Biography – Part 3

I said goodbye to my family and friends and started on a new adventure.
As things turned out I was called for a screen test for Franco Zeffirelli’s Endless Love starring Brooke Shields the day I was to leave for L.A. and The Greatest American Hero I did the test but when they said I would have to wait in New York for some reason I said sorry I have a plane to catch and grabbed a cab for the airport.
I woke up in what used to be the Holiday Inn on Highland and Hollywood Blvd. My curtains were wide open and I could see the Hollywood sign. So I knew it wasn’t a dream. I ordered room service and discovered my tab was covered!! I ate just about every meal in my room except when someone from ABC or Stephen Cannell’s company needed to see me.
Stephen Cannell took me to lunch at Muso Franks a famous Hollywood eatery where stars going all the way back to the silent movies ate. I wasn’t quite sure who Stephen was until Joyce Selznick told me he would be my future boss. Stephen even lent me a car to use while I searched for an apartment to live in. I had never had a car available to me before so I did what guys in the movies did with parking tickets when they were issued, I threw them away. This later caught up to me when we started shooting GAH and they took the teamster captain away in hand cuffs for outstanding warrants. I never apologized to Stumpy the teamster captain for that, which I regret.
Stephen held a read through of the script for GAH and I got to meet all the cast, Don Cervantes and Faye Grant and I quickly became friends and it turned out we all lived in the same neighborhood; so Faye would pick us up and we became really good friends for a while. As things turned out before we could start shooting the actors went on strike so there I was in L.A. with nothing to do but go back to acting class and wait.
Joyce Selznick and her Partner Jan McCormick had me over to their house quite a bit and Joyce became my unofficial Manager. She was under contract to ABC at the time.

Biography – Part 2

So here I am living on the lower eastside of Manhattan with my brother Terrence. He is going to Columbia University studying English Literature and I am going to acting school. We had inherited 300$ each from our grandfather on my father’s side Terry was working part time at Rikers Island, Men’s House of Detention, and my agent got me some print work once in a while so we were getting by.
I did a student film with a beautiful actress named Vivian and she invited me to dinner at the Laurent in Manhattan. I was surprised to arrive and find myself at dinner with Vivian and Salvador Dalí, his wife Gala, Mia Farrow and an assortment of characters from aspiring artists, actresses, drag queens and even a homeless guy called peaches. I sat next to Gala Dali’ and she told my fortune with flower petals and gazing into my eyes. She said a woman would come into my life that would make my name known nationally. She couldn’t say who where or why only that it would happen in the next six months.
news_080418_01.jpgWell sure enough I heard about a “Cattle Call” being run by Joyce Selznick for the ABC Network’s talent development program. I followed another actor in to the audition hall picked up some slides “Audition Scenes” and started studying the scene. A woman came out into the area where all the actors were sitting and studying, she had a cane. She walked over to me and said “if you do what I say I can make you a star, I’m Joyce Selznick.” I said, “O.K. Joyce what should I do?” Her partner came back out and gave me their phone # in LA and said to call her next week. I went back home and told my brother about it and went to work; I was back in the restaurant business by now thinking my acting was just a dream.
I called Joyce and Jan exactly a week after she told me to and she said she was sending me a contract to sign. I signed it and sent it back and Joyce called and said she was coming back to NYC to do the screen tests. She sent me slides to study of two test pilots and told me where to be and when. I prepared the scenes and showed up on time did the tests got a free lunch and went to work at the restaurant again.
Joyce called me about a week later and said ABC was sending me a cheque for 8000$ and a round trip ticket to LA first class. I was off to Hollywood to be a supporting role in Stephen Cannell’s The Greatest American Hero.

Biography Part 1

I was born in NYC in 1958. Four years later my father died and my family moved to Westchester New York. Growing up in the 60’s there were no contemporary role models for boys. The “WAR” was wrong, the “Establishment” was wrong; it was the beginning of blaming the white man for everything that was wrong in the world. With no role models I guess I turned to movie leading men. All the stars were my role models, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Paul Newman, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Robert Mitchum, Rod Steiger, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper and Cagney, Bogart, Spencer Tracy. They were all my secret role models.
In high school I started working in a fast food place and by the end I was working in a regular restaurant. I liked restaurants and the work the chef in a restaurant suggested if I planned to make a career in restaurants that I should get a degree like he did. He suggested I apply to a great school in upstate New York. I was accepted and I studied there for one year and then got a job at a great restaurant in NYC owned by Warner LeRoy which would soon prove to be an interesting coincidence. A year or so later I was working on Columbus Avenue in a chic place with a French chef, living off Columbus Avenue, life was cool, I was secure and was looking forward to a career in NYC as a chef.
blog_080229.jpgIt was kind of surreal when I remember it but this is how it happened. There was a bar in my neighborhood where a girl friend worked that I spent most nights in. One of those nights a pretty little woman sat next to me and wanted to know all kinds of things about me, we chatted and began to think it odd. Especially after I said lighten up my girl friend works here. That’s when she said, Listen I am an agent for actor and I think you should have lunch with me and we can talk. I blew her off but she came back several times and one of the waitresses where I worked said, Go ahead, are you kidding there are a million actors in this town with no agent and one wants to rep you, don’t be stupid. Even the chef said, Go have lunch with her and then my brother also said why not.
We had lunch, she gave me an acting teacher to see, Rachel Ward was in the class before she started working. Beautiful chicks were talking to me. Once I got over stage fright and started to understand the craft I was hooked. I really liked acting class, doing scenes from plays that my heroes had done, there was a feeling of transcendence when a scene was really working.
I studied acting during the day and worked in restaurants at night, life had taken on a new meaning, I was doing something only special people could do, artists. This went on for a year or so and then it happened.
Well that’s all for now.