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August 31, 2010 in Author & Celebrity Interviews, Character Interviews | Tags: acting, actor, Al Pacino, Betty Dravis, celebrity, diane keaton, Emmy, entertainiment, fan base, Godfather, Iris Frank, Jackie Krudop, Katherin Kovin Pacino, living legend, Meryl streep, movies, Oscar, Pacino Worldwide, Sal Pacino, Scarface, Scent of a woman | by Betty Dravis | 29 comments
by Betty Dravis
Betty Dravis: Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Jackie. It’s not every day I interview a woman with your special mission in life. In fact, I never met anyone who does what you do… With millions of blogs and websites on the internet, I never even thought of interviewing a site owner–until I stumbled across Pacino Worldwide and wondered who was behind the fascinating site.
I did a little research and the more I learned about you and your dedication to the fabulous actor, Al Pacino, the more intrigued I became. You have a dream and are working hard to make it happen. You are a Dream Reacher and qualify as a celebrity to me and my co-author Chase Von.
Jackie Krudop: Thanks for inviting me here, Betty. I’m pleased with the kindness you’ve shown towards my dream. Some people may consider it silly, but to me it’s a labor of love. I know your Dream Reachers books are all about celebrities achieving their dreams, so I get a laugh from that… I am far from a celebrity! But when I learned that you and Chase consider everyone’s life worthy of celebration and all it takes to be a celebrity is to have a dream and fulfill it, that’s when I began to celebrate my own “celebrity” status. (laughs)
In a lot of ways I feel like a celebrity to Al’s fans because I get emails and tons of compliments on things I have posted on Facebook, such as photos from events, appearances and such. Maybe I post something that they may not have had the chance to see in their part of the world because of press or what not… That word “celebrity” is still a little new to me, but secretly, it makes the old ego feel realllyy good! (laughs) In fact, Betty, this interview makes me feel very confident right now. I thank you.
Betty Dravis: It’s our pleasure, Jackie, and you got it right! Life is as fun as you make it… But now please tell us what your website is all about. I know you adore Al Pacino and your website states: Maintaining the integrity of an artist at a level deserving of the man it honors. Just what does that mean to you?
Jackie Krudop: Wow, just seeing our mission statement in print takes me back to the very beginning. I guess that it means that at all costs, we will bring to Al’s fans the facts–not the rumor mill “b.s.” and nothing that will exploit him, his family, his children or anything in his personal life.
I mean, when we first started this, you wouldn’t believe how many questions we got about who he’s dating, what church he goes to, who he votes for president …just silly stuff like that. It sort of angers me that people claim to admire someone, but then they invade their personal life as if there is truly no respect at all. I don’t know…
Sometimes I get a little overly protective of Al, but it’s not in a possessive or obsessive way; it’s in a humane way. But I wouldn’t want all those questions answered by anyone but me, and if Al hasn’t answered them, then perhaps no one needs to know. Make sense? (shrugs shoulders)
In short, what that means to me is that when you come to Pacino Worldwide, you get facts about Al’s art and his works–past, present and future–nothing else. And you will make a friend or two along the way…guaranteed!
Betty Dravis: It’s an admirable mission statement, Jackie. No one could expect more from you than honesty and good information; I’m sure Al Pacino would respect that in you, also. In the eyes of the world, that must make you Al’s number one fan! How do you feel about that?
Jackie Krudop: I think about half the fan base of Pacino Worldwide would call me more than just a “fan.” I used to hate that word because it sounded so “stalker-ish,” so I’d rather be thought of as a respectful admirer. Either way, I hope my tribute is known by at least Al himself. I hope that he knows of my dedication to keeping his other admirers in the loop. That’s a nice thought…
In fact, my website vice-president and co-owner, Iris Frank, recently said, “In more ways than one, it’s Al’s name that gets the fans to Pacino Worldwide, but it’s you, Jackie, that keeps them there!”
I appreciate Iris pointing that out because it is a lot of work… If there is one thing I have learned by being a “fan” and someone who looks “in” from the “outside,” there is a constant need to know as much as I can without seeming like some psycho stalker. I started this site as a way to keep fans informed of everything I can with the resources that are available to me that may not be available to them. And along the way, friendships are made. That’s the cream.
Betty Dravis: Jackie, as a former career journalist, I can understand that in gathering information for the site yourself, you might appear to be stalking. That’s the way journalists are often perceived, even the most ethical ones. But everyone who knows you knows you are respectful of Al and always put his interests first.
I like that term “respectful admirer,” Jackie. It has class, like you. But hasn’t Al or anyone from his entourage ever contacted you to acknowledge the website? If not, perhaps they might read this and get in touch. I hope that someday you get to meet him. That would be another dream-come-true. How do you feel about that?
Jackie Krudop: Well, I certainly wouldn’t know the first words to say to the man…really. Honestly, we have had no one from Al’s “people” ever acknowledge the site at any time. However, we have written to comment on a few newspaper articles…just to let them know our side of a situation. If they would read this, perchance, and happen to want to get in touch, well, I’m sure they’d know how to find me. (laughs)
As far as my next dream, it would be to not only meet Al, but to see him perform in a live play. I’m a bit of a nut for Shakespeare since high school; but thanks to Al, it seems more educated and more passionate… So to see him perform onstage would be a nice dream too. If that happened to be a current Shakespeare play in New York, then all the better.
Betty Dravis: I know how you feel, Jackie, and I hope that dream comes true. Don’t forget to grab the opportunity with both hands when it comes your way. That’s the message we hope to inspire with our Dream Reachers books.
Even though it’s been forty years since I interviewed Clint Eastwood, I would dearly love to see him again. In fact, I would like to have a photo taken with him in the identical pose of the one taken then. We were both young and “pretty” in those days, but we’ve fared well and a photo like that would be a blast. Oddly, I think he’d get a kick out of it, too, if I could get past his “people” to request it. I guess I will have to try harder. (laughs)
But moving on, Jackie, when did you first see Al Pacino? In what movie?
Jackie Krudop: My first movie was Scarface, but I barely remember seeing it because I had to sneak in the drive-in theater to see it. I hadn’t reached the age of eighteen yet (1983), but I saw it, anyway. I just remember feeling so bad when hearing all those “f” bombs being dropped in one movie. (A bit of trivia Betty: Did you know that Al has said in an interview a long time ago that there were 182 “f***s” in that movie? That’s more than some people get in a lifetime!)
Betty Dravis: I never liked too much profanity in movies, either; I suppose they did it to make their characters seem tougher…but whatever, it was never in good taste and was unnecessary, in my opinion. Bruce Willis is one of my favorite actors and I cringed during many of his movies when that word came up too often. I notice they don’t use that word as much as they once did. That is a good thing…
But back to your first encounter seeing Al, at that point, did you succumb to his dark, swarthy looks or to his acting ability?
Jackie Krudop: The movie that actually “did it” for me was Scent of a Woman. It still remains my favorite of his movies. I must have seen it too many times to count. You know, there is just something about his “charm” that just escapes me now (sigh), but the thing about that movie was that I found myself wanting to take care of him or to tell the character to “snap out of it!” Then, of course, the famous tango scene…. Aaahhh…my favorite… Now there’s the dream! You just have to see it to know what I’m talking about.
I “succumbed,” as you say, more so after reading his first bio Life On the Wire. This book was something of a project I gave myself when I was pregnant with my twin boys. I had nothing better to do with my time off work than to take my other two kids to school and read, so I read a bio from the library every week. I went by alpha order and, needless to say, I stopped at the “Ps.” That got me to the internet and the rest is history!
Betty Dravis: I, personally, got hooked on Al when I saw him in the first Godfather; he was absolute dynamite in that movie, and so good-looking. I’m surprised you never mentioned any of the star-making Godfather movies, but you were probably too young when the first two were filmed. It sounds like you were really “hooked” after reading his bio. Did you go on to see all his movies after that? Or have you seen them all?
Jackie Krudop: You know, I’m not sure if it was before I created the website or during the process of it all that I decided I better see some of these films. (laughs) I mean, here I am trying to entice people to see the Al that I see and to come to this website, but if I don’t know his films, how can I offer opinion or shed light, right? So yes, at this point in my “Pacino life” I have seen all but one…and that is Me, Natalie. It was from the 70s and it’s not out on DVD, so I’m not sure when I’ll see it, but I will see it!
