2022 December Christmas

December 2022

Dear Family and Friends,
Two thousand and twenty-two marked my 50th year as a professional actor. I decided to celebrate with travel. Lots of it!
My sister Jeanne met me in NYC in March for a jam-packed eight days. We met again in April in South Bend, IN, to join family members to watch our great-nephew pitch one of his last games at Notre Dame. John Michael Bertrand is now living his dream, having been recruited by the SF Giants. I got to St. Louis a few days before Jeanne arrived in late May, so I could see some of my many friends in our hometown. Once Jeanne came, we headed out shortly thereafter to Nashville, to meet my sister Cecilia and her daughter Celia. I finally understand what Nashville is all about!
In June I accompanied Tom to DC where he was invited to lobby for Patients Rising Now and bills affecting patients’ care. While he was up on the Hill, I lunched with various friends. The wraparound VA stays were to visit Tom’s family, including his sister, cousins, niece, great-nephew, accompanying in-laws and family dogs!
Our August plans were scraped as our Montana host came down with COVID.  Hope to recoup that trip in 2023. 
We did get to a long weekend in San Diego in September as I was keen to see the new musical COME FALL IN LOVE. I predict a Broadway run.
October meant Minneapolis/St. Paul and a long awaited catch up with my last remaining mentor, 96 y/o Terry Kilburn. Every minute with TK is a joy, filled with his “memory palace” stories, deep laughs and usually chocolate. Since I went to grad school there, many friends remain; foremost is my childhood and former U roommate, Mary White, who “tooled” me around much of my 6-day stay. Then I was on to Mt. Vernon, IA, where Tom and I hosted a 40th wedding anniversary/housewarming party for Jeanne and Wayno. Jeanne overhead two of her guests gush “fancy!”
I was back in St. Louis late in November as my youngest great-nephew Oliver was baptized. Was able to come in a few days early to see more of my local friends before family festivities took over.
Latest jaunt was this month. Tom and I headed to Cambria, CA for a handful of days. I finally saw a true meteor shower, got to the architect Julia Morgan tour at Hearst’s Castle, wonderful dinners out and a fairly exhaustive tour of their much celebrated Christmas Market. (travel photos/details on my Instagram #mmsnapped or personal Facebook page)
Knowing I would not be available to audition, let alone work, I did ask the good Lord to give me one job -  for my ego. I shot a commercial for Comcast Xfinity which has yet to air. I just didn’t want my 50th year to be the only year I didn’t book.  HE gets me. Then out of the blue, my old Geico spot “Aunts” was renegotiated and is currently airing. (https://auralcrave.com/en/2022/12/20/expired-the-cast-of-the-old-geico-aunts-commercial/)
Did a few other career related things: 
The podcast Jesuitical: What’s it Like Being a Catholic in Hollywood? Segment 12:38 to 40:38. https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2022/01/14/marianne-muellerleile-catholic-242205
My undergrad alum magazine did a feature on me:  "How I Got Here"  
I was the guest speaker at a local Senior Arts Center after their viewing of a feature I did called QUEEN BEES.  Just shared behind-the-scenes stories of the shoot and fielded questions.
Got a Google alert that the full 2006 show of THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Hollywood Bowl, LA Phil Orchestra w Melisssa Errico, John Schneider, Ben Platt, Marnie Nixon, Jeffrey Tambor, and me as Frau Schmidt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIDvM3HPJQM
The link below is about THE TERMINATOR cast - where they are now. I am kindly mentioned.
Between the travel I spent my time shuttling between four dental specialists. Oh my heavens! A small fortune later my teeth look exactly as they did before I started!
My only other news is that, after 11 years of fundraising for Heifer International, I broke through 500k! So much gratitude to many of you for being one of my Heifer Team donors.
Here is some of Tom’s year of endless advocacy, interviews, zooms, presentations, lobbying, support groups, consulting, trial participation, evaluating, ETC. He’s also dealing with additional or prolonged medical issues, but it’s the chronic pain advocacy that gets him up every day to contribute in some way to that community.
