Cecily Adams - Cicely Adams earned the recognition she so well deserved portraying Ishka, the widowed mother of two and agender equality activist on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Adams, a longtime friend of the camera, had been born into the home of stardom in February 1958. The daughter of the 1960s Get Smart star Don Adams and singer Adelaide Adams, Cicely though raised in Silver Springs, MD, was originally a Queens native. Appearing in shows including Murphy Brown, Party of Five, Home Improvement, and Just Shoot Me, Adams was most known as the casting director for That 70s Show, Third Rock from the Sun, and Eerie, Indiana. Leaving behind husband Jim Beaver and daughter Maddie Rose, Adams died March 3, 2004, after her four-month battle with lung cancer.
Frank Aletter - Born Jan. 14, 1926, in College Point, Aletter married twice and was the father of two. He has made guest appearances in more than 80 TV shows including General Hospital, Three’s Company, Columbo, Matlock, Murder She Wrote, The Facts of Life, Chips, Fantasy Island, All in the Family, What’s Happening, Kojak, Planet of the Apes, Mash, Petticoat Junction, and Perry Mason.
Khandi Alexander - Acknowledged as one of TV’s sexiest stars, Khandi Alexander began her career as a dancer in the first national touring company of Bob Fosse’s “Dancer.” Educated at Queensborough Community College, Alexander later worked as Whitney Houston’s International Tour Choreographer from 1989-1992. Playing a much different role than ever before, Alexander is now seen as CSI Miami’s coroner Alexx Woods. Dually noted as playing roles that are fierce, confident, and alluring, Alexander appeared in movies such as There’s Something About Mary, Poetic Justice, Sugar Hill, Menace II Society, House Party 3, What’s Love got to do with it, and A Chorus Line. Khandi has also held major roles in TV hits like News Radio, ER, Law & Order, Third Watch, and NYPD Blue.
Susan Anspach - A graduate of Bryant High School in 1960, Susan Anspach has worked since 1964 on various TV shows and movies. Being seen on such series as The Nurses, Love Story, Murder She Wrote, and Unzipped, she has also appeared in more than 10 movies and taught acting to the animation artists at Dreamworks in order to make the 1998 animated movie Prince of Egypt realistic.
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle - Talk about a love-hate relationship. The one-time Beechhurst resident “Fatty” Arbuckle made a splash as the 300-plus pound agile vaudeville actor in the early 1900s. Compared with some of the greatest silent talents of the early 20th century like Charlie Chapin (see below) Fatty, having appeared in more than 100 one-and two-reelers, and being the first actor to ever be paid $1 million in a single year, never used his weight to get a laugh. Truly known for his comic relief, Fatty made a swift transition into full length feature films in the 1920s, starring in films such as The Round-Up, Brewster’s Millions, and Gasoline Gus. Tragedy struck Fatty on Labor Day 1921, when he was brought up on charges for the rape and manslaughter of the notorious starlet Virginia Rappe. Come to be known as the first major Hollywood scandal, Fatty was dismissed three times on all charges; however, his career would never be the same. Under the pseudonym William Goodrich, Fatty was able to look to one-time scholar Buster Keaton (see below) as his comedy director. In 1932, Fatty was given a second chance when Warner Bros. signed him to appear in comic shorts. After finishing six shorts, and gaining the love back from the public, Warner Bros. signed Fatty to a feature film contract. Sadly, the night after the contracts were signed, Fatty died in his sleep at the age of 46.
Tichina Arnold - Born in Queens 1971, Tichina Arnold, better recognized today as “Pam,” Gina’s best friend and Martin’s archenemy on the hit series Martin, first stepped on the scene in the 1984 TV thriller/mystery House of Dries Drear. Quickly showing the talents she possessed, 15-year-old Arnold appeared in the 1986 sci-fi musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors that in turn catapulted her career into fast gear. Holding a two-year spot on the daytime drama Ryan’s Hope, Arnold has also tackled the silver screen being cast in such movies as How I Got into College, Fakin’ Da Funk, Big Momma’s House, Legally Blonde 2, and Getting Played.
Patty Duke Astin - Taking Hollywood by storm, Patty Duke Astin, born Anna Marie Duke, was born in Elmhurst on Dec. 14, 1946. Being introduced to her brothers’ manager as a kid, Duke was cast in a few commercials and small movie roles. It wasn’t until the Broadway version of The Miracle Worker in 1959 that Duke would first be seen in a pivotal role. Leading to a two-year run, The Miracle Worker, the movie, would earn Duke an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the youngest person to win an Oscar. Starring in her own sitcom The Patty Duke Show in 1963 rewarded Duke with an Emmy nomination. On a roll, Duke was cast in the 1965 musical comedy Billie, the first movie ever sold to network television. Winning numerous Emmy awards and nominations for her roles in Captains and the Kings, the TV version of The Miracle Worker, where this time she played Ann Sullivan, A Family Upside Down, and Having Babies III, Duke had embarked on some personal issues. Working on marriage No. 3, in 1982, Duke, a mother of two, was diagnosed as manic-depressive. Not letting the “illness” stop her, Duke moved on to become President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), met and married husband number four, adopted son Kevin, wrote two books, and takes on important issues as a political activist for the ERA, AIDS, and nuclear disarmament.
Hank Azaria - Using his vocal talents to help create the personalities of some of TV’s hottest stars, Hank Azaria better known as Apu, Lou the Cop, The “Comic Book Guy”, and Chief Wiggum got his start in 1989 on the animated phenomenon The Simpsons. Born and bred in Forest Hills, Azaria, as well as Gideon Yago (see below) attended Kew-Forest School before moving on as a stand-up comic and later as a TV/film actor. Making his motion picture debut in the 1990 sensation Pretty Woman, Azaria nabbed the role as Jay Nichols on the early 90s TV series Herman’s Head. Movies were secondary to television roles for Azaria, until he landed the role as half-naked flamboyant “houseboy” Agador “Spartacus” in the 1996 film The Birdcage. This was the pivotal role in Azaria’s career that would open the door for many other projects. Appearing in more than 50 productions such as Grosse Point Blank, Great Expectations, Tuesdays With Morrie, America’s Sweethearts, Friends, Along Came Polly, and Nobody’s Perfect, Azaria, who has always been cast as a spectacular sidekick has come out of his shell and is currently starring in his own cable hit series Huff.
Obba Babatunde - One of the most demanded and sought after actors on the scene, Obba Babatunde got his start as Rusty Bennett on All My Children in 1987. Keeping himself busy by simultaneously dedicating his time to two projects, Babatunde, originally from Jamaica, has graced the screen in The Silence of the Lambs, How High, John Q, The Manchurian Candidate, Philadelphia, Dawson’s Creek, and the upcoming adaptation of the novel The Celestine Prophecies. Babatunde has received tremendous acclaim with Emmy and Cable ACE Award nominations for his role in the HBO Original Movie Miss Evers’ Boys, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for his participation in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Babatunde is perhaps most recognized for his Tony-nominated depiction of C.C. White in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls.
John Barrymore - American stage and screen actor from Bayside, he made his stage debut at the age of 18 in one of his father’s productions. He was more interested in becoming an artist. He worked as a freelance artist for the New York Art Evening Journal. In 1905, he gave up drawing and began touring the country in plays. In 1905, he starred in The Fortune Hunter and became most famous for playing Hamlet in New York. He died in 1942.
The Bennett Sisters - Known for her stunning looks, husky voice, and innate fashion sense, Constance Bennett, a one-time resident of Bayside who with her sister Joan was the first of the Bennett sisters to delve into acting. Once the highest paid actress in Hollywood, Constance starred in The Affairs of Cellini, Ladies in Love, Topper, and Merrily We Live. Older sister Joan did not start acting until 18. Recently divorced and mother of daughter Adrienne, Joan turned to her family legacy of acting (family members dated back to the 18th century were actors) in order to support herself and her child. Appearing in more than 75 productions of film, TV, and theater, her first starring role was in the 1929 film Bulldog Drummond. Joan died from a heart attack in New York at the age of 80.
Andrew Bergman - Son of a New York Daily News columnist, writer/director Andrew Bergman was born in Queens in 1945. Writing screenplays such as Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, Oh God! You Devil, The Freshman, and the recently announced film Joe’s Last Chance, Bergman has materialized as one of today’s inventive comedy filmmakers.
Maurice Black - Turn of the 20th Century actor Maurice Black was born in Queens on Jan. 14, 1891. He appeared in nearly 100 uncredited roles before his passing in 1938.
James Bonet - Born in Queens Feb. 13, 1938, James Bonet has appeared in My Three Sons and The Blob. He is also recognized as one of the writers for Kojak and The Cross and Switchblade.
Eddie Bracken - Comedian and actor for stage and screen, Bracken worked on full-length feature films and on-stage for many decades. Born in Astoria, he is most famous for his 1940’s roles, playing leads and co-leads for Paramount. He began his career in Vaudeville. He made his film debut in Our Gang and went on to star in Brother Rat, Too Many Girls, Preston Sturges, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero. .
Ted Bressel - Typecast as the “good” boyfriend, Queens bred Ted Bressel eventually found it hard to emerge from this image. Starring in various TV series including That Girl, Me and the Chimp, Good Time Harry, and Hail to the Chief, Bressel died from an aortic aneurysm in the midst of directing the movie version of the hit TV show Bewitched.
Adrien Brody - An Academy Award-winning actor, this up-and-coming star has appeared in numerous movies, including, The Thin Red Line and The Pianist. Born in 1973 to Village Voice photographer Sylvia Plachy, Brody grew up in Woodhaven.
Samantha Brown - Queens born actress Samantha Brown has appeared in films such as New Jersey Drive, Big Daddy, and Lift.
Phil Buckman - Born in Queens in 1969, Phil Buckman has appeared on more than 15 TV shows including Weird Science, Married with Children, Beverly Hills 90210 and most recently Boston Public. He has appeared in such films as A Very Brady Sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris, and Clubland.
Edward Burns - Actor in Saving Private Ryan and Life or Something Like It, Burns won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for the film her wrote, directed and starred in - The Brothers McMullen. Born in Woodside in 1968, his father was a policeman/spokesman for the NYPD.
