Heather landed guest appearances on many hot shows, including Kids Incorporated and Who's the Boss? She has co-starred in two movies of the week, ABC-TV's She'll Take Romance and CBS-TV's Deadly Whispers and has starred in the feature films Lessie's Rainbow and Lookin Good. For Heather, acting is more than playing a part. As she describes it, "the feeling of losing the audience for a moment and truly becoming connected with the scene and the character is absolutely incredible." Recognizing that she is fortunate to be not only a beautiful and talented actress but also a working actress, Heather is devoted to helping people who do not have the opportunities or options that she has. Recently Heather was named Regional Ambassador for Childhelp USA, a national non-profit organization that assists abused children. Heather also works very closely with several AIDS service organizations such as Caring for Babies with AIDS, Project Angelfood, Tuesday's Child and AIDS Project Los Angeles. She has volunteered in the kitchen at Project Angelfood helping to prepare meals for those who are disabled by AIDS many times as well as appearing and working at fund-raisers for many organizations. Her acting career and charity works are only two of Heather's passions. Politics could easily tie for first or second place in her affections. Heather loves to discuss politics, but she does more than "talk the talk". In the Congressional elections, Heather worked very closely with Congressman Loretta Sanchez' campaign as well as with "Rock the Vote" to help get out the younger voters. Heather also spends hours reading plays, scripts and classical literature. She is also an avid art collector who has amassed an impressive collection of sculpture, painting and prints. Theatre is where Heather's heart is and, as her career progresses, she has her sights set on Broadway. While she awaits her chance to trod the boards of "the great white way", Heather and Chad Allen tour the country sharing the gift of their talent and experience by teaching young, aspiring actors improvisation, scene study and on-camera work. Intelligent, educated, talented, ambitious, determined and caring. Look out Broadway, get ready for Heather Tom!
Michelle is the fourth of six children from a Chilean-Canadian family. She was born in Calgary and grew up moving between Toronto and Vancouver. She studied Theatre and Classical Literature at the University of Toronto. Her first professional acting job was playing a showgirl in the British farce "Shady Business".
Michelle starred in the television series Heartland for CBC, based on the books by Lauren Brooke. Michelle played the character Lou Flemming, the prodigal daughter who returns to Heartland from New York after her mother's death.
Michelle has a passion for all board sports, growing up snowboarding and later picking up surfing on her travels throughout South America, Hawaii and western Canada. She and her husband Derek are now teaching their two children, Mara and Noah, to surf as well.
Michelle has volunteered with women's shelters across Canada. She was the Campaign ambassador for the #IamCourage Campaign for the Brenda Strafford women's Shelter in Calgary in 2013, and for the #MyHomefront campaign for the non profit organization Homefront in 2015.
This wholesome "Chatty Cathy" delight had all the earmarkings of becoming a dithery TV star in the early 70s and a couple of sitcom vehicles were handed to her with silver platter-like enthusiasm. Neither, however, made the best use of her elfin charm and both series died a quick death. Nonetheless, Sandy Duncan went on to become a Disney film lead, a TV commodity pitching crackers and arguably the best Peter Pan Broadway has ever offered. Like Sally Field and Karen Valentine before her, Sandy had a potentially terminable case of the cutes that often did her more harm than good. But also, like the others, her talent won out.
The story goes that this wistful tomboy felt like an outsider growing up in her native Texas because of her desires to be an actress. The elder of two girls born to a gas station owner, she trained in dance and appeared in productions of "The King and I" and "The Music Man" as a teen. Sandra Kay Duncan cast all negativity and self doubt aside and packed her bags for New York upon leaving Lon Morris Junior College (in Texas). She made an enchanting Wendy in "Peter Pan" the following year and soon poised herself as a triple threat on stage (singer/dancer/actress). She married Broadway actor Bruce Scott in 1968 and appeared in the rock musical "Your Own Thing" that same year. Taking her first Broadway curtain call and grabbing a Tony nomination in a bawdy musical version of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", she next won the soubrette role of Maisie in the Jazz-age musical "The Boy Friend". She managed to steal the thunder right from under star Judy Carne (who had just left the cast of TV's "Laugh-In" in order to branch out) and earned her second Tony nomination -- this time as "Best Actress".
