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Sunday, August 31, 2008

BD Wong in One Man Show

BD Wong, who plays Dr. George Huang on Law & Order Special Victims Unit, is scheduled to perform in a one-man show. Here’s the story from the Hyphen Magazine blog:

B.D. Wong Does it All in 'Herringbone'

B.D. Wong, who kicks it with Ice-T on NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" and is the only actor to win all five major NY theater awards for one role ("M. Butterfly"), will be appearing in the one-man show "Herringbone" from September 5 to October 12 at McCarter Theater Center in Princeton, NJ.

The show is described as: "A ghost story with a vaudeville twist. A musical with a dash of murder. A one-man tour de force. When 8-year-old George discovers his gift for tap-dancing, everyone wants a piece of him. As the adults around him exploit his talents, George finds himself in a profound supernatural struggle for control over body and soul."

The setting of the play is the Depression-era American South, meaning Wong sings and dances his way through 11 different characters that weren't written as Asian Americans. Hopefully, his performance will help put a dent into the typecasting of AA actors in theater. Because you can only hold out for a part in "Miss Saigon" for so long...

You can also catch more information on this topic from B.D. himself on the blog for the McCarter Theatre, here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kathryn Erbe: Preventing Animal Cruelty

Kathryn Erbe ("Detective Alex Eames", Law & Order Criminal Intent), dog lover, is the spokesperson for the The American Mutt-i-grees Club.

Their web page explains what they do:

The American Mutt-i-grees Club is all about change and choice:
Changing how mixed-breed dogs are regarded, by celebrating the unique characteristics of each one of them, and helping people make the right choice - the choice to adopt mixed-breed puppies and adult dogs at shelters across America.

Straight to the heart (not the bottom line)
When you adopt a Mutt-i-gree from a shelter, your choice also says "No" - no to buying a puppy in a pet store that's supplied by the unbelievably cruel trade of the purebred puppy mills and irresponsible backyard breeders. If these puppy mills are stopped from bringing millions of puppies into the world, millions of puppies and adult dogs being euthanized each year might
be saved.

A world of change
Three out of every four shelter dogs are mixed-breed, and for many Mutt-i-grees, their lives end before they begin: No hope, no help, no voice. The American Mutt-i-grees Club was established to help join together mixed-breed dog owners - a group over 25 million strong - to incite change, and help these extraordinary dogs receive the hope, help, voice and loving
homes they all deserve.

A remarkable breed
like Mutt-i-grees, our club members are a truly remarkable breed, ambassadors of education and goodwill, reaching out to people who want to do the right thing and to make the right choice.

It looks like a nice cause, and Kathryn makes a great spokesperson!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chris Noth and Son Orion In Hollywood

JustJared.com has some nice photos of Chris Noth (Law & Order Criminal Intent, "Mike Logan") and his 7-month old son Orion, taken last week in Hollywood, on their web site, here. Also at this link are pictures of Chris and his girlfriend (and mother of Orion) Tara Wilson at the Sex and the City premier in May of this year.
Mr. Big and Mr. Little

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Alana De La Garza Filming Law & Order in NYC

Law & Order’s Alana De La Garza (ADA Connie Rubirosa) was spotted last week filming a Law & Order episode in New York City. There was also a photo of Linus Roache at the same filming location, but he was wearing a suit and tie, and looked rather dull compared to Alana. Besides, with all the Sam Waterston press lately, I though I’d find something for the guys to enjoy. So, here’s one for the guys!

OK, OK, here's Linus:

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sam Waterston Does PSA for National Parks Conservation Association

Sam Waterston has recorded a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for the National Parks Conservation Association. The NPCA is sponsoring the campaign to build awareness of the needs of our national parks, and so we can all work together to restore these national treasures by the park system's 2016 centennial. The advertisements will appear on radio, and in newspapers and national magazines at the generosity of the media.

I love all our National Parks, large and small. Believe it or not, I live only a little over a mile from a historic site that is part of the National Park system. It’s the the home of President James A. Garfield. I know a lot of money goes into maintaining a place like that, so our much bigger National Parks, like Yosemite and Yellowstone probably cost a fortune to maintain. And we should do all we can to keep them in top shape so they can be enjoyed for years – and generations – to come.

The full press release can be found below. I’ve also taken the radio message and created a little video so you can all hear it and spread the word.

National Parks Conservation Association Launches New Public Service Ad Campaign; Calls on New Congress, Administration for National Park Funding, Protections

Campaign features Petrified Forest, National Mall as examples of parks in need

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation’s leading voice for the national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today announced the launch of its 2008 "Our National Parks" public service advertising campaign, which features actors Amy Madigan and Sam Waterston, and calls on the American public for help in encouraging greater federal funding for national park upkeep and protection.

"Our national parks: the Washington Monument, Petrified Forest, Yosemite, Mesa Verde, and many others, are national treasures," said NPCA President Tom Kiernan. "We need action to protect them for our children and grandchildren."

The new print and radio public service advertisements, developed by the PlowShare Group, Inc., will be distributed to magazines, newspapers, and radio stations nationwide. The radio spots include two generously recorded by actors Amy Madigan and Sam Waterston, both of whom also provided voice-over talent for filmmaker Ken Burns’ new documentary about America’s national parks, planned for release in fall 2009.

In NPCA’s public service ads, the public is encouraged to visit npca.org to sign a petition to Congress and the incoming Administration to seek their support for restoring our national parks in time for the park system’s 2016 centennial. The petition will be delivered in February.