James Caan - Born in the Bronx, but raised in Sunnyside, Caan studied at Michigan State University and later transferred to Hofstra University. He began his career on stage in the 1961 off-Broadway production of La Ronde. Caan landed his first television role playing guest appearances on Naked City and Route 66 to making regular appearances on Wagon Train, The Untouchables, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. A notable film and TV actor, he can be seen in the Academy Award winning movies like The Godfather, Misery, and Brian’s Song.
Sid Caesar - A comedian who lived in Rego Park during his TV days, Caesar studied the saxophone and clarinet at Manhattan’s Julliard School of Music then played with various bands. During his time with the Coast Guard in WW II, he became a featured comedian in the service show Tars and Spars, and then again in its film version (1946), Your Shows of Shows in the 50s.
Godfrey Cambridge - This comedian/actor is a graduate from Flushing High School. After completing his education at CCNY, Cambridge held down many shows before his first theatrical break in the 1956 play Take a Giant Step. Other films he starred in include, Cotton Comes In Harlem, Watermelon Man, and The Blacks, for which he won an Obie award for his portrayal of an African American man who transforms into an elderly white woman.
Rob Camilletti - Guest starring on hit TV shows like Roseanne and NYPD Blue, Rob Camilletti, born in Queens 1964, has also been cast in Loverboy, Fourth of July, Madhouse, and Soapdish.
Amanda Carlin - Queens-born actress Amanda Carlin has made guest appearances on more than 35 hit TV shows including Friends, Ally McBeal, ER, Will & Grace, Boston Public, Judging Amy, and Numb3rs. She has also appeared in such movies as Liar, Liar and Mumford.
David Caruso - Actor and producer, the CSI star was born and raised in Forest Hills Gardens and graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School. He also had roles in Hill Street Blues and Crime Story. After only one year with NYPD Blue he pursued film and landed roles in Kiss of Death and Jade.
Nicholas Cascone - An actor, Cascone starred in movies The Cell and Mr. Baseball. Born in Queens in 1963. He graduated from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Acting. He has made TV appearances on Without A Trace, The Division and Charmed.
Jack Cassidy - A Tony-award winning actor, he played starring roles in movies like, Wish You Were Here and She Loves Me. He grew up in Richmond Hill. Cassidy wrote a play called A Waltz For Willie Ryan. He was featured in such TV shows as Columbo, Hawaii Five-O and Bonanza. He died on December 12, 1976 in an apartment fire.
George Chakiris - An Oscar-winning actor in West Side Story from Astoria, Chakiris started his acting/dancing career appearing in musicals such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. He is one of the ballet dancers escorting Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. Chakiris had roles in White Christmas, There is No Business Like Show Business and West Side Story.
Charlie Chaplin - “The Tramp” lived on Mowbray Place in Kew Gardens from 1916-1917 while working for the Mutual Film Company. As actor, director, writer, producer and composer, he began his film career in Hollywood starring in Making a Living in 1914. Some of his greatest films include: The Kid, A Women of Paris and The Circus which won him his first Oscar award. Chaplin married Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill. They had eight children. He left the United States for Switzerland in 1952 and published his memoirs in 1964.
Julie Chen - Born in Bayside, Chen is the anchor of The Early Show, CBS News’ weekday morning broadcast. Chen also hosts a summer reality series called Big Brother. She was a reporter for WDTN-TV Dayton from 1995-1997, a producer for ABC News One 1992-1995, and a desk assistant in ABC News’ Los Angeles bureau from 1990-1991. She worked on the award-winning primetime special Anatomy of a Riot. Chen graduated from the University of Southern California in 1991 with a degree in journalism and English.
Abe Coleman - wrestling star called “Jewish Tarzan” from Forest Hills, originated the “drop kick” in the 30s.
Charles Honi Coles - Won the 1983 Best Actor Tony Award for the musical My One and Only. Coles died in 1992 and was remembered for his roles in Dirty Dancing and Rocky II.
Francis Ford Coppola - Filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter, Coppola was born in Michigan and grew up in Queens. After earning his B.A. in theater arts in 1959, he enrolled in UCLA for graduate work in film. He worked as an assistant to Roger Corman in a variety of films. Coppola then wrote an English-language version of a Russian sci-fi movie, transforming it into a large feature that American International released in 1963 as Battle Beyond the Sun. He also worked as a soundman and dialogue director for many of Corman’s films. His first feature film was Dementia 13 which came from his original screenplay in 1962. He went on to direct great films You’re a Big Boy Now, The Rain People, The Young Racers, The Terror, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and dozens of other films.
Joan Crawford - This movie star began her career with Universal Pictures. Born in Texas, she later moved to Queens. After beginning her career as a professional dancer in Chicago, and then chorus line in Detroit, she quickly landed a role on Broadway in Innocent Eyes. She was discovered by MGM and made her movie debut in 1925’s Lady of the Night. Over the next few years she co-starred opposite some of the most popular stars in such films as Our Dancing Daughters. She also starred in Republic, Possessed, Daisy Kenyan, Straitjacket and Sudden Fear.
William Cronjager - Cinematographer for the TV hit show, “Columbo,” he has also worked on “Dynasty,” he was born in Queens, 1930 and died in Arizona in 1995.
Jack Curtis - Due to a birth defect, Queens born Jack Curtis was never featured on screen, however, his voice was heard in productions like Speed Racer, Marine Boy, and Kimba the White Lion. At the age of 44, Curtis died of pneumonia.
Rodney Dangerfield - Legend has it that Jacob Cohen was born in Bailey’s Bar on Austin Street to a prostitute. Others say he moved to an apartment over today’s Austin Ale House at the age of 10 with his recently divorced mother. The only thing that is for certain is that Rodney Dangerfield emerged from nothing and became one of comedy’s greatest players. After attending PS 99, 15-year-old Jacob started selling his one-liners to his classmates at Richmond Hill High School. Creating the alter ego Jack Roy, Cohen took his act on the road for the next 10 years, where he bombed miserably. Making his second attempt, now calling himself Rodney Dangerfield, he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where he won over the hearts of the audience. Dangerfield’s big break came with his many appearances on Saturday Night Live, which quickly led to his role in the comedy classic Caddyshack in 1980. Simultaneously releasing his comedy album Rappin Rodney, Dangerfield earned a Grammy for best comedy album. Making the next few movies as either working class or financially successful business men, Rodney’s shtick was always the same; self-deprecating, vulgar, and crude, like in his movies Easy Money and Back to School. Starring in his first dramatic role out of his almost-50-year career, Rodney was cast as the physically, mentally, and sexually abusive father in the 1994 twisted romance thriller Natural Born Killers. Rodney finally called it quits in 2004 when he died of complications from heart surgery.
Robert Davi - With his tough exterior, and Mafioso appearance, Astoria resident Robert Davi got his big break in the 1977 film Contract on Cherry Street. Among his 60-something credits, Davi’s most memorable performances were in hit productions such as Die Hard, The Goonies, License to Kill, Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami, Son of the Pink Panther and Profiler. Davi, most notably recognized as today’s leading “con man,” volunteers much of his time working on various charities such as The Dream Foundation, Exceptional Children’s Foundation, Heart of a Child Foundation, Unico, The National Italian American Foundation, and serves as the national spokesperson for I Save America.
Gloria De Haven - Able to transition from child actress to leading lady, Gloria De Haven never rose quite to the top of stardom like intended. Getting her first taste of film life in Charlie Chapin’s Modern Times, De Haven had become an employee of MGM’s which led her to productions such as Best Foot Forward, Two Girls and a Sailor, Between Two Women and Summer Holiday. Being cast in both musical and non-musical roles, De Haven depicted her mother in the 1950 film Three Little Words. Once living on Bayside’s Bell Boulevard, De Haven has most recently been seen in productions like Touched by an Angel and Out to Sea.
Drea de Matteo - Whitestone’s own Andrea Donna de Matteo was cast in small roles on various films and television shows, including, Swift Justice, and Meet Prince Charming starting at the age of 24. It was not until she took the role of Adrianna La Cerva, on HBO’s acclaimed Mob series The Sopranos that would turn her into a star. Even while working on such projects as Swordfish, Beacon Hill, Joey and Assault on Precinct 13, de Matteo has found the time to open her own clothing store in Manhattan, Filth Mart.
Kevin Dobson - One of 7 siblings Kevin Dobson was born and raised in Jackson Heights. Getting his start in the uncredited role in the 1971 movie Klute, Dobson has appeared in productions such as Kojak, Knots Landing, One Life to Live, Nash Bridges, and The Commish.
Mary Agnes Donoghue - This Queens-born writer has written screenplays such as Beaches and White Oleander.
Fran Drescher - Once told she’d never make it in the business due to her thick nasal New York accent, Francine Joy Drescher, more commonly known as “The Nanny,” worked what she’s got and made it the most recognizable voice in TV. A former student at Hillcrest High School the Flushing native first arrived on the scene in a small speaking part in the 1977 dance classic Saturday Night Fever. Cast in small roles here and there, it wasn’t until her idea The Nanny that Fran would be seen as a leading lady. Becoming an overnight success, Fran, a survivor of cancer, has appeared in films such as The Beautician and the Beast, This is Spinal Tap, It Had To Be You, Jack and Strong Medicine.
Marie Dressler - The famous actress of the 1910s through to the 30s who starred in such movies as Emma and Dinner at Eight lived in Flushing.
Richard Dreyfuss - By working his way up in the industry, Dreyfus, a one-time Bayside resident, got his start in the 1967 film The Graduate. Not before too long, Dreyfus had made such a name for himself that he was now starring in box office hits like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goodbye Girl, which won him an Oscar making him the youngest man to win until Adrien Brody. After a well-publicized drug addiction, and the continuous of movie busts in the early 80s, Dreyfus made a sober comeback in the mid-80s re-establishing himself as the quality leading man he once was. Wowing audiences with his performances in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Stand By Me, Nuts, Postcards From The Edge, Mr. Holland’s Opus and What about Bob?, Dreyfus announced his retirement from film in order to pursue a career in theatre, his number one passion.
Eric Estrada - The star of the TV cop show Chips once lived near Parsons Boulevard in Flushing. He was recently a cast member of the VH1 reality show The Surreal Life, where he costarred with fellow Queens celebrity, Ron Jeremy.
