You Heard It Here: Hollywood Premiere

I’m breaking my usual story telling because I have an announcement. My show, Marvin Marvin premiered on Nickelodeon November 24. Yay! Here’s a picture of me with the cast. This was taken after we shot our eleventh episode on November 16th. Our show airs on Saturday’s at 8:30 p.m.

From left to right: Mim Drew, Pat Finn, Casey Sander, Lucas Cruikshank, moi, Jacob Bertrand, Victory Van Tuyl and Camille Spirlin.

This is one awesome group of actors. I love ’em. ‘Nough said.

Since it’s the first of the month and I’m talking TV, how about you tell me what your favorite show of all time is/was? I don’t care if it’s a sitcom or drama. (I just hope you don’t give me a reality show since that really has nothing to do with acting and everything to do with editing. <G>) I want to know what characters drew/draw you in every week. Go!

 

 

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You Heard It Here: The (Hollywood) Animals Have It.

It’s the first of the month which means another Hollywood story. I wondered what I could talk about this month and I decided I’d share a list of all the animals I’ve worked with over the years. (Although I use that term loosely since I didn’t necessarily work with the animals so much as share the same set with them as I worked with the actors around them.)

So, keeping in mind that this list is probably forgetting one or two or ten of the animals I’ve shared a set with, here we go:

I worked with Mike Meyers and a bear for one of the Oscar telecasts.

Countless numbers of dogs, cats, ponies and horses (this includes a zebra).

An elephant (Who also happened to be the elephant that starred in Water for Elephants.)

Orangatangs, monkeys, possums, goats, cows, snakes, iguanas, lizards, spiders and every type of bird you can imagine, including an eagle and falcon.

A tiger, although I made sure I was off the set when that bad boy got there.

A sea lion, which the trainer billed as a wet lion. I’m sorry, but I had to chuckle at that. I might not be able to outrun a lion, but I’m fairly certain that on dry land I can outrun a sea lion. (I’m may be small, but I’m fast. LOL.)

(Of course there was the time I came face to face with a black panther, but that wasn’t Hollywood related. It happened in Texas when I was very young so it doesn’t count. But I felt inclined to add it since you don’t get much more exotic when discussing animals!)

Hm… I think I might’ve covered everything. Not a bad list, right? I’m a huge animal lover – especially dogs – which might explain why I put a dog in Dangerously Close. (Roamer is a combination of my old dog, Sam, and my new dog, Zachary.)

What about you? Any history of meeting a unique animal that didn’t include the zoo?

You Heard It Here: Happy Birthday

Since this is my birthday month – and the one year birthday of my first book, Dangerous Race on September 5th – I thought I’d tell a couple of Hollywood birthday stories.


The first is from my days working on Roseanne. Someone had had a birthday on set and Roseanne didn’t find out about it until after the fact. She was a little upset that she hadn’t known and hadn’t wished that person a happy birthday. She made an executive announcement: From now on, you people better tell me when it’s your birthday! (I may not have gotten the exact words right, but it was something to that effect.) Now, just imagine those words in her high pitch voice with a little bit of anger behind it. LOL. (She was good at making decrees like a queen of her castle might do. To my knowledge that has not changed. <G>)
Like a good employee, I mentioned that my birthday was the next day. (Good timing on my birthday’s part, I guess.) Low and behold, the next day, Rosie came to work with a gift for me. She brought me a Laura Ashley coffee table book about home decor. It was lovely. Not anything in that book would ever grace my house, but the thought was sweet and I still have the book today.
Fast forward about 15 years and the time I was working on Still Standing. I had a milestone birthday on our show night (which meant I was working a solid 11 hour day and wouldn’t really get to celebrate my birthday). Jamie Gertz, who starred in the show had the same milestone birthday as me (about 6 weeks later). I think we were both feeling the weight of that birthday so we bonded a bit. I never expected a cast member of any show I worked on to bring me a birthday present, so when Jamie gifted me with two spectacular matching diamond bracelets, I nearly fell over. They are beautiful and I think my jaw hit the floor. There may have been tears… LOL.

So those are my birthday stories. What about you? Any cool surprises or great birthday stories to share?

You Heard It Here: Remember Me?

It’s the first of the month, which means it’s time for another Hollywood story. Since I’ve given you a few that happened so many years ago, I thought I’d tell you something recent.

A few of you may be aware that I worked on Roseanne twenty years ago. (I was Roseanne’s stand-in and dialogue coach.) You also may or may not be aware that she recently shot a new pilot for NBC co-starring John Goodman. (No they were not reprising their roles on Roseanne. They played different characters in a different situation and they weren’t married.) Many of the old crew members were called to work on the show including me, and I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I knew it would be a great reunion.

Speaking of reunion, here’s a pic on set of some of my favorite people in the whole world.

Because the show was a bit on the high profile side (yes, that’s an understatement!), we had some fairly high profile people on the set. Two in particular stood out for me. The first was Ryan Reynolds. And, yes, he’s as gorgeous as you might think! I’ve never met him or worked with him, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying his presence. LOL. But the next guy I spotted… now he is a man I’d worked with. When I saw Matthew Perry, my jaw hit the floor. I hadn’t seen him in about twenty years. I worked  with him on his very first show on FOX called, Boys Will Be Boys. It later became Second Chance. Matthew was only sixteen at the time and he was just as funny then as he is now. I walked right up to him and said, “Matthew, you probably don’t remember me, but we worked together on Boys Will Be Boys.” Bless his heart… he smiled and shook my outstretched hand. “I do remember you!” he said. Well, even if he didn’t, he made my day! Later, when I had a few minutes we talked some more and it was great seeing him again. That’s the one thing about Hollywood… it’s a small town and it’s common to run into people at some point in time if you’ve worked with them in the past.