Betty Dravis: You’re right, Jackie, you have to have seen his films in order to talk and write about them. His stepmother, Katherin Kovin Pacino, told me he said that “Scent of a Woman” was his personal favorite movie. Have you heard that? And what’s your favorite movie starring Pacino?
Jackie Krudop: Isn’t Kat just wonderful? Kat has been very good to me. Yes, I have heard that about Al and I know that he is also fond of the work in Scarface too. But Scent of a Woman was his Oscar winner, so I can see how that would be his favorite. It just so happens that it’s my favorite movie of his too. As I said earlier, it was this film that really got to me. His charm and his tenacity as the blind retired Colonel Frank Slade just brought so much to the film. The film was about strengths and weaknesses, family and self… I just loved it! I watch it about once a month to just hear a big WHHOOHAH!! (Yes, I can actually recite the end speech too.)
Betty Dravis: I liked that movie myself, Jackie. That tango scene and his amazing speech were awesome, but that “Whhoohah” cracked me up. But did the great Al ever make a film you didn’t like? If so, why didn’t you enjoy it?
Jackie Krudop: Honestly? At first I wasn’t crazy about Donnie Brasco, but after watching it for the third time, it took on a different meaning… I think the reason I strayed from it at first viewing was because of the stereotypical “gangster” side of things and the over-acting and over-used accents of some of the actors (not from Al). But the story and the meat of the movie holds plenty to see… I mean, look… It’s Johnny Depp and Al Pacino! What’s not to love? (laughs)
Betty Dravis: Which of his leading ladies do you like best? I, personally, love Diane Keaton who played his wife in the first Godfather, but I also like Michelle Pfeiffer who starred opposite him in Scarface. She’s a gorgeous woman.
Jackie Krudop: While I do agree with you about Diane Keaton, playing Kay in The Godfather, I’d have to say that my favorite is the great Meryl Streep in her role with Al in the Emmy-winning HBO movie, Angels In America. She (as Ethel Rosenberg) and Al (as Roy Cohn) just have that “something” that is needed on screen to make it work. They feed off each other’s lines as if it were a match in acting Heaven.
Betty, I believe the rapport comes from the paths they have taken in their personal lives (Meryl was in a relationship with Al’s dear friend John Cazale who played Fredo in Godfather and Sal in Dog Day Afternoon. Cazale had passed away.) He speaks of his own admiration of Meryl in a movie recently released called I Knew It Was You: The John Cazale Story. It’s currently showing on most Cable channels. Their on-screen chemistry just worked wonders. It was real from-the-gut acting.
Betty Dravis: I haven’t met one person who doesn’t admire Meryl Streep. Sorry to say, I never saw Angels in America…
Well, Jackie, Al Pacino is a major talent and has won numerous acting awards, so I can understand the attraction. I’m very devoted to actor Clint Eastwood, but never once thought of honoring him in this way. I met and interviewed him years ago, as everyone in ear-shot must know by now. I’m not shy in bragging about it, but I simply honor him by trying to follow my dreams with as much diligence and creativity as he’s always shown.
Since you have a devoted husband and four children, how do you find the time to maintain the site in such a professional way? Does your family support you in this endeavor and if they help you, tell us what they do.
Jackie Krudop: Well, Betty, while they do support me and my endeavors (no matter what I want to do) they pretty much leave Mom to her “computer time,” and then she’ll come back and be “mom” again soon. As far as my husband, he is very devoted to his family. He sometimes works more than ten hours a day in a hot stinkin’ factory. He has been there for over twenty-five years this July and I have to tell you, there is not one time that he comes home to a dirty home or a meal not cooked or at least planned. My children all do their daily chores and make sure that they are all contributing members. So thanks for pointing that out and I’m sorry if I strayed from the actual question. I guess that’s how this “well-oiled machine” works. (laughs)
Betty Dravis: I’m glad your family is so supportive of you and of each other, Jackie. Family is what it’s all about. So tell me about your daily work routine. Do you have a regular “day job?” And how many hours do you devote to Pacino Worldwide?
Jackie Krudop: Hmmm, Betty…my daily routine? I guess I do have one; I do have a day job. I am the office-everything girl for a small, family-owned construction company that shall remain nameless as I promised myself not to talk about bosses or work on the internet.
I’m not sure how many hours you could calculate that I work on the site and on the Facebook page. I am “online” daily because my day job is not that busy, so I take the time to answer questions and connect to fans via Facebook. I guess it’s a good thing Al doesn’t have me on the payroll then, huh? (laughs) There are some days I work on the site for at least four hours and then there are days I don’t hardly touch the computer. Working on the site, updating it and connecting with the fans on Facebook is a “get-away” for me…therapy of sorts. While others turn to vices such as gambling or alcohol, I turn to web design and “facebooking.”
Betty Dravis: Good for you, Jackie. It’s easy to see you’re enjoying it.
You are the president of Pacino Worldwide and Iris Frank is the co-founder and vice-president. This might come as a surprise to you, but following is a note she wrote telling about how you met. I hope you don’t mind my sharing it.
I can’t tell you the exact date I met Jackie. I can tell you I was in my forties. I am no longer in my forties. In fact, I am deep into my fifties. I can, however, tell you how I met her. I was hungrily seeking a ticket to see the screening of “Chinese Coffee” at the first Tribeca Film Festival in New York after 9/11. I put out a web-wide email to various Pacino fan groups (never have I taken such a risk!) asking if anyone had an extra ticket. I did, in fact, find a ticket. I also found Jackie, or should I say, she found me. Although ticketless, she responded to the search of a Pacino fan.
Al Pacino’s talent and love of his craft are the reasons Pacino Worldwide exists but also the reasons Jackie and Iris exist. That is a blessed irony… But what you also have when you sign onto Facebook is the wit, drive and dedication of Jackie Krudop. She reminds us that as payback for her effort and her talent we are required to enjoy her handiwork. Her website is here to relax with. She insists you do just that.
Many years, many tears, many arguments and many, many phone calls have passed between us, but our love and admiration for each other remain constant. Take your bow Jackie.
Wow, Jackie, Iris thinks the world of you. It’s interesting how you met and it’s heartening to know you became such good friends. Have you ever met Iris in person?
Jackie Krudop: Have I ever! Iris comes to visit me here in my humble abode (in the Midwest) every Labor Day weekend for what we call our “board of directors meeting,” but really it’s nothing else but good old girl time. We have become the best of friends, knowing one another better than we do our own selves. Knowing Iris is a true treasure; we not only share a “Pacino-thing” but so much more. We share so much…tears, laughter… My kids have even grown to call her “Auntie Iris,” so what does that say? I just simply love her! I call her “sister” all the time, but right now you can call her “Grandma.” She’s busy enjoying her first grandchild, Jacob Ryan Frank, who was born June 30, 2010.
Betty Dravis: I’m happy for Iris and her family, Jackie. Please congratulate “Grandma” for me and express my best wishes. (laughs)
What legalities were involved in starting Pacino Worldwide? How many members do you have? How many countries are represented in your fan base? And who supplies the fabulous photos and movie stills of Al?
Jackie Krudop: As far as legalities are concerned, the only promise I made to Al’s lawyers years ago (as the president of Pacino Worldwide) was to never make money from his name. So therefore, we are a non-profit, tribute-for-entertainment-purposes website. Yes, his lawyer contacted me as to a response to a very “ballsy” proposal we sent regarding the start up of perhaps a “fan club.” Not knowing what was in store, he just wanted to make sure of our intentions.
That is when I decided it should be something that all can enjoy and get use from; a resource, if you will. That way when fans who have never seen a particular film research that film, they will go to us, hopefully.
Members consist of fans from all around the world. We are up to 496 fans on Facebook and it continues to grow daily. Only Iris and I “run” the website. It may be “my baby,” as Iris called it once, but we both manage it. The photos on the site are mostly photos that we have access to from various sources upon release: Reuters, Corbis, Zimbio… They’re available to most–but not to everyone–so as soon as we get them, we pass them on. And trust me, there are fans out there who count on us to send these photos. We are constantly researching the web for new pictures and get press releases from Google and Yahoo daily anytime Al’s name shows up in the news. Right now–that’s a lot!
