Tuesday, May 28, 2013

05/28 Carol Connors

Carol came out of the womb singing (and swinging later when she co-wrote the theme from ROCKY). Her amazing diversity of talent is personified as a successful Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller, Charity Organizer and Cat Lover. She has been nominated for 10 major music awards: Emmy’s, Grammy’s, Golden Globes and two Oscars.

While still in high school, Carol's career was launched with a $10 loan from her parents. The money went toward making a demo of a song her classmate, Phil Spector, had written called "To Know Him Is To Love Him" (Gold).

Spector fell in love with Carol's voice and Carol performed the song as the lead singer of the Teddy Bears...and that song is the reason Elvis Presley became her first love... He too fell in love with her voice and they fell in love with each other. Today the song is #184 of the Top 5,000 Rock & Roll Hits according to Billboard magazine.

Carol enjoys the distinction of being the only woman to have co-written, with her brother Marshal, a mega hit in the ultra-macho genre of hot rod songs: "HEY LITTLE COBRA" (Gold) by The Rip Cords, which was and remains an American car song classic. It is considered, by Billboard magazine, to be one of the most important songs of the Hotrod era. She also co-wrote the only Christmas Hot-Rod song, “Santa’s Got a Cobra”, co-written and also recorded by The Rip Cords.

Speaking of gold - her walls are adorned with gold and platinum records along with countless photos of Carol with international dignitaries, and why not? She's penned the official themes for entire nations such as Jamaica, Singapore and Malaysia as well as the theme song for the Sultan of Brunei's airline...Royal Brunei.   

Co-writing the theme from ROCKY, "GONNA FLY NOW" with Bill Conti and Ayn Robbins (Platinum Records and ASCAP Award for most performed song), that became a box office giant (Academy Award Nomination, Grammy Nomination & ASCAP Award of Excellence) and plunged Carol into filmdom. This song was incorporated into the music for the subsequent Rocky's (Gold and Platinum Albums) and is heard on all of the related soundtrack albums. "They play it whenever Sylvester Stallone walks into a room,” says Carol with a smile. It bought her house in Beverly Hills and she smiles when she walks to the bank.  It is also considered the number one physical fitness and motivational song in the world.

Since then, Carol's film and TV work has been legendary and includes music and lyrics of such varied films as: THE EARTHLING, LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR, DRESSED TO KILL, THE ONION FIELD, BUTTERFLY (1981 Golden Globe Nomination) ORCA and Walt Disney's THE RESCUERS (Academy Award Nomination), to name a few.

She's co-penned the theme for Robin Leach’s LIFE STYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, "CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND CAVIAR DREAMS" sung by Dionne Warwick and for STAR SEARCH, "YOU CAN BE A STAR".

Carol has received five Emmy nominations; one of them was for "LOVE WITHOUT STRINGS" (“Bob Hope Presents: Morris the Cat Salutes America's Pets"). Over the years her special songs have accented many of the major television series. Of all the songs she’s written, one of Carol's favorites is, "WITH YOU I'M BORN AGAIN” (Gold & Silver Record/BMI Citation).

Of Achievement For Over Two Million Air Play) co-written with David Shire. In it are her favorite lyrics,  'Come bring me softness, comfort me through all the madness..."

Spreading her musical wings as a producer, she co-produced the song that kicked off the Hope In Sight National Telethon for the Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation. To sing the campaign's theme song "FORGOTTEN EYES", Carol and co-producer Lee Holdridge assembled a mind-boggling group of performers: the late Bob Hope and George Burns, Dionne Warwick, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr., Smokey Robinson, Herbie Hancock, the late Sammy Davis Jr., the late Mel Torme, Jack Jones, Patti Labelle, Andre Crouche and more.

When the National Anthem needs to be sung, Carol has become the one to call. She has performed this song with a full orchestra to a cappella... at the White House, State ceremonies and Tribute Dinners, to Football stadiums and Basketball games at the Forum.

Most recently, she was a part of history by performing her heart-felt version at the inauguration of President George W. Bush at the Military Ball honoring the Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients, and just this past Veterans Day she sang America the Beautiful at the laying of the wreath in Arlington National Cemetery for the US Marines 227th Birthday in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial at the request of former Commandant of the Marine Corp. General James L. Jones. She says, that singing America the Beautiful was a defining moment in her life, and touched the heart and soul of her being an American, America is ----Truly Beautiful…. Past Presidents and Dignitaries such as President Ronald Reagan, President Gerald Ford, Madam Sadat, Senator Diane Feinstein, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Angelica Houston, Liza Minnelli, Ray Charles, and Barbara Mandrell have been privileged to hear her creative artistic interpretation. Robert Conrad and James Woods and the incomparable Mr. Blackwell have all said; "Only Carol makes our National Anthem sound like a love song ... and boy is it sexy."