In a 2008 nationwide survey conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates, 83 percent of respondents indicated that it was extremely or quite important for the federal government to protect and support national parks such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Everglades.

Yet, as NPCA’s new public service campaign points out, chronic federal funding shortfalls have put national parks nationwide at risk. While Congress has provided some increased funding, parks such as the National Mall continue to suffer from inadequate investment. At the Mall, $350 million is needed for maintenance and preservation of the monuments, historic buildings, and parkland, and for visitor services and signage. Nationwide, national parks struggle with a cumulative backlog of maintenance needs of nearly $9 billion.

NPCA’s campaign also features Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, which is at risk of residential and commercial development within its boundaries because the National Park Service doesn’t have the needed funds to acquire land from willing sellers. Landowner Mike Fitzgerald has been holding out for the Park Service to buy his "scientifically valuable" land for years; he warned the Christian Science Monitor newspaper in July that he may be forced to sell to a developer.

According to NPCA’s recent report, America’s Heritage: For Sale, the Park Service needs nearly $2 billion to acquire 1.8 million acres of priority lands within the boundaries of national parks nationwide, including Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Southern California, Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania, Virgin Islands National Park in the U.S.V.I, and New River Gorge National River in West Virginia.

"Americans expect the federal government to take care of our national parks," said Kiernan. "We’ll be looking to the new Administration and Congress to fulfill that promise."

Next week, NPCA is convening the first meeting of the National Parks Second Century Commission, a body of distinguished private citizens that is conducting a broadly inclusive dialogue over the next 18 months about national parks, their values, and role in society. The meeting will be held at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, on August 24-27.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Jesse L. Martin Supports “Camp Our Time”

Law & Order star Jesse L. Martin (“Detective Ed Green") made an appearance at Camp Our Time, which is part of the Our Time Theatre Company.

According to the company web site:

Our Time Theatre Company provides an environment of unconditional acceptance where young people who stutter, ages 8-19, discover the joy of creating and performing original theatre and music. Our Time immerses young people who stutter in the arts through six programs: The Teen Play, The Pre-Teen Play, The One-Act Play, The Album Project, Tour, and Camp Our Time (which is available to young people who stutter and their siblings, ages 8-18, from all over the world). Under the guidance of professional theatre artists, the company members write, direct, and perform their own plays and songs, which are performed in Manhattan as well as nationally and internationally. There is no audition for prospective members and no performance experience necessary. Our Time members are chosen based on their openness to learn about theatre and music, their willingness to make a commitment to participate in the company, and their understanding that Our Time is a place of ongoing respect and support. Our Time serves all of its company members free of charge.

A nice picture of Jesse can be found on the Camp Our Time blog page,here. What a nice thing for Jesse to do and what a great cause to support.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

The Angie Harmon Baby on Board Saga, Part 3

I reported on my blog (here) on August 6th that Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn were expecting their third child. I had to amend my blog on August 9th because Jason told reporters Angie wasn’t pregnant. Maybe he attributed Angie’s tummy bulge to some food that she actually ate?

OK, all joking aside, it's now being reported that she really IS pregnant. And I guess now I no longer care. But in case you do, here’s the story from Us Magazine:

EXCLUSIVE: Angie Harmon Pregnant With Third Child
Wednesday August 20, 2008

Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn are thrilled to announce that they are expecting their third child," her rep told Usmagazine.com exclusively on Wednesday. "The couple originally denied reports that they were pregnant in an attempt to take back the right to release the joyous news themselves."

Harmon, 36, and Sehorn, 37, are parents to daughters Finley, 4, and Avery, 3.

"You know, I don't think we're done," Sehorn told Us at the Harold Pump Foundation Celebration Dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel on August 8.

"We had [Finley and Avery] and they were only 20 months apart," he explained. "That's too close. We were deep in diapers for about a year of just solid two diapers. I was like, 'enough.'"

With two girls, the actress is hoping for a baby boy this time around.

"Being an athlete, I don't want boys to have the pressure," Sehorn (a former NFL star) told Us in February. "So it's not something I pray for, but she does!"

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sam Waterston Honorary Co-Chair at Hunt Hill Farm Benefit

Sam Waterston, along with Mia Farrow (who also starred with Sam in the movie “The Great Gatsby”) will be honorary "chairmen" for the benefit of the Hunt Hill Farm Trust, which will be held on September 20 in New Milford, CT. Since New Milford is in Litchfield County, CT., at least Sam won’t be far from home.

Here are the details:

Grammy winner to perform in concert at New Milford's Hunt Hill Farm
By Nanci G. Hutson

»NEW MILFORD -- Off a country lane at Hunt Hill Farm is an grassy field enclosed by trees and an old stone wall, its gentle slopes and natural shading the idyllic setting for a country music legend to entertain a crowd.

On Sept. 20, Grammy Award-winner Larry Gatlin will perform for some 650 people in the first benefit concert for Hunt Hill Farm Trust, whose mission is to perpetuate the farm's agricultural and artistic past.

"Larry Gatlin's successful and diverse career mirrors that of Hunt Hill Farm Trust founders Skitch and Ruth Henderson," trust executive director Susan York said during a news conference at the farm Monday.

"As the founder of the New York Pops and NBC's former musical director, Skitch had a passion for music in all its forms."

After Skitch died in 2005, Gatlin told his widow, Ruth -- a writer, chef and entrepreneur who still lives in a restored 1836 barn on the farm the couple bought 40 years ago -- he would help her and the trust anyway he could.