Betty Dravis: That’s interesting, Jackie, and you’re right about Al: He’s a hot commodity now and has been for a long while. He has become a living legend…
Iris mentioned your page on Facebook, so I think she met the Pacino Worldwide Facebook page. Your personal Facebook page is where I met you (indirectly through Katherin Kovin Pacino). I notice you post trivia questions and other information about Pacino and your page seems to be where many people first learn of Pacino Worldwide. You also talk about your day-to-day life and your children on Facebook. Did you set up that page for social networking or as another means of getting the word out about your favorite star?
Jackie Krudop: Well, to be honest Betty, the personal Facebook page is my own little way of connecting to old friends and family I don’t see all the time. The Pacino Worldwide Facebook page is a bit of a “coming of age” thing for the little boost I thought that the website needed. It has, indeed, worked! Iris does the marketing and watches our site’s numbers/visitors constantly. She says that since the onset of the Facebook page, our “hits” (numbers) increased instantly! We’ve gone from 20,000 to 30,000 “hits” a month to over 60,000 just this past June. Now, the numbers get larger once Al is busier, so keep working Al… (laughs)
Betty Dravis: Wow, those are fabulous numbers, Jackie. I’ll post the link on my sites around the internet and, hopefully, send more “hits” your way. (laughs)
I mentioned Al’s stepmother, Katherin Kovin Pacino, several times above. I also interviewed her for Dream Reachers: Vol. 2. She’s a fabulous, good-hearted, lovely woman and a noted actress. I notice she’s your friend on Facebook and approves your website. How did you meet her and is she a help with Pacino Worldwide? Also, you call her Katherin the Great… Why is that?
Jackie Krudop: I call her Katherin the Great because I picked it up out of a Facebook post when you called her that in a joking manner. I thought it really fit her–she truly is great! We met over ten years ago as I was searching for “ideas” and found myself joining “blogs” and various other Pacino groups in my quest to know all I could about the man and the actor. Well, I had casually mentioned to Kat that I’d love to start my own website, but that it was probably impossible and that no one would even like it, etc…all the negative stuff you could say.
It was Kat who encouraged me. Because of my age and my “experiences” in life, she knew I’d have a more mature side to Al’s fan-based sites. I had pretty much given up when one day she and I exchanged emails about Tribeca tickets and such and she said something about all the fans from other countries… That’s when I realized that I could and I would do the site and I’d call it “worldwide” because of how many countries his fans are from. I think, personally, that the name worldwide makes people pause to think…like, hmmm, maybe…
Betty Dravis: I noticed that side of Kat, too; she’s forever encouraging people…a fascinating, caring woman.
Since Al Pacino has won many awards in his outstanding career, I can’t go into all of them, but I’d like to run a quote he made in 2003. His words make me smile, affirming that he has a good sense of humor and has remained down-to-earth and humble.
“I’d like to be remembered as the only man who lived to be 250 years old! (laughs) And someone who had a chance to do what he always wanted to do. I like to think I’m a guy who wasn’t going to make it, and I did. So it’s good to buck the odds. If that means anything to anyone, I will be grateful from the beyond!” – Al Pacino (from Interview by Ken Burns for USA Weekend, Issue Date: January 26, 2003)
Jackie, do you have a favorite quote of Al’s…or an anecdote you’d like to share?
Jackie Krudop: My favorite quote of Al’s comes from his Oscar-winning movie Scent of a Woman: “There isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit, there is no prosthetic for that.”
This quote came at the climatic ending to that wonderful film. It had everything to do with the character, Charlie, and the demise he was facing. I think I have chosen this quote because of the depth of it. It says that there is no way to “fake” a spirit. Once someone’s spirit is broken, it’s hard to build back up and no one has that right to take your dreams and break the spirit that you were born with.
Betty Dravis: I agree that those are powerful words, Jackie; a lot of truth in so few words too. Thanks for sharing that. That was a fantastic movie and Al certainly won that Oscar, fair and square.
On a less serious note, have you had any embarrassing moments in your life that stem from having this website?
Jackie Krudop: Well…I’m not sure if it’s embarrassing, but it sure made me aware of what I was in store for by building this website. When Iris and I first got the idea to have a website, I dubbed it Pacino Worldwide. So, naturally, at family functions and times with friends we liked to pass on our “good news” by giving them the domain name and web address: pacinoworldwide.com. Simple…right? Or so you’d think…. Well, when some friends of Iris looked up the address, a slip or misunderstanding of the words and all of sudden, up on the screen comes “Pacino’s *****” which is not our site. In fact, it has nothing to do with Al. It’s Porn! You can imagine the looks on her friends’ faces as they stands there in awe or shock or whatever… Iris corrected her friends and they had a great laugh, but this is how a simple switcheroo can really make for an awkward moment.
Betty Dravis: Oh, that’s really funny, Jackie, and that would sure embarrass me. (laughs) But at this point in the interview, I usually ask my guests this question: If you could spend an entire day with anyone in the world (living or dead) who would you choose and why? Since we already know the answer to that, who would be your second choice? (laughs)
Jackie Krudop: (Giggles)… Honestly Betty, I’d love to spend an entire day with Al with all the knowledge and life experiences he has, but truthfully, I’d give anything to spend a day (again) with my departed grandmother. This woman raised me when my own mom worked full time at a factory and when we were in hard times as a child. She raised me from birth to about high-school age. I’m happy that she was able to live long enough to see me married and witness all four of my children. She passed away the summer my twin boys turned a year old. They’re now sixteen, so while it has been a long time ago, I long for dinners and prayers at her table and her good old southern hospitality.
Betty Dravis: I don’t blame you, Jackie. Your grandmother was undoubtedly a strong, wonderful woman and must have been an inspiration to you. Thanks for sharing that touching story.
What other famous actors do you admire?
Jackie Krudop: Yes…there are other actors out there, huh, Betty? (winks) Well, let’s see…I admire Meryl Streep for her “real” acting methods and being able to also transform perspectives (such as Al). I also adore the singer/artist Billy Joel. I have only seen him once in concert and love the way he brings such soul to his songs… You know, “It’s All About Soul” and all his songs, actually. I don’t really get a chance to know the names of many of the current celebs. I stick to movies with the people that I’ve been watching awhile, like Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Lopez (for her acting ability, not singing) and Bonnie Hunt.
Betty Dravis: You wrote the following on your Facebook page: “Love my husband, my kids and my God…what else is there?” Dare I answer the question by quipping: “There is Al Pacino?” (laughs)
What ages are your children and what do you like to do on family outings?
Jackie Krudop: Thanks for asking about my kids, Betty. I have four wonderful kids, but what Mom doesn’t say that…right? They really are, though; they start with my son Matt, age twenty-three, who is taking college courses for interior design, and then my daughter Katrina who is eighteen, just graduated from high school and is bound for cosmetology school in the fall, and last, but not least, are my twin boys, Jerod and Jordan, who turned sixteen on July 19, 2010. Look out, world… (laughs)
My husband John and I have been married for a little over twenty-three years and mostly spend our “family outings” doing whatever the kids want. We like to take our two dogs for walks or play volleyball in the backyard or just go catch a movie! It’s all about them, and we’ve found that just doing that and having our own “date night” once in a while, works for us.
Betty Dravis: That sounds like a winning combination to me, Jackie. Your family seems to be tight-knit and close, which is how it should be…
Before ending this interview, I’d like to know if you have any plans to expand Pacino Worldwide. And what’s in the near future for Jackie Krudop?
Jackie Krudop: The only plans I have for Pacino Worldwide, I’m already doing. I opened up the Facebook Page to fans that had already been with our little forty-member Yahoo Group and now we have 415 fans! I love it! The reason I love it is because I get to see how many folks from all ages, all walks of life, and all parts of the globe have the same great sense of awe and admiration for Al. And as they said about Elvis: forty million fans can’t be wrong! And as I say: 415 fans—and growing– can’t be wrong! (laughs)
As for Jackie Krudop, I’m not sure what’s next for me… My kid is going to college, so I think I’ll stick around home for a while and keep running the website and Facebook page! How’s that?