The highly acclaimed film by Roman Polanski, “The Pianist” received 3 Academy Awards and is based on the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman’s life as a holocaust survivor. This remarkable man was a leading contemporary composer and one of the great pianists in the world. Ms. has written two lyrics for the Wladyslaw Szpilman Songbook.

Ms. Connors received the Israeli Cancer Research Fund, “Woman of Action Honor” in 2003. She has been Board member of the Friars Charitable Foundation since 2000 She received the Southeast Symphony 2004 “Woman of Excitement” Award, The Asthma Allergy Foundation of   America “Orchid Award” in 1999. She is a Board member of The Connie Stevens CES Foundation, since 1992. Ms. is a celebrity Ambassador for Childhelp USA since 2001. Just to name a few, a very few of her charitable works.

She was the sole recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts and Public Service awarded by the President of the John F. Kennedy University (the only University that bears the late President’s name) in 2000 as a "Woman of Achievement", a recognition she will cherish forever.

Carol also wrote the theme for the Dolphin Research Center called “The Dolphins Are Coming: Let the Magic Begin”. The research center helps children with special needs, medical conditions, or emotional concerns.

Carol lives with her two Abyssinian cats, appropriately named MUSIC and *NLYRICS. If she's not with them you'll probably find her underwater in Key Largo swimming with the dolphins. She enjoys Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, and the very romantic classical composers Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff. When Carol isn't singing or composing she likes to E-Mail the world with unique messages that stand alone as signature Carol.

Oh yes, she bakes pies, brownies and cookies too, with or without peanut butter, in hopes that Elvis may one day drop by. Now doesn't that just take the cake!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

05/21 Scott Record

Singing Comedy Impressionist Scott Record has a career and background as versatile as his talents.

As a child growing up in New England, Scott’s early interests and training were in the fields of music, tap dancing, magic, acting, and sports.  In between his schoolwork and hours spent working at his family’s diner, (which Scott claims helped his character acting skills immeasurably), Scott acted with several regional companies, as well as with the Boston Children's Theater. As a musician, Scott had a treasured involvement with the Boston Pops Orchestra, playing in the percussion section during the final year of legendary conductor Arthur Fiedler's reign. Scott also played with numerous jazz, rock, and show bands throughout the New England area.

Scott moved to New York in 1978 and  first worked as a bouncer/bartender in a disco directly across the street from Dangerfield's, the famous nightclub named after the well known comedian. After watching the celebrity names revolve weekly on the marquis of that establishment, Scott decided to test his talents on a Monday night at Dangerfield's. Rodney immediately liked Scott and took him on the road where he successfully worked for three years as Rodney Dangerfield’s opening act.

Since then, Scott has worked with many superstars including Ann Margret, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Huey Lewis and the News, Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias, Perry Como, Tony Bennett, The Gatlin Brothers, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Celine Dion, Cher, Clint Black, and many more. Scott’s headlining status has been enjoyed at the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort in CT, the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA, and other premium venues throughout the United States. Scott also performs in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and in Atlantic City, where he was voted the Best Variety Act of the Year by Atlantic City Magazine. 

Scott is one of the most requested headliners on several of the world’s most elite cruise lines. Corporate appearances make up yet another large percentage of Scott’s current schedule. Many Fortune 500 companies such as KMPG, Lucent, Warner Lambert, IBM, ATT, Chrysler, Ford, Isuzu, Phillip Morris, GE, Sunoco, American Airlines, Sun Microsystems, Pfizer, Kraft Nabisco and Motorola have enjoyed Scott’s performances and continually book him for return engagements.

Golf is one of Scott’s many passions. He currently headlines as well as competes in many of the major Pro Am events sponsored by the PGA, LPGA, USGA, and the Seniors Tour. He has headlined at several Phoenix Open, the Player’s Championship, and the Bay Hill Classic, in which he played in the Pro-Am with Tiger Woods and won that event! Scott also participates in many fund raising charity tournaments, including the Bob Hope Desert Classic, the Kraft Nabisco LPGA Championship, and the AT&T Pebble Beach.

Another facet of Scott’s talent lies in commercial voice over recording. His uncanny ability to do an array of unique character voices keeps him busy as a character actor representing a wide variety of nationally recognized products. Scott's vocal contributions were instrumental in the production of the Academy Award winning animated short, “Sundae in New York". This claymation movie featured the Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, as a "Gumby like figure,” with the voice of the Mayor (and ALL other characters) performed by Scott.   Scott can also be heard as the voice of Tarzan’s YELL in the Disney animated feature “Tarzan.”

