My world left me no choice but to become an actor. At 5 years old, I was a young boy living in a Mennonite world in the Midwest who was told by his brothers he was Russian and by his mom he was German. My grandparents spoke Yiddish, and my mom being a divorced woman with 4 children put me in a state-run orphanage run by Catholic nuns. If this sounds confusing to you, imagine how confusing it was to a 5 year old boy who was cast in the orphanage Christmas play as Jesus and later played Hansel in the Hansel and Gretel spring show at the ripe old age of 5 1/2. So, I started out in theatre as the Son of God and quickly became a witch slayer. Of course when my mother put me on the bus to go to the orphanage and I was greeted by nuns dressed in their black full length habits, which I knew nothing about, my immediate thought was my mother had shipped me off to be raised by witches.
For years I performed in every play at the orphanage as well as every play at the local school they sent me to. Soon it was either go to mass, Sunday School, or perform in a play somewhere. The choice seemed obvious to me. I never was a big fan of wafers and grape juice. High School was no different. Theatre was my home. It was where I went to make sense of who I was and why I was here. I found myself doing oral presentations in every class because I hated to write, and my teachers thought it was wonderful that I wanted to get up in front of the class. I think it also made it possible for them to give me a grade without spending 30 minutes reading themselves. I quickly learned that acting was something that took place anytime you had a willing audience and sometimes even when they weren’t so willing.
I was in everything in high school and knew that acting is what I was born to do. So, I went to college to be an actor. I designed my life to be an actor. I got jobs that would work with my anticipated career in acting, and I even married a woman with a degree in radio broadcasting. Of course she never used it and never even had much interest in the arts. Ironically her parents were German, and by the time I married her I had discovered my inner soul to be Jewish along with a lot of my relatives. So there I was with the final piece of the puzzle. Only a Jewish soul could want acting as much as I do. Well, that’s almost certainly not true, but you will have to humor me on this one. I have never looked back, and I have been in theatre and film almost every minute of my life. I have only three goals in life: To make sure my family is happy and healthy, to act for the rest of my life, and to never answer the question, “What religion were you brought up in?”