PROFILE

THE EARLY YEARS…

“Dese are da conditions dat prevail.” – Jimmy Durante

I began my mission one early February morning in 1965. It’s well documented, although my own memory of the experience eludes me. I am told it was a thirty minute process. I have always been eager…

My first clear memory comes around the age of four; Charlton Heston in jungle garb. Somehow he managed to save the African Continent from flesh eating ants without even getting his clothes dirty. The ants kept me awake at night. Heston introduced me to “The Hero.” My imagination blossomed…

At age 6, I entered the Wyoming Public School System. Mrs. Neilson, my first grade teacher, taught me to read. It was like the first time that Tiger swung the club. I devoured everything in sight. I would run the short distance to the town’s library and stagger home under a load of adventures and texts. Within those endless volumes, a thin paperback found it’s way; “Secrets of Movie Makeup.” I was hooked. Many paper-mache Frankenstein heads and bottles of latex later, I found myself looking at a list of high school electives and seeing the word “Stagecraft.” Fortunately, my family had pulled up stakes in Wyoming and moved us all to the Mecca of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also fortunate was the fact that we settled within the school district of Del Norte High, noted in the area for it’s theater arts program. I stood in awe as I first entered the large auditorium. It quickly became my second home. Within it’s darkness I helped raise the walls of Verona, invoke the breezes of South Pacific, and create the attic hideout of Anne Frank. I worked within every technical department and when a production of Romeo & Juliet went in search of supporting actors, I found myself under the lights. I set my sights on Carnegie Mellon and a scholarship in Lighting Design. Broadway seemed to call. But fate had other plans…

COPPOLA CALLS…

“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe” – Carl Sagan

When I purchased my first car, an off-white Toyota Corolla for a mere four hundred dollars, they said it would never take me anywhere. As I climbed into its cold interior one evening of my Junior year in high school, two others from the drama department approached me. Actor types, they asked if I might give them a lift to the Hilton downtown for an audition. I drove them and waited as they filled out the proper forms and each took a polaroid. When the woman with a camera asked if I would like to audition as well, I reluctantly agreed. I quickly wrote down my meager resume on a piece of notebook paper and stapled on the polaroid.

Soon, I found myself seated in a room surrounded by Producer Fred Roos and one of the creators of The Casting Company, Janet Hershenson. They asked a few questions and I read a short monologue. I didn’t find out until later that the meeting had been for Francis Ford Coppola’s production of The Outsiders. Callbacks followed. Then flights to Los Angeles and New York. After many grueling hours of audition and improvisation, I was given the role of Randy Anderson and embarked on a three month production in Tulsa with the Godfather of film himself.

The proscenium of the theater quickly faded as I discovered the power of the camera lens. Acting was my ticket in and after completing high school early, I climbed back into the off-white Corolla and headed down I-40 to Hollywood…

THE COLD WAR…

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