Scott proudly completed his first CD entitled “Record On CD”.  This CD enabled Scott to “simply sing” some of his favorite songs without doing comedy. Also included on the CD are some “humorous” contributions from Scott’s act, including his signature piece “New York”, New York” which he sings with “skips” in the record. You can get Scott’s CD, his touring schedule, and other information at his website ScottRecord.com.

Scott is currently producing and starring in his own travel/culinary TV show called “DESTINATION: with Scott Record”, and will be airing soon (consult your local listings). Scott will be showing the audience interesting attractions in exotic locations, plus he’ll cook local dishes with well-known chefs from each locale.
Scott also performed for ESPN as headliner for the ESPY awards dinner.

Scott lives in California with his wife Lucy (a world class dancer and choreographer), his daughters Elizabeth (24, recent recipient of her Masters in Sport Management from U San Francisco and full time assistant rowing coach at UC San Diego), Hannah (14, a theatrical “triple threat” who recently danced ballet with the Kirov Ballet in Los Angeles Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in SLEEPING BEAUTY), and Belle the wonder dog. Scott and his family yearly find time to “recharge the batteries” at their idyllic beach house on Cape Cod.


Scott appeared with Harry Connick Jr for the Kraft Nabisco LPGA Championship Gala; Scott also performed his full show  for the Kraft Nabisco 35th Anniversary show at the Palm Springs Air Museum to 4 standing ovations!!!

Scott co-headlined with Norm Crosby  for ACT for MS, an MS fundraiser which benefited the afflicted directly, and raised over a million dollars!

Scott headlines the Improv in Lake Tahoe in April and the Improv, Las Vegas in July .

Scott headlined inaugural runs on the Liberty of the Seas and the Freedom of the Seas  for Royal Caribbean Cruises; the newest, biggest cruise ships in the WORLD

Scott has been contacted by the David Letterman Show for the next Impressionist Week #3!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5/14 Dennis Farina

Dennis Farina (born Febrary 29, 1944) is an American actor of film and television and former Chicago police officer. He is a character actor, often typecast as a mobster or police officer. His most known film roles are those of mobster Jimmy Serrano in the comedy Midnight Run and Ray "Bones" Barboni in Get Shorty. He starred on television as Detective Joe Fontana on Law & Order. His latest TV role was in HBO's Luck, which premiered on January 29, 2012.

Early life

Farina was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Sicilian-American parents Iolanda, a homemaker, and Joseph Farina, a Sicilian immigrant doctor. He was raised in a large family and has three brothers and three sisters. Before becoming an actor, Farina served 18 years in the Chicago Police Department's burglary division, from 1967 to 1985.

Career in show business

Farina began his work in show business working for director Michael Mann as a police consultant, which subsequently led to an interest in acting when Mann cast him in a small role in the 1981 film Thief. Farina proceeded to moonlight as an actor in the Chicago theater scene before Mann chose him for his Crime Story series. Farina played the mobster Albert Lombard in Michael Mann's other television show, Miami Vice.

Two of his most well-known movie characters are Jimmy Serrano, the mob boss from Midnight Run, and Ray "Bones" Barboni, a rival criminal of Chili Palmer's in Get Shorty. He also played FBI Agent Jack Crawford in the first Hannibal Lecter crime film, Michael Mann's Manhunter. Other movies in Farina's filmography include Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan (as Army Lieutenant Colonel Walter Anderson), Striking Distance, Another Stakeout, Little Big League, Snatch, The Mod Squad and Out of Sight. He co-starred with Bette Midler in the romantic comedy That Old Feeling.

Farina has demonstrated quite a flair for comedy. He won an American Comedy Award for his performance in Get Shorty and starred in a television sitcom, In-Laws, from 2002-03. He had a comic role opposite Ed Harris and Helen Hunt in the HBO production of Empire Falls in 2005 and opposite Alan Rickman in 2008's Bottle Shock. In early 2005, Farina provided the voice of aging boxer-turned-superhero Wildcat on Justice League Unlimited.

The producers of the long-running television series Law & Order hired Farina as Det. Joe Fontana after the retirement of Jerry Orbach's character Lennie Briscoe. Farina stayed with the show for two years, but his character was not as popular with viewers as Orbach's Lennie Briscoe had been. As a result, in May 2006, it was announced that Farina was leaving Law & Order to pursue other projects, including 2007's You Kill Me opposite Ben Kingsley and 2008's What Happens in Vegas with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher.

His role of Detective Lt. Mike Torello on Crime Story was as a Chicago police officer, who was later seconded to the U.S. Justice Department. Farina's Law & Order character, Joe Fontana, worked for Chicago Homicide before his transfer to the NYPD. As is common on Law & Order, Fontana shares a number of other characteristics with the actor who plays him: they hail from the same Chicago neighborhood, attended the same parochial school, and have the same tastes in both clothes and music.