Jonathan Favreau - This do-it -all celebrity from Queens has starred, directed, written and/or produced nearly 30 films. One of Favreau’s recent co-starring roles was in Something’s Gotta Give, a movie about an elder swinger played by Jack Nicholson who has a taste for young women. A movie with a similar theme titled Swingers, was written and starred Favreau, alongside Vince Vaughn, whom together also shared starring roles in the 2001 film Made, also written by Favreau.
Dannah Feinglass - A Flushing native, Feinglass was a cast member of Fox’s Mad TV from 2000 - 2001. She has also been performing sketch and improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre for several years. Feinglass has also appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central and VH1.
W.C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield) - The Little Neck Bay resident starred in the 1925 film Sally of Sawdust, which was subsequently filmed in Bayside and is one of 38 roles Fields had from 1915 - 1942. He wrote the scripts for 16 of those films and he was the second choice to play the title role in The Wizard of Oz, but was rumored to have not taken it because of a salary dispute with MGM.
John Frankenheimer - Raised in Queens, Frankenheimer directed 49 television and Hollywood movies from 1948 - 2002. He died in 2002 at the age of 72. Frankenheimer won the lifetime achievement award in the 1997 Academy Awards and has won four Emmy Awards. He directed such films as the 1997 film titled Ronin, the 1966 Grand Prix and the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate.
David Gallagher - This College Point-born actor has been working in television and film since the age of 6. His most famous role to date was playing Simon Camden in WB’s hit show 7th Heaven. At the age of 8, Gallagher made his film debut with the lead in the 1993 film Look Who’s Talking Now.
Laura Gardner - Born in Flushing, Gardner has appeared in eight television series’ episodes including The West Wing, Judging Amy, Boston Public and Gilmore Girls. In addition, Gardner has landed three movie roles and her first was playing a detective in the 1985 film Sudden Death.
Janet Gaynor - The Rego Park actress was the first to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Back then, an actor received an Oscar for several films and she won for her roles in 1927’s Seventh Heaven, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and the 1928 Street Angel. She appeared in 58 films, from 1924’s Cupid Rustler, to the 1957 film titled Bernadine.
Luella Gear - The actress had a home in Bayside, was born in 1897 and died in 1980. Her most notable roles were in the 1955 television series, Joe and Mabel, and the 1938 film Carefree, where she co-starred with Fred Astaire.
Keith Giffen - Born in 1952 in Queens, this comic book writer wrote the scripts for the 1986 cartoon television series The Real Ghostbusters, and a number of DC Comic books.
Cliff Gorman - The Queens-born actor died at the age of 71 and appeared in over 30 films and television movies, as well as 20 additional appearances on television shows beginning in 1968. He also appeared on Broadway and won the 1972 Tony Award as best actor for the title character Lenny Bruce in Lenny. His television and movie roles were best known for unsympathetic portrayals of cads and cutthroats.
Victoria Gotti - The daughter of notorious mob boss John Gotti is currently a celebrity gossip columnist for Star magazine and one of the primary focuses in the A&E reality show Growing Up Gotti. The show, now in its second season, co-stars her three teenage sons, John, Carmine and Frankie. As an overbearing single mother, she has trouble handling John Gotti’s seemingly spoiled grandchildren, yet they maintain a deep love towards their mother and the Gotti name.
Max Grodenchik - Born in Queens, Grodenchik has appeared in 18 films, most recently cast in 2003’s Bruce Almighty, playing the role of a control room operator. He has also appeared in a number of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes.
Richard Grund - A 26-year veteran in the entertainment industry, Grund graduated from St. John’s University in 1978 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. From 1980-1990 he worked consistently in film, television and theater productions. He appeared in three films and a few television series, most notably in a 1985 episode of Miami Vice.
Tony Guma - As an athlete, Guma was a three-time All-American soccer player at Hofstra. As a high school English teacher in the Hamptons, he sold his first script ever: The Suburbans, and as a model, Guma was photographed by GQ magazine in the 1980’s. In The Suburbans, Guma also starred in the movie which featured Will Ferrell about a 1980’s one hit wonder band. Guma was born in Queens.
Florence “Flo” Halop - Born in Queens in 1923, Halop died from lung cancer in 1986. She starred in the television series Night Court, with the role of the deadpan bailiff Florence Keiner and guest starred in dozens of television shows from I Love Lucy, to Diff’rent Strokes.
Joy Harmon - Groucho Marx discovered Flushing-born Joy Harmon as a guest on the show You Bet Your Life. Having a limited amount of television and movie experience, Harmon’s career fared better as a pin-up model during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her current pastime is baking and she recently started Aunt Joy’s Cakes, a wholesale bakery based in Burbank, Calif.
Danielle Harris - Born in Queens, she got her start on the show Roseanne playing the role of Molly, and she played Roseanne Barr’s real life daughter Jessica in the movie autobiography about the comedienne. Among the 34 television and movie roles Harris has held are the 1990 film Marked For Death, 1993’s Free Willy and 1998’s Urban Legend.
Goldie Hawn - Her career began as a go-go dancer at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair and her father comes from a line of descendants that signed the Declaration of Independence. She got her start on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. As an illustrious actress, she has starred in 31 films, most notably, The Banger Sisters, The First Wives Club, Private Benjamin and Foul Play.
Shari Headley - This Queens-born actress has most recently been cast in Johnson Family Vacation, and also played the role of Lisa McDowell in the Queens-filmed Coming To America. Headley also appeared in a number of television shows that include The Bold and the Beautiful and The Wayans Bros.
Kathleen Herles - 14-year old Kathleen Herles may not have a recognizable face, but sure does have a voice that children go crazy for. As the voice of Dora, Nickelodeon’s animated sensation Dora The Explorer, young Kathleen has been working on the series since she was 9.
Danny Hoch - Appearing in movies such as Whiteboys, Bamboozled, and American Splendor, Queens born actor Danny Hoch has also been credited as a writer and director, as well as being featured on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry in 2004.
Vincent Irizarry - Making a splash in the world of daytime soaps, Queens native Vincent Irizarry has appeared in hit shows including The Guiding Light, Santa Barbara, All My Children, and One Life to Live.
Billy Jayne - Born in Flushing on April 10, 1969 as William Jacoby, Jayne has appeared in both the TV and silver screen worlds. He has been had roles in projects such as The Bad News Bears, Cujo, Silver Spoons, The Golden Girls, and Charmed.
Ron Jeremy - Having nearly 20 pseudonyms, the infamous Flushing born porn star got his start at the demise of John Holmes in 1988. Named “the No. 1 U.S. male star of adult cinema,” Ron Jeremy holds the title for the Guinness Book World Records for most appearances in adult films ever, leading with more than 800 films. Using his special and unusual “talents” to capture the audience, Jeremy, Cardozo High School and Queens College graduate, got his start when an ex-girlfriend sent in his picture to playgirl for their “boy next door” pages. Dabbling in mainstream performances, Ron Jeremy will always be notorious as a sex icon.
Tracy Camilla Johns - This Queens-born actress was born in 1963 and made her first on-screen performance in the 1986 film She’s Gotta Have It. Johns’ other credits include Family Ties, Mo’ Better Blues, and New Jack City.
Peter Jurasik - Getting his start in 1978 when he debuted on both television and the silver screen, Peter Jurasik was born in Queens 1950. Throughout his 25-year career, Jurasik has been seen in productions including, Dear John, Sliders, One Tree Hill, Born Again, Hill Street Blues, Problem Child, Babylon 5, Runaway Jury and Stateside.
Madeline Kahn - Making her first stage performance in a play at Martin Van Buren in Queens Village, Madeline Gail Wolfson got her first real breaks when she was cast in the films Paper Moon and Blazing Saddles. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in both roles, Kahn landed spots in productions such as Young Frankenstein, At Long Last Love, The Muppet Movie, History of the World Part I, Betsey’s Wedding, and A Bug’s Life.
Losing her yearlong battle with ovarian cancer in 1999, Kahn died at the age of 57.
Lenore Kasdorf - Queens native Lenore Kasdorf has appeared in productions of The Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara, Coach, and Starship Troopers.
George Katt - Astoria-born George Katt has been in productions including The Pallbearer, All My Children and The Diplomat. Expect to see him in the upcoming films War of the Worlds, 10th & Wolf, and Gin and the Rumble Within, which he has also wrote and directed.
Buster Keaton - Joseph Frank Keaton IV was nicknamed “Buster” by family friend Harry Houdini after tumbling down a flight of stairs at the age of 6 months. Involved in his parents’ extremely dangerous vaudeville acts, young Buster was tossed around the stage in perpetually life threatening stunts without ever batting an eye, hence his nickname The Great Stone Face. After debuting in Fatty Arbuckle’s The Butcher Boy in 1917, Buster stayed with Fatty thru an additional 15 one-reelers. Cast in his first full-length feature, The Saphead, Buster was established as a star. Owning his own production company by age 26, Buster Keaton Productions, Buster was writing, directing, and starring in his own films. After signing over to MGM, Buster found himself slipping. Reduced to co-starring roles, he discovered himself divorced and an alcoholic, and eventually committed to a mental institution before being resigned with MGM. As a one-time resident of Little Neck and Bayside, Buster appeared with longtime friend Charlie Chaplin in the 1957 film The Limelight, as well as being featured in such films as Sunset Blvd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Quietly passing away in his sleep after his battle with lung cancer at the age of 70, Buster had been seen in more than 125 films and directed nearly 50.
Bob Keeshan - Dedicating his life as the on screen mentor for millions of children around the United States, Forest Hills High graduate Bob Keeshan, got his life long career started at the age of 20 when he was cast as Clarabell the Clown on Howdy Doody in 1948. After his five-year run as Clarabell, Keeshan moved on to his nearly 30-year project of Captain Kangaroo. Finding the time to juggle between the Captain and his various other projects, Keeshan, had been inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame and won six Emmys and three Peabody Awards before he died at the age of 77.
Moira Kelly - After an ankle injury on the set of the 1992 film The Cutting Edge where Queens-born Moira Kelly played Kate Moseley, Kelly had to resign as Kit Keller in the sensational A League of Their Own. Cast as Donna Hayward in Twin Peaks, Kelly received permission from her priest for her first on-air sex scene. She has appeared in productions such as Chaplin, The Lion King, Love Walked In, The West Wing and One Tree Hill.