The toothy strawberry blonde was a sensation and in 1970 Time Magazine named her "the most promising face of tomorrow". All this buildup reached the ears of Disney who decided to take a chance and cast her opposite Disney perennial Dean Jones in the featherweight comedy film The Million Dollar Duck. TV also saw her potential and featured her sparkling mug more and more in commercials. She then took on the title role in the film version of Neil Simon's comedy hit Star Spangled Girl, which turned out to be a major disappointment.
An untried talent on the primetime scene, CBS decided Sandy had enough promise and star quality to be given her own TV sitcom. Replacing Melba Moore at the last minute in the weekly show Funny Face, the storyline had Duncan playing single, independently-minded Sandy Stockton, a corn-fed Midwestern who heads to the big-city (Los Angeles) where she winds up in TV commercials while pursuing a teaching degree at UCLA. The series was a success and was a Top 10 show, but Duncan began experiencing severe headaches on the set and a tumor was discovered on her optic nerve. She had to leave the series and it was consequently pulled from the air. The series' sudden departure led to a misconception among some viewers that it had been canceled. Following a lengthy and delicate operation, the doctors managed to save her eye but she lost all vision in it.
The following year the show was revamped and retitled. Duncan returned as Sandy Stockton. This time she was a single working girl who created chaos at an ad agency. This second incarnation of her series failed to regain the audience that the first incarnation had had. The Sandy Duncan Show was canceled by mid-December. In the meantime, she divorced her first husband in 1972 and married Dr. Thomas Calcateera a year later, whom she met while undergoing her eye operation. They would divorce six years later.
After the demise of her second series, Sandy refocused on her strengths -- musical comedy -- and maintained her profile as a guest star on such variety shows as "The Sonny & Cher Show", "The Flip Wilson Show", "The Tonight Show" and "Laugh-In". She also was seen around the game show circuit as panelist on "What's My Line?" and "Hollywood Squares", among others. In 1979 Sandy retook Broadway by storm. Instead of the role of Wendy, she played the title tomboy in the musical "Peter Pan" and was nominated for a third time for a Tony Award. Born to play this role, she followed this spectacular success by locking arms with a carefree Tommy Tune in the tuneful Broadway show "My One and Only" replacing Twiggy in 1984.
Sandy also appeared again for Disney both co-starring in the lightweight film comedy The Cat from Outer Space opposite fellow hoofer Ken Berry and providing a foxy voice for their popular The Fox and the Hound animated feature. Taking on a more serious tone, she garnered critical respect for her Emmy-nominated role in the epic mini-series Roots, but these dramatic offerings were few and far between.
In the 1980s Sandy became a household name once again with her popular Wheat Thins commercials in which she periodically shared the camera with her two sons, Jeffrey and Michael, her children by Tony-nominated choreographer/dancer Don Correia, whom she married in 1980. In 1987, she returned to prime-time TV, but not in her own tailor-made vehicle. Instead Sandy replaced Valerie Harper in HER tailor-made vehicle after Harper departed in a well-publicized contractual dispute with producers after only one season. The show was simple changed in title from Valerie to "The Hogan Family" and Sandy entered the proceedings as a close relative and new female head of household after Harper's character "died". As a testament to her audience appeal, the show managed to run for four more healthy seasons.
In more recent times the pert, indefatigable Sandy has hosted Thanksgiving Day parades, dance competitions and teen pageants, starred on Broadway as Roxie Hart in "Chicago" (1999), and has headlined touring companies of such Broadway revivals as "Anything Goes" and "The King and I". She has also been a volunteer for the non-profit organization "RFB&D" (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) and was a recipient of the National Rehabilitation Hospital Victory Award, which is given to individuals who exhibit exceptional courage and strength in the face of adversity.