Betty Dravis: Sounds good to me, Jackie. Well, we could talk all day about Al Pacino and his fabulous body of works, but instead I’ll refer our readers to your websites:
Now before closing, Jackie, this is the perfect place to share the good news about Al’s HBO movie You Don’t Know Jack! And this is your last chance to mention anything we may have missed, so feel free to do so.
Jackie Krudop: As you know, Betty, in You Don’t Know Jack, Al plays the role of Dr. Jack Kevorkian (1928 –) who in the 1990s defied Michigan law by assisting the suicide of terminally-ill persons. It’s an HBO presentation, directed by Barry Levinson. Critics and fans are raving over Al’s accurate portrayal of the controversial, single-minded and often antic Kevorkian.
I’m pleased to announce that Al has been nominated for an Emmy in August, 2010! We predicted as such and are so ready to see Al receive the Emmy once again. He already received an Emmy for the HBO movie, Angels In America. We happen to think that Al and HBO make a pretty good team!
Currently, Al is performing as Shylock in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in New York’s beautiful Delacorte Theater for the summer months’ Shakespeare in the Park. This is a very big deal at Pacino Worldwide and we are even more excited to have gotten news recently that says that there are “talks” of this very show going to Broadway. We hope! Any other Pacino news and happenings can be found on our site’s “Future Features” page.
Betty Dravis: I saw You Don’t Know Jack and was mesmerized by Al’s performance; he was fabulous. He not only played the part, he was Dr. Kevorkian in that film. That’s how great he is! He certainly deserves an Emmy. Thanks for the good news!
In parting, I wish to thank you for sharing your life and your dreams with our readers, Jackie. It’s been great fun talking with you. Please keep us in the loop about Al, and I want to be first to know when you finally meet this living legend who has millions of fans all around the world. Dare I call him the “Man of Your Dreams?” (laughs)
Sweet dreams, Jackie.
Jackie Krudop: Thanks, Betty. I’m happy to have this chance to share my thoughts about Al Pacino and to talk about Pacino Worldwide. My husband comes first, but in a way, Al is “The Man of My Dreams” because I admire him and his legendary acting. Sweet dreams to you all. It’s been fun…
Pacino lungo Vivo! (Long live Pacino!)
July 28, 2010 in Author & Celebrity Interviews | Tags: actors, Antonia Tosini, Betty Dravis, Between the Olive Trees, Cindy Crawford, Death Keeps Coming, directors, film, Hollywood, Holy Hollywood, Katherin Kovin Pacino, Luke Perry, Mickey Rooney, movies, Patrick Swayze, Prism, producer, Quentin Tarantino, Sal Pacino, Stefanie Powers, Sunset Strip, Susan Kennington, The Keeper, tony tarantino, Where the Boys Are | by Betty Dravis | 55 comments
by Betty Dravis
Betty Dravis: Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Tony. It’s a pleasure to have such a talented man from the film industry with us today. Actress Katherin Kovin Pacino recommended you to me for this interview. Of course, everyone has heard of you—you’re a household name–but I visited your websites to learn more about you. Among many other things, you’re an actor, a screenwriter, director and also have your own production company. Very impressive, indeed…
As you know, my interviews (and those of my co-author Chase Von) are all about high achievers who aren’t afraid to dream big and to act upon those dreams to see them to fulfillment. Since you’re so successful in all you do, you are a perfect fit for our book, and that’s why I’m delighted you agreed to be in Dream Reachers: Vol. 2 when it goes to press. Thanks so much.
Tony, I have so many questions for you… I had no idea where to begin, but then I read something on your MySpace website that made it easy. You wrote: “The film industry has been our way of life for generations.” You also spoke about your father Dominic being successful in silent films, speaking of him as “an original cowboy actor.” That certainly takes us back in time and I’d like to hear more about him. How and when did he get started and did that lead to your acting and, subsequently, to your son Quentin’s interest in the movie industry?
Tony Tarantino: You’re right, Betty, acting has been in our family since my father Dominic appeared in several Westerns with stars such as Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson and Fred Thompson. That was in the thirties…
I grew up listening to my dad tell his stories about Hollywood, the people he worked with and many of the ones he met. This started as far back as I can remember. Just from listening to his stories I knew I wanted to be an actor. I can’t speak for Quentin, but I caught the acting bug from my father. It must be in the genes. (laughs)
Betty Dravis: It sounds like you had an interesting, adventurous childhood, Tony, and your fans are happy you followed in your father’s footsteps. I hope you write a book one day, recounting some of those stories about old-time actor friends of your father. Thanks for sharing the photo of him riding the horse of famous cowboy actor Tom Mix. That must be a family treasure. I bet you laughed out loud when you learned the name of the horse was “Tony.” (laughs)
Your father sounds like quite a guy! I remember watching cowboy movies when I was a kid; it was mostly Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in my day, but I recall seeing Tom Mix, Tex Ritter and some of the others too.
But moving on, if I recall correctly, your first acting role was in Where the Boys Are when you were eighteen. You’ve been in many movies since then—including Blood Money, Holy Hollywood, All the Rage, and Family Tree. Do you know the exact count…or roughly? I know you have much experience and have honed your craft to perfection. Can you describe your emotions when you landed that first role? We’ll get into the details of your production company later.
Tony Tarantino: I believe the count to date is about sixty films… I was happy to land that first role, but I may have been even happier when I auditioned for and was accepted into the Pasadena Playhouse after graduating from LA’s Washington High School. That’s a long way from my hometown; I was born in Queens, New York and raised in Brooklyn. If my parents had not moved me and my sister Diane to Los Angeles in 1952, my life might have taken a different course.
Betty Dravis: Tony, I can’t believe all the skills you learned at Pasadena Playhouse: acting, modern dance, guitar, singing, etc. You even played guitar and sang folk songs in local coffeehouses…for the joy of it and for tips. I bet those tips came in handy for a young student.
But all that wasn’t enough for a fun-loving, ambitious young man like you! You wanted to be as well-rounded as possible to land as many roles as you could, so you also earned a pilot’s license; became proficient in Western quick-draw; won awards for marksmanship with handguns and rifles; earned a black belt in Karate and Kung-Fu; became skilled with bow and arrow, even touring with the Malibu Roving Archers. Do I dare mention: boxing, tennis, swimming and playing accordion?
I confess it blew my mind when I learned about all your early achievements. That’s awesome and I bet that list isn’t complete, is it? (laughs)
Tony Tarantino: Well, Betty, I did do a few more things… (laughs) I love music and that led me to form several bands where I played lead, rhythm and bass guitar in supper clubs and night-clubs in Los Angeles and the South Bay area. Those were heady years. We had a lot of fun back in the day.
More recently, I produced a television interview show, co-hosted a radio talk show and in 1998 worked on four films, starring in one. There is more, but I don’t want to bore you…
Betty Dravis: The path to success isn’t easy, is it, Tony, and you are anything but boring. (laughs) I enjoy all your show biz stories. In fact, you’re being modest not to mention some colossal awards you have earned: in 2001 you took home the coveted Los Angeles Music Awards “50 Years Tribute to the Sunset Strip” for your contribution to music spanning your career. The award was given out at the Whiskey A Go-Go. It must have been fun to go back to where you also played on many occasions. Also winning awards that evening were Gary Busey (for his Buddy Holly portrayal), Peter Tork of The Monkees, Jackie Shannon and Ollie Woodson of The Temptations, David Gates of Bread, Chuck Negron and Lenny Williams of Tower of Power, Devo, and Larry Flynt for the Freedom of Speech Award.
You certainly were in good company, to say the least… What a night that must have been! And to go down in musical history that way is incredible!