Frederick Kohler - This former child star got an early taste of stardom at the age of 8 where he played opposite Michael Keaton in the 1983 film Mr. Mom. He was quickly cast as Chip on Kate & Allie, and this Jackson Heights native was featured in The Almost Royal Family, Saturday Night Live, He’s Fired, She’s Fired and The Pick-up Artist, all before the age of 15. After his one-year run on All My Children, Freddy landed a role on Oz and in the films Pearl Harbor, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Ally McBeal, Charmed, Joan of Arcadia and Cold Case.
Steve Koren - Getting his first on-air role when George Costanza needed to choose the first Susan Biddle Ross Scholarship recipient on Seinfeld, this Queens-born writer/producer has participated on projects such as Bruce Almighty, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, A Night at the Roxbury, Superstar, and the recently announced Sebastian Knight, Let’s Make Friends, Get Smart and Click.
Bert Lahr - The one and only “King of the Forest,” Bert Lahr, made his film debut at the age of 34 in the 1929 pic Faint Heart. Appearing on more than 25 films, Lahr’s most unforgettable performance was of the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz. Known for his bellowing voice and “funny” exterior, Lahr was buried in Union Field Cemetery in Flushing after dying from pneumonia at the age of 72.
Robia LaMorte - Getting her start as a dancer in more than 30 music videos, it wasn’t until 1993 when this Queens name got her on-screen break as Brandon’s New York girlfriend Jill Fleming on Beverly Hills 90210. Appearing in several independent films, La Morte is most recognized for her role as Jenny Calendar on the hit vampire series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Martin Landau - Growing up in Forest Hills, this Academy Award winning actor has been in more than 100 different films and television shows, including, Treasure Island, Cleopatra, Mission Impossible, They Call me Mr. Tibbs, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Ed Wood, The Majestic and Walk Two Moons.
Michael Landon - Born Eugene Maurice Orowitz, Oct. 31, 1936, in Forest Hills, Landon suffered an injury ending his career as an athlete. Instead, he turned to acting and changed his name to Michael Landon. Cast in the 1959 NBC hit TV series Bonanza, Landon, thru his 14-year run on the show, turned into a household name. After the show was cancelled in 1973, Landon got the opportunity to produce, write, direct and executive produce what would be a TV classic, Little House on the Prairie that ran for eight seasons. Once the show was cancelled, Landon moved on to star in the NBC hit Highway to Heaven. After the death of co-star Victor French, Landon’s 35-year relationship with NBC ended. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1991, and died three months later at the age of 55.
Angela Lansbury - Signed to MGM as a teenager and nominated for an Academy Award for her first performance in The Gaslight, and again for her third film, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Angela Lansbury established herself in supporting roles since the mid-40s. Although she worked on TV since the 50s, Lansbury was well embraced as a stage actress where she won four Tonys in her 16-year run on Broadway. This one-time Douglaston resident made her most unforgettable performance on the television series Murder She Wrote, which ran for more than a decade.
Matthew and Mitchell Laurence - Identical twins born in Queens in 1950, Mitchell has worked on hit shows such as Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, LA Law, Night Court and Matlock. Matthew has been seen as Mel Silver on Beverly Hills 90210 and in One Tree Hill, Eddie and the Cruisers, Ordinary Heroes and Perfect Assassins.
Rose Louise and Ellen Evangeline Hovick - As times changed and the theatrical performance of vaudeville became a dying art, a fiery, demanding Mama Rose accompanied by her daughters, sisters Rose Louise (called Louise from early childhood) and Ellen Evangeline (later renamed June), one time residents of Rego Park, found it harder to make ends meet. Being forced to participate in their mother’s on-the-road act, June ran off at 13 and married one of the chorus boys, leaving Louise behind. By the end of the 1920s Rose found herself alone with the lesser of the attractive and talented daughters. Knowing that one form of vaudeville was still drawing crowds, Rose and 15-year-old Louise turned to working in a burlesque house. Young Louise was thrown on the stage with little to wear and left to taunt these “hungry” men. Performing more of a “tease” than “strip,” and driving the crowd wild, 15-year-old “Gypsy” Rose Lee was born. Taking her “tease” act on the road for eight years, Gypsy Rose tried to emerge as a film actress. Her attempt failed miserably, with performances in box office flops like Ali Baba Goes to Town. After Mama Rose’s death in 1954, Gypsy Rose moved on to writing her autobiography “Gypsy,” which detailed the relationship she had with her mother and the experiences they had faced. It was an instant hit, attracting the attention of Broadway producers. Gypsy premiered in 1959. Thought to be one of Broadway’s greatest musicals ever, Gypsy later became adapted into film and TV productions. Once leaving her mother and sister behind, June started down the road to stardom all on her own. Making her film debut in the 1918 film Hey There, it wasn’t until 1942 where June would resurface in Four Jacks and a Jill. Appearing in 20 films throughout the 40s and 50s, June has also appeared in TV shows such as Murder She Wrote, General Hospital, and her 1964 TV series The June Havoc Show. Discontented with her sisters’ success, an estranged June and sister Rose did not communicate for more than a decade, until she was informed of Rose’s fatal illness. June and Rose made amends before Rose’s death in 1970.
John Leguizamo - Immigrating with his family to Jackson Heights at the age of 4, John Leguizamo got his start on the hit TV series Miami Vice in 1984. Making his film debut in 1985’s Mixed Blood, 21-year-old Leguizamo was well on his way to becoming one of the hottest Latino actors in the industry. After leaving an impressionable mark on audiences and critics alike in his appearances in Regarding Henry, Die Hard, and Hanging With The Homeboys, Leguizamo returned to stand-up comedy with his Mambo Mouth, where he took on the roles of seven different personalities. This performance earned Leguizamo an Obie, Outer Circle Critics Award, and a Cable ACE Award.
House of Bugging, the short-lived comedy/variety show created and starring Leguizamo and full Latino cast, earned Leguizamo two Emmy nominations. Juggling between television, films, and hit stage performances, Leguizamo appeared in productions such as A Pyromaniac’s Love Story, Executive Decision, Carlito’s Way, Romeo + Juliet and Dr. Doolittle, while making his Broadway debut in 1998 in Freak a “demi-semi-quasi-pseudo-autobiographical” one man show. Leguizamo is currently working on four productions; Land of the Dead, The Alibi, The Honeymooners, and the recently announced Tlatelolco: Mexico 68.
Lucy Liu - It all started her senior year in college. The 1986 Stuyvesant High School graduate and Jackson Heights resident auditioned for the school play of Alice In Wonderland. After landing the role, Liu was dead set on becoming a star. Moving to LA, Liu found herself juggling auditions with working in various restaurants. It was her 1990 audition for Beverly Hills 90210 where she guest starred as a waitress that would later lead to more walk on roles. Brief features on TV smash hits like ER, NYPD Blue, and The X Files would pave the path for Liu’s awaiting stardom. It wasn’t until her 1996 role in the critically acclaimed Jerry McGuire that Liu would make her film debut. Auditioning for the TV comedy drama Ally McBeal for the role of Nell Porter, Liu lost out to Portia de Rossi, but was given a one-time part of, sexy, vicious, “ill-tempered” lawyer Ling Woo. Blown away by her performance, Liu had played the part for the next four years.
Receiving the exposure really needed to flourish, Liu was cast in roles for such films as Payback, Play It To The Bone, Shanghai Noon, Chicago, Charlie’s Angels and Kill Bill.
David Lopez - David Lopez was born in Queens on Feb. 22, 1979, before being raised in Columbia. Making his first appearance in the 1988 film And God Created Woman, he has also been a guest star on The Cosby Show, Law & Order and Ghostwriter.
Jack Lord - A bit of a Renaissance man, Jack Lord is most remembered for his role as Steve McGarett in Hawaii Five-O. He acted in several Broadway productions, and has appeared on the silver screen in features such as Cry Murder, Man of The West, and Dr. No. As an established artist who once lived in Queens and attended John Adams High School in Richmond Hill, Lord has had two pieces of work acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum of Modern Art. Dying at the age of 78 from congestive heart failure, Jack Lord appeared in more than 65 productions.
Joe LoTruglio - This Ozone Park native has most recently been seen on the big screen in his feature appearance in the romantic comedy Hitch. Lo Truglio has also worked on projects such MTV’s early 90s sketch comedy The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Third Watch and The Station Agent.
Lori Loughlin - Getting her start at age 5, Queens born Lori Loughlin has been in the spotlight since 1969. Appearing in little roles on TV shows like Family Affair and Too Far to Go, Loughlin had been cast as the lead in The Blue Lagoon, but turned it down. Appearing on random TV series, it wasn’t until her role as “Aunt Becky” on the primetime comedy Full House that Loughlin would be introduced as a great supporting actress for a series. Featured in more than 30 TV and silver screen performances, Loughlin, a mother of two, was the writer, producer and lead in the 2004 TV sensation Summerland.
Nancy Malone - This actress, director, producer and Queens Village native has worked on such projects as Knot’s Landing, Dynasty, The Bradys, Sisters, Judging Amy, The Guiding Light, The Partridge Family and Kraft Television Theatre.
Alan Manson - When a group of World War II soldiers were selected to appear in the 1942 musical This is the Army, Sgt. Alan Manson found his calling. Surviving the war, Manson continued to perform on Broadway and as well appeared in films and TV productions such as Three’s Company, Kojak, Charlie’s Angels, The Doors, The Devil’s Advocate and Law & Order. Manson died in Queens at the age of 84.
Derick Marshall - Queens-born Derick “D” Marshall got his start playing Mrs. Cratchett at age 10 in A Christmas Carol. Performing in numerous stage plays, “D” was cast as Davis in the 2000 movie Remember the Titans.
James Marshall - Born James David Greenblatt in Queens in 1967, Marshall began acting once he graduated from high school. His first big break wasn’t until he was cast as James Hurley, a temperamental biker in 1992’s Twin Peaks. Moving on as a supporting actor, Marshall has appeared in productions such as Growing Pains, A Few Good Men and CSI.
Barney Martin - A NYPD cop turned comedian and actor, Barney Martin was born in Queens in 1923. Appearing in numerous musicals including South Pacific, The Fantasticks, and his most memorable part in Chicago, Martin made his film debut in an uncredited role in the 1956 film The Wrong Man. Appearing in films such as Arthur, Martin guest starred on hit TV shows such as Seinfeld, Zorro and Son, Daddy Dearest, Life Goes On and Murphy Brown.