Fred is lovingly known as Gopher by his millions of fans around the world who watched him became for 9 years in the 1970s hit series The Love Boat. But, before Fred became well known as an actor, he went to "Phillips Exeter Academy" with David Eisenhower. Later, he became David's best man when he married Julie Nixon. Then, Fred entered "Harvard University" at Cambridge, Massachusetts and graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor's Degree in English.
Fred is a well-educated man and can speak fluently in both French and Arabic. Before he joined the cast of The Love Boat, Fred did guest shots on many shows, including Love, American Style, Mary Tyler Moore, Phyllis (with Cloris Leachman) & Welcome Back, Kotter (with John Travolta). Then, came other guest spots on TV shows and a couple of movies, while still on The Love Boat.
Fred Grandy was destined to become more than just an actor. In 1986, he decided to run for Congressman as a Republican for the state of Iowa, and won. He received 3,000 votes. He served 4 consecutive terms (1986-1995). While in Congress, he was very much involved with Agriculture, Education, Workforce, Standards of Official Conduct, House Ways and Means. In 1994, he went ahead and entered the Governor's race but lost to his opponent, Terry Branstad. In 1995, he became both President and CEO for "Goodwill Industries", a position he held until 2000. Fred even became a political commentator on National Public Radio. He has also, as a guest, taught at the "University of Maryland" (School of Public Affairs) about non-profit organizations.
In 2003, in Washington, DC., Fred became the host of the talk radio show "The WMAL Morning News" (WMAL-AM Radio). On (Friday night) May 7, 2004, while at home in Bethesda and reading his newspaper, he began to feel very uncomfortable for 3 hours. At first, he felt indigestion so bad he thought he had food poisoning. Then, he began having massive chest pains. Now, he had to call 911 and he was rushed to "Suburban Hospital" where he had an emergency Angioplasty. Fred showed amazing courage and began feeling better almost immediately. He blames his heart problems on genetics, it seems to run in his family. And, what helped was his strict diet as a vegetarian. Fred is back on the radio co-hosting his show with Andy Parks.
Dina was born in Castro Valley, California. She graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California, anchored Newsline for Ohlone College Television, then majored in Radio/TV at San Francisco State University, graduating in 1988. Two years later, she was hired as a reporter and eventually a news anchor for KNAZ-TV in Flagstaff, Arizona. About a year after that, she was hired at KSBW as a news anchor.
She retired from KSBW in 1997 to spend more time with her baby "Morgie" and husband.
One of her projects was a news magazine called "Quest for Excellence" that airs on several Bay Area stations. "Quest" is intended to highlight aspects of the state's educational system, and a recent program even highlighted a Monterey Bay student with cerebral palsy.
She also hosts The Eagle Invitational Golf Tournament.
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" in season 2 of 'Scorpion' on CBS, and a memorable turn as "Stevie" in the critically acclaimed series, 'Better call Saul' on AMC.
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 digi 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.
IronE Singleton is best known to audiences as the menacing kingpin Alton in the Academy® Oscar Award-nominated film The Blind Side; the biggest box office grossing sports movie of all time. He is also known as the compassionate tough guy, T-Dog, in the Emmy, AFI & WGA Award winning, Golden Globe nominated TV show The Walking Dead; one of basic cable's highest rated shows for viewership. IronE's unusual name depicts his life story, his ability to play strong, multidimensional characters and has made him a memorable actor in both film and television.
Singleton appears on the big screen alongside Bow Wow and Ice Cube in Lottery Ticket. He stars alongside Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce and January Jones in the feature film Seeking Justice and will soon captivate the Lifetime audience in his leading role as "Glock" Nichols with Neve Campbell in AN Amish Murder. Singleton's talent is on display in several television pilots, including ABC's Detroit 1-8-7, VH1's Single Ladies, and TNT's Franklin & Bash. Among his other television credits are CW's One Tree Hill and BET's Somebodies. As a result of IronE's success on The Walking Dead, IronE has been sought to write an introduction for two zombie theme anthologies; Zombie Survival Crew: Undead Is Not An Option and Appalachia Undead.