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers -- his band with his siblings Steve and Rudy -- had performed several times with the New York Pops and played again at its 25th anniversary celebration in April. When Ruth Henderson asked him to sing in New Milford, he agreed.

The honorary chairmen for the event are Mia Farrow and Sam Waterston.

Local resident Mia Ezdebski, who won two $50 tickets to the concert at Village Fair Days, said she feels honored she'll be a guest at what is sure to be a grand afternoon.

The 2:30 to 4 p.m. concert will be held rain or shine under a massive tent. Guided tours of the farm and the Skitch Henderson Museum will follow from 4 to 5 p.m.

In addition, concertgoers can visit the Connecticut Plein Air Painters' latest exhibit in The Silo Gallery on the grounds.

All of the proceeds from the concert -- prices range from $10 for children and students to $125 for gold seating with on-site parking -- will go to the Henderson Cultural Center at Hunt Hill Farm.

Arthur Weinshank, chairman of the trust board, said the concert will raise money to produce other first-class cultural events at the farm and continue the Hendersons' vision for a place unlike any other.

"Ruth and Skitch always wanted to have a concert of this significance," York said.

"Hunt Hill Farm is a vital part of western Connecticut's arts and cultural scene, as well as a historic treasure," John Kline, CEO of Union Savings Bank, said in a written statement. "This concert will allow Hunt Hill Farm Trust to continue inspiring visitors with unique and creative programming."'

Hunt Hill Farm is a destination for farmers and environmentalists, music and art buffs, cooking aficionados, and those who love history, said Jim Whitney, executive director of Northwest Connecticut Visitors and Tourism Bureau.

Whitney said he is happy to accept Henderson's invitation to assist in promoting and arranging the event, from ticket sales to finding convenient but unobtrusive sites for portable toilets.

Board member June Freemanzon said, "Larry Gatlin is a great entertainer, really terrific. He will fit well with Hunt Hill Farm."

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sam Waterston, Dog Lover

Here’s something different from Fetchdog.com. It’s an article and interview written and conducted by Glenn Close, about Sam Waterston and his dogs. Sadly, one of Sam’s dogs, Benedict, passed away a short time ago. (I still get teary-eyed thinking of my faithful childhood dog, Speedy, who passed away over 30 years ago.) There is a nice picture of Sam and Benedict on Fetchdog.com, at the link below.

Lively Licks: Profiles of Dogs and Their People...Q&A with Sam Waterston
Posted on Aug 19, 2008 By Glenn Close

When I was a senior in college, I fell in love with Sam Waterston. He was on Broadway, performing the role of Benedict in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. He was totally captivating - sexy, funny, smart and gorgeous.

In 1986, Sam and I were cast as husband and wife, in a Broadway play called Benefactors. The year before, he had been nominated for an Academy Award for his astounding performance in The Killing Fields. Since then, because of his consistently superb work on stage and on screens, both big and small, Sam has established himself as one of the most universally loved and respected - indeed iconic - actors working today.

Sam is a truly committed, civilized man who is passionate about his family and his country. He is entering his 15th season as the much revered Jack McCoy, the newly promoted D.A. on Law & Order - a series that continues to rewrite the annals of television history. This summer Sam triumphantly returned to his theatrical roots, appearing on stage as Polonius in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of Hamlet, at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

So we pay tribute to a friend whose Benedict mesmerized me thirty-five years ago, and pay special tribute to his beautiful herding dog...another Benedict...who tragically passed away just a few weeks ago. We celebrate the dignity, loyalty and vigilance of an exceptional dog. Although they still have a lively complement of canines, I know that Benedict is irreplaceable and will be sorely, sorely missed. Sam felt it appropriate to remember Benedict as he is described in this profile: a beloved dog who gallantly fulfilled the task that was his birthright and to which he was passionately committed - guarding his flock.

Glenn Close: When and how did you become a dog lover?
SW: From before I was born, there were dogs in the family. When I was a boy, the family dog was a fine, strong, proud, smart, and noble standard poodle by the name of Coco.

GC: Why dogs?
SW: Warmth, energy, enthusiasm, courage, loyalty, interest, amusement.

GC: How have you balanced work with your dogs?
SW: We have a working dog, a sheep-guarding dog, a Maremma, which is an Italian breed. He is an aristocrat who spends all his time with his sheep. Occasionally, he will accept friendly attention from us, and friends of ours he comes to trust, but, mostly his work makes him either uncurious about, or distrustful of, two-legged visitors. Our other dogs have more time for us, when there are no squirrels, chipmunks, or skunks to chase, but they all have work to do, missions to complete, except, perhaps, for the Bijon, whose mission is my wife.

GC: Have you ever rescued a dog?
SW: We adopted a Bijon who had come to our veterinarian after her mistress died, and who immediately became my mother-in-law's devoted companion. In a way, they rescued each other.

GC: How did your present dogs come into your life?
SW: We have three house dogs. One of them is the just-mentioned Bijon, who was the companion dog to my mother-in-law. We inherited her when my mother-in-law died. We have two Norfolk Terriers. A neighbor has an excellent Norfolk, charming and eccentric, and we wanted one of our own, and then we wanted another.

GC: What kinds of cars would your dogs drive?
SW: Our Bijon would not drive. She would be driven. Perhaps in a Citroen, if it were black, and the driver was trustworthy. Our male Norfolk would drive a Morgan, flat out, pedal to the metal. The female would drive a Swatch. Our Maremma would drive a very old, beat up, Land Rover with no top.