Jared Martin - This Queens-born versatile actor has participated on projects ranging from Columbo in 1973 to the narrator in the movie The Sun is One Foot Wide in 2003. Martin has also been seen in productions like How the West Was Won, Dallas, One Life To Live, War of the Worlds and Night Rider.
Groucho Marx - Julius Henry Marx was the middle brother of five. Desperately seeking ways to catch the attention of others, Groucho, acquired an unusual wit to him. Performing with brothers Chico, Harpo and Zeppo, the Marx Brothers were marked for success. After taking Hollywood by storm, the brothers split up, which left Groucho to pursue his other interests. Starring in films like Copacabana, Double Dynamite, and Skidoo, as well as hosting the 1947 “sort-of” game show You Bet Your Life, which aired on radio for three years and TV for 11. Living in Bayside and Richmond Hill at different points in his life, Groucho died in 1977 after suffering from pneumonia at the age of 87.
Debi Mazar - Known for her piercing blue eyes and New York accent, Queens-born Debi Mazar got her start as Madonna’s make-up artist for the 1988 Broadway production Speed The Plow. Inspiring her to take acting lessons, Mazur appeared in the 1990 mobster flick Goodfellas, which led to her appearance in more 50 films and television shows. This mother of one has been featured in productions such as Singles, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Batman Forever, Empire Records, NYPD Blue, Entourage, All of Us and Providence.
Chris McKenna - Learning of his new found passion for theatre at the tender age of 7, a young Chris McKenna performed as Dopey in his elementary school production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Making the transition from theater to television, then 12-year-old Queens native appeared as Joey Buchanan on the daytime soap One Life to Live. Nominated three times for this three-year role, McKenna decided to take a rest and attend college. Quickly cast in 1997’s In & Out, McKenna moved to LA where he is currently taking on small but important roles. Appearing in shows like The Practice, Touched by an Angel, and That 70's Show, McKenna said that the toughest and most exciting role to date was the lead in the independent film King of the Ants in 2003.
Kate McKeown - Born Feb. 23, 1939, Kate McKeown had been featured in such productions as Sweet Kill, Dark August, and as Irene Manning Lord on the daytime soap opera One Life to Live.
Charlie McWade - Queens-born Charlie McWade has made appearances on both television and the silver screen. First appearing in 1999 on Now & Again, McWade has played Steve Gusler in eight episodes of Third Watch, and was cast as Brian in the 2000 comedy Road Trip.
John Megna - Before his untimely death in 1995, John Megna, a former Holy Cross High School student, made his Broadway debut at the age of 7, which led to his role as “Dill” in the 1962 film To Kill A Mockingbird. Appearing in movies such as The Godfather Part II, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, Smokey and the Bandit II and The Cannonball Run, Megna died from AIDS at age 43.
Ethel Merman - Born with the natural talent to sing, Ethel Zimmerman was born in Astoria in 1908. Debuting in the 1930 production of Girl Crazy, Merman was most remembered for her roles in Anything Goes, Call Me Madam, for which she won a Tony, Happy Huntings and Gypsy. Standing in as the vocalist for actresses like Lucille Ball, Vivian Blaine and Rosalind Russell, Merman, who died at 76, has left her legacy as one of the greatest performers ever.
Dina Meyer - Established as an athletic actress, Forest Hills-bred Dina Meyer started her career as a model at 9. Always dreaming of becoming an actress, Meyer landed her first walk on appearance on the series Beverly Hills 90210. Snatching her first lead in the 1995 movie Johnny Mnemonic, Meyer, who did most of her own stunts, had moved on to conquering the world of CGI special effects. Scoring reoccurring roles on hit shows like Friends, and Ally McBeal, Meyer’s next move was starring opposite James Caan in the HBO movie Poodle Springs. Meyer is currently working on the new TV drama Point Pleasant.
Justine Miceli - Catching her big break in 1994 by landing the role of Detective Adrienne Lesniak on NYPD Blue, this Sunnyside-born actress started off by appearing in commercials, Off-Broadway plays, and on Law & Order.
Gino Montesinos - Born in Queens in 1977, Gino, aka “Luigi” has appeared on TV shows such as The Young and the Restless, Malcolm in the Middle, The Bernie Mac Show, 24, ER, and NYPD Blue, as well as being the voice of Tango the Pirate in the 2004 animated movie hit The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
Barbara Nichols - This Queens-born dame got her start as a model and burlesque dancer in the 1940s and 50s. Never cast as the leading lady, Nichols found herself typecast as a hussy, gold digger or floozy with names like Lola, Candy and Poopsie. Making the best of these roles, Nichols’ most memorable parts were in the year 1957, appearing in Pal Joey, Sweet Smell of Success and The Pajama Game. Leaning towards television roles in the 60s, Nichols developed a fatal liver disease, which eventually killed her in 1976 at 46.
Paul Newman - Made famous for his breathtaking blue eyes and outlandish good looks, a young Newman made acting look easy. After being cast in the 1953 Broadway production of Picnic at age 28, Newman found himself with a contract at Warner Bros. debuting in the 1954 box-office disaster The Silver Chalice, Newman, discouraged by an awful performance, placed an ad in Variety giving a public apology for the flop. Cast as Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me, Newman was given his second shot at stardom, which was a success. Starring in sensational films like The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it would take Newman nine Oscar nominations for best actor before bringing one home for his performance in The Color of Money. Once living on 64th Avenue in Fresh Meadows, Newman founded Newman’s Best, the successful gourmet food line that has grossed over $100 million, all of which is donated to charity. Newman also owns The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a summer camp for children and the siblings of children who suffer from cancer and other blood-related diseases.
Carroll O’Connor - This Forest Hills native made his film debut at the age of 37 in the A Fever in the Blood, after which he began to pop up in supporting roles in films such as Lonely are the Brave, Cleopatra, Point Blank and Law & Disorder. Winning four Emmys for his work as Archie Bunker on All In The Family, he later won an Emmy in 1985 for his role in In The Heat of the Night. Surviving the loss of his only son to drugs, O’Connor died at the age of 77 of a heart attack brought on by diabetes.
Anita Page - Flushing-born Anita Page is one of the few stars of the 1920s still acting today. With her career spanning more than 80 years, Page first stepped on the scene at 15 in an uncredited role in the 1925 film A Kiss for Cinderella. Appearing in almost 30 films between the years of 1926-1936 including Our Dancing Daughters, Our Modern Maidens and Our Blushing Brides, Page also appeared opposite Buster Keaton in two of his lesser-known talkies: Free and Easy and Sidewalks of New York. After a long 60-year sabbatical, Page made her comeback in the 1996 sexually explicit film Sunset After Dark.
Page, now 95, resides in Los Angeles.
Jason Patric - Jason Patric Miller, Jr. was born in Queens on June 17, 1966. The Son of actor-playwright Jason Miller and grandson of the legendary Jackie Gleason, Jason was marked for success at a young age. Getting his start in the 1985 TV drama Toughlove, Patric moved on to appearing in such films as The Lost Boys, Rush, Sleepers, Speed 2, and The Alamo.
Elizabeth Perkins - Living up to the speculation of being one of the “Promising New Actors of 1986,” Queens born Elizabeth Perkins was cast in her first role at age 26 in the 1986 film About Last Night…Dually noted in her role as Susan, the mature exec that falls in love with “Josh” boy turned grown up in the 1988 hit movie Big, the demand for Perkins quickly followed. Appearing in nearly 20 films and television shows in the 90's alone, Perkins’ is most memorable for her roles in He Said, She Said, Indian Summer, Crazy in Alabama and as Coral in Finding Nemo. Upon recently finishing The Ring II, expect to see Perkins in the upcoming film Must Love Dogs, and the mini TV series of Hercules.
Bernadette Peters - Ozone Park’s Bernadette Lazarra, who later changed her name to Peters in efforts to not be typecast in strictly Italian roles, is the youngest performer to ever be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Known for her impeccably infectious voice, Peters has tackled the worlds of films, television and theater by appearing in productions such as Maude, Ally McBeal, The Jerk, Annie, Pennies from Heaven and Into the Woods. Peters has won two Tony awards for Best Actress.
Valarie Pettiford - Queens native Valarie Pettiford stepped on the scene at the age of 14 starring in the chorus of the hit film The Wiz. Winning a Tony Award for her participation in the Broadway musical Fosse, Pettiford is as well recognized for her daytime television roles as Detective Courtney Walker on Another World and Sheila Price Gannon on One Life to Live.
Mary Pickford - Stepping on stage at the age of 6, Gladys Marie Smith, later to be known as America’s first sweetheart, was cast in her first starring role at the age of 16 in the 1909 film Mrs. Jones Entertains. Following this performance, Mary was featured in 51 films in the year 1909 alone and 49 the following year. By the time Mary was 20, she had appeared in 176 films. Being the first international film star, Mary was the first artist to have her name in marquee lights, and the first to officially cement hand and footprints at Grumman’s Chinese Theatre. Slowing down her hectic schedule, Mary soon worked as a writer, producer and eventually help establish United Artists, as well as being one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At 43, Mary had filmed her last movie, Star Night at Coconut Grove, and retired from her 17-year 236-film career. Awarded an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1976, Mary died in 79 of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 87.
John Paul Pitoc - This Queens-born actor got his start in the 1999 film Trick. Appearing on HBO’s Six Feet Under as the recurring role in season three of “Paul.” Pitoc was most recently seen playing the role as Hastings in the 2004 film Species III.
Victoria Gabrielle Platt - Born in Queens, Victoria Gabrielle Platt was a regular on TV shows, The $treet, All My Children and Guiding Light. She was also cast as Josephine Baker in the 1998 TV drama Winchell.
Mike Pollock - Made famous as the narrator on the animated sensation Pokemon, Mike Pollock was born in Queens on March 9, 1965.
Bill Rafferty - Born in Queens in 1944, Bill Rafferty grew up to become the host of the TV game show Blockbuster, and was later cast in the 1997 hit film Mad City, co-starring with John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman.