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Singleton's story embodies everything we have come to understand about the lives of many inner city youth growing up in low-income housing projects. Fatherless and having lost his mother to HIV/AIDS when he was a senior in high school and watched his brother spend most of his life in Georgia's prison system, IronE fought to have a life far different from the one he knew growing up. The "irony" of his story is that, while all the odds were stacked against him, IronE Singleton still overcame his troubled childhood to attend the University of Georgia on academic and football scholarships where he completed a double major in Theater and Speech Communications.
Prior to breaking into film and television, Singleton wrote, directed and performed a critically acclaimed One Man Stage production entitled IronE . . . The Resurrected which garnered rave reviews inspiring IronE to transcribe the production into his autobiography Blindsided by The Walking Dead which chronicles his life from poverty to fame. His ambition is to have it produced as a movie along with his current screenplay Volleyball Vixens. IronE is also overly enthusiastic about incorporating his non-profit performing arts school, IronE School of The Arts (ISA) which will provide youth with a performing arts program that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally compelling, aesthetically enriching and personally relevant with a strong emphasis on truth, purpose, respect for self and others and love for all of humanity. In his spare time, Singleton is a motivational speaker and lyricist.
Maxim is a multi-award nominated actress who has most recently starred in the English version of the mold-breaking police drama 19-2, leading to a Canadian Screen Award nomination for her role. She has garnered four Lead Actress Gemini nominations for the hugely popular series O'. In addition to shooting the third season of 19-2 in 2015, she became Jocelyn Fray on the highly anticipated ABC Family series SHADOWHUNTERS based on The Mortal Instruments novels.
Maxim has over 100 film and television credits to her name, REGENESIS, HEARTLAND, DEFYING GRAVITY just to name a few. In 2009, Maxim was nominated for a Jutra (Quebec Oscars) for best supporting actress in the indie-film, ADAM'S WALL. The Montreal beauty has also been named one of "Canada's 25 Most Beautiful Stars" by Star! Magazine and "The Sexiest and Most Beautiful Popular Actress" by ICI Montreal. Aside from her passion for acting, Maxim is an activist who actively devotes herself to several organizations such as Greenpeace and is the spokesperson for ANEB (a non-profit organization to help those affected by eating disorders) and Ecosphere(environmental event with more than 190 exhibitors and 40 conferences)
Sherrie Rose is an award winning and critically acclaimed filmmaker, actress and writer. She studied writing at UCLA and previously electrical engineering and theatrical performance as dual majors on the Dean's list at USF.
She has starred in over 60 films and television shows and is best known for her starring role in the feature film Me and Will opposite Patrick Dempsey and showcasing the talents of Keanu Reeves and Seymour Cassel which she also co-produced, directed and wrote. The feature opened The Women in Film series for Sundance.
She has been involved with the creation, writing and development of 100's projects from conception to distribution and accomplished the unprecedented feat of writing, directing, producing and starring in her own film and has sold numerous scripts as a writer and has been published in magazines and books.
She has a camaraderie with actors and directors which has allowed her to hire and work with such incredible talents as Jada Pinkett Smith and Billy Zane who acted with her in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Mickey Rourke in the feature Out in Fifty that she co-produced, Jonathan Kaplan from The Accused with Jodie Foster that she acted in the feature _Unlawful Entry (1992)_ qv with fellow actor Ray Liotta and Michael Bay from Transformers that she worked with on commercials and music videos. She was entered for an Emmy Nomination for her role in the television series Tales from the Crypt opposite Yul Vazquez from Magic City that William Friedkin, from The Exorcist directed her in.
She is an activist working with IFAW and other non-profit organizations concentrating on children, animals and the environment. She lives on a ranch with her son and their rescue animals.
