Jennifer Beals, 57 is an actress and producer who starred in “Flash Dance”, “The Devil in a Blue Dress”, and the TV series “The Last Tycoon”. She is currently appearing in Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q”. She talked to Mark Myers.
Just before my 10th birthday, a family friend came to pick me up at school. When we arrived outside the house, he told me that my father had died. My heart did not accept that he was gone.
My father, Alfred, was a successful entrepreneur who owned three small adjacent apartments and several businesses on the South Side of Chicago.
His sudden death from a stroke at the age of 61 left a big gap in our family. He made friends easily, was affectionate, athletic, stylish and graceful. My father was the center of my universe.
Before he died, our family lived in one of the buildings he owned. There was a grocery store in his business. He took our order and came back from work with a bag of food in the evening. He also handed me a bag of food coupons for sorting.
My mother, Jeanne, is one of the best and brave women I know of. She has been a school teacher for over 30 years. She loves classical music, speaks Japanese and is still playing bass in an amateur orchestra at the age of 85. She confirmed that I knew I had to ask what I wanted in life.
After my father died, my mother moved me, my brother Bobby, and my brother Gregory to the North Side.
I was ancient when I was a kid. In my small room, I surrounded my desk typewriter with candles and pretended to be Abe Lincoln in his log hut. I was an introvert.
At the age of 12 and 13, I did two jobs at an ice cream shop. The manager thought I was 16 years old. I wanted to make money so as not to burden my mother and to ensure her independence.
My mother remarried when I was 15 years old. Edward was a doctor and encouraged my adventure very much. He is always proud of me. My mother was scared when she wanted to go to New York alone at the age of 16. But my stepfather trusted my judgment and they let me go.
At Northside school, my best friend was Page Hannah, Daryl Hannah’s sister. Their stepfather was Jerrold Wexler, a businessman and film producer who was the guardian angel of my family. The page and I remain very intimate.
I was interested in high school theater when I saw my brother Gregory involved. Playing Hodel on “Fidleron the Roof” opened up another world.
I went to an after-school audition with Darryl and Page and was with them in the waiting room. I soon realized that acting was a way to make a living. They had an agent, so I got an agent.
Something has changed as a girl acting at a youth theater workshop at school or at the Goodman Theater. By opening myself to another character, I connected to something bigger than myself.
I was doing well in high school, but I didn’t tell anyone or even my mother that I applied for early admission to Yale University. For some reason, my desire was very personal.
One day I heard the kids talking about being accepted in college, so I called Yale to check my status. The woman on the other side looked at my paperwork and said, “Welcome to Yale.”
I hung up and talked to my mother. She started crying. I have saved enough money from work to pay for freshman tuition.
In the summer before college, I lived in a small apartment in Paris. I received a letter from a Chicago agent asking me to audition for a movie similar to “Saturday Night Fever.” It was called “flash dance”.
I flew to New York on my way back to Chicago for an audition. When I returned to Chicago, they wanted me to fly to Los Angeles for a screen test. But the studio wanted me to sign the nude clause, but I refused.
Back in Yale, I thought my refusal meant I had to find a way to pay the tuition for the following year. I thought I would make a model and act. When I called the agent, she said I got the “flash dance” part. Before accepting, I confirmed that I could return to Yale after shooting. The dean understood. He postponed my term to me. I graduated in 1987.
Today, my husband Ken and I live in Western Canada with our daughter. I love the sound of humpback whales passing by and bears ringing in the backyard. It’s a continuation of my love for nature.
I think about my father every day. When I meditate every morning, his picture is on my altar. I know he is with me.
What is “The L Word: Generation Q”? The series follows a group of lesbian and bisexual women living in West Hollywood.
Is its role challenging for heterosexual women? I take the responsibility of LGBTQ representatives very seriously.
Why? In trying to do the right thing with my character Bette Porter, I hope I can continue to do the right thing with a very supportive community.
“Luckiest Girl Alive” scheduled for 2022.
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“The L Word” star Jennifer Beals postpones her term at Yale University to the movie “Flashdance”
Source link “The L Word” star Jennifer Beals postpones her term at Yale University to the movie “Flashdance”