My life as an Actor

Clearly, I don’t remember taking that picture but I think I’m off to a pretty
good start, don’t you? 5, maybe 6, a student at Scott Avenue elementary in Whittier CA, 35 miles or so southeast of Los Angeles. Son to Ruby and Ulysses, youngest brother to Rosetta, Madelyn and James. Only African Americans in an
all-white neighborhood in the 70’s means we stood out. (stories later) Had to get on with it.

age 5 or 6

4 Decades of Showbiz

The Teens - Chips

So, it shouldn’t be hard to pick me out of this crowd. Whittier Junior theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz. With my sister being an accomplished track and field star and living where you feel constantly on display, overachieving is one’s only choice. Starting with gymnastics, and quick sense of humor (a defense mechanism), I quickly made my way from community theatre to the sets of TV shows like Chips and Harper Valley PTA. Growing up in Southern California helps.

1st play the Wizard of Oz whittier junior theatre 1979

The Twenties - The Bodyguard

Age 14, 1st photo shoot. I was enrolled at the KANE-BRIDGE academy for young actors in Studio City CA, the summer before entering high school. Run by actresses. Patricia Kane and Betty Bridges (Todd’s Mom), it was a place meant to not only teach kids to act, but, also the business of show and how to behave should you luck out and be one of the chosen few. Mrs. Bridges set me up with Mr. Roscoe, of the Screen Children’s Guild Agency. Meant to be an Extras agency for kids, it’s where I got my first glimpse into the inner workings and how things are put together. I loved it, plus, we got out of school and only had to sit in a mock classroom for a couple hours.

1st photo shoot age 14

The Thirties - To Sir with Love II

Age 16, I am attending the Cine workshop, a series of seminars with panels of industry professionals, headed and created by PBS’ Topper Carew. While sitting in the audience listening to people like Rosalind Cash and Clyde Kusatsu, talk about the trials of the business and being the clear youngest attendee, a woman sat next to me and began to ask me questions. “What are you doing here?” How did you get here?” In a nice tone, but I was focused on the panel and dreaming of sitting on it one day, I may have been a bit curt. The panel then proceeds to call this woman on stage to join them as a member and to share her experiences as a talent agent in Hollywood. That is how Cynthia Robinson became my first agent. I spent 5 years with her, from 16 to 21. Auditioning and never booking. Until our last week working together. I booked a What’s Happening Now and was finally able to give her a commission check. An amazing feeling.

1st agent age 16

The Forties - Gary Unmarried

By the time I had this photo shoot I felt well trained with a pretty good knowledge of how to pose. Agent turned manager, Carmella Gallien, was handling me and had a real belief in my talent. It was that photo that got me working pretty steady in Hollywood. I had studied in London and USC, theatre, and attended endless workshops, cold reading classes, improv classes and performed for audiences made up of only my parents. My career went in 2 stages. Before The Bodyguard and after. I was doing well before, booking quality episodic parts on TV shows and the occasional bit in a movie (Mel Brooks cast me in Life Stinks) After The Bodyguard, I worked with Sidney Poitier, Mike Nichols, Denzel Washington, Tony Scott, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Bullock, Lynn Whitfield, Lesli Glatter, Andy Griffith and too many more. It was about a 12- year jaw dropping ride.

the one that got me The Bodyguard age 23

The Fifties - Conan

After the passing of my parents and Carmella, things took an obvious change for me. This pic was taken right in the middle of all that. Still trying to hang in there, I’ve booked some cool gigs since, including the honor of working with the great James Burrows on Gary Unmarried, twice. The Conan sketches are a genuine blast and make me feel about once a year as if I’m not completely out of it. Traveling has been an enormous replacement, but I’ll always hold a special place in my heart and memories that will always fill me to bursting.

last real photo shoot age 44

Classic Moment-Matlock

BEHIND THE SCENES

headshot 1991
cast of Conan sketch spoof of Downton abbey 2013
Pauley p Hef and CB at Hef's house on the set of the pilot Smash 2001
James G(RIP) Matt C and crew guy on the set of Crimson Tide Culver Studios 1994
photographer Jon Nickson took this photo in a cafe in greenwich village 1992
mick jackson (dir) kevin costner ralph waite and me on the set of the Bodyguard fallen leaf lake Ca
wicked game of four square on the set of a soldiers sweetheart auckland NZ keifer s
opening night after party coming of the hurricane, my mom 3rd from left
actors CB Carol H and Daniel R on the set of Matlock DeLaurentis Studios Wilmington NC 1995
set of Crimson Tide Culver studios 1994
opening night after party coming of the hurricane, my dad 2nd from right
cast of hbo state of emergency. lynn whitfield  leslie glatter ( dir) and Joe Mantegna I took the pic
CB and the cast of Coming of the Hurricane Denver Center 1995
Actresss Fily K and CB on the set of Family Matters, Paris 1996
McDonalds commercial 1987
cast of crimson tide
character shot from play GR Point 1988
CB and Tommy Lee at the playboy mansion on the set of the pilot Smash 2001
cast of a reason to believe oxford ohio 1993
soundman Chaim and me on the set of Melanie Darrow toronto 1997
Whitney Houston CB, crew guy and devaugns stunt double on the set of the Bodyguard fallen leaf lake 1992
The cast of the Conan sketch Tyler Perry's House of Kennedy's
gene hackman and ashley s crimson tide 1994
family matters creator David Duclon and jaleel white atop the Eiffel Tower during a break filming Family Matters
backstage selfie before the Conan live show 2018
Michelle R CB and stuntman Henry Kingi on the set of The Bodyguard
fily k and me rehease a scene for family matters paris vacation
scotty b, kai l, matt b, CB and Ashley S on lunch break filming Crimson Tide 1994
CB and Pauley P on the red carpet at the VH1 awards in character for the VH1 pilot Smash Shrine Auditorium 2000
Jill h me Steve h and JESSE OWENS at ... e Owens track meet, I think 1977
dir Gary Nelson meeting my mom on the toronto set of Melanie Darrow
One of Dr Victor's patients on the set of State of Emergency 1993

MEMORABILIA

Fan Letter

G.R Point Pic

A reason to believe movie poster

Hurricane Program

Matlock Call Sheet

Me and Pat Boone

Mel Dar Review

S Sweet Cast List

Whnow Castlist

Hurricane-costume

CHRISTOPHER BIRT

State-of-Emergency-Poster