1. He has agreed to be a patient consultant for Duke University for the next five years. (Still awaiting word on funding of this clinical trial.)
2. Article on Tom Chronic Pain Management Research Program (CPMRP) Consumer Peer Reviewer: Managing Chronic Pain through Support & Advocacy https://cdmrp.health.mil/cwg/stories/2022/Tom_Norris_profile
3. He is in his 8th year working for the Department of Defense under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Chronic Pain Management and Research Program (CPMRP), evaluating grant submissions to fund chronic pain medical research. (While we were in Cambria last week, he had two, 5 hr zoom meetings to wrap up this year’s work)
4. Tom has been taking certification classes to be a public speaker for patients’ advocacy under the auspices of Patients Rising and US Pain Foundation. His interest is developing in this area and he expects to be doing more of it in the future.
5. He won an essay contest sponsored by Patients Rising Now, which is why he was flown to DC to lobby before the US Congress. Although it was very physically taxing, he loved it. https://acpafacilitatorsresources.com/2022/07/10/what-does-personal-engagement-provide-for-someone-with-chronic-pain-my-thoughts-tom-norris-chronic-pain-advocate-person-with-chronic-pain/
6.  Tom was on the planning committee for the international non profit, World Patients Alliance, (https://www.worldpatientsalliance.org/) where he helped develop their first convention held this past October in Rome.
7. Tom gave testimony at a legislative meeting of the CA State Congress to help promote a bill that encourages payers to cover FDA approved non-pharmacological (Virtual Reality) alternatives to opioids. 
8. He was the guest speaker at the first company wide gathering of remote workers for Applied VR. They develop VR programs for medical use. Tom was the first chronic pain user of their VR programs to ever speak to them about their product, the good, the not so good, and suggestions for improvement.  It was a VERY enthusiastic group and a lively give and take. We loved the overnight getaway on the shores of Redondo Beach.
9. Here's a link to the Radio Health Journal segment he is in: https://radiohealthjournal.org/medicine-in-the-metaverse/. It's also available on all of the major podcast platforms (Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play) if you search 'Radio Health Journal". 
10. Tom did an 8-hr video shoot in our home for AppliedVR. I acted as his manager, location scout, and segment advisor. Tom had them donate his stipend to Heifer through my fundraising page.  You know how much I loved that!
11. Tom accepted a new job offered to him through his consulting work for Cedars Sinai. He is now a Patient Advisor and member of the National Institute of Health’s HEAL Community Partner Committee!!! https://heal.nih.gov/
12.  He is an active participant of the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) work on a Person-Centered Chronic Pain Journey Map. https://nam.edu/programs/action-collaborative-on-countering-the-u-s-opioid-epidemic/chronic-pain-journey-map/
13.  He continues his work as a Patient Advisor/Advocate for the American Psychological Association (APA) Guideline Panel for Treatment of Musculoskeletal Pain in Adults. https://www.apa.org/about/offices/directorates/chronic-pain-panel
14. He is involved either as a consultant or a participant in several chronic pain studies. Most of this work is done with Cedars but one is done through UCLA.
15. He was recently interviewed about the use of Virtual Reality as a tool for chronic pain management for the Voice of America.
16. On Dec 1, Tom spoke at the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) public meeting support of the AppliedVR request for a unique HCPCS code to recognize VR treatment for chronic pain management, specifically to  identify the use of a product outside of the healthcare practitioners’ care setting.
17.  Tom has continued his individual, nationwide, chronic pain support groups via Zoom and telephone.  He now has more than 400 people interested in this support.  His biggest emphasis this year has been to train others to facilitate these groups to ensure that this support is continued and expanded.  He has established a new “youth-oriented” chronic pain support group and a “caregiver” support group.  He has also helped to establish two other chronic pain support groups throughout the US. 