GC: What would be the title of your dogs' autobiographies?
SW: Maremma: My Sheep. Bijon: Taking Care. Male Norfolk: Be Afraid, Rodent. Female Norfolk: Winding Him Up: How to live happily among much bigger dogs.

GC: Do you ever take your dogs to work with you?

SW: Yes.

GC: What is your dogs' pet peeve about you?
SW: Except for the Maremma, being left behind. For the Maremma, being taken away from his sheep.

GC: What is your pet peeve about your dogs?
SW: Disobedience, moderated by admiration for their independence and curiosity about their obsessions.

GC: What musical instruments would your dogs play?
SW: Bijon: accordion. Maremma: Mountain Horn, but no time to practice. Norfolks: he, siren, she, kazoo.

GC: What excites your dog the most?
SW: Intruders.

GC: Who do your dogs sleep with?
SW: Other dogs.

GC: Where are your dogs' favorite spot at home?
SW: Maremma: High ground near sheep. Norfolks: He, high stool at window or back of easy chair; She, top step of porch. Bijon: next to my wife.

GC: If your dogs were famous people, who would they be?
SW: Maremma: Fellini. Bijon: Gracie Allen. Norfolk, he: Jimmy Stewart ; she, Giulietta Masina

GC: What is your dogs' idea of perfect happiness?
SW: Having all the people/animals they care about very nearby.

GC: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
SW: Ditto.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Courtney B. Vance Pays Visit to ER

Well, not a real ER, mind you. Law & Order Criminal Intent’s Courtney B. Vance (ADA Ron Carver) will be appearing on the NBC show ER, according to NBC Universal.

Here’s the complete press release from NBC:

Published: August 18, 2008

BURBANK, Calif. – August 18, 2008 - NBC announced that Courtney B. Vance will join NBC's long running show "ER" (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m. ET/PT) in multi-episode story arc during season 15. Vance will be playing the role of Russell Banfield, husband to Cate Banfield played by real-life wife, Angela Bassett. "ER" will mark the first time Vance and Bassett will be acting together.

"We are excited to see the on-screen chemistry and emotion this incredibly talented husband and wife team will bring to our show," said executive producer David Zabel. "Fans are in for a treat and we couldn't be more thrilled that they chose ER to make their first appearance together."

Vance is perhaps best known for his five-year run on NBC's drama "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award (Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series), for his role as New York Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver. Vance's talents also translate well to the big screen and are apparent in his roles in films such as Clint Eastwood's "Space Cowboys," Penny Marshall's "The Preacher's Wife" opposite Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington, John McTiernan's "The Hunt for Red October" and the big budget thriller "D-Tox." He was also seen in Robert Altman's small town mystery, "Cookie's Fortune," as well as "Huckleberry Finn." Vance's other feature film work includes "Hamburger Hill;" "Love and Action in Chicago," which he also co-produced; "The Last Supper," his critically-acclaimed portrayal of Bobby Seale in Gramercy Pictures "Panther;" and opposite Forest Whitaker in Tim Story's "Patriots."

On the small screen, Vance starred in the Emmy-nominated production of "The Boys Next Door," as well as the Emmy-nominated television movie, "The Tuskegee Airmen" opposite Laurence Fishburne and Andre Braugher. He starred alongside Charles S. Dutton in the feature "Blind Faith," for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Actor. He also appeared in the production of "12 Angry Men" alongside Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott; the television movie "Ambushed;" "The Naked City;" "Whitewash;" "The Clarence Brandley Story" as Clarence Brandley; and "Percy & Thunder" alongside James Earl Jones. Vance also received recognition for his starring role in the television movie, "The Affair," in the form of a Cable Ace Award nomination for Best Actor -- and also his brilliant performance in the Emmy-nominated production of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson."

Most recently, Vance and wife Angela Bassett completed their first book, Friends: A Love Story that chronicles their story about healthy relationships, love and family.

NBC renewed "ER" for a 15th and final season in April. Combining the extraordinary talents of multiple award-winning producer John Wells ("The West Wing" "Third Watch"), best-selling author Michael Crichton ("Jurassic Park") and the creative team at Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, the venerated series "ER" explores the inner workings of an urban teaching hospital and the critical issues faced by the dedicated physicians and staff of its overburdened emergency room. Currently beginning its 15th season, the highly acclaimed drama series now holds the distinction of being recognized as the most Emmy®-nominated series in the history of television with 122 nominations. Crichton and Wells serve as executive producers, along with Christopher Chulack, David Zabel, Joe Sachs and Janine Sherman Barrois.

A winner of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, the series has also earned 22 Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series in 1996, among many accolades. In addition, the cast has been honored with four Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series.

The long-running series stars Maura Tierney ("Diggers," "Welcome to Mooseport,"), Mekhi Phifer ("Dawn of the Dead," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "8 Mile," "Slow Burn"), Parminder Nagra ("Ella Enchanted," "Bend It Like Beckham"), Linda Cardellini ("Brokeback Mountain, "Scooby-Doo" films, "Grandma's Boy," "Freaks and Geeks"), Scott Grimes ("Band of Brothers," "American Dad," "Party of Five," "Mystery, Alaska"), John Stamos ("A Raisin in the Sun," "Jake in Progress") and David Lyons ("Blue Heelers").

