It’s been nearly 28 years since that photo was taken.
When my agent turned manager, Carmella Gallien, called
me and said “Honey, you have a meeting at Warner’s with
Elizabeth Leustig (RIP), for a role in a new movie with
Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.” “OK” I said as I wrote
the information down, but “Yeah right!” I said in my head.
Having only appeared in stage productions and the occasional
episodic, I didn’t think I stood a shot. The doubt grew as I read
the script and realized the part of Henry, the chauffeur, was substantial.
I remember being very prepared for my first reading with
Elizabeth, such a lovely lady with a cool French accent.
She called me back a few days later and there I met Mick
Jackson, the proper English director, who had a beard very
Santa-esque. I remember going to the table reading thinking
I was still in the running for the part and petrified to mess up.
I remember Whitney Houston being the nicest and funniest and
the most generous person. I remember Kevin Costner making
a point of acknowledging me, even when only passing each
other, a tremendous support. I remember an unknown chef
named Emeril, who had a restaurant in New Orleans during
the time Kevin was filming the Oliver Stone film JFK,
the film he made prior to the Bodyguard, coming out
with his entire staff to cook the Kickoff meal for
the cast and crew at Kevin’s house prior to the
start of principal photography. Of being so nervous
my first day of filming, that I was afraid to leave my
mark even when the stand ins were called.
Having my parents come to the set as often as
possible for lunch is a warm, strong memory.
I think my Dad ate 3 steaks the night we filmed
the Academy awards scenes. I can still hear my
mother raving about the shrimp and how nice
Whitney was to her, everyone asking my Mom what she
was crocheting, as it was always something.
Now, with both gone, I cherish those memories.
It would have been impossible to imagine the massive
success of that film. In 1992, it grossed over $425 million
worldwide. The soundtrack is still #1 top grossing of all time.
We were all very recognizable. In London,
I was chased through Leicester square by a group of
German schoolgirls determined to get a piece of me.
Long before selfies and social media, it was all about autographs.
Because of the success of that film, the next 10 years
of my career were spent working with Sidney Poitier,
Mike Nichols, Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington,
Sandra Bullock, CCH Pounder, Lesli Glatter, Joe
Mantegna and too many more. I saw New Zealand,
Toronto, Wilmington North Carolina, Paris France
and many more. It sparked my love of travel, which
I still pursue today. 28 years later, I can still
be approached by some lovely person with that
look in their eyes and the inevitable “Excuse me
but, by any chance, were you the guy from the Bodyguard?”
I trained for years in acting schools, at USC and
London and many a cold reading class for that
moment. Where preparation collided right
into my dreams and made them a reality.