One of the reasons Tom is so pursued is that the medical researchers who are studying chronic pain have never had an actual chronic pain sufferer (with his resume) on their research team. It has been a game changer for them.  They constantly recommend him to other researchers.
Tom has had a great time board and bagging his comics as he relives some of his favorites. He also remains a voracious consumer of all things Sci Fi, Fantasy and Egyptology.
Yes, there have been loads of mundane, annoying, frustrating events throughout the year, same as we all experience, but there’s no point in reliving them.
And we play gin rummy almost every night after dinner, through the David Muir Evening News,  and Jeopardy. The big news is that for the first time in our 36-year relationship, Tom won his first 10,000 point round. I think it was an anomaly. He’s determined to prove me wrong.
Merry Christmas and many blessings throughout the coming year,
Marianne and Tom
Your name:
2021 Tom's Chronic Pain PR exposure

Tom Norris  Chronic Pain researcher, advocate & facilitator (spouse of Marianne Muellerleile)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tom.norris.31
Twitter: @jtomnorris
YouTube:  https://youtu.be/FOKwI_xAbTs
YouTube:  https://youtu.be/0hkmqk-F99g
YouTube:  https://youtu.be/ehvlzhNNj9U
YouTube:  https://youtu.be/KVCys-YP2yY
YouTube:  https://youtu.be/2p2L5USJCWA
Spectrum News 1:  https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/exploring-your-health/2019/09/23/why-pain-hurts--understanding-pain-and-the-brain-ca
Spectrum News 1:  https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/exploring-your-health/2019/09/23/hijacking-the-brain--scientists-are-using-vr-to-treat-chronic-pain-ca
Spectrum News 1:  https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/exploring-your-health/2019/09/23/using-meditation-and-yoga-to-relieve-chronic-pain-ca
National Geographic:  https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/scientists-are-unraveling-the-mysteries-of-pain-feature 
WCAX 3:  https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Study-suggests-pain-could-be-risk-factor-for-suicide-492898181.html 
British Journal of Medicine/Protocol for NIH:  https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/6/e050545
Doctors 2.0:  http://www.doctors20.com/patient-experience-virtual-reality-cedars-sinai-vmed19-silber/
Pain Podcast:  https://www.bloodstreammedia.com/the-pain-podcast-episodes/s2e8-the-final-journey
NPR Take Two:  https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/08/19/751495463/got-pain-a-virtual-swim-with-dolphins-may-help-melt-it-away
Website:  https://acpafacilitatorsresources.com/
Website:  https://chronicpainla.com/
Seminar for Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management:  https://painmanagementalliance.org/behavioral-health-as-part-of-comprehensive-pain-care-and-payment-design/behavioral-health-symposium-presenter-bios/
Upcoming:  NY Times article(s)
Bloomberg News
Your name:
2021 Christmas Letter

 Dear Family and Friends,

I’m kicking this year’s letter off with a bit of business.  Please delete our home phone from your records. At least every other day I consider canceling it due to robo calls. We never pick it up.  
I/we remain devoted to Heifer International and its mission to end hunger and poverty while protecting the earth. This is my 18th year as an active donor, volunteer and fundraiser. I invite you to join my team https://fundraise.heifer.org/mariannemuellerleile especially in this month of December as a Group of Generous Donors is matching all December donations.
I’ve been blessed with work as I did two voice overs, one for Jameson Whiskey and two for Comcast Xfinity. My episode of THE KOMINSKY METHOD aired, and I did zoom readings of OEDIPUS REX, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST and TROJAN WOMEN. I’ve been with The New Phoenix Theatre for 14 years and love exercising my theatrical chops on great plays. My feature film, QUEEN BEES, was  finally released. They played my 6 GEICO “Aunts” commercials through the year and I just finished shooting a BMW commercial to air on the Super Bowl, 2022.