On staff at County General Hospital are Abby Lockhart (Tierney), a recovering alcoholic trying her best to juggle a demanding residency and motherhood while everything around her seems to be falling apart; Dr. Greg Pratt (Phifer), an attending fighting for the chief spot on the floor as well as for a firm grasp on his love life; Neela Rasgotra (Nagra), a skilled surgical resident committed to growing in her craft as well as in her place on the surgical team; Sam Taggart (Cardellini), a spirited ER nurse who is finally getting some time to explore life and love both in and outside the hospital; Dr. Archie Morris (Grimes), the quirky-yet-talented attending dedicated to his work but constantly distracted by his own world; Tony Gates (Stamos), a paramedic-turned-doctor who has overcome numerous obstacles to take on the rigorous challenges of life in the ER and Dr. Simon Brenner (Lyons) the newest attending physician with a penchant for stirring things up.

"ER" is a production of Constant c Productions and Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Milena Govich Spotted at Cinema Society Screening

Back in late June, Milena Govich (Law & Order, “Nina Cassady”) was spotted at a screening of the movie “The Wackness,” being held by the The Cinema Society along with Cierge SONY. The film, directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen, won the Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award. Here’s a photo of her arrival!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sam Waterston, The Face of TD Ameritrade

Before there was TD Ameritrade, it was TD Waterhouse, and the television commercial “face” of TD Waterhouse was none other than Law & Order alumnus, Steven Hill (District Attorney Adam Schiff). And did you know that Jerry Orbach (Detective Lennie Briscoe) also did some print ads for them as well? In late 2003, Steven Hill passed the torch for the commercials to another Law & Order colleague, Sam Waterston (currently District Attorney Jack McCoy).

Below are two videos, one a "behind the scenes" of the TD Ameritrade ads with Sam, and another, a short on-line ad. There is also an article that gives a little history of how these ads have evolved, with some interesting insight into why these people were chosen for the ads or commercials.

Update January 9, 2012 Sam Waterston out as TD Ameritade spokesman

Sam Waterston, behind the scenes in the TD Ameritrade ads

Sam Waterston in TD Ameritrade on line ad

The Law & Order Index
Watching reruns could make you rich!
By John Swansburg
Posted Monday, Dec. 29, 2003

As we all now know, Law & Order isn't just a TV show anymore, it's a brand—there's the original series, its three spinoffs, a pair of computer games, and a new coffee-table book you can browse between reruns on TNT. One convincing sign of the show's reach, however, often goes overlooked. Like only a few brands before it, Law & Order has become an economic indicator. McDonald's, for example, can boast about the Economist's Big Mac Index, which uses the price of that signature burger to determine whether a country's currency is over- or undervalued. Now, thanks to TD Waterhouse, you can use your knowledge of Law & Order to decide whether it's time to put some money in the market.

Last month, TD Waterhouse, one of the biggest discount brokerage firms, announced that it was replacing its spokesman. Sam Waterston, who plays prosecutor Jack McCoy on Law & Order, would be taking over for Steven Hill, who used to play District Attorney Adam Schiff. Hill's ad campaign, which appeared on television and in print, followed print ads that featured Jerry Orbach, who for the past 12 seasons has played the show's wise-cracking Detective Lennie Briscoe. The basic idea behind all three campaigns was to present potential investors with a familiar and trustworthy spokesperson. Traditionally, the problem with this kind of static approach is that investors trust different people in different economic conditions—the boom time's role model won't cut it during a recession. But that's the beauty of an ensemble cast. There's a Law & Order character for every economic climate.

How did it all begin? TD Waterhouse has insisted that the company "was not intending to go with a Law and Order theme," but as any devoted fan of Law & Order knows, intent can be hard to prove—and sometimes you can make a case without it. In 1999, TD Waterhouse, fresh off an IPO of close to $1 billion, launched its biggest ad campaign ever, a $100 million TV and print blitz. The ads in the so-called "Xprs Yrslf" series played on the two meanings of "express"—TD Waterhouse's services would help you make a statement about yourself through your investments and would do so in a jiffy, since we all have times when we're just too busy for vowels. Along with Jackie Chan (depicted fighting off bad guys while reading a TD Waterhouse research report) and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, there was Jerry Orbach, expressing himself in a print ad that listed a few of his favorite stocks.

In that giddy time, Orbach was an obvious choice. Though there were perhaps still a few people out there for whom Orbach would always be "the dad from Dirty Dancing," for the rest of us Orbach was Lennie Briscoe, which made him a natural pitch man for a roll-the-dice investment era. Briscoe is known for calling a spade a spade and for calling sex the horizontal hula. He's honest, but he's not a scold. He's not your typical investor—even the casual Law & Order viewer knows that Lennie's investment experience is limited to placing bets at the OTB—but that was the point. To succeed in the New Economy, the ad suggested, you didn't need a subscription to the Wall Street Journal or a white collar, just a nose for a good horse.

When the IPO bubble burst however, Lennie Briscoe no longer seemed like the kind of guy whose portfolio you just had to get a peek at. TD Waterhouse figured that it had to reassure tentative investors with a spokesman who offered more gravitas. Someone like Adam Schiff, the curmudgeonly D.A. played by Steven Hill. The ads featuring Hill, who had just left Law & Order, began appearing in January 2002. Often shown with a dark suit, conservative tie, and a trench coat, Hill seemed to have taken Schiff's wardrobe with him as part of his severance package. He embodied world-weary wisdom. He talked like the cranky voice of reason, too. "You want a fortune teller?" he asked, sitting in front of a computer displaying the company's site. "Go to the circus. You want information you can trust? TD Waterhouse." The tone was pitch perfect for an anxious time—frank talk and sage advice.

