Thursday, January 26, 2012

01/26 Marsha Mason

Marsha Mason’s distinguished and vibrant career in film, theater and television has
garnered her generations of fans, four Academy Award nominations, two Golden
Globe Awards, an Emmy and a Grammy nomination. A comedienne at heart with the
soul of a dramaturge, Ms. Mason is equally accomplished on the stage, in front of the
camera or in the director’s chair.

Always in demand, Ms. Mason just wrapped filming her popular reoccurring role on ABC’s hit comedy, The Middle where she plays Patricia Heaton’s zany mother; and this year she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gulf Coast Film Festival and co-starred in the Westport Country Playhouse’s production of W. Somerset Maugham’s The Circle under the direction of Nicholas Martin.

Ms. Mason’s extensive film career includes her iconic roles in 1973’s Cinderella Liberty where she was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award and received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama and 1977’s Goodbye Girl for which she
received her second Academy Award Nomination and her second Golden Globe Award. In
1979, she starred in the critically acclaimed films, Promises in the Dark and Chapter Two where
she was nominated for an Academy Award and two Golden Globe awards. Her role in the
film Only When I Laugh was recognized with a fourth Academy Award nomination. Other
feature film credits include The Cheap Detective, Stella, Max Dugan Returns, Heartbreak
Ridge, Nick of Time and Two Days in the Valley. She can also be seen in 2004’s Bride and Prejudice: A Bollywood Musical, directed by Gurinder Chadha. In 1987, Marsha directed the television film Little Miss Perfect and received the People’s Choice Award for Best Actress in both 1979 and 1981.

Marsha’s many theatre credits include Cyrano de Bergerac, You Can't Take It With You, A Doll’s
House, The Crucible and The Merchant of Venice at ACT in San Francisco. In New York, she
appeared in Norman Mailer's The Deer Park, Israel Horovitz's The Indian Wants the Bronx, Neil
Simon's The Good Doctor and Richard III. She directed Juno's Swans for The Second Stage. She
starred in 1996’s Night of the Iguana and the following year in Michael Cristofer's Amazing
Grace. In 1999, she was reunited with her Goodbye Girl co-star Richard Dreyfuss in Neil
Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue at the Royal Haymarket Theatre in London. The
subsequent recording was nominated for a Grammy in the best comedy category. In 2004,
she appeared in Charles Mee's Wintertime at the McCarter Theatre and the Second Stage in
New York. In 2005, she co-starred with Delta Burke, Christine Ebersole, Frances
Sternhagen, Rebecca Gayheart and Lily Rabe in Steel Magnolias on Broadway. In 2006,
Marsha starred in the Greek Tragedy "Hecuba" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She
appeared in 2007’s “A Feminine Ending” at Playwrights Horizons at the Lincoln Center and
starred most recently in the Shakespeare Theater Company’s performance of “All's Well
That Ends Well” in Washington, D.C.

In addition to her film and theater credits, Ms. Mason has guest starred on NBC’s Lipstick
Jungle, Lifetime’s Army Wives, Showtime's Bereft, NBC's Life with Judy Garland, and Hallmark
Channel's The Long Shot. She was featured on six episodes of Frasier for which she was
nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy.

While taking a sabbatical from show business to explore other interests, Ms. Mason
purchased a spread of land in the Chama River Valley of Northern New Mexico and
transformed acres of overgrazed, infertile earth into a vibrant oasis of healing herbs and
flowers. Utilizing timeless biodynamic, holistic and organic practices that restore, maintain
and enhance the ecological harmony of the earth, the vitality of her Resting in the River
Farm ™ rewarded Marsha's tireless efforts by yielding an abundance of organic medicinal
herbs and flowers. Ms. Mason formed a holistic products line, Resting in the River where the
herbs and flowers are transformed into beneficial homeopathic and beauty products.

During her time in New Mexico, Ms. Mason authored her bestselling memoir, Journey (Simon
& Schuster 2000) and for several years pursued her long-time passion for car racing by
driving a Mazda RX-7 in SCCA events. Coming full circle to where her entertainment career
began, Ms. Mason is selling her farm in New Mexico and moving back East to focus on

Thursday, January 19, 2012

01/19 Larry Wilcox

70s and early 80s TV star Larry Wilcox was born on August 8, 1947 in San Diego California, the product of a broken home. His father, a bartender left the house when Larry was but an infant and died soon after divorcing Larry's mother. His mother, a secretary, found the going rough trying to feed four children and moved the family to Wyoming to live with relatives. Raised on his grandfather's ranch in Rawlins, Larry was a quiet, introspective youngster but grew up fast and worked occasionally in the summer on sheep and cattle ranches. He trekked to Los Angeles, following high school and a year in college, and worked a series of menial jobs while learning the piano in order to pursue a music career. The love of acting, however, finally won out. In order to avoid the draft, he interrupted his acting studies by enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1967, and wound up serving over a year in Vietnam as an artilleryman. Discharged with the rank of Sergeant, he went back to college and focused briefly on a career in dentistry before resuming his acting training on the west coast.

The clean-cut young lad with corn-fed good looks soon went out for commercials and won a number of them including one for Old Spice, the after-shave lotion. In 1972, he found perfect casting as assistant ranch hand "Dale Mitchell" in the revamped "Lassie" (1954) series for two seasons, and also appeared in scattered guest parts on prime-time TV, including "M*A*S*H" (1972), "The Streets of San Francisco" (1972) and "Hawaii Five-O" (1968). In 1977, he hit the jackpot when he won the role of "Officer Jon Baker" in "CHiPs" (1977). An accomplished motorcycle rider, horseman, race car driver, and jet skier, Larry performed many of his own stunts. He and co-star Erik Estrada became major TV idols with Estrada taking a slight edge as the "bad boy" charmer.