Tony, you have proved that the road to success can be fun and rewarding. I’m glad you enjoyed the journey to where you are today. All of those skills blend together to form the accomplished actor, director, screenwriter, songwriter and producer that you are today…so that’s a good thing…
You also won Best Comedy Drama at The San Fernando Valley International Film Festival (VIFFI) Awards in 2004. And in January, 2010 you hosted Elvis – Happy 75th at the Grove Theatre in Upland. On the bill was Elvis tribute artist Sage Matthew Vincent and actor/belly dancer Tanya Lemani who performed the role of Little Egypt in Presley’s 1968 NBC comeback special. (For you Elvis fans, a clip of that dance can be found on YouTube.)
Another well-received project you did in 2000 was an exercise video, Silver Foxes, with the lovely actress Stefanie Powers. I hear that the real Silver Foxes is actually a group of celebrity parents: you, father of Quentin; the late Sal Pacino, father of Al; Patsy Swayze, mother of the late Patrick; Jenny Crawford, Cindy’s mom; Christine Johnson, Magic’s mom; and Nikki Robbins, Tony Robbins’ mother. I understand that Silver Foxes is the brainchild of producer David Krieff. That video must have been a change of pace for you. Do any of you ever get together now?
Tony Tarantino: Thanks for mentioning some of my awards, Betty. And as for seeing my co-actors in Silver Foxes, no, I haven’t… We are so far apart in distance, it’s not easy to do, but we have spoken on the phone on many occasions. I think I have spoken to Patsy the most because she is here in Southern California. Sal Pacino and I were real close, almost like father and son, until his passing in 2005.
Betty Dravis: Katherin Kovin Pacino also told me that you and Sal were very close; belated condolences on his passing.
And it’s understandable that you don’t see the others so much, Tony. It’s a crazy world nowadays with everyone carrying such heavy loads… That video sounds like a clever idea. We all admire strong, caring parents and their successful offspring. And the entire world fell in love with Stefanie Powers when she starred in The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and the TV show Hart to Hart with the esteemed actor Robert Wagner. I read that her latest is a Hallmark TV movie Meet My Mom. It’s heartening to know she is still active.
Do you still exercise using the Power Pilates techniques of stretch and relaxation as featured in the video, or how do you stay in such fine shape?
Tony Tarantino: Stefanie Powers is a great actress and a wonderful woman. I’ve had the pleasure to interface with her on several occasions.
But as for an exercise regimen, no, unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to work out as I should. To keep in shape, I used to exercise with personal trainer P.J. Bowen, and I trained for boxing with Hervi Estrada. I keep telling myself I have to get back to it. Once you stop, it’s real hard to start back.
Betty Dravis: Well, you certainly appear to be in great shape. At six feet, one, with your natural lankiness, many men must envy you…
But on with the interview, I know you wish to keep much about your family private and I honor that. I saw a video of a reporter questioning you about Quentin, and you said, “I have great respect for my son. He’s probably the finest filmmaker of our time… Definitely the most copied artist of all time.” Is there anything else you’d like to share about your family?
Tony Tarantino: I have four children: Edward James, Tanya Marie, Ronnajean and Quentin. I’m very proud of them all. You have my permission to use photos of them, Betty, and any photos from my various websites, but I would rather not comment about my family at present.
Betty Dravis: I understand, Tony, and it’s generous of you to offer use of your photos. I saw one of your mother Elizabeth that I will definitely use. Was she an actress, too? She was certainly beautiful enough for leading roles.
Tony Tarantino: Thank you for the kind words, Betty. No…my mom was a full-time, stay-at-home mom. She never was an actress. She devoted all her time, her love and her energy to my sister Diane and me.
Betty Dravis: Thanks for sharing about your mom, Tony. From the way you and Diane developed into good, caring adults, your mother was undoubtedly a fine role model.
But speaking of beautiful women, I saw a YouTube video in which a TV personality is questioning you and that gorgeous actress Susan Kennington at a Charity Masquerade Party (supporting the leukemia, cancer cause). In the video you two spoke about the projects you were working on at the time. You mentioned that you were producing Prism, based on the book Color of the Prism by Thomas J. Nichols. I know it often takes years to finish a film, but can you tell us a little about the progression of the filming? (For our readers, the video link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx6wI6WBoNs)
I also read in a Las Vegas newspaper about you having three films in pre-production, including Prism. We’ll get into the other two below, but for now tell us about Prism and when we can expect to see the premiere. Also, for an outsider like me, explain the difference between “in production” and “in pre-production.”
Tony Tarantino: Like everyone in the industry, I enjoy talking about my films, Betty. Prism is a large budget film and that makes it a bit harder to finance. On this film I’m the screenwriter, director and also play a supporting role. Prism is a blending of fact and fiction into a journey of intrigue, love, betrayal, greed and tragedy; a present-day police thriller set on the Arizona-Mexican border. Prism is in pre-production.
The difference between in production and pre-production is: Pre-production is where you put all the pieces together–the cast, the crew and all that’s involved in the actual production. Production is when you have started principal photography.
Thanks for explaining about production and pre-production… Now I get it! And your description of Prism stirs my writer’s imagination; I can’t help anticipating in what direction the plot will go. I look forward to seeing all your movies, but that one really intrigues me.
Since Susan Kennington acts and writes for some of your movies, is it too fresh of me to ask if you and she are an “item,” as they say in Hollywood? She certainly is a gorgeous woman and I hear she’s a fine actress too. I haven’t had the good fortune to see her on film yet, but I hope to remedy that in the near future. I’ve chatted with her on Facebook and she seems to be such a fascinating, down-to-earth, caring woman. Since she’s so gorgeous and glamorous, I have to chuckle at her calling herself a “girly tomboy sporting stiletto boots.” What a woman! In fact, I relate to her so much I actually landed her interview for this book. (laughs)
Tony Tarantino: I’m glad you chose Susan for this book, too, Betty. She deserves all the accolades she can get! I enjoy sharing about her… Susan and I are very close friends. She’s a very talented actress, a wonderful person and we work well together. We attend many networking functions and red-carpet events together to promote the work we are doing as a team and the work we do as individuals.
Betty Dravis: Thanks for clearing that up. We can’t have too many good friends…
Next, I’m dying to know about your other projects, but before you enlighten us I’d like to know what motivated you to switch from acting to directing and producing. When did you start your own production company?
Tony Tarantino: My dad and I started Tarantino Productions in 1958 as a general partnership. I didn’t incorporate it till after his passing. I consider myself a storyteller, and acting and directing are big parts of telling a story. As a younger man I concentrated on acting. As I got older, strong parts became harder to come by. If you are a major star, an A-list actor, then it’s not a problem. I haven’t made it to that point, but have always been happy just to be part of the process in any way I could.
I have come to love the directing and producing end of the business, but must admit that directing and producing is no gravy train. You’ve got to be quick witted in this business and never underestimate anything.
Betty Dravis: I love the way you express your “feel” for your industry, Tony. I feel the same way about writing… When you dream, you dream BIG! You know what you want and you go for it! Our motto with our Dream Reachers books is: Only those who stretch to reach their dreams find themselves living them. That describes you: you set your goals and certainly stretch to reach them. No wonder you are such an outstanding Dream Reacher.
Would you please give us the inside scoop about your movies?
Tarantino Signs On For Three Films
… The second film, The Keeper, is also in pre-production and is scheduled to start shooting as soon as Prism is completed filming. In this production, Tony has been contracted to direct this true story of Richard Etheridge, born into slavery in 1842, who rises to national heroism during a time of racial prejudice and discrimination in America.
Third is Death Keeps Coming, with Tony as producer. This 1880s Western with a supernatural twist stars Martin Kove. (Best known for his role in all four Karate Kid films.)
Betty Dravis: Those movies all sound like winners to me. I can’t wait to see them. It will be years of hard work, but I wish you all success with each of them.
Now to take a short break from the film industry, I have a lighter question this time: If it were possible to spend the day with anyone throughout history, who would you choose…and why?
Tony Tarantino: Well, this is an easy one for me, Betty. I’d like to spend time with Christopher Columbus because I enjoy adventure and travel. I love America and would have enjoyed being part of the discovery of this great country. My ancestry is Italian, but I’m a second generation American. I’m very proud of my father Dominic who was a WWII Marine and served on Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.
Betty Dravis: That’s a great answer, Tony. It was men like your father who gave so much to assure our freedom. Thanks for sharing that.