So, not only did I get a reunion from many of my Roseanne cohorts, but I also got an extra benefit to the gig. <G> (If only George Clooney would’ve stopped in! I think we were all hoping for that. LOL.)
What about you? Have you met up with an old acquaintance someplace you didn’t expect to see them?

You Heard It Here! Icons

Yep, it’s the beginning of the month. Even more importantly, it’s the beginning of my release month! Dangerously Close will be out on July 23, so you can head to my website or FaceBook page to check out the daily countdown. And because it’s so purty… I’m posting the cover. <G>

As promised, I have another Hollywood story for you. Since Dangerously Close is about a rock star, I thought I’d share one of my singing experiences. Along with working as a dialogue coach behind the scenes, I also worked as a stand-in many times. (I think it’s fairly self-explanatory… I stood in for the actor who wasn’t available to rehearse, which often meant I stood in with the A-team or real actors.) I had the fortunate experience to work on the second annual (1995) VH-1 Honors. There was one specific medley with Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Wynonna, Boys II Men and Bette Midler. I stood in for Bette Midler who couldn’t make the rehearsal. (Yes, I was slightly freaking out. LOL. Incidentally, I should note she ended up dropping out of the number and Wynonna took her place. I sang You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me in rehearsal. Vince Gill replaced Wynonna in her original song.) As the song progressed, each artist made their entrance onto the set from a different area. I was the last person to enter and as I came on stage with the microphone to my mouth ready to belt out the song, Whitney Houston was standing on her mark and said, “You go, girl!”

Oh. My. God. Whitney told me, “You Go, Girl!”

I had a total freak out moment before diving into the song. I knew it was a moment that would be with me forever. I still remember her smile as she rooted me on. Trust me, I’m not a great singer and every artist on that floor knew it. But I committed and belted out the song the best I could. To be standing in a line with all those artists at the end of the song as we all sang together is one of the highlights of my life. (I still can’t believe Whitney’s gone. It doesn’t compute in my brain.)

What about you? Did you ever get a supportive word from someone you admired and it totally made an impact on you?

Have a great day and remember… You heard it here!

Dee J.

You Heard It Here!

Yes, that’s right, I’ve finally come out of the closet. Not THAT closet! I’m talking about the BLOG closet. The plan is to post every 10 days starting the first of the month. Look at that… so far, right on schedule.

What will I/we be talking about, you ask?

Lots of things. Probably a lot of show business and even more about life. (Maybe a little about my books or writing as it pertains to life.)

The main regular feature I hope to be consistent with is Hollywood Story of the Month. At the beginning of each month, I’m going to name drop (unless I’m not comfortable dropping the name in which case I’ll just refer to the actor as “the actor”) and tell you one of the many stories I have from my (over) twenty years working in show business.

Seeing as how it’s the first of the month, I guess I better get cracking with my first story.

Hm… Where to start? I’ve already shared a ton of stories on different blogs so I’m sure some of these may be familiar. (Of course, I think they’re mostly Clooney stories and I can talk about him all day. LOL.)

You may have noticed that I already made a caveat about name-dropping and it’s because of this first story.

I was fresh out of school (The American Academy of Dramatic Arts) and had my first show biz job working as a page for KTTV. (Also known as Metro Media back then.) The job description varied depending on what show I worked on. For instance, when I worked on a talk show called Hour Magazine (hosted by the lovely Gary Collins) – wearing my gray and navy polyester suit – I escorted the talent to their dressing rooms as they arrived and picked up the dirty towels they left behind after they’d removed their makeup after the show. Other jobs included escorting the audience to their seating and working as a general eye during the show to make sure everything went smoothly as far as the audience was concerned. (Think security without the badge or gun.)  And on some shows I worked as a stage PA, answering the stage phone and taking messages for the cast and crew. (That job also required picking up dirty towels at the end of the (shooting) day.)

On this one particular show, (which I really can’t name because then you’d be able to figure out who I’m talking about so…  um… sorry. <G>) the actor playing the father had a very wicked sense of humor. Because I couldn’t leave until I’d collected all the towels and dropped them to be laundered, I used to loiter in the hallway and listen for the showers in the dressing rooms. Once the showers were done, I knew I only had a few minutes to wait to pick up those towels and head home. (Keep in mind that shoot days are long usually a minimum of 11 hours, so waiting around even longer for towels was not as enjoyable as it might sound. Also keep in mind that some actors liked to entertain in their dressing room at the end of the day if they had people visiting and I really didn’t want to wait around for that!)

Anyway, so I had heard the shower and knew this one actor would be done with his towels soon. (He was a guy, he was fast.) I gave him a few minutes and knocked on his door.

“Hi, it’s me, just checking if you’re done with your towels?”

“I’m done,” came his reply.

“Great, can I come in? Are you decent?” I ask.

“I’m decent,” he says.

I open the door and there he is standing in absolutely nothing with his arms spread wide. I back up and slam the door as he laughs at me. (Luckily, I was looking at his face so aside from realizing that he was completely naked, I didn’t see anything. Yay.)

“That is not decent!” I yell through the door.

He is still laughing. “You didn’t ask if I had clothes on.”

I can laugh about it now, but I was pretty angry back then. I think I even left his towel in the room so he had to use the same dirty one the next day of shooting. It was all a big joke to him, but I learned to ask the right question after that.

“DO YOU HAVE CLOTHES ON?”

The thing I learned very early on about most actors—mainly men—is that they don’t have a problem letting it all hang out. They’re used to stripping around wardrobe people so I think many don’t think twice about it. But I was very young and very green and this guy knew it.

Lesson learned on my part. It was the very beginning of a very fun road in Hollywood.

What about you? Any lessons learned from something embarrassing?