I happily flew to St. Louis three days before my sister Jeanne drove in to meet me. Was able to see a few old friends, before we shared the excitement of Allie and Kel Vin being pregnant, and planned a zoom AND in person showers. Then Jeanne and I took a road trip to Dayton to be with our sister Cecilia and her family before we all drove to Cleveland for her granddaughter Monica’s vow renewal/wedding of her dreams. We drove back to Allie & Kel’s and I flew home. 
Finally got to take my twice canceled three week trip to NYC/UAE/Oman in October.  I have yet to organize my photos or journal notes but, suffice to say, the Middle East was the most transformative trip I have ever taken.  
We are both well but Tom has had a recurrence of his bladder cancer from last year. 
He had the new cancer growths removed under a local but it was while he was using his VR (virtual reality) Oculus 2 and the discomfort was minimal. He was so thrilled to have had that personal experience to share with his VR research team at Cedars.
Tom won't be seeing people for a long time as he has all five medical issues that the CDC lists for those who are vulnerable (limited lung capacity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure & heart disease.)  We just lump it under his chronic pain but he's had the other stuff, most for many years. And all of it is being controlled or addressed.
We are encouraged and hopeful that someday he will be able to be in the general public. But it's that 15% vulnerability that a vaccine/booster cannot eliminate, and all the people who won't vaccinate, and then the current variable and the yet to appear variables that make his being in public dicey.
We're leaving it in the hands of the Lord.
Tom is mentally strong about the whole thing and having his best life in spite of it.
We managed to have a little getaway time too. I had two weekend commitments which involved overnights so we figured he’ll drive us up there, I’ll check us in, then drive directly to the room.  So he enjoyed our personal mineral hot springs tub, as well as room service, while I enjoyed 48 hours of surprise celebrations for Juliet Mills 80th.
The next weekend we drove to San Mateo, CA, to meet 15 other Muellerleile’s (my brother Jack and his brood) to see my great-nephew, JD Bertrand, play Notre Dame football against Stanford. They decimated them. We stayed an extra day so I could zip around SF to see a handful of long-standing pals. Once again Tom laid low with his books, computer, TV, room service and his favorite wife at nights.
Tom continues his work as a consultant and patient partner for research at Cedars-Sinai and the National Institute of Health. He was profiled by NPR, National Geographic, the New York Times, Lifetime and more. Truthfully, he is way busier than I am.
Tom was hit with a curve ball after a VA medical zoom review of his PTSD status.  He has put so much effort into addressing his PTSD, managing it, that he wasn't prepared for the aftermath flood of excruciating memories, painful physical reactions, thunderous heart racing, fear of sleeping, ETC.
Six months later he says he has it back in a mental box, on the floor of his mental closet and is just about ready to push it to the back.
He did several additional rounds as consultant/reviewer for DOD (Department of Defense) 2021 Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program Pain Management Panel.
Tom was thrilled to have an authorship credit on a published work in the British Medical Journal from his work as a patient advocate/partner at Cedars-Sinai on a study on Lower Back Pain control with VR.
He has been hired as a consultant/patient for a Global Alliance study: “Towards a global strategy to improve musculoskeletal Health”; in which he and others are developing guidance for treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain.  
He is also a patient partner/consultant for a Cedars Sinai/UAB/Ochsner Health/ Stanford University, Northwestern Medicine study on “Transcending COVID 19 barriers to pain care in rural America: Pragmatic comparative effectiveness trial for evidence-based, on-demand, digital behavioral treatments for chronic pain, which will compare two different methods of remote chronic pain management. His work on these VR related projects will last another four years.
He is also a patient partner/consultant on yet another VR study on the effectiveness of VR for chronic pain management on those dealing with abdominal cancer pain.
He’s already started that work which will continue for four more years.
For over 30 years, just a short time after he developed chronic pain, Tom has volunteered for the ACPA (American Chronic Pain Association) as a Regional Director, facilitator, spokesperson, media manager, you name it.
This year the ACPA changed hands, new officers, new board, and changing structure to the possible exclusion of facilitator support groups. 
