Area actors leaving their mark in Hollywood
Houston has produced more than its share of famous actors. Farrah Fawcett, Lisa Hartman, Jaclyn Smith, Patrick Swayze and brothers Dennis and Randy Quaid all achieved national acclaim. There are also hundreds of talented actors who began their careers in Houston and are not yet household names. However, after launching their careers in Houston, they enjoy success as actors.
1. BRANDON SMITH is a successful actor who has always lived in Houston. He was only nine years old when he was discovered at the Alley Theatre and offered a role in an Agatha Christie play. During his 10-year Alley contract, he portrayed all the child roles until he grew too tall. Since his Alley tenure ended, Smith has had major roles in many feature films and on television. He is seen in the Academy Award-winning No Country for Old Men and episodes of Prison Break.
2. A perfect example of talent with supportive parents is CARSON BROWN. Her parents realized Carson was committed to becoming an actress when she was eight years old. Her first audition was at age 12 where she earned the role of Kim Basinger’s daughter in the film Easy Money. The family moved to Los Angeles to give Carson more opportunities for success. Carson appeared in two films, three television shows and a national commercial. Now back in Houston, she is a teen reporter on KTBU’s Wild About Houston.
3. MATTHEW BOMER, starring in Traveler, trained at the Alley Theatre. After college, he moved to New York and worked on stage until landing a part on All My Children. In 2001, he joined the cast of Guiding Light and earned a role in television’s Tru Calling. He was director Brett Ratner’s choice to play the lead in Superman Returns (2006). However, Bomer lost the Superman part when Ratner left the production. He can be seen on Amy Coyne and North Shore, and in Flightplan with Jodie Foster. He also had a lead part in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
4. Since filming her first commercial at age five, ASHLEY JONES has had an extensive career in film, television and theater. She portrays Bridget Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful. When her father found work in Houston, she became part of the Actor’s Theatre and performed in critically acclaimed productions. At age 12, she earned rave reviews for her performance in The Chalk Garden. At age 15, Jones portrayed Ingrid in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She also has other television credits including The Young and the Restless, Crossing Jordan, The District, Without a Trace, 7th Heaven and CSI: New York. Her film credits include Old School and Extreme Dating. Jones has earned two Daytime Emmy nominations and Australia’s Boomerang Award for Best Younger Actress.
5. DAVID BORN is a professional stage, film and television actor with hundreds of credits to his name. He worked as a full-time actor in Houston and Louisiana for 20 years before he and his wife moved to Los Angeles. The Houston native earned his drama degree from the University of Houston. There, he studied with the late Cecil Pickett, Sidney Berger and Thomas J. Lyttle. He also studied at the Actor’s Theatre and was a prominent fixture at many of Houston’s major companies. Born stars in the feature film God Thinks You’re a Loser and has a supporting role in the independent hit Little Chenier, which won the Best Picture award at the Phoenix Film Festival. He has a co-starring role on the TV series Prison Break and recently filmed Bamboo Shark, starring Mickey Rooney. Born earned accolades for his impression of Robin Williams. He reached the semifinals on The Next Best Thing, a television show seeking America’s best celebrity impersonator.
6. The successful and recognizable LORETTA DEVINE graduated from the University of Houston with speech and drama degrees. Her big break came in the Broadway production of Dreamgirls, which premiered in 1981 and ran for more than 1,500 performances. In 1995, she earned a high-profile role as Gloria Peaches in Waiting to Exhale, starring Whitney Houston, Gregory Hines and Angela Bassett. She earned an NAACP Image Award for best supporting actress. She is best known for her role of Marla Hendricks on the drama Boston Public, for which she won three Image Awards. She has a recurring part as Adele Webber on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. She appeared in the 2005 Academy Award Best Picture, Crash. She plays Rochelle’s mother, Maxine, on the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and co-stars in the new hit series Eli Stone.
7. Born in Houston in 1990, soap opera actress LEVEN ALICE RAMBIN performed at St. Francis Episcopal Day School. She studied acting at the Houston School of Film and Theatre and finished her youth modeling courses through Mayo-Hill Houston. Rambin plays the autistic Lily Montgomery on All My Children. In March of 2007, she played dual parts on the serial, portraying Lily and her half-sister Ava Benton. She was nominated as Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series at the 34th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards for the two roles.
8. TONY OLLER is a 16-year-old singer, actor and musician called Disney’s New Heartthrob. Oller is shooting season two of Disney’s As the Bell Rings.
9. BLUE DECKERT, has worked consistently for many years and co-stars as Coach Mac McGill on Friday Night Lights. His character has been in every episode of the series about Texas high school football.
10. Born in Houston in 1980, ERIC LADIN graduated from Kinkaid School in 1997 and from USC in 2001 with a theater degree. He has more than 20 film and television roles to his credit, including a major role in HBO’s miniseries Generation Kill, filmed in Africa.