Your choice of whom to spend the day with is fitting. You and Christopher Columbus would have had a lot to talk about; with your entrepreneurial spirit and inquisitive natures, you have much in common.
And now, Tony, for a little “fun” question. Most people have had embarrassing moments at some time in their lives. Have you? If so, please share one of them with us. As we all like movies, we also like a good laugh from time to time.
Tony Tarantino: I was at a party and a well-known actor whom I have since come to know came up to me and said: “Hi, Tony,” and I called him by the wrong name. Not only was it the wrong name, but it was the name of another well-known actor. I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny then.
Betty Dravis: OMG, that’s what they call a grand faux pas. That would be embarrassing, but since you became friends later, that actor must have had a good sense of humor and a bit of humility. (laughs)
But moving on, I hear that you have a beautiful home in the hills of Southern California. I bet you hated to leave all that when you recently traveled to Italy on business and to visit friends. Do you travel abroad extensively?
I know in younger days you raised and trained horses and enjoyed a bit of roping and cutting, but how do you relax at home now? Also tell us a little about your work with Screen Actors Guild.
Tony Tarantino: I wouldn’t say I travel extensively, but I do manage to get away occasionally. Yes, I do miss my home when traveling, but Italy is beautiful and I enjoy my times there.
I also write screenplays, so I do a lot of writing and business from my home. That’s relaxing, in its own way. You, as a writer, must know that… As for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), at one time I volunteered three hours a week reading to K-3 classes as part of their BookPALS program. I haven’t read to them for a while because I can only do it between films, but it’s fun to help the children learn to read and to appreciate books. I miss it when I can’t do it; kids have a way of keeping us grounded.
Betty Dravis: I’m sincerely impressed by the caliber of the talented professionals you work with. Incredible!
And I admire you for helping the future generations, Tony. Paying it forward is a wonderful thing to do…a great way to show your appreciation for your blessings. But now we’re nearing the end of this interview, so before I tell our readers where they can contact you, is there anything I missed that you’d like to share today?
And what advice do you have for young people just getting started in acting and/or filmmaking?
Tony Tarantino: I don’t think you missed much, Betty. (laughs) And the advice I give to all young people is: “You don’t lose until you quit.”
Betty Dravis: Well, that may be short, but it’s good, solid advice, Tony. It’s been a real treat to chat with you. You’re inspiring! I certainly learned more about you and the movie business; I’m sure our readers will enjoy you as much as I do. We will be watching for your new movies. (Might I add that you have a charming Italian accent with a hint of French for good measure?)
I like this line from your website: TonyTarantino.com is your online source for everything Tarantino. Watch his latest trailers, see his production calendar, order merchandise, get the inside Hollywood dish and famous celebrity news articles right here.
That said, this is the perfect place to share more links where fans and friends can reach you:
Thanks again, Tony, for this open, honest interview. I find you to be an intelligent, well-spoken man of the world and I’m sure our readers will agree.
Ciao, as you always say, and God bless you and your impressive volume of works. We have thousands of words in this interview and I never even touched on your screenplay New Horizons that you wrote with Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta Jones in mind for the lead roles. Perhaps we can do this again sometime.
Now, as they say in your industry, “That’s a wrap”” or in mine, “Let’s put this baby to bed!” (laughs)
Stay in touch…
Tony Tarantino: That’s a deal…and thanks, Betty. It’s been real fun and I’d love to do it again… perhaps when one of my movies is a wrap. I’m juggling a lot of plates at the moment, but this was an enjoyable interlude. Ciao…
April 13, 2010 in Author & Celebrity Interviews | Tags: actors, Al Pacino, Betty Dravis, Bill Lashbrook, celebrities, Dames of Dialogue, entertainment, Hollywood, interviews, Katherin Kovin Pacino, movies, Sal Pacino | by Betty Dravis | 51 comments
Betty Dravis: Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Kat. It’s a pleasure to have such a fine actress and Hollywood “insider” with us today. I met you on Facebook, of all places–which isn’t as odd as it seems in today’s high-tech world. I related to what you said beneath your profile picture: “I believe in actors helping actors. When I find a good thing to share, I like letting people know! It’s all about the art…and giving from the heart!”
Since I feel the same way about authors helping authors, you hooked me up front. You sounded so interesting, I just had to look up your film credits and read your biography. Needless to say, your fascinating background intrigued me and I knew our readers would love to meet you. I hoped you would be open for an interview…and here you are!
As you know, my interviews are all about high achievers who aren’t afraid to dream big and to act upon those dreams to see them to fulfillment. Since you are so successful in all you do, you are the personification of the ultimate Dream Reacher.
I read that you were born in Chicago, grew up in St. Louis and moved to Escondido, California with your parents when you were a teen. I’m wondering how you went from being the “pampered daughter of a jewelry tycoon/businessman” to Hollywood where you eventually made your film debut in Holy Hollywood. You played a principal role as “Tyler’s mom” when that film was released in 1999. I bet that first role was thrilling. How did you feel at that time? Have you acted all your life, or just when did you get the acting bug?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Thanks for inviting me to be part of your project, Betty. I read Dream Reachers and really enjoyed learning new things about various artists, some I know, some I don’t, but it’s a fun, informative, inspiring book.
About my parents, Arnold and Rozalind Kovin, they owned the Arnie Kovin Jewelry store chain, also Arnex Watches. And they did spoil me to some extent because I had all the luxuries, but they also taught me family values, respect for others and all I needed to know to succeed in life. I’m adopted and they loved me so much… I’m lucky. But no, my dad was not exactly a tycoon… He was a multi-millionaire… A very good, hard-working successful man…and Mom was all I could ask for in a mother.
Yes, those first years in acting were thrilling, but every time I go on stage or before a camera, I still get that magical feeling, that surge of energy. I love everything about acting and ever since I was a young girl I wanted to be an actress. I started out by playing extras and began getting better roles, so the Holy Hollywood role was not my first, just my first larger role.
Betty Dravis: Your second film followed three years later. In I Soldati—The Soldier in the U.S.–you did an impressive job in a supporting role, which happened to be the love interest of your own husband, Sal Pacino. Kat, I don’t mind telling you that my ears perked up when I learned you were married to the late father of the living legend Al Pacino. Since Sal was an actor first, is it safe to say that he encouraged Al to follow in his footsteps?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Truthfully, Betty, he didn’t have to encourage him; Al always wanted to be an actor. When he was a little kid, he saw an old Ray Milland movie and ran around reciting some of the lines over and over. In fact, when he accepted the AFI’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, Al said, “By age three, I was doing Al Jolson. I found, in the theater, this place I could go to. I found this peace.” Sal said that even at three Al was a charmer and Sal supported his son in everything he did… They had a close relationship.
Betty Dravis: Although Sal passed away in 2005 and you’ve managed to get on with your life, I wish to express belated condolences. That was a sad time for you, but our readers would appreciate hearing about the fun times when you met Sal. I’m a sucker for love stories and am curious about how you met, where you met, and if there were any humorous little anecdotes from that time. I admit that I’m dying to know if you had much interaction with Al…as are our readers! Would you care to share, Kat? (How did you two get along? Was there any conflict because you are younger than he is? … Just little things like that…lol…)
Katherin Kovin Pacino: (laughs) Everyone asks me about Sal and Al, Betty, and I love talking about them too. It brings back some of the happiest times of my life. I was devastated when my husband passed away… I’m glad you asked me about the happy times because I’d rather think about the good times. Playing his love interest in I Soldati was interesting and fun. It seemed like an extension of our off-camera life because he was always so loving and supportive of me and such a joy to be around.
I met Sal through a mutual friend who had known him over twenty years. The friend was after me but I thought he was too young for me, so set him up with one of my girlfriends. That lasted about three days, but Sal and I lasted over twelve-and-a-half years. We clicked right from the first and were married in Las Vegas in the Little Chapel of the Flowers…a candlelight ceremony for close friends and family. Sal always joked that it was “love at first fright.”
Sal was in the insurance business for over thirty years and in addition to acting, he was a Union negotiator, which was fortunate for me due to the good benefits packages that give me more security, even now.