Time will tell whether he will continue volunteering for the ACPA. However, he plans on continuing to facilitate his two chronic pain support groups, as long as they are wanted.
Lest you think all he did was “work,” I want you to know Tom remains an avid comic book collector, reader of comic books, and books, in general. He goes through his monthly comic order in one evening, and manages to read on average ten books a month.
He also spent many, many, many hours in zoom Ancient Egypt, taking tours and classes. If he can ever get out of Pandemic Prison, THAT is our next destination.
So that’s basically what we’ve been doing, in the busy part of our lives. 
But the best part, the core part, the foundational part of our lives has been growing closer to our Creator, renewing ourselves spiritually, not letting the clutter of our daily lives overshadow the true meaning and purpose of our lives, to love and be loved.
We remember all those who have passed, those struggling with holiday blues and loneliness and grief, may you find comfort, peace, and faith as you move forward.
And we thank the good Lord for the birth of our newest great, Oliver Simon Woo, on October 24, grandma Jeanne’s birthday.
Marianne and Tom
Your name:
2020 Christmas Letter

 Dear Family and Friends,

We returned from a rewarding but very difficult trip to Peru in January. In February,  Tom flew to DC to work with the Dept of Defense again, evaluating medical grant requests for work on chronic pain.
I stayed home and shot two commercials, for Kabbage (never aired) & Geico (“Aunts” multiple commercials found on YouTube.com, et al). Then prepped for a 2 week trip to NYC, UAI & Oman. An hour after I hit NYC,  news of the pandemic had me cancel flights and return to LA pronto. I/we canceled 5 more trips scheduled for this year.
So here we are,  like the rest of you, like the whole world, in a sort of limbo existence, that has been both difficult and rewarding.
We have lost many who were dear to us, chief among them my niece, Cindy M Bergendahl,  and my best friend of 48 years, Mary Pat Gleason. Beautiful memories lessen the loss.
Because of Tom’s medical status, we were property bound until July when he started having blood clots in his urine. We took a 14 week journey through bladder cancer, followed by a miraculous pathology report stating the cancer was removed completely, no further treatment required, periodic check-ups will suffice.
As in past years, Tom remains a consultant/patient partner for research at Cedars-Sinai and the National Institute of Health, as well as chronic pain advocacy and support involvement.
He is on Zoom 8 to 10 times a week, resting/sleeping in between, writing articles, evaluating grants, doing final editing of sci-fi novels, doing exercises with his VR Oculus 1. 
He has done so many speaking engagements, presentations, symposiums, webinars, podcasts, and videos. He has been covered in NatGeo, NPR, Lifetime, Spectrum, and been published often, but he is most proud to be a credited writer in the Cedars Sinai medical research articles placed in leading medical journals.
His area of chronic pain involvement has expanded to include: therapeutic use of Virtual Reality,  best communication practices between doctors and chronic pain patients, development of guidelines for treatment of musculoskeletal pain,  pain management and cognitive behavior, evaluating proposals relating to bladder cancer, diabetic foot pain, and one-on-one support for those in crisis, among others. 
God’s plan for Tom’s life became laser focused after his gift of chronic pain. We believe his suffering is meaningful and redemptive.
Below are three links Tom thinks you will most enjoy:
VRx book review: visuals & discussion on the therapeutic benefits of virtual reality
The Mighty with Cynthia: Tom’s in depth personal pain journey https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=391055222038096&ref=watch_permalink
An interview for NPR program Take Two, National Geographic: World of Pain:
2020.https://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2020/01/06/20480/ (At the 19:57 mark to 30:30)
As for me, the pandemic has given me the gift of time. As a project driven person who has lived happily with a To Do List every day since high school, my days fly by. I am very pleased to be tackling many long neglected projects, some completed, most ongoing.