George Raft - With his handsome dark looks and impeccable fashion sense, George Raft, an overnight sensation, quickly became infamous for turning down the most desired of roles. Instantly being typecast as a “gangster” due to his Mafia connections, Raft made his notable coin-flipping performance in the 1932 mobster flick Scarface. A one-time Douglaston resident, Raft found it hard to come out of his tough guy shell. Attempting to make him the next star, Paramount cast Raft in films like Night After Night and Every Night at Eight. After several failed attempts, Paramount gave up. Although appearing in more than 70 films, Raft today is not recognized for his acting, but for his Mafia involvement.
Tommy Rettig - Spotted out of a crowd of 500, Tommy Rettig landed the role of a lifetime as Jeff Miller on the hit TV show Lassie in 1954. Born in Queens 1941, Rettig was cast on Lassie for four years before the show turned over a whole new family. Finding it hard to emerge as an adult actor, Rettig found himself going bankrupt and heading down the destructive path of drugs, which led to numerous arrests. Rettig died at the age of 55 of natural causes.
Don Rickles - Mr. Warmth, as he has often been referred to, attended Newtown High School, and later got his start as a stand-up comic at local nightclubs. After making his debut in the 1958 hit Run Silent, Run Deep, Rickles was featured in a series of films including Rat Race, X, Bikini Beach and Kelly’s Heroes. Starring in the two-year run of the hit TV show C.P.O. Sharkey, Rickles sporadically took on roles in TV series and major motion pictures such as Daddy Dearest, Casino, and Toy Story.
Kevin Rivera - This Queens native has guest-starred on Law & Order and played Brian in the 2002 film Raising Victor Vargas.
Edward G. Robinson (Emanuel Goldenberg) - After immigrating to New York with his family in 1903, Emanuel Goldenberg attended Townsend Harris High School before going to the City College of New York. His attraction to acting led him to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on scholarship, where he changed his name to Edward G. Robinson. His name made the bright lights in the 1923 film The Bright Shawl, and the blossoming actor appeared in 17 movies by 1932. Being typecast as a tough guy early in his career, Robinson was able to change the perception people had of him in his sensational performance in Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, an edgy psychological drama. Appearing in more than 100 productions, Robinson was never nominated for an Academy Award, however, in 1973 was awarded an honorary Oscar in recognition that he had “achieved greatness as a player, a patron of the arts, and a dedicated citizen ... in sum, a Renaissance man.” He died at age 80, two months prior to his accepting the honor.
May Robson - With no intentions of ever acting, Mary Jeanette Robison, who once lived on Bayside’s Bell Boulevard, had found herself widowed with three children at the age of 26. Taking on both leads and supporting roles on the road and on Broadway, Robson had become a well-known character actress. Appearing in silent films through 1919 before returning to film in 1926 for good, Robson was nominated for and Oscar for her 1933 role in Lady for a Day. She was the earliest born actress to ever be nominated for an Oscar. Before her death in 1942, Robson had appeared in more than 60 films including Little Orphan Annie, If I had a Million, Dinner at Eight, A Star is Born, Million Dollar Baby and Joan of Paris.
Ginger Rogers - Virginia Katherine McMath, later to be named Ginger by a cousin who couldn’t pronounce Virginia, had once lived on Manor Road in Douglaston. Getting her start in advertising, Ginger moved from Texas to New York to appear in the Broadway show Top Speed. Performing increased her esteem, and by 1929 Rogers had been cast in a small part in A Night in a Dormitory. Appearing in small roles for the next few years, it wasn’t until Gold Diggers of 1933 that Rogers would be recognized as a talent. Wowing the audiences with her beauty, Rogers went on to appear in 27 movies in the 30s alone. Teaming up with Fred Astaire in the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio, the duo became life long dance partners and friends. Winning an Academy Award for her dramatic portrayal in the 1940 hit Kitty Foyle: The Natural History, Rogers remained in the public eye for many years appearing in such productions as Tom, Dick and Harry, Tales of Manhattan, It Had to be You and Weekend at the Waldorf. Rogers slowly disappeared from the scene. She took on roles here and there and mostly worked on theatre productions on Broadway and traveling plays in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Making her final public appearance in 1995, just five weeks prior to her death to accept the Women’s International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award, Rogers died at the age of 83 from congestive heart failure.
Will Rogers - The famed American Cowboy-humorist, philosopher, philanthropist and, of course, actor, lived on Austin Street in Forest Hills in the early 1920s. Born in November 1879, Rogers had made it big as a silent screen star and an even bigger one once the sound revolution was underway. Making his film debut in the 1918 production of Laughing Bill Hyde, Rogers was signed to Goldwyn Productions (later MGM) where in a 3 year period he starred in 13 features over three years. Living through some ups and downs, Rogers was signed to Fox where he starred in They Had to See Paris, his first talkie. Adjusting to the microphone unlike many other silent stars at the time, ultimately led to his freedom of improvisation while the cameras were rolling. Appearing in films such as So This Is London, A Connecticut Yankee, Judge Priest, Life Begins at Forty and Round the Bend, Rogers never won an award for his achievements, however has been shown appreciation through the naming of several state parks, a turnpike in Oklahoma, and a medical research institute in New York.
Freddie Roman (Freddie Kirshenbaum) - This graduate from Richmond Hill High School went on to become a famous comedian and actor. He has made appearances on Stark Raving Mad, Funny Already: A History of Jewish Comedy, Finding North and post Bittersweet Place.
Ray Romano - With his knack for getting laughs, Forest Hills native Ray Romano dreamt of the day he could grace the stage as a true comedian. After graduating from Hillcrest High School in Jamaica Estates, were he attended with classmate Fran Drescher, Romano moved on to Queens College with plans to become an accountant. Working a variety of odd jobs as he perfected his stand-up comedy, the decade-long struggle had finally come to a halt when Romano won a radio station comedy contest. Quickly acquiring a manager and appearing in the 1995 HBO Comedy Showcase, Romano signed on to star in his own primetime sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, in 1996. With the series being a sensation, Romano has found the time to work on projects such as Ice Age, Welcome to Mooseport, Cosby, The Nanny, The King of Queens and Eulogy.
Mercedes Ruehl - First noticed as the foulmouthed, unrefined wife of Mafia boss Dean Stockwell in the 1988 film Married to the Mob, this Queens-born star had already graced the screen in 11 productions. It wasn’t until winning Best Supporting Actress for her participation in The Fisher King that Ruehl was truly recognized for her talent.
Winning the 1992 Tony award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?, Ruehl has appeared on hit TV shows including The Cosby Show, Frasier, and the 2002 mini series Widows.
Sal Sapienza - In addition to his work as an extra in movies like Runaway Jury, A Love Song for Bobby Long, and most recently Mr. 3000, this Queens native owns and operates a bed & breakfast and has authored his first novel 70 x 7.
Susan Sarandon - Simply accompanying her then-husband, actor Chris Sarandon, on an audition for the 1970 controversial film Joe, Susan, with little interest in acting at all, had landed the major role as advertising exec’s daughter Melissa Compton. With her newfound passion, Jackson Heights’ own Susan Tomalin was making a name for herself, which would later create who we know now as one of the greatest and most versatile female actors today. Playing small roles on TV shows such as A World Apart, and feature films such as La Mortadella and Lovin’ Molly, it wasn’t until her role as the mousy Janet Weiss in the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show where Sarandon would gain a following. Her memorable performance in the 1988 hit comedy Bull Durham led to the next stage in her life, when she started dating co-star Tim Robbins. Before winning her first Academy Award in 1995 for her performance in Dead Man Walking, Sarandon had been nominated for her roles in Thelma & Louise, Lorenzo’s Oil and The Client. Emerging as the established artist we know today, Sarandon, even when cast in small critical roles like Mimi Slocumb in the 2002 film Igby Goes Down, demands attention from the audience immediately. Able to take on challenging parts throughout the spectrum, Sarandon is most recognized for her participation in The Witches of Eastwick, Atlantic City, A Dry White Season, Twilight, Stepmom, Anywhere But Here, Cradle Will Rock, Shall We Dance and Alfie.
Felice Schachter - The first girl cast in the original line up for the 1978 hit TV show Facts of Life was also the first member cut when the series revamped itself for its second season. Born in Queens in 1963, Schachter got her first taste of stardom as a baby model.
As an adult, Schachter has moved behind the camera as production coordinator, and co-producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Twilight of Golds, Anne B. Reel, and 30 Years to Life.
James Schmerer - Born in Flushing in 1938, James Schmerer got his start as the assistant producer for the 1966 comedy The Silencers. A then 31-year old Schmerer was quickly named the youngest producer of a primetime television series for his work on High Chaparral in 1967. Moving on to produce Chase in 1973, Schmerer continued his career writing for series such as Star Trek, Eight Is Enough, The Six Million Dollar Man and MacGyver.
David Schwimmer - His role as the seemingly awkward yet irresistible Ross Geller on the larger than life hit series Friends transformed this stage actor into a primetime superstar. Originally from Astoria, Schwimmer was raised in Southern California where he attended the famed Beverly Hills High School. Getting his first real break after a series of flops as the hippie fiancée Michael on The Wonder Years in 1988, Schwimmer received tremendous recognition after he reluctantly accepted the role of Ross in 1994. Opening the doors for roles as leading man on the silver screen, Schwimmer has managed to alternate his time between TV series such as Friends, Monty and Band of Brothers and movies like The Pallbearer, Kissing A Fool and the recently announced 2006 film Run, Fat Boy, Run.
Martin Scorsese - Known as one of the most influential directors of all time, a once young Martin contemplated a life in the priesthood. Born in Flushing in 1942, Scorsese attended and graduated NYU in 1964 where he majored in film. Quickly recognized for his unique style, producer Roger Corman, blown away by the young talent, worked with Scorsese in directing his first low-budget 1972 film, Boxcar Bertha. The 1973 drama Mean Streets marked Scorsese for success, when his evocative use of unusual lighting and music, the inner battle of mind and soul, and the conflicts in which one incurs thru life impressed audiences everywhere. Essentially defining the standards for modern American cinema during the 70s and 80s, directors tried to replicate the style of Scorsese with little success. Directing films such as Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Michael Jackson’s music video Bad, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and the 2006 pre-production film The Departed, Scorsese has yet to win an Oscar for directing. And although he admits to being uncomfortable in front of the camera, Scorsese has appeared in more than 20 productions and TV guest appearances, most of which he is playing himself and are uncredited.