Stardom somehow eluded this vastly gifted actress. Had it not perhaps been for her low-level profile compounded by her McCarthy-era blacklisting in the early 1950s, there is no telling what higher tier Marsha Hunt might have attained. Perhaps her work was not flashy enough, or too subdued, or perhaps her intelligence too often disguised a genuine sex appeal to stand out among the other lovelies. Two studios, Paramount in the late 1930s and MGM in the early 1940s, failed to complete her star. Nevertheless, her talent and versatility cannot be denied. This glamorous, slimly handsome leading lady offered herself to well over 50 pictures during the 1930s and 1940s alone.
Christened Marcia Virginia Hunt, the Chicago-born actress was the younger of two girls born to an attorney and voice teacher/accompanist. The family relocated to New York when she was quite young and she attended such schools as PS #9 and Horace Mann School for Girls. She developed an interest in acting at an early age (3), performing around and about in school plays and at church functions. Following her high school graduation the young beauty found work as a John Powers model and as a singer on radio, a gift obviously inherited from her mother. Marcia (she later changed the spelling of her first name to Marsha) studied drama at the Theodora Irvine Drama School (one of her fellow students was Cornel Wilde).
Encouraged to try Hollywood by various New York people in the business, the young photogenic hopeful moved there in 1934. She was only 17 but was accompanied by her older sister. It didn't take long for the studios to take an interest in her and she was signed up by Paramount not long after. Marsha's very first movie was in a featured role opposite Robert Cummings and Johnny Downs in the old-fashioned The Virginia Judge. Displaying an innate, fresh-faced sensitivity, she moved directly into her second film, playing the title role in Gentle Julia, this time with Tom Brown as her romantic interest.
Marsha continued to show promise but these well-acted roles were, more often than not, overlooked in mild "B"-level offerings. Appearing in co-starring roles in everything from westerns (Desert Gold and Thunder Trail) to folksy or flyweight comedy (Easy to Take and Murder Goes to College), she could not find decent enough scripts at Paramount. Though she was once deemed one of the studio's promising starlets, one of her last films there was another prairie flower role--Born to the West--with cowboys John Wayne and Johnny Mack Brown vying for her attention. At about this time (1938) she married Jerry Hopper, a Paramount film editor who turned to directing in the 1950s. This marriage lasted but a few years.
Freelancing for a time for many studios, Marsha's more noticeable war-era work in sentimental comedy and staunch war dramas came from MGM, and she finally signed with the studio in 1939. The roles offered, which included a featured part as one of the sisters in Pride and Prejudice starring Greer Garson, and again as a sister to Garson in Blossoms in the Dust, which showed much more promise. Some of her better war-era roles came in the films Cheers for Miss Bishop, Kid Glove Killer and The Affairs of Martha. During this time she also sang on extended USO tours and stayed busy on radio. Her best known film is arguably The Human Comedy but she wasn't the star. Other film roles had her in support pf others, such as Margaret Sullavan in Cry 'Havoc', little Margaret O'Brien in Lost Angel and Garson again in The Valley of Decision. Leading roles did not come in "A" pictures.
Her MGM contract was allowed to lapse in 1945 and a second marriage in 1946, to screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., became a higher priority. The marriage was long and happy (exactly 40 years) and lasted until his passing in June of 1986. The few pictures she made were, again, uneventful or in support of the star, although she did have a catchy, unsympathetic role in the Susan Hayward starrer Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman as a scheming secretary. In Raw Deal, starring Dennis O'Keefe, she got the "raw deal" being overshadowed as a "good girl" by the "bad girl" posturings of Claire Trevor. At this point of her career she decided to try the stage and made her Broadway debut in "Joy to the World" (1948). Other plays down the road would include "The Devil's Disciple" with Maurice Evans, "The Lady's Not for Burning" with Vincent Price and "The Little Hut" with Leon Ames. She even had a chance to return to her beloved singing as Anna in a production of "The King and I" and (much later) in productions of "State Fair" and "Meet Me in St. Louis". TV also yielded some new work opportunities, including a presentation of "Twelfth Night" in which she portrayed Viola.