In October 2008, Farina became the new host of Unsolved Mysteries when it returned to television with a new five-season, 175-episode run on Spike TV. Farina replaced Robert Stack, who had hosted the series for its entire original 15-year run before his death in 2003. The series would include re-edited segments from previous incarnations on NBC, CBS, and Lifetime (all originally hosted by Stack) as well as several new original stories.
Farina played the title role in a 2011 independent film, The Last Rites of Joe May, written and directed by Joe Maggio, shot on location in Chicago.
He co-stars in the 2012 HBO horse-race gambling series Luck, with Dustin Hoffman, directed by Michael Mann.

Personal life

Farina was married to Patricia Farina from 1970 until their divorce in 1980. They have three sons: Dennis Jr, Michael, and Joseph. His youngest son, Joseph, is also an actor. He has two granddaughters, Brianna and Olivia, and four grandsons: Michael, Tyler, Matthew, and Eric.

Farina is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and played an avid fan in a 1988 revival of the successful 1977 Organic Theater Company stage play The Bleacher Bums which was written by and starred fellow Chicago actors Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

05/07 Barry Corbin

Leonard Barrie Corbin, known as Barry Corbin (born October 16, 1940), is an American actor with more than one hundred film, television and video game credits.
Early life

Corbin was born in Lamesa, the seat of Dawson County, south of Lubbock in west Texas. He is the son of the former Alma LaMerle Scott (1918–1994), a teacher, and Kilmer Blaine Corbin, Sr. (1919–1993), a school principal, a judge and a Democratic member of the Texas State Senate for two terms from 1949-1957. Corbin was named for author J. M. Barrie by his mom. He played football briefly in 8th grade, but soon moved to the arts, including acting and ballet classes. He graduated from Monterey High School. Corbin studied theatre arts at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. At 21, he joined the United States Marine Corps, served two years and then returned to Tech.


Corbin began his career as a Shakespearean actor in the 1960s, but today he is more likely to be seen in the role of the local sheriff, military leader, or some other authority figure, though on occasion, he has effectively portrayed murderous villains as well. To moviegoers he is well remembered as General Beringer in WarGames, John Travolta's uncle Bob Davis in Urban Cowboy, co-starring with Clint Eastwood in Any Which Way You Can, or Roscoe Brown, who was July Johnson's bumbling deputy, in the acclaimed western Lonesome Dove.

From 1979 until 1984, he appeared in several episodes of Dallas as Sheriff Fenton Washburn. In 1983, Corbin co-starred in the famed television miniseries The Thorn Birds. Corbin played Mary Carson's stockman "Pete", who teaches the Cleary's sons how to shear sheep on their aunt's gigantic sheep station Drogheda, in Australia. In 1983-1984, Corbin played Merit Sawyer in the NBC television series Boone. Corbin's role was that of a stern father to the young actor Tom Byrd, who played Boone Sawyer, an aspiring singer. The program was set in rural Tennessee during the 1950s and was created by Earl Hamner, who had great success earlier with CBS's The Waltons. From 1990 to 1995, Corbin portrayed former astronaut Maurice Minnifield on CBS's Northern Exposure, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination.

In 1994, Corbin narrated the acclaimed TBS documentary MoonShot, telling the story of the 1960s space race from the first-person viewpoint of Mercury Seven astronaut Deke Slayton. In 2007, He played the character Clay Johnson, father of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on The Closer series.

From 2003-2008, Corbin played Whitey Durham, the basketball coach for the Tree Hill Ravens on The WB/CW teenage drama series One Tree Hill. He also had a role in 2008's Oscar-winning film No Country for Old Men. Corbin lost most of his hair in the 1990s due to alopecia areata. Since then, he has played various roles with a shaved head, wearing a cowboy hat, or occasionally wearing a full toupee. Corbin is the signature voice of radio station KPLX in Fort Worth, Texas, and has also voiced trailers and promos for CMT and various other country radio stations.

Personal life

Many of his films have been westerns, and Corbin's proficiency in the saddle is no act. Corbin won many cutting-horse competitions before breaking into film. Much of his spare time is spent riding horses and tending to cattle on his small Texas ranch near Fort Worth. He has volunteered his time to charity for many years, including rodeos and being spokesman for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. In 2006, he participated in the Lubbock centennial. Corbin has been quoted as being an avid enthusiast of riding horses.

In 2009, Corbin was inducted in the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth. A recent painting of Corbin has been placed at the museum exhibit. In September 2011, Corbin was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Estes Park Film Festival, in Estes Park, Colorado. The Texas Film Hall of Fame inducted Corbin on March 8, 2012.