I took a 4 day Zoom retreat in July that proved pivotal in how I now strive to view life. My goal is to accept people where they are - to find our shared belief/goal, and set aside our differences. This has given me renewed tolerance and patience. It has been especially helpful in my understanding systemic racism, my own white privilege and fragility. My journey inward has been the most rewarding part of 2020.
I shot a SLING TV commercial from home in April.  Then did another project for them in November. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-5fiTBPktE
Also shot an episode of THE KOMINSKY METHOD with no air date available.
Remain devoted to Heifer International who did a story on me recently:  https://myheiferfoundationgiving.org/tell-your-story/#post-28314  
If you want to join my team I’d love to have you: https://fundraise.heifer.org/mariannemuellerleile 
I’m zooming for regularly scheduled sibs catch-up, friends chat, individual pals, WW, choir, block club, prayer groups, Mass, auditions, industry/agents/back to work, doing and seeing plays/ readings, museums, art, union health plan, celebrations for: a wedding, memorials, birthdays, a graduation, and so many educational zooms on social justice, racism, and on and on and on.
This chaotic time has allowed me to get more sleep than I’ve had since grade school and to finally read books whenever I want.  
Tom and I have loved having all this time together. So much laughter, card playing, discussing our projects, working together on some, watching TV & movies, cooking, a little dancing, talking about our future, discussing the present and sometimes, delicious spooning in afternoon naps.
Since Tom and I both post so much on social media I know that most of you already know what we are doing. So, if you’d like to receive our Christmas letter next year,  please let me know by responding to this email.
I think we could all do with a lot less email and more time to enjoy life.
We are sending you our love and prayers for a beautiful Christmas, a wonderful New Year, and a Covid 19 vaccine as soon as possible,
Marianne & Tom
Your name:
2020 zoom talk to the Missouri National Society of Arts & Letters

 INTRO: Thank you Kathryn for that introduction and for inviting me to speak with your membership.

This month marks my 48th  year as a professional actor. What part to talk about? My husband Tom suggested I answer the questions, I most often receive. Great idea! Here is question #1 out of 8.
#1. How did I get my start?
I’m from St Louis where I did skits and talent shows at St. Roch Catholic grade school, plays and speech competitions at Visitation Academy, and received an undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts & a teaching certificate, from St. Louis University.
I thought very briefly about being an actor but dismissed it as impractical. I determined I would teach at a Catholic girls school,  as I remember my classmates being afraid to get up in front of our peers, which I thought was ridiculous.
After St louis U, I also knew I had a whole lot more to learn, if I was going to be the best drama teacher ever.
So I went to the U of MN for a MFA in Acting. I wanted to learn about stage combat, voice production, period dance, make-up, opera, costumes, improvisation, ETC.
I did many shows in Minneapolis-St Paul both at the U and in community theater. Best among them was a 100 performances with the Shakespeare in the Streets touring company. Best summer job I ever had. AND great parts. I also took private lessons with the lead soprano of the Minnesota Opera Company and was cast in their production of THE THREE PENNY OPERA.
But one part, in one particular play, proved pivotal. I played the upstairs neighbor Eunice in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. The director Dr Charles Nolte had been a leading man on Broadway in his younger years, and invited his personal friend, Tennessee Williams, to see our production.
All the area newspapers interviewed him where he said the “three young actresses, (and stated our names) were the future of the American theatre.”
Regional theater directors came to the show and all of us were offered contracts.
Mine came from Terrence Kilburn from Meadow Brook Theatre, outside Detroit. I told him I was in the first year, of a 2 ½ year program and asked if he would come back in another year with the offer. I promised to accelerate my studies, which I did.
I learned everything I could about actors unions, salary, health insurance, pensions, rules, ETC.
And I set new goals: I wanted variety, constancy & longevity
I accepted a 7 out of 8 show contract at the end of my 2nd year.
#2. What made you leave the stage for television and film?
I worked at Meadow Brook for 6 seasons as well as other regional theaters during which time I moved to New York. 