Nick Scotti - 39-year-old Nick Scotti was born in Queens. Featured on hit TV shows and big screen movies as Sex & the City, Tracey Takes On, Kiss Me, Guido and Perception, Scotti had a two-year run on The Young & The Restless where he played Tony Viscardi.
Jerry Seinfeld - Audiences everywhere stood mesmerized as the 27-year-old stand-up comic took Johnny Carson for a ride that would launch his career at full speed. Appearing in local comedy clubs after his graduation from Queens College, Seinfeld began his road to stardom by guest starring in an HBO special in 1976. Being picked up by the 1979 sitcom Benson, Seinfeld was fired after only appearing in four episodes. Swearing he would never do another sitcom unless he had greater control over the production, an offer arose that he could not pass up. A collaboration between Seinfeld and stand-up veteran Larry David would lead to the next nine years of success. Off to a slow start, The Seinfeld Chronicles premiered in 1989, being renamed Seinfeld in 1990. It wasn’t until the second season that the public would recognize Seinfeld as a television phenomenon. Deciding to stop while they were hot, Seinfeld opted to cancel the show in 1998 to return to his first love, stand-up. Now married with two children, Seinfeld is currently in post-production of the animated film Bee Movie, expected out in 2006.
Adrienne Shelly - Born in Queens in 1966, Adrienne Shelly has delved into every aspect of theater possible. Acting, directing, writing and producing, Shelly has been on the scene since 1989 and has appeared in more than 20 films, including; Big Girls Don’t Cry…They Get Even, Sleeping With Strangers, I’ll Take You There, and the post-production film Factotum. Directing and writing five films, Shelly has also guest-starred on TV shows such as Oz and Law & Order.
Talia Shire - Sister of Francis Ford Coppola and long time co-star and friend of Burt Young, Talia Rose Coppola made her film debut in 1970 in Gas-s-s-s at the age of 24. Cast as Connie Corleone under her brothers’ direction in the Godfather Part I, II, and III, Shire snagged her first Oscar nomination for the middle interpretation. Landing the role of Adrian, Rocky’s wife in all five Rocky films, Shire, again was nominated for an Oscar. Appearing in nearly 50 productions, Shire’s last appearance was in the 2004 comedy I Heart Huckabees co-starring with son Jason Schwartzman.
Elliott Shoenman - Writer and producer Elliott Shoenman was born in Queens in 1946. Starting his writing career for the TV show Maude in 1973, Shoenman has worked on projects such as The Cosby Show, Home Improvement and Soul Man.
Joan Shawlee - Sometimes credited as Joan Fulton, this Forest Hills native first appeared in the 1945 film This Love of Ours. Before dying of cancer in 1987, Shawlee had guest-starred in more than 20 television shows including; Zorro, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hart to Hart, and The Abbott & Costello Show. She was also featured in over 50 films such as Cuban Pete, The Marrying Kind, From Here to Eternity, Some like it Hot, and City Heat.
Parrie Shen - Stepping on the scene in 1997, actor/stuntman Parry Shen has appeared on 16 television programs including Caroline in the City, Suddenly Susan, Beverly Hills 90210 and King of Queens. He has also worked on over 10 movies, including four in 2004 alone. Married to his longtime girlfriend Kim, the couple is expecting their first child in April 2005.
Marco Siega - Directing two films in 2005 alone, The Underclassman and Pretty Persuasion, Siega got his start as the post-production assistant on the set of the 1993 smash hit Sleepless in Seattle. Born in Queens, Siega has directed episodes for five different TV shows and music videos, and has produced two movies and appeared in Blink 182’s video The Urethra Chronicles.
Ben Siegler - Appearing in films that include S.W.A.T. and Speed 2, Ben Siegler, a reoccurring actor on shows like West Wing and Joan of Arcadia, was born in Queens 1958.
Fred Silverman - The only person to have held key programming positions at all of the three traditional networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, Silverman helped developed hit TV shows including; The Mary Tyler Moore Show, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company and Matlock, just to name a few. Inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in February 1999, Silverman, who grew up in Rego Park and graduated from Forest Hills High School, really took network television for a ride.
Jake M. Smith - This rising star was born into the world of theater. Raised in Queens the son of a traveling actress, Jake, by the age of 13, was starring in Cymbeline at Shakespeare in the Park. By 15, Smith had starred in many independent films and guest starred on the hit shows Third Watch and Law & Order. Cast in three films in 2003 alone, this is one career that is sure to blossom.
Beau Starr - Born and raised in Queens in the 1940s, Beau Starr, brother of Mike Starr (below) has appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows. Getting his start in 1980 on the TV show Bizarre, Beau has been seen in productions including Cagney & Lacey, The A Team, St. Elsewhere, V, NYPD Blue, Summer School, Halloween 4 and 5, Goodfellas, and Doc.
Mike Starr - Brother of Beau Starr (above), Mike was born in Queens in 1950. Just like his brother, this father of three has managed to appear in more than100 movies and TV shows, including his first role in Hawaii Five-O in 1978. He may be recognized for his roles in Cat’s Eye, The Money Pit, Who’s That Girl, Lean on Me, Kojak, Goodfellas, The Hudsucker Proxy, Dumb & Dumber, Jersey Girl and his most recent appearance on the hit show Joan of Arcadia.
Herb Stempel - Depicted in the 1994 film Quiz Show, Stempel a once-reigning champion of the 1950s game show Twenty One, became famous when the news of scandal was unleashed. Admitting to participating in “fixed” shows, Stempel confirmed that he was well informed of questions ahead of time. Once being forced to lose to a favored contestant, Stempel, who resides in Forest Hills, came clean about his suspicious long winning streak.
Adrian Suar - Originally from Queens, Adrian Suar, a.k.a. “Chueco,” began his career in the 1982 TV series Pelito. Starting his own production company, “Polka,” Chueco has conquered acting for Spanish TV, as well as writing, designing, directing and producing.
Lee Sullivan - Born May 10, 1911, Lee Sullivan had a short-lived acting career of eight years. Appearing in three films, Air Parade, Sing for Sweetie, and The Great John L, Sullivan died May 29, 1981 of cancer in Forest Hills.
Donn Swaby - A graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood, Swaby was born and raised in Queens. Getting his career started in 1997, Swaby is most recognized for his role as Chad Harris in the daytime soap opera Passions. Leaving the TV world for the silver screen, Swaby has appeared in films including Buds for Life, Nora’s Hair Salon, and the post-production film of Open Window.
Gary Swanson - This Queens-born actor, playwright, syndicated columnist, producer and teacher has been acting in films since 1970. Working on mini series such as From Here to Eternity to silver screen thrillers like The Bone Collector, Swanson has appeared in more than 20 productions, with his most recent being Intervention.
Gloria Swanson - At a staggering height of 4-foot-11 1/2, Gloria Mae’s career grew to be larger than life. Not necessarily known as the greatest actress of all times, Gloria, a one-time Bayside resident was most certainly the greatest on-camera personality.
While visiting Essanay Studios in Chicago, a then-15-year-old Gloria was chosen to be an extra in the 1915 films The Fable of Elvira and Farina and the Meal Ticket. These roles quickly led to her 1919 contract with Cecil B. DeMille. Swanson was transformed from a typical comedienne to a lively, provocative, even vivacious starlet. Appearing in films such as A Pullman Bride, Shifting Sands and Don’t Change Your Husband, Swanson managed to swing hit after hit. By the mid 20s Swanson was the highest paid actress in Hollywood. Being in the business for 15 years by the time the sound revolution hit, Swanson had no choice other than to transition into the newly found “talkie.” In 1928 she received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her starring role in Sadie Thompson, however lost to Mary Pickford. She was nominated the following year for Best Actress for her role in The Trespasser, and again lost. Making sporadic appearances through the 30s and 40s, it wouldn’t be until the 1950s box office smash Sunset Boulevard that Swanson would be cast in a memorable role.
Tony Tarantino - The father of director/writer Quentin Tarantino, Tony was bit by the acting bug early in life. Born in Queens, the Tarantinos moved to California where a young Tony auditioned and attended Pasadena Playhouse. Acquiring many skills though the years, Tony became proficient in martial arts, western quick draw, sign language, archery, as well as being fluent in Italian and French. His most recent role is in the 2005 money hungry documentary All That I Need. Tarantino has found the time to complete his original screenplay New Horizons, which he is currently casting.
Rachel Ticotin - Moving to Jackson Heights in the mid-70s, Rachel Ticotin made her movie debut as a dancer in the 1978 film King of the Gypsies. Having had extensive ballet training, Ticotin learned how to discipline her body, which has lead to her being cast in roles whose character has a physically demanding job. Sharing the screen with legendary Paul Newman in the 1981 feature film Fort Apache, the Bronx, Ticotin integrated her career as a movie actress with TV. She has been seen on many TV series including; For Love and Honor, O’Hara, and Skin, Ticotin won an ALMA award in 1997 for her role in Con Air.
Lori Ann Triolo - A Queens-born actress, Triolo has been in several TV shows and films, such as The L Word, The X Files, and numerous episodes of The 4,400.
John Turturro - Moving with his family to Rosedale when he was 6, John Turturro the older brother of Nicholas started popping up in the 80s and 90s in flicks like Do The Right Thing, Barton Fink, The Color of Money, The Big Lebowski, Quiz Show, Hannah & Her Sisters, Mo’ Better Blues, Desperately Seeking Susan, Jungle Fever and Summer of Sam. Appearing in more than 60 films, Turturro has most recently been seen in Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Mr. Deeds, Secret Window, O Brother Where Art Thou and Anger Management.
Nicholas Turturro - The youngest of three children, Nicholas Turturro, a Rosedale native, came on the scene when he tried out as an extra for Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Blown away by Turturro’s hidden talent, Lee dedicated a part solely for Nick in his next film Mo Better Blues, where Spike Lee cast Nick’s real life brother John to play his on-screen brother. They appeared together again in Lee’s hit Jungle Fever in 1991. Featured in movies like Malcolm X, Metropolitan, Love Anyone and Excess Baggage, Turturro has been featured in many hit TV shows including Witness to the Mob and Law & Order.
