Robin David Segal Performs in a Variety of Capacities
The title of this episode, "Robby Benson: From Boy to Beast... and Beyond," reflects the notion that actor Robby Benson has achieved his greatest fame for audiences of 2002, by voicing the animated film "Beauty and the Beast" (1991), while supposedly a very few must remember his work as a "Teen Idol" of the late 1970's.
Well, at any rate, this begins with his 1956 birth, in Dallas, Texas, the second child of actress Ann Benson Segal and laywright/screenwriter Jerry Segal, who teach daughter, Shelli, and son, Robin, the arts of performing in music and acting.
During the early 1960's, Ann and Jerry produce a Musical Comedy, "For People Only," starring the entire Segal family. Upon their realizing its success in local theatres, Ann and Jerry relocate the family to New Rochelle, New York, to perform in nearby Manhattan, to which they eventually re-settle, in 1963.
Robby speaks of his not fitting in very well with his Manhattan classmates, while he continues to long to perform. He applies with a talent agency for work in television commercials and, thereby, endorses a variety of products during his youth in Manhattan.
When Ann branches out to star in productions at the Red Barn Theatre in Saugatuck, Michigan, Robbie accompanies her, to perform in a play which he has recently seen in Manhattan, "Oliver!," for which he is cast, to receive more audience recognition than receives Ann, and so Robby takes her maiden name as his stage name, to become Robbie Benson.
After a stint on television's "Search for Tomorrow" (1971-72), which Robby now discusses as the only acting challenge which he doesn't like, he receives national recognition for his starring role in the 1973 film "Jeremy."
From here, Robby's film career begins to flourish, as he and interview guests discuss his acting breaks in film and on stage, where he meets his future wife, the lovely Karla DeVito, as his "The Pirates of Penzance" co-star, and whom he marries in 1982, and subsequently welcomes daughter, Lyric, and son, Zephyr.
But in 1984, Robby suddenly faces health problems, leading to emergency heart valve surgery, which derails his vigorous acting career. While he continues to act, and to perform musically, Robby has branched his talents into directing, and has received an honorary degree from the University of South Carolina, one of the campuses at which Robbie instructs college courses.
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Ann Benson Segal (Actress/mother), Jerry Segal (Screenwriter/father), Shelli Segal (Actress/sister), Robby Benson (Self), Karla DeVito (Actress/wife), Glynnis O'Connor (Actress/friend), Annette O'Toole (Actress/friend), Lisa Sutton (Pop Culture Historian), Jason Alexander (Actor/friend), Burt Reynolds (Actor/friend), and Michael Medved (Film Critic/Radio Show Host).
Still Photographs include Robby Benson, Liza Minnelli, Francis Ford Coppola, Gene Hackman, Jack Lemmon and Paul Newman, plus others who appear elsewhere in this episode.
Archive film footage includes Robby Benson, Dinah Shore and Lynn-Holly Johnson, plus several unidentified co-stars.
Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Robby Benson in scenes from Jeremy (1973), Ode to Billy Joe (1976), One on One (1977), The End (1978/I), Ice Castles (1978), Running Brave (1983), and Beauty and the Beast (1991) (voice), as well as an early commercial for a popcorn maker, plus his appearance on television's "Dinah!" (Episode #3.75, 1977).
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