In between plays  I did a lot of odd jobs: market research, bookkeeping, literary research, house cleaning, extra work, and even sold my handmade baby quilts at Bergdorf Goodman.
It occurred to me, that although I always made a living, it was not enough to own a car, let alone a house.
So I turned down regional stage work to stay in New York to see if I could compete. 
Did my odd jobs, a few off-off Broadway plays, became the first model hired at Big Beauties, the first agency for large models... I did print, runway, and fit work. I was so poor I went on food stamps. That year I made about $5000.
I couldn’t compete with those Julliard grads, I was NOT a triple threat. I knew I had to move to LA for more lucrative work. And I felt artistically satisfied with my 10 years of stage, which qualified me for a Actors Equity pension at age 65.
I saved enough money to live in LA for 6 months, took a month to hitchhike around Ireland and moved to LA the summer of 1981 at age 33.
#3. How have I measured success
White doing stage work I measured success by making a living and being able to travel, my great passion.
In LA my goal was to earn 100K a year to live comfortably, start investing, buy a house by age 40, and travel.
Once in LA I also added 3 prayers petitions: get a series, lose weight, find my husband
Meaning of success now, is reflecting on my Grad School goals: I have achieved variety, constancy & longevity.
I LOVE having enough income to turn down work when it interferes with our travel plans.
#4. What has contributed to my being a successful “working” actor?
I believe the role my faith has played in my career is the single most important reason why I have been a successful working actor.
I know I have been given gifts and strengths that compel to praise my Creator and show my gratitude, by using them.
When I am using my gifts, I am happy, I feel fulfilled.  My faith is the foundation of my life.
Besides being given the ability to act, to express myself, I was also given the gifts of logic and practicality.
Neither my Right Brain (emotional/artistic) or Left brain (logical/practical) is dominant which is fairly unusual for an actor. I think it has been a key to my success.
Two of the biggest stumbling blocks for an actor is the pain of rejection (which happens constantly) and long periods of no work which breeds self-doubt.
I don’t have a problem with either of these.  Yes, there have been times when I really wanted a part that I didn’t get, but I remember that other actors have to work too, and I will get the parts I am meant to get.
When I have gone through a slow period without work I have been excited to have time to pursue other interests. I am a lover of life and was blessed to learn from the good nuns at Visitation, not to procrastinate. I was also given leadership training at Viz, both of which have lead me to pursue  many areas of interests.
I think the last major component as to why I have been a successful working actor is I had exceptional parenting.
My parents remained in love, they were grounded in the same faith, they were very good at parenting, they had a sense of humor, they cherished their children and dealt with each of us as individuals.
Although my mother was a severe manic-depressive, now commonly referred to as bi-polar, she made her faith the bedrock of her life.  As did my Dad.
Their life together set the course for their five children to have successful lives.
5. What has been your favorite role?
I usually say, whatever I am working on!  But the truth is...
The TV sitcom LIFE WITH BONNIE. The part of Gloria, a housekeeper/nanny was written for me, so learning the lines was organic.  I thought the storylines were hilarious. I knew my schedule for the year so I could accept other work on my off weeks, and I no longer had to audition.  We could travel. I was paid well and knew it was my chance to secure our retirement and grow my pension.
It was positively glorious.  Both seasons are now playing on YouTube if you are interested.
My other great FAVORITE part was on the daytime cult soap opera called PASSIONS.
I was hired for a 9 day shoot, which was a take off on PSYCHO so played Norma Bates, a character of dubious sexual identity. 
The soap creator James Reilly fell in love with my character and had me recurring for 8 years.
“Norma” carried her Daddy’s skull in a baby carrier on her chest. I voiced both parts which usually entailed arguing with myself.
I had off the chart scenes and stunts, from swimming in NYC subway canals, to roaming the catacombs of Paris, to touring lesbian bars with my lover Edna, who played the piano dressed as Lady Liberty, while I sang Striesand & Elvis favorites, dressed like a man. 