Rudolph Valentino - Deemed as the original “Latin Lover” a suave Valentino swept away the hearts of young girls across the world. Getting his acting career started in the silent films of 1914, Valentino’s big break did not come until his role in the 1921 film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, where he introduced the American public to Argentine Tango. Owning a home in Bayside, which is currently known as Caffé on the Green, Valentino moved throughout Paris, NY and Hollywood. Dying at the young age of 31 in a New York hospital, Valentino, although creating quite the stir in Hollywood and having an astonishing 37 movies under his belt, had only been performing onstage for six years, (two of which he was on leave). Immediately following his death, Valentino’s “death cult” erupted, where 80,000 devoted fans attended his funeral, and some of his devoted fans committed suicide.
Jo Van Fleet - Launching her career in 1944 at the New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse, Jo Van Fleet took on roles of woman much older than her in age. Cast in a supporting role in Horton Foote’s Broadway production of A Trip to Bountiful, Van Fleet received recognition by winning the 1954 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a drama. Moving on to the big screen, Van Fleet was awarded an Academy Award for her portrayal as James Dean’s dowdy mother in the 1955 film version of East of Eden. Van Fleet’s subsequent film work included The Rose Tattoo, Cool Hand Luke, Look Homeward, Angel, and Gunfire at the O.K. Corral. She died in Jamaica Hospital in 1996 at the age of 76.
Dick Van Patten - Living through what most can’t, Dick Van Patten made a smooth transition from juvenile to child to adult actor. Born in Kew Gardens in 1928, Van Patten’s first performance was on Broadway at the age of 7, before making his film debut with sister Joyce in Reg’lar Fellers in 1941. Landing the 9-year role as Nels Hansen on Mama, Van Patten has been featured in such productions as Freaky Friday, Eight Is Enough, Spaceballs, Eight is Enough, Love, American Style, Barnaby Jones, The Love Boat and the upcoming films Freezerburn and Crossing the King’s Highway.
Patric Verrone - Born Sept. 29, 1959, in Glendale, writer/producer Verrone got his start as a writer on The Johnny Carson Show in 1987. During his Carson days, Verrone managed his time to co-produce the animated hit series The Simpsons in 1989. Moving on to write for hit cartoon series such as The Critic, Pinky & The Brain and Futurama, Verrone, a father of three, has found the time to sit on the Board as Secretary-Treasurer for the Writer’s Guild of America, West since 2001.
Christina Vidal - At the age of 12, this Whitestone native had made a name for herself as the first Puerto Rican/American child actress cast as leading role in an American motion picture. Playing street smart Angie Vega in the 1993 comedy Life With Mickey, Vidal has had a steady flow of roles both on and off the big screen. Hitting the streets of New York as Deputy Gabriela Lopez in the short lived ABC series 10-8 Officers on Duty, Vidal showed audiences that the young bully from the streets turned into quite the mature adult.
Robert Wagner - Labeled an original pretty boy in the 1950s, Wagner had to prove himself as a talented actor. Debuting in the 1950 film The Happy Years, “RJ” was signed by 20th Century Fox, which built him up as a romantic leading man. It wasn’t until the 1952 film With a Song in My Heart that Wagner would get recognized as more than a handsome face. With this newfound stardom, RJ was cast in title roles for films such as Prince Valiant, A Kiss Before Dying, and The True Story of Jesse James. When the 60s came along, Wagner’s career and personal life took a dive. His fleeting marriage to actress Natalie Wood ended, and he suffered a two-year dry spell after the 1964 movie The Pink Panther. Making his comeback as the star of the 1968 TV series It Takes a Thief, Wagner, then 38, found that his greatest success would be in television. He and Wood remarried in 1972 and starred in four movies together until her death in 81. Venturing on as Jonathan in the 1980s series Hart to Hart, Wagner appeared in more than 100 productions including the present day TV series Hope and Faith as Jack Fairfield and Dr. Evil’s eye patch-wearing henchman Number 2 in Austin Powers.
Having once lived on 211th Street in Bayside, Wagner now lives in Los Angeles with third wife Jill St. John.
Christopher Walken - Ronald Walken, later to be known as Christopher, the youngest of three children, was born in Astoria in 1943 to the owners of Walken Bakery. After landing his first gig at the age of 14 months when he posed with kittens for a calendar shoot, Ronald, as well as his older brothers Ken and Glenn, received dance lessons and were later enrolled at New York’s Professional Children’s School. Ken and Glenn later made appearances in Perry Mason, The Blue Angel, Nicky’s World, Apocalypse Now and Much Ado About Nothing. But Christopher, by the age of 10, had been no stranger to the camera. He was making frequent appearances on TV and radio shows, and held a regular spot on the short-lived sitcom, The Wonderful John Acton. By 1963, Walken had dropped out of Hofstra University to follow his dreams of acting, abandoned “Ronald” for “Christopher” in 1965, and was married and made his movie debut in 1968. Although Walken had appeared in many small roles for the next few years, his break through performance wasn’t until Michael Cimino’s Deer Hunter, where he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Known for his intense and slightly left of center demeanor, Walken has surprised audiences with his comedic and empathetic roles. Appearing in more than 90 movies, Walken’s best known performances consist of Annie Hall, Biloxi Blues, Batman Returns, Pulp Fiction, Catch Me If You Can and The Stepford Wives.
Linda Wang - This Queens model/actress first graced the scene when asked to model for Kodak Films at the age of 7. Since winning Miss Palo Asia in 1991, Wang has modeled for Pantene Pro-V (Asian Market), and has appeared on more than 20 covers for Scholastic books. Beginning her acting career in the early 1980s, Wang has appeared in soap operas including Guiding Light, Port Charles, Loving, Another World, and General Hospital, and has had several appearances on The Cosby Show and Mathnet.
Marlene Warfield - This actress and Queens-native has been in a number of films and TV shows, including, The Great White Hope, Maude, Cagney & Lacey, ER, The Shield and Cold Case.
Steven Weber - Soaring his way into the lives of the American population, this Wings star started his lifelong career at the mere age of 3 when he first appeared in a series of commercials. Born in Queens, to a nightclub singer and comic club manager, Weber, being quite the versatile actor, has been cast in roles for such movies as The Flamingo Kid, Single White Female and Sour Grapes. By Wings’ final episode in 1997, Weber had divorced his first wife, Finn Carter and married actress Juliette Hohnen, with whom he had his first daughter. Sitting back and enjoying the success of his hit show was far from satisfying his passion. Weber soon moved on to conquering the world of made-for-TV movies where he has played roles in the adaptation of Jack Nicholson’s character John “Jack” Torrence in The Shining, and appearing opposite Alan Alda in Clubland.
Marc Weiner - Born and raised in Queens, this comedic genius started his career as a writer and guest star on Saturday Night Live in the mid 70s, Weiner has since appeared on numerous comedy shows including Comic Strip Live, Evening at the Improv, Caroline’s Comedy Hour and The Jim Henson Show. The host of Nickelodeon’s Weinerville, and a featured star on shows like Figure it Out, Wordville with Marc Weiner and Friends, and as character voices on Dora the Explorer, Marc has found his spot in the hearts of children.
Todd Williams - Detective Barlow on the TV hit, Third Watch, this Queens-born actor has also been seen on Law & Order, Tilt, and played Christian in the 2001 Sundance Film Festival production Lift.
Gordon Willis - Born in Queens, young Willis got his start as a U.S. Air Force cameraman in the Korean War, which led to his lifelong passion of photography. Setting the standards for the most prominent movies of the 1970s, cinematographer Gordon Willis conspired with director Woody Allen on the 1977 smash hit Annie Hall. Marking the beginning of a 10-year collaboration, Willis filmed seven more Woody Allen films including Stardust Memories, Zelig, Manhattan and The Purple Rose of Cairo. His work on sets such as The Godfather trilogy earned Willis the recognition of the Academy with his nomination in 1991 for his participation in The Godfather III.
Honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Cinematographers in 1995, Willis has since worked on The Devil’s Own (1997), but has focused mostly on shooting commercials.
Debra Wilson - Most commonly recognized for her work as Mad TV’s first African American performer and longest running patron, this South Ozone Park-native has been making a splash since the early 90s. Appearing in movies such as New Jersey Drive, B*A*P*S and Skin Deep, Wilson is sure to be gracing the big screen for many years to come.
Natalie Wood - Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco to parents of Russian descent. By 1943, young Natalie had been cast in her first film, Happy Land, where she played a crying child who had dropped her ice cream cone.
Miracle on 34th Street was the film that broke Natalie Wood into the scene. Winning the hearts of movie patrons everywhere, this pivotal role landed Wood 18 movies through the 40s and 50s. At the age of 17, Natalie was awarded her first Academy Award nomination for her role as Judy in Rebel Without a Cause, leading to Oscar and Academy Award nominations for her roles in West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass and Love With the Proper Stranger. Once living near Bloomingdale’s in Fresh Meadows, Natalie met her fate Nov. 21, 1981, in a tragic drowning accident, where she fell off the boat which she, two-time husband Robert Wagner and close friend Christopher Walken shared. By the age of 43, Wood had co-starred in 56 silver screen and TV movies, with the promise of a very success future.
Gideon Yago - Known as Teen People’s Hottest Egghead, this Wisconsin boy hit it big when he interviewed with MTV in order to get out of attending grad school. A former student of Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills.
Burt Young - Best known for his work as Paulie, Sylvester Stallone’s friend in Rocky, Burt Young, born Jerry De Louise in 1940, once lived in Bayside near Bell Boulevard. The Oscar-nominated actor has been seen in more than 100 movies including Back to School, Uncle Joe Shannon and Mickey Blue Eyes.
Jessica Zaino - Dubbed as the “new face of broadcasting” this Queens native recently signed on as co-host, on-air fashion stylist, and lifestyle expert for the E! Channel’s new upcoming show How Do I Look? Also heard on MTV’s hit cartoon Daria, Zaino was cast as Stacey Rowe and Mrs. Margaret Manson.
Joseph Zaso - Blood, guts, and glory, this Queens native born in 1970 has made his mark in the underground low budget horror scene. In productions such as And Then They Were Dead and Date With a Vampire, Joe Zaso, owner and operator of film production company Cinema Image Productions, has found his niche as a modern-day thriller.
Seen on shows such as All My Children, Zaso also makes international and national guest appearances for Marvel Entertainment as Spiderman, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk.