Born August 24, 1956 and a native New Yorker my childhood was in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and Rosebank, Staten Island. I attended St. John’s Villa Academy in Staten Island, and the famed Lafayette High School in Brooklyn. Lafayette High School was the home to the original Sweat Hogs from “Welcome Back Kotter”, and was scenery for the movie “Saturday Night Fever” and “The French Connection”.
Halfway through High School and being very independent, I flew to Los Angeles to stay with friends and attend West Torrance High School. There I had my first taste of theater starring in a production of THE FANTASTICKS.
I then auditioned for a summer stock production of THE MUSIC MAN, and was cast in the role of Marcellus Washburn. People that were very influential to me at this point in my life were: Allen White, David Levy, Ron Scarlata, and PatriciaLevenson.
But Los Angeles had other influencing factors in my life. I became involved with a group of born again Christians, and at the age of 17, I began “preaching” on the Redondo Beach pier. It wans’t too long before I became bored and returned to New York City, heavily hitting the club scene of the mid 1970’s.
Disco was in full force, hustling was in and liquor and drugs ran freely. Too much for one night, I fell asleep, drunk on Military Island in the heart of Times Square. ( I know it sounds like a scripted film but it’s true ). Awakened the next morning ( It was a Sunday, I’ll never forget it ). by a NYC Police Officer and with no immediate direction in my life, I walked a few feet into the Armed Forces Recruitment Center and joined the United States Air Force.
My basic training took place at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. ( Talk about culture shock ). I was then stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina ( Talk about culture shock ), as an Air Operations Specialist.
I did my time in the Air Force, then headed back to New York City and did… you know, these few years are still a blur, but I remember going to Parson’s School of Design, then dropping out after 2 semesters.
So, at the age of 28 I moved again, this time upstate to Albany, NY where I took a job tending bar. After a while I took a job at the Albany Hilton Hotel as a night auditor. Hey! I thought I was terrible in math, but you know something… I liked doing the night audit “stuff”, so I went back to school, full time ( Thanks GI Bill ) and received a degree in Accounting. I started working at various bookkeeping positions including: Payroll Timekeeper for Macy’s Albany ( Which helped me take part in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade one year as a clown ) and as Assistant Payroll Administrator for Sysco Frosted Foods also in Albany.
Enough corporate stuff! My theatrical roots came calling with a vengeance. First I became involved with Capital Rep, a well know regional theater, then I sprung out to Albany Civic Theater where I acted, directed, produced and worked on numerous productions for many seasons. I was voted to the Board of Directors where I wore the hats of Production Co-coordinator and Box Office Treasurer.
In 1996 at the age of 40, after 12 great years in Albany, I moved back to my hometown of NYC to pursue a professional acting career ( with my degree in accounting to fall back on to pay the bills ).
My first professional gig was a commercial for SNET (Southern New England Telephone) which gave me entry to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).In the commercial I was thrown from an airplane… no kidding! But it was shot in front of one of those green screens and as I hung from a harness my feet were only a few inches off the ground.
Then it wasn’t to long before I became eligible to join other performing arts unions. AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association were next. In order to “network” with other actors, I started doing extra work on many films & local TV productions such as: Saturday Night Live, Spin City and for 2 seasons as a stand-in for Vito on “The Sopranos”.
I was also a cop on every Law and Order as well as NYPD Blue.
Acting came to a halt when roles became scarce and the competition grew. Having just lost my younger brother to Leukemia, my form of closure was to write, and I wrote the 22 page screenplay THE LILAC PAPERS. ( light blue means click for the website ).
I produced, co-directed and starred in this short film of a young man dying from cancer and the 3 women in his life: His mother, wife and sister. I played his brother and narrated the story forward.
The screenplay was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2003 LA Screenplay Competition.
Although I still pick up acting gigs every now and then, I have found my calling… writing.
Next came my romantic comedy ( with supernatural elements ) screenplay KNOCK 3 TIMES which made Finalist in Scriptapalooza’s 2010 Screenplay competition, and Semi-Finalist in the 2010 American Screenwriting Competition.
I then finished HEALED, a religious thriller about a surgeon with a secret healing power.
Currently I’m working on another screenplay, a comedy titled TAKING ARIZONA about a group of Baby Boomers who travel cross country to recreate the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 for their friend’s funeral and along the way they rediscover life, sex and marijuana.
I still live in my awesome hometown city of in New York and I’m loving discovering life and everything in it.…
When I turned 54 years old, it slapped me in the face that my dreams and goals were not going to happen, so they needed to be changed, adjusted, edited. I looked at life, then looked at myself… and created new ones.
For everyone who has the need to change their goals and dreams… for whatever reason, at any age, under any circumstance; it’s not easy, believe me I know.
Read my blog, follow this journey with me, see how I wake up every morning and love life. Read how I react to all the ups and downs life brings, feel free to comment, and together may we laugh, cry, learn understand; and live our lives to the fullest.