I was raised in Fairview, Pennsylvania and grew up riding my bike on tar-and-chip roads to the local dairy where we sat on a whitewashed wood fence, swinging our legs while we ate our ice creams and watched the cows get milked. My best friend in the world lived next door to me and we were inseparable; when we were grounded for this that or the other thing, we'd just sit on the border of our lawns and chat. It drove our parents nuts, but technically we were in our own yards, so... There were pool parties by day and spotlight tag at night. My family is huge--lots of aunts, uncles and cousins around all the time. We take care of each other to this day, and they mean the world to me.
Since then, I've lived in Boston, Paris, and Juneau, Alaska; I started acting in Chicago and am forever indebted to that town and its artists for starting me off right. There's no other place like it for actors. Now I live in my beloved Los Angeles, where I've been lucky enough to find myself a member of not only another thriving theater scene but also the world of tv and film. Some of the best directors in the world have helped me shape performances on both stage and screen alongside some of the world's very best actors. I'm a writer of screenplays (including the short film 'Cash for Gold' on the Screen page), personal essays (in Blog), and notes to my kid for his lunchbox (thrown away daily). I've loved every place I've lived for very different reasons and feel glad to have called each of these towns my home.
Acting and writing are my source; the work fills me up in a way no other pursuit ever has. But I have other passions, too: my son (my heart), political/ social activism, works with charity. Raising my kind boy to be a good citizen of the world is my #1 responsibility; luckily, he makes it easy. As a bossy-boots type-A girl, I'd produce and direct "swimming shows" with my buddies in our backyard pool--the neighbors would pay a buck to watch us do our skits in and out of the water, then I'd take the money with my brother and friends down to the local CBS affiliate where we'd present our earnings to the town newscaster (he was famous!) on air for Jerry's Kids with MD. As a grown-up I have other causes about which I'm passionate. I've marched on Washington for women's reproductive rights, and my son and I regularly volunteer at the Motion Picture Television Fund with the elderly and at St. Francis Center with the poor. The people served by these terrific organizations give us more than we give them, every time. That saying, "be the change you want to see in the world"? I try. Some days I do better than others.
I've always been a list-maker, and I remember making a list of things I wanted to achieve as an artist when I first started acting. I still have the composition book. That list seemed absurdly ambitious at the time--it was!--and I remember thinking, "How the hell will I make this happen?" But that's how every journey begins, right? It's how mine have, anyway. We make a plan, we make a mess, we clean it up, we try again. It's rarely easy, but I'm not complaining. (People have much harder jobs than I do; I'm clear about that.) I've revised that list many times as my dreams change and grow, but I couldn't do it without the people in my life who I love and who love me back. I'm so very, very grateful to my folks for raising me, to my family and friends for supporting me no matter what I was up to, and to be doing what I love.
I wish the same for you.
One of my favorite things to do as a kid was sit by my Dad. Here he hides from the camera behind his shotgun shell reloading press. That little urchin peeking out is my brother. We'd help our Dad get ready for buck season in NW Pennsylvania every year. I love this picture so much.