It was the most demanding work of my career. You learn an average of 50 pages a day, of inane dialogue that stretched over days of shooting, so there are minor changes in script. You also shoot out of sequence so you have to determine your emotional level for each scene while you are memorizing. There were no line rehearsals, only blocking, and most scenes are shot only once...It took a great deal of discipline. It was challenging.
6. When not acting, how do you spend your free time?
I have always been involved in charity work. Shortly after we married I became president of our inner city block club. A year later, my husband became disabled so I applied for non profit status for the club, and began writing successful grants which funded the free 5 year after school program at our home. Tom set ground rules, schedule, field trips, life skill lessons and taught all subjects for 50 at risk kids. 
I’ve been the project manager, for the total restoration of our 1905 Four Square American Craftsman home. Then, I applied for and received Los Angeles Cultural Monument Status for it. 
I’ve chaired many fundraisers, read to blind people, visited the elderly, chaired the Pastoral Council at my church, was Lay Ministry coordinator and formation leader for all ministries, have run a 26 year prayer warrior online group, did genealogy for 30+ years, founded and chaired Global Reunions for both sides of my family for 20 years, founded and chaired the Visitation alumnae chapter in So Cal for 25 years, I’ve been a trustee on endowment funds, mentored numerous young actors, given master classes, blood donor 50+ years. Since 2003 I have been a volunteer, donor and fund raiser for Heifer International.  Hence, my background.
Several years ago I began peeling off those jobs. Training others to take my place. Now I only participate in non leadership roles: online prayer group, choir, lector, Eucharistic minister, blood donor and fundraising for Heifer. I’ll also bake anytime I’m asked.
7. How has the pandemic affected you and your career?
I was blessed to shoot two commercials shortly after my husband and I returned from an extended trip to Peru & the Amazon.  My Geico “Aunts” ads have just been bought for another 13 week period, which is wonderful news.
I was in NYC March 12 to see friends, a young actor I mentor and then fly to the Dubai for a 10 day trip thru the Emirates & Oman.
An hour after I arrive the tour was postponed for a year, and I was back in LA 2 days later.
Since my husband had many medical issues and his life is dominated by chronic pain, we were in 100% lockdown. Everything was being delivered and picked up.
Remarkably, I shot one of the first commercials in pandemic, for SlingTV,  using my iPhone, with my husband setting up the lights, props, sound, filming, ETC. We took all the directions from the director over our laptop.
On a recent zoom panel, I was asked by an actor if I was struggling during the pandemic, because there was essentially no work, no auditions, no acting.
I said No, because I am using my other strengths and talents at this time.
Being an Actor is not my identity.  It’s just what I do for a living.
From July through October my husband had a new medical issue, his third bout of cancer, this time in the bladder.
Through our strong spiritual and faith based network, he got through surgery, and had a miraculous pathology report. Cancer is removed, no follow-up treatment necessary, will do periodic scans to monitor.
So here we are again, leaning on the Lord, trusting him to hold us firmly in his hands and carry us, until he wants us home.
I’ve stopped dyeing my hair, Tom shot new headshots of me, I continue auditioning for voice over and tv. During the pandemic I am only interested in accepting one day shoots, in LA. I’m booked to work on THE KAMINSKY METHOD November 25.
I still want to act but know I am blessed because I don’t have to work.
I’m doing panels on social media, doing zoom play readings, taking webinars on social justice and anti-racism, and reading more, getting more sleep.
8. LAST QUESTION What do you see for your future?
Travel.  I canceled 6 trips because of the pandemic.
First just to get together with our LA friends, then travel to see my family & friends throughout the US, then get to New York to see friends & Broadway shows, and yeah, I’ll stop by and see my NY agents.
Then do the Dubai/Oman trip, then a rescheduled Norwegian cruise in June and if all goes as planned, Eygpt over Christmas 2021.
And, more career work.
Thank you for your time and attention.
But most especially, thank you for your dedication to the arts, and supporting artists.
Your name: