In January of 1969, after returning from a tour of duty in Vietnam as a combat medical, I discovered that if I enrolled in college, I could get out of the Army three months early. After all, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where I was stationed at the time, wasn't the most exciting place in the world being 70 miles from everywhere. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to get out of the Army and I enrolled at Chabot College in Hayward California. I graduated from Hayward High in 1965 and went to Riverside City College for a year and a half before I got drafted. Actually, I got drafted because I was trying to be clever and create a little commerce for myself. I had saved a little money, so I decided to drop out of college for about six months to a year and start a furniture moving business with my cousin, Nelson. The plan was to get my business going, hire somebody to take my place, and get back in the school without the government finding out... wrong! Within three months of dropping out of school, I got drafted.
After arriving at Chabot College, I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer. Fortuitously, I met a couple of people who were on the debate team. They suggested that I join them on the team and that would help me towards my interest in law. While talking to them about it, a powerful woman, who was all of 5’2”, came into the room and asked whose voice that was echoing down the hall. After a few questioning looks between us, I finally asked whose voice was she referring too? She said "That's it. What are you doing at three o'clock this afternoon?" I said "Well...." She said "Good... come to room 708." Dr. Barbara Merdes was her name and she introduced me to Readers Theater and Forensics (Competitive speaking). I went on to become the state forensics champion. Dr. Merdes was an important role model for me.
The drama teacher, Glenn Dubose, came up to me one day and asked if I would be interested in doing a musical called "Golden Boy". That sounded like fun. So I embarked on this wild, exciting, crazy adventure ride in the world of 'The Theater’. That was almost thirty-six years ago, and I'm still on that same ride. It just keeps getting better and better. I'm having more fun than I've ever had. I love what I do.
My first professional job was in the national company of No Place to Be Somebody with Ben Vereen and Philip Michael Thomas. Some of the more notable performances in the years to follow included drama critic awards for my work in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Los Angeles Theater Center and Streamers at the Westwood Playhouse. Other memorable experiences included productions of Fool for Love at LATC, Checkmates at the Westwood Playhouse, a N.Y. Shakespeare Festival production of The Mighty Gents, a N.Y. Manhattan Theater Company world premiere of The Talented Tenth, the American premiere of Hapgood at The Doolittle Theater in Los Angeles, Vision and Lovers at The Skylight Theater and The Exonerated at the Actors Gang Theater in Los Angeles.
Some of my selected films include Steven Spielberg’s' Poltergeist, Walter Hills'Streets of Fire, Stick with Burt Reynolds, The Main Event with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal, Coming Home with Jane Fonda and John Voight, Audrey Rosewith Anthony Hopkins and Marsha Mason, Wag the Dog, starring Robert Deniro and Dustin Hoffman, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Angela Bassett, and soon to be seen in the upcoming film The Dinner Party, starring Bernie Mack and Ashton Kutcher.
I was a series regular on The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Dynasty, and Chicago Story. Jericho Mile, The Golden Moment, Johnnie Gibson, FBI, Pandora's Clock and Jackie's Back were notable movie of the weeks. I have also guest starred on such popular small-screen series as MacGyver (recurring character-spun off to a pilot called The Colton's), Wiseguy, Amen, Parenthood, St. Elsewhere, Picket Fences, Judging Amy, The Division and NYPD Blue to name a few.
I created the part of 'Lucas Barnes' on the soap opera All My Children.
At some point during this journey I began studying the craft of acting with world renowned acting teacher and director Milton Katselas. After five years of training closely with him, I began teaching his classes. I have now been teaching the Milton Katselas technique at the Beverly Hills Playhouse for 25 years. I've had the pleasure of taking part in the training of some of the most successful actors in the business.
A natural extension of teaching is directing. The following is a selected list of some pieces I've directed: No Place to Be Somebody, Othello, Death of a Salesman, Chicago, Heat, From the Heart of Love, Lullaby Lady, Driving Miss Daisy, Unfaithful, The Fisher King, and Excuse Me.
My “wild, exciting, crazy adventure” has included other dynamics of course besides the Stage, Film and Television. From 1983 to 1994, I helped to administrate and run the drug education, training, treatment and aftercare program for the National Basketball Association/National Basketball Players Association. I trained under Dr. Dave Lewis, Kip Flock and John Bradshaw, three of the top men in their field. I was instrumental in helping to make that program one of the most successful drug programs in Corporate America. Today I'm a highly sought-after interventionist and I continue to counsel people and families all over the country. More about my journey in this area can be found in the Interventionist section of this site.
March 22, 1992, I was on USAir’s flight 405, which crashed during takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport. 27 people died and 24 people survived. An event of this magnitude has an indelible effect on your psyche and spirit. It certainly teaches you that there are no guarantees in life. You have to live every day as if it's your last. Events surrounding the plane crash inspired me to write a yet unpublished novel, which I'm now adapting into a screenplay.
This brief biography would be incomplete if I didn’t mention golf. Golf is my one of my passions. I looooove playing golf. I’m a student of the game and a pretty good player. I'm a Single digit handicapper for those of you that know the game. My love of golf and sports in general has inspired me to become an inventor. I have an upcoming patented product that will hit the market in the near future called The Head Case, which is a clear plastic injection molded case that will protect and store golf/baseball caps.
Jack of all trades…. One might ask? Yes, I suppose all the hats that I wear might inspire some question as to what it is that I do well or have I, in fact, mastered none. I suppose the answer (to my own question) lies in something that the great maestro, Giuseppe Ballistriei once told me – “You can only serve one master.” I think he’s absolutely correct. For me, that master is;
1. A powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger.
2. a. Ardent love.
b. Strong sexual desire; lust.
c. The object of such love or desire.
3. a. Boundless enthusiasm
b. The object of such enthusiasm:
4. An abandoned display of emotion