But apparently there's only so much frank talk the nervous investor can take. Hill was perhaps too honest; he made you want to put your savings under your mattress. As a reader of the Columbus Dispatch put it in a letter the paper published not long after the Hill campaign was launched, "After listening to him drone on about how desperate my financial future may be, I don't know whether to cut my wrists or reach for a Xanax the size of a handball."

Hill seemed even more out of tune as the economy started its tentative upswing. So now TD Waterhouse brings us print and TV ads starring Waterston. The campaign attacks by name the company's competitors—Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab—an aggressive tactic you can imagine the feisty Jack McCoy savoring. McCoy is somewhere between Briscoe and Schiff: He wears a Barbour jacket, but he rides a motorcycle; he's a workaholic, but he's been known to get it on with his absurdly attractive assistant district attorneys. He's a cautious optimist: He'll offer up a slap-on-the-wrist plea bargain if he has to, but he'd usually rather risk prosecuting defendants at trial, confident he can persuade a jury to issue a tough sentence instead of a not-guilty verdict.

Cautious optimism seemed like a good fit for November's tentatively hopeful economic moment, but in early December the Dow rose above 10,000 for the first time in 18 months, and that cautious optimism is beginning to seem prescient. Until now, the Law & Order/TD Waterhouse nexus has been what economists call a coincident indicator, a reflection of the current state of the economy. Is it possible that it's becoming a leading indicator—one that predicts coming economic trends?

If so, we'll know a sustained boom is on the horizon when TD Waterhouse replaces Waterston with S. Epatha Merkerson. Inside the 27th Precinct, Merkerson's Lt. Anita Van Buren keeps an even keel despite constantly getting guff from her recalcitrant detectives. After hours, she's a solidly middle-class mother of two who puts her family's needs first. This is not a woman who has money to burn and not someone who would invest unless it was a sure thing. Not convinced? Just wait for the next rerun of "Competence," an episode from Season 5. That's the one where Van Buren nearly loses her badge for capping a kid she thinks is sticking her up at an ATM. How's that for protecting your investments?

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sam Waterston, Mariska Hargitay in Chiller Marathon

Law & Order’s Sam Waterston and Law & Order SVU’s Mariska Hargitay will be starring in two separate TV shows on the Chiller channel as part of a marathon featuring some of NBC’s current primetime stars. The marathon is on Saturday, September 20.

Sam will be appearing in an episode of Tales from the Crypt called “As Ye Sow” airing at 11:30AM and 7:30PM. Sam plays a slimy, not so good guy, and he looks the part, too. (Note: You can also view this episode on YouTube, but I didn’t embed it here because of some of the language used in the episode.)

Mariska will be in Freddy’s Nightmares, “Freddy’s Tricks and Treats” airing at 1PM, 1AM, and 4AM.

I’m not a horror fan, but I have to admit that Sam was quite smarmy in “As Ye Sow.”

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jerry Orbach's Son Feuds Over Estate

The New York Post broke a story which reports a dispute that surfaced between the son of Law & Order's Jerry Orbach – Chris Orbach – and his stepmother, Elaine Cancilla-Orbach, over Jerry’s estate and donation of his eyes. Jerry has been dead a few years now and I still get sad while watching Law & Order epsiodes that feature Lennie Briscoe, so I almost didn’t even want to report this issue. But, in the interest of Law & Order fans around the world, I thought I’d pass it along.

The report from the New York Post is below, you’ll have to go to the site to read Chris’ letter, which is included in one of the photos shown by The NY Post.


Michael Riedel
August 10, 2008

THE son of beloved "Law & Order" actor Jerry Orbach, who died of cancer in 2004, has lashed out at his father's widow, claiming in a vitriolic letter that she manipulated her husband into cutting his children out of his $10 million estate - and had his eyes "shucked out" on his deathbed.

Chris Orbach, 39, calls his stepmother, Elaine Cancilla-Orbach, "a double-dealing, lying, scheming, miserable fool" who, with the help of "cut-rate, borscht-belt" lawyers, has "painted [herself] as the beginning and the end of the Jerry Orbach Legacy" and can now "boast about 'never flying coach,' or 'never riding the subway.' "

All he has been left, Chris claims, are "two sweaters, a pool cue, a few CDs and a pocketknife from the estate of one of television's best-known faces - a man who happened, incidentally, to be my father."

Chris Orbach's letter to his stepmother was private. The Post obtained a copy from a source sympathetic to his story. In an interview, Orbach, an actor and musician, said he regrets that the matter has become public but stands by his letter. "It's a very melodramatic gesture," he said. "But I no longer saw the sense in maintaining a relationship with Elaine."

Cancilla-Orbach, a former Broadway dancer and actress, said she was "in shock when I received the letter. I stood there in my kitchen having four pages of this vomit being thrown at me by someone I thought I had a relationship with. I don't hate Chris, but I don't understand why he's doing this. Everything he says is untrue."

Orbach also attacks his stepmother for her decision to donate his father's eyes to the Eye Bank Association of America. "Having to leave my father's deathbed so that some guy with an ice box could shuck his eyes out while they were fresh still makes me sick and furious to this day," he writes.

Chris Orbach did a voiceover for an Eye Bank ad, but "only to stay on Elaine's good side." Eventually, he asked the bank to use another actor's voice.