As for Al Pacino, yes, Betty, he’s a living legend—an enormous talent–and we are extremely proud of him. Since he became so famous, he is always so busy that we don’t see him as often as before. When his father was alive, we all got together for private family events: dinners, birthdays, anniversaries…things like that. But after Al’s phenomenal success in the Godfather trilogy, the studios had him hopping from one box-office hit to another. I respect his privacy, but he won’t mind my sharing that he still keeps in touch as much as he can. Whenever he’s in a show or wins an award or something, he always sends tickets…and we bump into each other at social events, at the Sheraton-Hilton and other places. He’s just too busy to keep close touch with anyone, really.
Al and I always got along fine and there was no jealousy… Sure, Al is older than I am–this month marks his 70th birthday–but that was never a problem between us or anyone in the family. I was his father’s fifth wife, so Al was always understanding and accepting of that. He and his father were close, as I said before, and accepted each other’s life choices.
Betty Dravis: Now that the big, important subject of Al is out of the way, I admit I’m more curious about you, the independent Katherin. Let’s talk about your movie and TV career a little more, and then I’ll get into your other interests in and outside the entertainment industry. Tell us about the role of Lady Catherine in your last movie in 2005. And what is the favorite role you’ve played and why you liked it so much?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: It’s an odd coincidence that you should ask about my role as Lady Catherine, Betty. That was the part I played in the documentary Bolivar: Path to Glory and it’s my favorite role. It was made in 2005 by Bob DeBrino Entertainment and was set in Venezuela. The reason I favor that role is because I got to act with Sal again and traveling to Venezuela to shoot was like having a family vacation while doing what we both liked best—acting! Venezuela is a scenic wonder and seeing the country and meeting Venezuelan stars was the frosting on the cake. With that film we had the best of both worlds. He was excellent in the role of General De Miranda, but sadly, it was our last movie together. We worked well together…
Betty Dravis: That does sound like a dream role and a dream vacation, Kat. I enjoy seeing husband-and-wife teams in movies. Two coupless that come to mind are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, not to mention Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I’m glad you had the pleasure of acting with Sal and have those beautiful memories.
Now, switching subjects… If I recall the facts, Mickey Rooney played a cameo role in one of your films. Since he’s also a living legend and beloved throughout the world, can you share any behind-the-scenes stories of him and his interaction with the cast? I and our readers would appreciate your sharing more of your former connections and adventures along the way, but we’ll get to those later.
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Well, Betty, Mickey was easy to work with, very nice and supportive and a lot of fun to be around. I admire him so much. It’s hard to believe that he’ll be ninety this year and he’s in another movie, Johnny Blue, which is in preproduction. He’s led a fascinating life, and according to Hollywood lore, as of 2007, he’s the only surviving screen actor to appear in silent films and still continues to act in movies into the new millennium. His debut was in the movie Not to Be Trusted at the age of four. That astonishes me.
Betty Dravis: Wow, I didn’t know that, Kat. That is amazing! No wonder he received the Lifetime Achievement Oscar! You must have met a lot of important industry people in your life, but do you have one that stands out above all others? And who are some of the people who had the greatest influence on your life?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Sal, of course, my current husband Bill Lashbrook and my parents were great, positive role models for me. They stand out above the crowd, but as for classic stars, I’ve been most impressed by Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler. Both have outstanding talent and have tackled other ends of the industry too. It’s awesome what they’ve accomplished.
Betty Dravis: Kat, I know that you’ve done a variety of important things in your life. You have worked as a makeup/fashion/image consultant to companies such as Merle Norman, Revlon, Clientele, and have done makeup promos for Estee Lauder, Borghese, and other famous lines, as well. In addition to that, you’ve worked for public relation people such as the late Irving Zussman in New York, also as an entertainment business manager with Martin Licker, CPA (who handled names such as James Caan, Gary Sinise and several other celebs).
I enjoy working with famous, accomplished people because they’re so stimulating, so that must have been exciting. I admire James Caan’s acting ability and was captivated by his role of Sonny in The Godfather. What a blockbuster trilogy of movies that was! Did you have any personal dealings with Caan or any of Licker’s celebrated clients?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Believe it or not, Jimmy Caan never came up there. However, I did meet his ex-wife, his son Scott (now an actor himself), his brother, and his fun-loving aunts, whom he helped support. They came to the office about every two weeks for their “upkeep” check. It felt like Godfather all over again! (laughs)
I also met Gary Sinise, who since then has made a mark for himself. He was such an earthy, nice guy… It’s no surprise that today he ships supplies to the men fighting abroad for our country! And I met Jeff Wald who was totally very rude, to say the least. I remember that I answered the phone one morning, and he greeted me with: “F*** YOU!”… Since he represented some of the biggest names in show business, I expected more class from him. This was the same guy who was married to Aussie singer Helen Reddy of the “I am Woman” fame. That song was number one around the world, so I guess that went to his head…or was it the coke? That marriage ended in divorce and he married Candy Clark of The Blob. That ended in a divorce just a couple of years later, too! Gee… No wonder… Are we surprised? (laughs)
Betty Dravis: What goes around, comes around, Kat…but we don’t always see it. It’s always rewarding to see the nice guys like Gary Sinise go on to achieve their dreams. I always admired him and was happy when he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Role in Forrest Gump (1995). In fact, he has won an Emmy and so many other awards, it’s hard to keep track of. Wow! Go, Gary!
And then there are the jerks like Wald who was so rude to you. I understand that he has a son by Reddy and that marriage lasted fifteen years, but he only lasted a year with Clark. I guess we can speak of his addiction since it’s reported in his biography on IMDb (Internet Movie Database). His former addiction to cocaine is public knowledge. I also read that he has cleaned up his act and is once again producing. I have no idea if he still manages any big names, but among his former clients were Sylvester Stallone, George Foreman, James Brolin, Tom Skerritt, George Carlin, Elliott Gould, Donna Summer, Flip Wilson and Marvin Gaye, and musical groups such as Deep Purple, Chicago and Crosby Stills & Nash, to name only a few. I suppose success like that could go to anyone’s head. Since everyone deserves a second chance, I’m glad that he ultimately overcame his addiction and has made a come-back. Hopefully, he has learned respect for others during the rehab process.
You know, Kat, that Clint Eastwood was my first big celebrity interview when I was a young, starry-eyed journalist, and he was a class act; treated me like an equal, like a lady. He influenced me to dream big and act on my dreams, as he did. He’s awesome. Have you ever run into him around Hollywood?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: I never met Clint, but came close to it once. I was invited to meet him at a luncheon, but I was married then and was always careful to consider my husband’s feelings, so I had to decline.
Betty Dravis: Kat, the people with whom I’ve discussed this interview speak very highly of you; the first words that come out of their mouths are: elegant…gracious…lovely. In my short time with you, I have to agree with them. You are all that and more! I’ve also come to see a lighter, more playful side to your nature. I know you don’t wish to be thought of as perfect, so to add to your mystique and send our readers away with smiles on their faces, can you share your most embarrassing moment, onstage or off, with us?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: That’s a hard question to answer, Betty. I honestly can’t think of an embarrassing time in the context you mean, but there is one big embarrassment that still bothers me. And it is not the “laughing matter” kind of story. I can’t give too many details without embarrassing others, but I can say that the head people were having trouble booking a hotel for an important industry event and I offered to help. I booked the place for them only to find out later the hotel didn’t have the proper speakers and camera equipment. It was a big mess, but once again I stepped up to the challenge and it all worked out.
Betty Dravis: OMG, I thought you would come up with something like you spilled a drink on a lead star when you were an extra or you tripped onstage…something in retrospect that would be laughable… But you came up with a real whopper! That would be embarrassing, Kat, but at least you found a solution.
I don’t mind admitting, Kat, I’m intrigued by your acting career, but am also impressed that you played a big role in starting the West Hollywood International Film Festival (WHIFF) with Martin DeLuca, an Argentinean filmmaker and photographer. I have a photo or two to share with our readers from the recent awards ceremony, but I’d like to hear more about WHIFF. When was it founded? How you got involved? The latest buzz, please…
Katherin Kovin Pacino: The Festival is only two years old, but the idea for the Festival was a collaborative effort and I worked hard to help put it together. It was exhilarating work and I was happy to serve on the board of directors for a time. I stepped down when my other commitments got too heavy, but I took part in this year’s awards ceremony. It went great this year, so I hope they make it and it becomes bigger and better.
