I guess saying I started out young would be quite an understatement, having filmed my first commercial when I was six months old. The ad was for Ivory Soap and I’ve been a working member of Screen Actors Guild since I can remember. Growing up during the 60’s & 70's in Oyster Bay, New York, I was blessed with two major passions: my acting and my art. When I wasn’t doing one, chances were I was doing something related to the other. My paintings garnered postive attention and even some awards beginning in the second grade.
When I was 9 years old I landed the featured role of Melinda in the Hallmark Hall of Fame Production of Inherit the Wind.. I worked with Hollywood legends: Ed Begley, Melvyn Douglas, Diane Baker, and producer/director George Schaeffer. By the time I entered Oyster Bay High I had a pretty decent resume.. Fortunately for me, my school went on split sessions due to overcrowding. I was free at 12:17 pm! As long as I kept up my grades, which I did, I was allowed to take the Long Island Railroad into the city by myself for lessons (voice, jazz, tap, ballet) and auditions. I also spent two enjoyable summers performing in musicals at many of Long Island’s parks and libraries with CAPA’s (Cultural and Performing Arts) Teen Repertoire Theatre.
Then off to college! I was accepted as a Fine Arts major at FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, which was fabulous. Now living in the city I could focus on my studies while proximity allowed me to attend evening jazz classes with Phil Black. After graduation, I spent two years studying acting with Bill Esper. This was an intense experience but when all was said and done I left knowing my craft and secure in my acting choices.
I did some bit parts in Joan Micklin Silver’s Between the Lines and Milos Forman’s Hair. I tapped with Sammy Davis Jr. in a 7-Up commercial, was a Burger King Girl during the “Have it Your Way” campaign, and lots of little roles in soap operas. I was living the Marlo Thomas “That Girl” existence in a tiny studio apartment on East 56th Street. A fatherly gentleman, Jerome, managed my building as well as six other rent-controlled apartment buildings that his in-laws owned including a gorgeous pre-war doorman building on the Upper East Side. When I found out that Jerome was a theatre buff I handed him a flyer for one of my off-off–Broadway productions. Then I inquired as to how one would go about moving into a larger one bedroom. He laughed and gave me some story about higher rents, struggling actresses, and a waiting list two miles long. That certainly didn’t deter me. That poor man got notices or invites for anything and everything I was in! When I was chosen from an open call to be one of the disco dancers in Saturday Night Fever I thought for sure he’d be impressed! But Jerome was a tough audience. Thinking he’d shut me up once and for all, he said, “When you tell me you’re actually speaking in a movie, not spinning in the background behind John Travolta, maybe then we’ll talk one bedroom.” In the summer of ’79 I heard about this little independent horror film, Friday the 13th. Barry Moss and Julie Hughes were casting. It was going to be tough getting into the audition since I didn’t have a theatrical agent to submit me. My good friend Bill Love’s boss’s friend, Pam, knew Barry and that’s how I got in. Then there was callback after callback,then the screen test. I’m pretty sure my scream nailed it! Finally, I was Alice, the sole survivor.
We started shooting right after Labor Day. I knew from the first moment I got to camp and saw the crew setting up that this was going to be the adventure of a lifetime. A pervasive ‘indie’ spirit ruled! Everyone pulled together giving their best despite the long hours, cold temperatures, and grueling night shoots. A few months after we wrapped I sent Jerome an invitation to the cast-and-crew screening of Friday the 13th. And you know what? Jerome came through! He saw the movie, gave me a hug, and handed me the keys to my beautiful sun-drenched one- bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park. My new home, my new movie and hence my new life were converging in chorus! What a euphoric feeling of accomplishment riding the enormous wave of the biggest blockbuster that Paramount released that summer of 1980. Unfortunately, my joyful existence was about to take a very bizarre twist.