Larry formed his own production company, "Wilcox Productions", which is still running today. He has continued acting and directing, primarily in action adventures. One of his producing projects early in the game involved the retelling of the murder of actress/Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten in a mini-movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis. Nurturing his entrepreneurial talents, Wilcox moved into business outside the entertainment arena with a pharmaceutical company called "Team Elite" in the 1980s. He is also the president of "MediaCore", a software company specializing in CD-ROMs and Internet compression technology. On the humanitarian side, Larry has served with the National Health Foundation Luminary; served as Honorary National Chairman for Toys for Tots; and Honorary Member of the California Highway Patrol. He is also a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association.

In 1999, Wilcox returned to his "Officer Jon Baker" role in the TV-movie reunion movie CHiPs '99 (1998) (TV) with former co-stars Estrada, Robert Pine and Paul Linke. Not seen much since, the father of five children currently lives on his ranch in the San Fernando Valley with his third wife and their two children.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

01/12 Paris Benjamin

Paris Benjamin is known for her great characterizations of strong women in her native France, so it didn't take long for the young actress make her mark with American filmmakers in a big way with two new films and more on the way.

"I've always been very driven and very much of a risk taker when it came to my career and being involved with great creative people as I have been here, is very much what any actor would want," said Benjamin, star of the film "The Flying Dutchman: The Legend," which she just completed.

Playing a character named Laura, who follows her former lover to a tropical island where she hopes to rekindle the romance, Benjamin is as driven as her character when it comes to her work. She didn't think twice when director Christian Lara told her she'd have to move to an island near Tahiti and live there for four weeks for 12-hour days and virtually no contact with the outside world.

"It was a great location with fabulous scenery, but you couldn't really enjoy it or take advantage of the gorgeous beaches very much because you have to work. But it was a great experience," she said.

"The director, Christian, was great. He was very knowledgeable and had a great vision for what he wanted to achieve and he transferred that to the actors and we all realized we wanted the same thing so he was fun to work with."
Starring opposite veteran actor Barry Primus of "Boston Legal," and "Arliss," Benjamin excelled in bringing the strength of her character to bear during their scenes. The chemistry between the two actors was a key element in the film's production, Benjamin said.

"Barry is a very talented actor and playing opposite him was really a great experience. We really complimented each other which made for some great scenes."
Her new film, "Folklore" sends Benjamin in an entirely new direction. She plays Annabelle, an android, in director/producer Justin Calen Chenn's science fiction comedy set for release in 2012.

"It was a fun shoot. I never played an android and working on a comedy is always fun." she said.
The fill tells the story of an android, a water nymph, a vampire, extra terrestrials and other assorted beings who are asked to talk about their lives by a government agency in a far-off future.

"I liked the idea of a science fiction comedy, but I also liked being a really strange character that has to explain herself even though she's really a robot. There's something really funny about that but also something very meaningful."

Born in Burgundy, France and of Moroccan descent, Benjamin began acting at age 5 when she began reading children's poetry and performing several characters in children's plays before an audience. By the time she was an adult she had studied in London, Paris and New York with legendary acting coach Jack Waltzer as well as at Stetson University's Drama School in Florida.
Despite having moved to the U.S., she would often be asked to return to France for roles there where her talents blossomed and became well known.

"I love working in France, but it's here where I wanted to work and it was as if somebody heard me because in these last few years, I've been working a lot in the U.S. and with some really great people," she said.

With credits in TV's "Grey's Anatomy," a slew of films including "Paranoia," "Wild Side" and many others including the 2007 film "Le Chambre Vide," Benjamin is just getting started.
Today, she's set to star in another American film this winter and is weighing her options on another independent film now in preproduction.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

01/05 Dee Wallace

Originally from Kansas City, Kansas, Dee Wallace has worked as an author, teacher, dancer and actress in film, television and the stage for over 30 years. With over 100 credits to her name, Ms. Wallace is a true tour de force in this industry, working with countless directors, producers and some of Hollywood's biggest names including Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Wes Craven, Joe Dante, Stephen King and Blake Edwards.

Dee's career began in New York where she studied with famous acting teacher Uta Hagen before moving to Los Angeles where she continued to hone her craft with her mentor Charles Conrad.

Her many feature film credits include such classics as The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, Cujo, Secret Admirer, The Frighteners, 10, and most notably her starring role in one of America's most celebrated films, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Academy Award winning director and film icon Steven Spielberg. She was recently featured in the exciting new remake of Rob Zombie's Halloween.

Her countless television credits only add more cache to an already illustrious acting career, with starring roles in over twenty Movies of the Week and four hit television series including her most recent portrayal as the passive aggressive matriarch in a very dysfunctional family on the 2006/7 ABC comedy "Sons and Daughters". Other most recent television credits include, "Grey's Anatomy," "Cold Case," "Without a Trace," "Ghost Whisperer," and a recurring role on "My Name is Earl."

As a much sought after celebrity and renowned actress, Dee has appeared on every major news and talk show and has been featured on E! True Hollywood Stories, Oprah and The O'Reilly Factor.

Her speaking engagements include numerous national and international venues including the Love and Harmony Forum in Tokyo, Japan; the Dillion Lecture Series; Unity Temple; the Kansas Film Commission; Spiritworks; Energetic Healing seminars throughout England, and her own healing and teaching seminars throughout the United States.

On a weekly basis, Dee conducts numerous private healing sessions at her office in Woodland Hills, California.

As an author, Dee has written a book devoted to the art of self-healing. She conducts monthly workshops to introduce people to the healing techniques outlined in her book, Conscious Creation.In addition to her ongoing work with fellow actors as an acting teacher and mentor, Dee devotes all her extra time to her beautiful daughter Gabrielle.