The seams of her film career fell apart in the early 1950s. During the late 1930s and into the 1940s she signed a number of petitions promoting liberal ideals, and was a member of the Committee for the First Amendment. A strong supporter of freedom of speech, these associations led to her name appearing in the pamphlet "Red Channels", a McCFarthy-era publication that "exposed" alleged Communists and "subversives". Although she and her husband were never called before the House Un-American Activities Commission, their names were nevertheless smeared all over Hollywood as "Reds". While she still found film work on occasion, it was rare. Although she had worked steadily from 1935 until 1949, appearing in over 50 films, she made only three films in the next eight years. Her screenwriter husband would be credited for only one film from 1948 to 1955.
Semi-retired by the early 1960s, stage and TV became Marsha's focal points. She also devoted herself to civil rights causes and such humanitarian efforts as UNICEF, The March of Dimes and The Red Cross. She became actively involved with the United Nations. On the acting front she appeared only in smaller roles in five films but in numerous TV programs and made-for-TV movies, playing everything from judges to grandmas. She became the Honorary Mayor of Sherman Oaks, California, in 1983, and published a book on fashion entitled "The Way We Wore" in 1993. Widowed in 1986, the ever-vibrant Marsha, in her 90s, continues to serve on the Advisory Board of Directors for the San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center, a large non-profit that advocates for adults and children affected by homelessness and mental illness. As recently as 2006, she appeared to good advantage in the movie Chloe's Prayer and, at age 91, was seen in Empire State Building Murders.
John Gavin, the American film and TV actor, businessman and diplomat who was Ronald Reagan's first Ambassador to Mexico, was born John Anthony Golenor. The future "Jack" Gavin was a fifth generation Angeleno on the side of his father Herald, who was descended from the Golenor family of Spain. The Golenors were early landowners in Spanish California, but despite this proud heritage, Herald Golenor eventually changed the family's name to Gavin. John Gavin's mother was descended from the powerful Pablos family hailing from the Mexican state of Sonora, where she was born. From his Mexican mother, Gavin gained a fluency in Spanish that was to aid him in his future career in diplomacy. John Gavin graduated with honors from Stanford University, majoring in Latin American economic history. "Law, Latin America and diplomacy were my early interests," Gavin later remembered. Too young to participate in World War II, he did serve in the military during the Korean Conflict. He was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy in 1952, where he served in naval air intelligence until his 1955 discharge. After his hitch in the Navy, Universal -- the home studio of 6'5" heartthrob Rock Hudson, who was on his way to becoming the top box office star in America -- offered the 6'4" Gavin a screen-test and a contract with the studio. Studio bosses always liked internal competition to keep the pressure on their major stars; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed 'Robert Taylor' as a young backup to the King of Hollywood Clark Gable, and similarly, Gavin was positioned as the "next Rock Hudson".
Tall, dark and handsome, Gavin debuted in Behind the High Wall, and three years later, in 1959, he had his first major lead in Douglas Sirk's remake of Imitation of Life opposite Lana Turner. Sirk, whose Ross Hunter-produced melodramas of the mid-1950's made Hudson a superstar, first directed Gavin in the role of a German soldier in his adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's A Time to Love and a Time to Die the year before. Imitation of Life, which was produced by Ross Hunter in his typical lavish style, was a huge hit. Gavin was on the road to becoming a major Hudson-style heart-throb, it seemed.