"Jerry always said he was so proud that at age 69, he didn't need glasses," Cancilla-Orbach said. "He said, 'If I can give anything back, I want to give my eyes. I can't give my liver because I drank too much, and I can't give my lungs because I smoked too much. But I can give my eyes.' So on his deathbed, when they asked if he was an organ donor, I said, 'Take his eyes.' Chris knew nothing of this. He knew nothing of what his father and I discussed for 25 years."

Chris Orbach said he "saw red" when his father's will was read to him. "There were trusts set aside for us, but they do not revert to us until Elaine passes away," he said. "In the meantime, she can take the interest from the trust and raid the principle if she needs the money. We were told, basically, that it would be nice if there's something there for you, but don't count on it."

Born in The Bronx, Jerry Orbach got his start in showbiz in the off-Broadway musical "The Fantasticks." He went on to become one of Broadway's legendary leading men, starring in "Carnival," "Chicago" and "42nd Street."

In 1958, he married actress Marta Curro, with whom he had two sons, Chris and Tony. He divorced Curro in 1975, while he was starring in "Chicago." Curro is not named in the will.

After his divorce, Orbach began dating Elaine Cancilla, who was in the chorus of "Chicago." They married in 1979.

Although Orbach was a Tony Award-winning actor, his divorce cleaned him out.

"People think 'Law & Order' was our whole life," Cancilla-Orbach said. "But there were years of struggle. When I married Jerry, he was in dire straits . . . We used my savings to pay his alimony and child support."

"Law & Order" changed everything. When the show took off, Orbach, who played wise-cracking Detective Lennie Briscoe, was earning six figures per episode, with additional money pouring in from syndication. He was on the show for 12 years.

Chris and his brother, a contractor, did not challenge the will because "we'd be up to our necks in legal fees." In his letter, Chris writes: "On misplaced faith, I signed away all legal recourse. And I know that I can never legally prove what I know in my heart, which is that you forced dad to do what he did."

Cancilla-Orbach laughs at the idea she "forced" her husband to do anything. "I manipulated Jerry? I'm 5-foot-2. I'm scared of everybody. Jerry was my hero. He set up his will to protect me. The money that we earned from 'Law & Order' was for our retirement . . . His kids were in his will. And they are in my will, although I'm not sure Chris is going to stay there after this."

She adds that she's paying for the education of Tony Orbach's daughter and recently gave Tony $50,000 as a down payment on a house for him and his wife. Chris Orbach is not married and has no children.

Chris Orbach says he no longer wants anything from his stepmother. "I will not beg or wait around for crumbs to fall from the table of my father's legacy," he writes in his letter. "Not a single thing you've done has been dignified. All I can see are the greedy, grasping spasms of a toddler - her hands around a pile of marbles, crying 'all mine.' "

Added August 16, 2008:
Link to Chris Orbach’s response here, which is currently on his home page. It says:

Dear visitors --
The events resulting from the NY Post story on august 10th have been traumatic to say the least. While I don't deny writing the things I wrote, the letter in question was PERSONAL, and PRIVATE, and NEVER meant for public view. It was leaked without my knowledge or consent by a family friend I thought I could trust. I was wrong.

Those comments, in the heat of the emotional time that they were made, were never meant to be seen publicly. If one looks at the letter in its entirety (instead of the most salacious portions, which, regrettably, the New York Post chose to emphasize) you'll see that it was intended as nothing more than an explanation as to why I no longer wanted to be in contact with my stepmother. You'll also see that the gripes I did have were more about being shut out of dad's legacy at the personal level than the monetary one. I made it very clear at the end of the letter that I didn't want a dime from her.

I also want it known that the particularly graphic comments about how I felt about my father's organ donation (which were used to great effect by the Post's editorial staff) had only to do with having to leave my father's deathbed in what seemed to be "in a hurry". My brother and I had no idea about this plan for him to donate his eyes. One minute you're crying at your deceased father's bedside, and only THEN you find out about this, and have to leave. It was just unsettling at the time. On principle, I have no negative feelings about organ donation whatsoever. It just would have been nice to have been told about it before it happened.

In any event, the letter reflected my private feelings about an unfortunate situation. I won't try to take back or disown those feelings, but I do apologize for any harm that their being revealed at the public level may have caused anyone, as this was never -- ever -- my

Link to NY Post article with comments from Jerry’s first wife here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Elisabeth Rohm Planning October Nuptials

OK Magazine informs that Elisabeth Rohm (“Serena Southerlyn”, Law & Order) is preparing for an October wedding. Besides bringing baby Easton, she also wants to bring her dog, Homer. Be cautious, Elisabeth. Dog drool doesn’t look good on a wedding dress.

Here’s the story from OK Magazine:

Elisabeth Rohm Makes Room for Dog, Baby in Wedding
By Valerie Nome

Elisabeth Rohm is feeling pressure to pull off a wedding in October, but being a new mom to daughter Easton, four months, has changed her focus.

The actress, 35, is set to wed Easton’s dad, entrepreneur Ron Wooster.

“We are still in the midst of putting things together because the baby has taken so much time,” she tells OK! “We’re trying to get back on track with it. We are a little bit behind the eight ball, and we need to hustle. We’ve been on the vortex of starting a family. We have to become organized very quickly.”

Elisabeth wants her golden retriever Homer to be part of the ceremony. The actress is a national celebrity cabinet member for American Red Cross campaign Dog Days of Summer, which promotes pet safety.

“I absolutely would love for Homer to be the flower dog,” she tells OK! “He’s sharing center stage with the baby. She’ll be the flower girl and he’ll be the flower dog.”

Luckily, dog and baby get along great. “He loves her and he sleeps outside her bedroom door every night,” she tells OK!