After the success of Friday the 13th and throughout the filming of Friday the 13th Part II, I was pursued by a stalker. In the early ‘80’s, stalking was not considered a crime and therefore was not taken seriously by the authorities. This terrifying ordeal went on for close to a year before the situation was alleviated. Ironically, I was living a nightmare that was more horrifying than anything I’d witnessed on the big screen. Needless to say, the experience shook me up for awhile. I focused on my painting and put my acting career on the back burner while trying to figure out my next move. A year later I was accepted to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. It was brilliant! I put the stalking episode behind me and figured I’d use it somewhere in my acting. Upon returning to the States in 1984 I went full blast into voice-over work, which was a comfortable niche that I truly enjoyed. Eventually I became a successful ADR looper. This is where one “revoices” characters or adds additional dialogue or sounds to a specific scene or scenes in films and television. As a looper, or member of a loop group, one gets to improv and play multiple characters within a film. I’ve looped scenes with Johnny Depp in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Mel Gibson in Man Without A Face and Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, to name a few.
In 1986, I met my soulmate and future husband, Richard, who was the president of an international independent film distribution and production company. He was responsible for releasing George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and many other genre films, including Mother’s Day, Sleepaway Camp, and Kentucky Fried Movie, his first movie out of college with John Landis and the Zucker brothers. For the next few years we traveled the world including the Cannes Film Festival and Milan Film Market. I was learning the art of international film sales while sketching and water-coloring the similar landscapes that my favorite Impressionists Cezanne, Monet, and Van Gogh had put to canvas only a century ago.
In 1994, work took us to L.A. where I was fortunate enough to loop on Melrose Place for the next seven seasons. It was a blast working on all the different Hollywood studio lots while looping on television and cable shows as well as feature films. (looping credits) In 2002, Peter Bracke, author of Crystal Lake Memories, tracked me down for an interview for his book and the extras on the Warner’s International DVD. He spoke of the devoted and ever-growing global Friday the 13th community that wondered where I’d disappeared to and why. Peter convinced me that I needed to let the fans in on my harrowing experiences related to the movie’s aftermath.
And that following year, I did just that at the Chiller show in New Jersey. I remember being amazed as the dedicated fans crowded into the ballroom on that freezing day in January. I felt embraced by them and comfortable enough to impart some of my personal history from that dark chapter when asked. The warm circle of trust that I now share with my fans began that weekend and appreciatively continues to be nurtured and grow.
In May, 2005, the day after the Friday the 13th 25th Anniversary Weekend in Hollywood, Richard and I took a long drive up the Coast and unexpectedly discovered our future home! Two months later we packed up L.A. and moved to our river paradise in Southern Oregon! While unpacking in my new art studio I came across a dusty box labeled Friday the 13th. There before me lay a treasure trove of memorabilia from the film including my turquoise jewelry, sketchpad, cowboy boots, never-before-seen Polaroids from the set, and Sean Cunningham’s original director’s notes from the infamous fight scene between Mrs. V and Alice. I took those notes and incorporated them into a limited edition poster created especially for the Friday the 13th fans.
The pure joy of creating in my studio, surrounded by beautiful views of the valley and the gentle rush of the river sustains me and I am grateful for the beautiful life Richard and I share with our two girls, Lucy and Sammi.
I’m still an active member of Screen Actors Guild and I guess saying ‘Life is good’ would be quite the understatement. I thank my fans for their inspiration and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Murder at 1600
While You Were Sleeping
Age of Innocence
The Pelican Brief
Sleepless In Seattle
Man Without A Face
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
The Night We Never Met
The Good Son
Friday the 13th
TV & CABLE
Joan of Arcadia
Melrose Place (7 seasons)
Love Boat: The Next Wave (2 seasons)
The Kindred (2 seasons)
The Equalizer (2 seasons)
Indictment: The McMartin Trial (HBO)
James Dean (HBO)
Blood River (TNT)
Desitin Baby Powder
Plus hundreds of additional commercials and voice-overs
New York: Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Long Island, Locust Valley Lockjaw
New England: Boston, Maine. Midwestern, Southern
British: Cockney, Irish, French
From being a baby’s voice (animation) for a Desitin national spot to looping three scenes of a mother giving birth to triplets on Loveboat to voice matching a grandmother for Imaginary Crimes (Miramax)…full scene opposite Johnny Depp in Gilbert Grape, Vampires in The Kindred, and my personal claim to fame: Breather & Screamer extraordinaire way back to Friday the 13th way up to Titanic.