The following year, Gavin achieved cinematic immortality by appearing in two classics in supporting roles, as Sam Loomis in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and as Julius Caesar in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus. Of Psycho and Spartacus, he has said, "I didn't have an inkling they would be classics. Had I realized that, perhaps I would have paid more attention." The momentum of his cinema career petered out after appearing opposite Susan Hayward in the 1961 remake of Fannie Hurst's Back Street, though he did move on to star in two television series during the 1960s, Destry and Convoy. Both series were produced by companies that were subsidiaries of the Universal-M.C.A., Revue Studios and Universal TV, created by the legendary agent and studio boss Lew Wasserman, the eminence grise behind Ronald Reagan's movie, TV and political careers. More importantly, in 1961, he was appointed special adviser to the secretary general of the Organization of American States, a position he held until 1973. He also performed task-group work for the Department of State and the Executive Office of the President. From 1966 to 1973, he also served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild and was guild president from 1971-1973. For the next eight years, he was engaged in business activities, many of which took him to Mexico and other Latin American countries. The producers of the James Bond series signed George Lazenby to take over the lead in Diamonds Are Forever, until they convinced Sean Connery to reprise the role with a $1 million charitable contribution and a $1 million salary. Thus, Gavin lost out on what could have been his career break into the big-time. However, he did not lament the loss of the role. If he had been a more successful actor, it "might have prevented me from fulfilling my real childhood dream: to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico."
During the 1970s, Gavin made some more movies, toured in summer stock in a production of The Fantasticks (Gavin has a fine baritone voice), and appeared on Broadway and in the touring show of the musical Seesaw (1973). He ended the decade by starring in TV mini-series Doctors' Private Lives; he left show business to pursue business interests. The 1980s brought America a new president, and on May 7, 1981, Republican Gavin was appointed Ambassador to Mexico by President Reagan, serving until June 10, 1986. The American diplomatic mission in Mexico, one of the largest in the world, employed more than 1,000 American and Mexican employees tasked by over a dozen U.S. government agencies in consulates and offices throughout Mexico.
Gavin married the former stage and television actress Constance Towers in 1974. Each partner had two children from previous marriages. Gavin's daughter, Christina Gavin, followed in his footsteps and became an actress.
Since leaving government service, Gavin has become a successful businessman and civic leader, co-founding and managing successful ventures in the U.S. and Latin America. In 1986, Gavin was named president of Univisa Satellite Communications, a subsidiary of Univisa, Inc. He is founder/chairman of Gamma Holdings and serves on the boards of Apex Mortgage Capital, International Wire Holdings, and KKFC. Inc, and is a trustee and director of certain Merrill Lynch mutual funds. He is also a member of the Latin America Strategy Board of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst. Previously he was a managing director and partner of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (Latin America) as well as a director of Atlantic Richfield (where he had served as vice president of federal and international relations). He also served on the boards of Dresser Industries, Claxson and several other major corporations. Gavin also serves on the boards of several non-profit corporations, pro bono, including The Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, and the California Community Foundation. Gavin also is a member of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board as a defense and foreign policy expert.
Gavin served as founding Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Century Council's from May 1991 until December 1994, then served on the Council's Advisory Board until 1996. The Century Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting alcohol abuse, focuses on drunk driving and underage drinking problems and is supported by America's leading distillers.
In addition to their four children, Gavin and his wife Constance have one grandchild.
|Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a filmmaker, actress, speaker, and advocate for women, girls, and their families.
Newsom is the writer, director, and producer of the 2011 Sundance documentary film Miss Representation, which explores how the media's misrepresentations of women have led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence. Miss Representation made its national broadcast debut on OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network on October 20th, 2011.
Coinciding with the distribution of her film, Newsom launched MissRepresentation.org, a call-to-action movement that gives women and girls the tools to realize their full potential. Newsom serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MissRepresentation.org.
Newsom is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Girls Club Entertainment, LLC, a film production company established to develop independent films focused primarily on empowering women. Newsom is an Executive Producer of the 2012 Sundance Award-winning documentary The Invisible War which exposes the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military. As of 2012 she is in pre-production on her next documentary film series, The Mask You Live In.
Prior, Newsom worked on assignments in Africa, Latin America, and Europe for Conservation International, a global environmental organization, where her primary focus was providing micro-enterprise opportunities to women.