Raising Easton, who loves to laugh, puts life into perspective.

“I always have the same mantra everyday. I say ‘you come first, and anything that doesn’t get done because I’m taking care of you, doesn’t need to get done.’ It’s so easy to become like ‘I’m taking care of the baby all the time, but I have all these things I want to do.’ It’s easy to get overwhelmed as a new mother, and I decided from day one that I wasn’t going to get overwhelmed as a new mother. I was going to make her the top priority, and whatever else I could do, I would do.”

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Angie Harmon: Baby on Board

It is being reported by various sources that Angie Harmon (“Abbie Carmichael”, Law & Order) is pregnant with her third child. Here’s the story from The Star:

Angie Harmon Expecting Baby No. 3

Angie Harmon is prepping for baby no. 3.

The actress, who last appeared in the canceled TV series Women's Murder Club, is three and half months along with her third child. She already has two daughters, Finley, 4, and Avery, 3, with retired football player Jason Sehorn.

"She is over the moon and glowing," a source tells Star. "And because the actress is so thin she is already sporting a tiny bump."

The sex of the baby is a mystery... for now.

"As of now they've decided not to find out the sex," says the source, "even though they secretly are hoping for a boy."

Update August 9, 2008: Angie’s husband, Jason Sehorn, denies the report. Here’s the story from US Magazine:

Angie Harmon's Husband Denies Pregnancy Report
Rumors that actress Angie Harmon is pregnant are not true, her husband, former NFL star Jason Sehorn, told Usmagazine.com.

"I don't where this all came from – It's hilarious," Sehorn, 37, told Us at the Harold Pump Foundation Celebration Dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel Thursday.

"It's like somebody says something and they run like wildfire with this stuff," he added.

The actress, 35, and Sehorn are parents to daughters Finley, 4, and Avery, 3.

"You're always guilty until proven innocent," Sehorn said of life in the spotlight. "Once someone says something, it's fact."

But more kids could be in the couple's future – when the time is right.

"You know, I don't think we're done," Sehorn told Us. "It's fun.

"We had [Finley and Avery] and they were only 20 months apart," he explained. "That's too close. We were deep in diapers for about a year of just solid two diapers. I was like, 'enough.'"

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Elisabeth Rohm at Woody Allen Film Premier

On August 4, Elisabeth Rohm (Law & Order, Serena Southerlyn) was spotted at the Mann Village Theatre, attending the premier of Woody Allen’s new movie, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The movie stars Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Scarlett Johansson (but not Elisabeth Rohm). Here are the photos!

Please note: I am sorry, but the photos are no longer available.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Archive of American Television: Dick Wolf

There is a seven part video on YouTube from The Archive Of American Television that features Dick Wolf. These videos are up to 30 minutes long, and Dick goes into a lot of detail about his complete career.

In one of the videos (link below), Dick talks about Law & Order. It is interesting that before Law & Order came on, he felt he was “one step away” from his career being over. He also didn’t have high expectations for Law & Order, but it also was a “life or death” situation for him. He also admits that Law & Order was a “throwaway” show; he ordered Law & Order to acquire a show called “Nasty Boys.”

The embedding feature is disabled for these video, so if you’d like to see the segment where he talks about Law & Order, you can access it via this link. You can also access the remaining parts 1 through 7 via that same link by seaching YouTube for “Dick Wolf TV Legends”.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dick Wolf Pilots New Show

NBC has given the go ahead to Law & Order Top Dop Dick Wolf for another new crime show. I’m surprised; I thought those two were having a tiff? Here’s the story:

NBC greenlights Dick Wolf pilot

Writer Levinson will work on 'Lost and Found'

NBC has greenlit the pilot "Lost and Found," from Dick Wolf and scribe Chris Levinson.

One-hour project revolves around an unconventional female detective who identifies anonymous murder victims, and then solves their crimes.

Levinson is writing the pilot and will exec produce with Wolf, as well as Wolf Films principals Nena Rodrigue and Peter Jankowski. Universal Media Studios (where Levinson has an overall deal, and Wolf is based) is the studio. Pickup is cast contingent.

Levinson is a Wolf vet, having worked on skeins such as "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order: Trial by Jury." Her credits also include "Tru Calling," "Dawson's Creek" and "Charmed."

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Jamey Sheridan in Hallmark Film

Jamey Sheridan (“Captain James Deakins”, Law & Order Criminal Intent) will be co-starring with Jane Seymour in a light murder mystery film for the Hallmark Channel titled “Dear Prudence”. It is scheduled to premier on August 23, 2008 at 8:00 PM. Jamey plays detective Eddie Duncan, who is skeptical when "Prudence" (Seymour), who is described as “part Martha Stewart and part Katharine Hepburn, with a healthy dash of Irma Bombeck thrown in for good measure”, insists there is more to a suicide than it appears.

More information about the film can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Linus Roache, Enlightening Master of Ceremony

Looking enlightened
Law & Order's Linus Roache ("EADA Michael Cutter") is scheduled to be the Master of Ceremony at the Temple of Understanding's Juliet Hollister Awards Gala, being held at the UN Delegate Dining Hall on September 18, 2008. This award honors the Temple of Understanding's founder, Juliet Hollister. It recognizes the work of a religious leader who brings interfaith values into the place of worship, and also secular leaders who promote greater understanding of spiritual values in areas such as the arts, education, media, government, science, law and the environment. Past awardees include Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, President Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Ravi Shankar, and several more.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.