Class Year: 1981
Major at MC: Political Science
Senior Thesis Title/Topic: “Jean-Jacques Rousseau: An Introspection of On the Social Contract ”… or something like that
Current Town/City of Residence: Berryville, Va.
Family: Wife Walker and two daughters, Georgia (19) and Tessa (17)
Q: Describe your career path since graduating from MC.
A: I worked as a painter in Coal Creek strip mine in Gillette, Wyo., for six months to earn cash after graduation and then went to the Knoxville Westside Dinner Theater for 10 weeks as Frank Butler in “Annie Get Your Gun,” followed by a run of Shenandoah at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville for the 1982 World’s Fair. In the fall of 1982, I entered the Asolo Conservatory of Actor Training, which is the master’s wing of Florida State University, where I received my MFA in 1984.
I then moved to New York City and was cast in “Oh! Calcutta!” on Broadway in 1986. I worked in the show for three years and also toured with it in Japan, Europe and Alaska. I continued for the next couple of years to work in theatre, off Broadway and regionally, before moving to Virginia upon the birth of our first child, Georgia.
Since moving to Berryville, I have done some theater (Bob Cratchit in “Christmas Carol” at Fords Theater, etc.), commercials, print work and feature films, but the majority of my work has been on and off (voice over) camera in industrial training films in and around Washington, D.C. For many years I was the voice of the American Red Cross and for the past eight years, I have traveled around the country performing for and often with Fortune 500 corporate officers and employees in experiential corporate learning simulations.
Q: Describe your job or a typical day “in the office.”
A: A typical industrial film job usually requires me to spend two to three days learning the script (if it’s long and there’s no teleprompter) before getting up at 5 a.m. on the day of the shoot to beat the DC traffic and be on time for a 9 a.m. call time. If we shoot until 5 p.m., I’m home by 7 p.m. If I book a film or TV role, I sometimes get the script ahead of time but oftentimes the script will have changed by the time you get to set as, on some shows, the writers are constantly rewriting. It can be tricky. If I book a voice over, I can do the work from my home studio or at a studio in DC, Virginia or wherever.
If I’m not working, I’m looking for work. I’ve marketed to some of the same people who hire me for the last 20 years. I run and go to the gym to stay fit, and I’ll to take an acting class or two in NYC when the opportunity arises to recharge the batteries.
Q: How did you land the job in HBO’s new series “Veep?”
A: Pat Moran Casting in Baltimore sent me to meet 1 st Assistant Director Dale Stern. He’d just seen another ex-president’s secret service detail the day before, and he told me I looked just like the agent in charge, so he made me one of the VP’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) main secret service agents. When the more specific role of Martin Collins was written in the script, Director Armando Iannucci asked me to read for it, and I got it.
Q: Have you appeared in other HBO series?
A: Yes. I worked five seasons on “The Wire” – one season, I had a recurring role as FBI Agent Mason. The other seasons I worked in the voice over studio looping main and background characters’ voices for syndication and regular broadcast.
Q: What has been your most exciting/enjoyable professional experience to date?
A: For the past 10 years, I have worked the Kennedy Center Honors, and I often fill in for a scheduled performer who cannot make the final rehearsals for the broadcast. In 2010, James Taylor couldn’t make the dress rehearsal, and I covered for him singing “Hey Jude” in a duet with Mavis Staples of The Staples Singers in a tribute to Paul McCartney. Mr. McCartney wasn’t there yet, but on stage singing back up to our duet were Steven Tyler, Norah Jones, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Gwen Stefani. It was amazing! Another year right after 9/11, I covered Plácido Domingo and sang with James Taylor. Rudy Giuliani was on my left teasing me about being Plácido.
Second choice: I day played a scene in the film “GI Jane” with Anne Bancroft, directed by the legendary Ridley Scott. It’s a scene in the beginning of the movie when we choose Demi Moore to be GI Jane. [Bancroft’s] husband Mel Brooks shows up on set – right in the middle of the shoot, joking and smoking his cigar. It was pretty cool. I also day played a scene with Julianne Moore in “Hannibal,” again with Ridley Scott, and that was a thrill. Ridley Scott’s sets work like finely tuned machines, as I believe he works with the same people over and over again, and they know what he wants.
Q: Professionally, what’s still on your “bucket list”?
A: I’m certainly no name actor and, unless you work for the IRS or the USPS or one of the dozens of agencies or corporations where you might have seen one of my training films, you’ve probably never seen my work. But I’ve been so blessed to work as an actor. I’d just like to continue to work and do really good work both on stage, on camera and in the voice over booth. I’d like to believe my best work is yet to come.
Q: How did your MC experience prepare you for your vocation and/or life?
A: We had an acting troupe called “The Maryville Playmakers” that I was fortunate to be a part of for 3 ½ years at MC. It was great. We did shows for the board of directors and the campus, and we toured. It was a talented and dedicated group, and several of our members have gone on to work professionally to some extent. I also sang in the MC Choir and was involved in many MC Playhouse productions. I did a lot of performing at MC, and there was a good core of people doing the same.
Q: Since graduating from MC, what has made you the most proud?
A: My two daughters, Georgia and Tessa.
Q: What’s your best memory from MC?
A: Singing in the Maryville College Choir under the legendary Dr. Harry Harter.
Q: Complete this sentence: I hope Maryville College …
A: … will strive to grow and support the theater and music programs, especially the Maryville College Concert Choir.
Q: Complete this sentence: My classmates may be surprised to learn that I
A: … am in this article.