Newsom is a nationally recognized speaker. She has spoken at corporations, universities, non-profits, and conferences including TEDxWomen, Google, Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab, AT&T, Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit, Stanford University, Harvard University, MIT, Georgetown University, the Professional BusinessWomen of California, YWCA Salt Lake City, California Commission on the Status of Women, GirlVentures, and Women's Foundation of California.
Newsom serves as a board member of PBS's Northern California affiliate KQED; a commissioner on the Girl Scouts Healthy MEdia: Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls; a member of the Make Mine a Million $ Business National Steering Committee; an advisory board member of Emerge America; and an honorary board member of the International Museum of Women.
Recently, Newsom joined "The League of Extraordinary Women" by Fast Company, and was named one of the "Most Influential Women in Business" by the San Francisco Business Times, and in 2011, one of "150 Fearless Women Who Shake The World" by Newsweek Daily Beast. She has been awarded the "Champion for Kids" by Common Sense Media. Newsom has also been featured in O Magazine, NPR, ABC's Top Line, MSNBC Live, The Huffington Post, Forbes, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Tribune, Fox News, Vogue, and SELF.
Newsom graduated with honors both from Stanford University and Stanford's Graduate School of Business. Newsom also speaks Spanish.
Newsom resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and their two young children.
Torrei Hart is an actress, producer and television personality, gaining legions of fans for her vibrant personality, versatile talents, and veracious independence.
Born February 28th, 1978, in North Philadelphia, Torrei was raised in southern New Jersey, and grew up in a closely-knit family. With a heart of fire and larger-than-life personality, Torrei began studying acting and the arts at a very young age. By the time she reached her teens, the ambitious comedienne was impressing fellow classmates at Winslow Township High School, where she starred in numerous school plays and graduated in 1996.
Torrei would go on to enroll at Community College of Philadelphia where she met fellow actor and comedian Kevin Hart. As the bond between the college sweethearts strengthened, the two soon realized they shared a passion for comedy and a longing for Hollywood. In support of their dreams, together they dropped out of college, pursued their entertainment careers, and relocated to Los Angeles. By 2003, Torrei and Kevin were married and would go on to have two children, Heaven and Hendrix.
As Kevin's career took off, Torrei was busy staying on the audition circuit, while making a home for her new family. Torrei was able to score several coveted acting gigs, including national commercials for Ebay and Toyota, as well as parts in various films, including Soul Plane, opposite her then-husband, and a recurring role in Nickelodeon's Parental Discretion.
However, by 2010, Torrei's marriage had ended, and with the children a bit older, the budding actress found herself putting the proper time and energy into her own career.
In late 2012, Torrei Hart launched the YouTube comedy channel PrettyFunnyFish,which exploded in popularity. With a production team under the same name, Torrei began making comedic online videos, and signed a production partnership with Russell Simmons to create unique online content for his company All Def Digital. Torrei also has a huge following on Instagram where she writes, produces and stats in her own videos. In addition, Torrei Hart executive produced, co-wrote, and starred in her own short film entitled Victim of Circumstance. The film generated a buzz in the short film circuit and won numerous awards. The film can now be seen on Vimeo.
A savvy businesswoman and budding entrepreneur destined to empower women, in 2013, Torrei launched her non-profit initiative with her sister called S.O.A.R., an organization developed to help women overcome adversity, and in early 2014, Torrei teamed up with Skimpy Mixers and created her own low- calorie, low-sugar cocktail mixer! In August 2014, Torrei's latest project, Atlanta Exes, a reality show in which she co-stars alongside Tameka Raymond and Monyetta Shaw, premiered on Vh1. Torrei is currently in the film "American Bad Boy " that was released in June 2015 through Lions Gate Films. Currently has a new film due out early 2016 "But Deliver Us From Evil"
Torrei currently resides in Los Angeles with her two children, and is currently developing her own television project, and writing a self-help book for women, scheduled for a 2016 release.