HOLLYWOOD—HELLO AMERICA! There are so many thousands of young dreamers turning up in Hollywood every day. They are all searching for fame and fortune, and some are simply in town to search for a rich man or woman who will give them a life they have read or dreamed about, while growing up in the Midwest or some little town on the East Coast. Let’s not forget those who are showing up from other countries, excited about their chances at capturing the golden fleece.
Since I am always confronted with many of these young people at Universal Studios, I decided to ask a few of them about their goals and objectives in relocating to Tinseltown, and, also, how they plan to achieve their dreams.
I was quite amused when having lunch with Jessica Little, a rather pretty young actress who comes from Indiana. She has an unshakable belief that she will reach stardom based on her talent. “I know it will be hard, and sometimes disappointing, but that doesn’t scare or bother me. I’ve been on a stage all my life, and I can’t conceive of doing anything else.” When asked how she proposes to draw the attention of producers or production companies, Jessica was just as forthright. “First of all,” she said, “I’m going to join a theatre group, and try out for everything they might offer. Then, if it’s a good part, one that represents my talent, I will invite casting people, producers and any director who might be available or interested.”
Jessica also noted that she has read biographies of some of the industry’s biggest stars such as Bette Davis, Kate Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine and other female legends. “They were special,” she said, “because they dared to be who they are. Even when the odds were against them, they never allowed the circumstances [to] keep them down. I guess you might say, those women were fighters—survivors. I feel I understand their need, that hunger to stay alive and win. And they did!”
Anthony Lavell on the other hand was not as philosophical; he hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. When he first arrived in Hollywood two years ago, he was fortunate enough to snag a role in an independent film as a second lead. The 23-year-old, young actor, patterns himself after Marlon Brando. Since his auspicious beginning, Anthony has appeared in numerous local theater productions. “I dig Brando,” he said, “because he didn’t kiss butt or become somebody’s boy-toy. He knew he had something special to give and he gave every bit of himself when on stage or in front of a camera. All you have to do is watch ‘A Street Car Named Desire’ or any of his other films. The man was completely in control of his craft; he played god with his creative center. He was so good, he was dangerous, and his kind of danger is something that all really good actors search for.”
Even though I began with a feeling that I shouldn’t expect very much from this new young crowd of actors who have invaded a town I’ve grown to love and protect, I have to admit that I was quite impressed with what I discovered. Hollywood will always serve as a magnate for new, young, brilliant actors who will keep the Tinseltown legend alive. Yes, in the same way my late friend Bette Davis and Shelley Winters did, but they will do it their way.