Betty Dravis: We’d all like to hear more about your new projects, Kat, but now I’d like to ask you a lighter question. If you could spend the day with one person besides your husband–someone in history, a favorite author, a public figure, a character in a book, etc.–who would you choose and why?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: I have always admired Shirley MacLaine. I’ll never forget her role in Some Like it Hot…and all the huge roles that followed. Her breakout role was the one following–The Apartment, a melancholy comedy with Jack Lemmon–but I have always liked her later roles too. She was hilarious in Steel Magnolias. She has a lot of talent but I like her zest for life and would like to spend a day with her. I could learn so much… The closest I ever came to her was when I was an extra on a set.
Betty Dravis: I like her, too, Kat. Her role in Steel Magnolias was also one of my favorites…and she was superb with Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment.
But moving on, you now split your time between Hollywood where your career interests lie and Marin County, near San Francisco, where your husband Bill Lashbrook grew up. Both places are breath-taking areas, vibrant and alive with talent and natural wonders. You’ve shared with me in our chats that Bill is a successful businessman and interested in Shakespearean acting. What line of work is he in and how is he involved with the Shakespearean community? He’s such a devoted, supportive partner, working with you in many capacities, but I’m also curious about how you met. Guess I’m just a romantic at heart, so I hope you don’t feel this is too intimate to share. If so, we understand.
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Exactly, Betty… Bill is a successful businessman but is now venturing into public speaking and is interested in consulting. He’s very charismatic and alive with energy, so he’ll succeed in whatever he sets his mind to. We work well as a team, so I’ll help him as he helps me. We both enjoy Shakespeare and attend some plays and lectures whenever we have time. Bill was never in film, but enjoys stage acting…classical acting. He’s a Shakespearean actor of the old school and will be the first to tell you it was more of a hobby than a career, but it brought him many years of pleasure.
But now to satisfy your “romantic nature,” Betty, I’ll share how Bill and I met. (laughs) As with Sal, we met through a mutual friend. It was shortly after Sal passed away and I lucked out in love again. Bill is wonderful and we’ve built a happy life together. We both have a great love of theatre; whether on camera or onstage, it’s our great passion, so we work on most of our projects together. Currently, we’re both interested in voiceover and would like to find a good teacher.
Betty Dravis: Voiceover is cutting-edge at present, I believe, Kat. It’s a coincidence, but Chase Von, my co-author on Dream Reachers, recently interviewed Joan Baker, a fascinating woman who is one of the most sought-after voiceover teachers in the industry; she’s also an author and has some awesome credits. Have you ever heard of her? She’s based in New York, but may have a branch in LA. Anyway, she’s on Facebook, too, so you might want to send her a message to ask her. At any rate, she could recommend someone in the LA area. But first check her astounding website on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joanthevoice. She has photographs with actor Will Smith and others you may know.
Now that brings us to more of your current projects, Kat. I hear that you have a lot of things in the works…from writing books to producing your own movies. It’s rumored that you’re helping develop a WWII movie too. I’d love to hear about those exciting endeavors. The versatility of actors blows my mind. It’s inspiring to me that you have such multi-tasking abilities and dare to venture into the writing and production end of the industry. I can see why Bill calls you the “Atomic Blonde.”
Katherin Kovin Pacino: (laughs) Well, I do keep busy, but that World War II movie is off the table at present. As far as my current and future workings, I’m attached to several IPs (Intellectual Properties), one written by American playwright David Mamet with William H. Macy, as an associate producer; also associate producer of a comedy Tall Order of Love by J. Porrazzo; and am acting in J. Porrazzo’s The Queen of Hollywood. Also, since I’m a spokesperson with Prince Ali of Afghanistan on his record Party All Night and am also a background recording artist on that record, you can see why Bill calls me “Atomic Blonde.”
I also have other future attachments that are hush-hush at this time, and I have plans to write several children’s books and a “How To” book about romance… the do’s and don’ts, you know. Katherin (laughs as she refers to herself in first person) is still showing the ladies–and men—the proper application of makeup, the skills to put together a wardrobe, and the correct use of color/Image. Since I was brought up in that background, those skills come natural to me. I enjoy “paying it forward,” as they say.
Betty Dravis: Yep, Katherin is showing us all how to be more glam, that’s for sure! Actually, I’m beginning to think I have a Wonder Woman on my hands. That’s an intimidating array of projects in the works, Kat. You also have a second Facebook page called Kat’s Meow that gives people tips on where to get the most bang for their buck; from quality clothing to inexpensive bling to fine dining, you point them in the right direction. I enjoy reading the comments on that page and the opportunity for your fans to share their tips too. That’s a fun, interactive site.
Since I love writing, I’m very interested in the books that you plan to write. Be sure to keep us informed when they’re released and when any of your movies premiere too. Writing must run in the family; I understand your brother has also written a few books recently. Since our readers are not only interested in the entertainment industry but also in books, I’m sure they would like to hear more about him. The buzz around LA is that he also owns a popular restaurant. The scoop, please, Kat…
Katherin Kovin Pacino: Of course, Betty… I love spreading my brother’s good news. His name is John Adam Kovin and he’s written two books: How to Play the Game of Life and Win and Taking God to Bed With You: The truth they don’t want you to know about God, sex and the way the world really is.
John also owns a restaurant, Chili Addiction, on Restaurant Row. It’s located at 408 N. La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills. His chili is to die for and he also serves a concoction I bet you haven’t heard of—french-fried sweet potatoes. (laughs) I tried them and they’re delicious. If you ever get down here, Bill and I will take you to dinner. You’d love my brother; he’s a real go-getter.
Betty Dravis: OMG, we all love chili! But french-fried sweet potatoes? I can honestly say, Kat, my friend in Maine told me about them, but I’ve never tried them. They do sound yummy, though, and I’ll take you up on that dinner offer when and if I get to Southern California again. That’s very kind of you and Bill. By the way, does Bill call your brother “Atomic John?” (laughs)
Kat, I appreciate your sharing so openly with us about your life. I enjoyed learning more about your brother and Bill’s family too. Bill shared that his daughter, Jessica Lashbrook, owns Marin Feed and Tack in the quaint, colorful township of Fairfax, near San Rafael where my son lives. When I tell Bob and his Patty how gracious you and Bill are to me, I just know they’ll be dropping by Jessica’s business to say hello.
It’s been a delight getting to know more about you, especially your new endeavors. I’m sure our readers will want to know even more about you, so in closing, is there anything you’d like to add? I think you’re seeking a new agent, so I hope any who read this will get in touch with you. You have so much to offer with everything you do. You’re an exceptional woman; not only are you a talented actress, you have the necessary business acumen. How can interested parties get in touch with you? I know you’re easy to find on Facebook, but do you have any websites or links you would like to share with us?
Katherin Kovin Pacino: I’m glad for this last chance to add a few things, Betty. Since we first talked, I do have a new agent. I’m excited about that; his name is David Brown and he’s one of the best in the business, in my opinion.
I also forgot to mention two projects that are dear to my heart: I have a part in a documentary Sudan Hope. Les LeMotte is executive director on that project. As you might know, he’s also an award-winning songwriter. I also have an acting role in The Tim Brooks Story, a movie about the first African-American cowboy. Musician Ben Rombouts and Rodney Allen Rippy, the child actor who is so famous for his Jack in the Box commercials are affiliated with this film. I look forward to working with them.
I don’t have a website yet, but I can be found on Facebook on the Internet, as you said, Betty. That link is:
And for my biography, photos and film credits as listed on the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDb), please visit this link: www.imdb.com/name/nm1178989
Link to my photo gallery:
And finally, The Kat’s “MEOW” Facebook page:
Betty Dravis: Thanks again, Kat, and best of luck with your novels, producing those movies and with your acting. Please keep in touch and let us know when any of your projects go live, when your next red carpet event takes place, etc. Inquiring minds want to know! (laughs) It’s been a pure delight working with you on this interview. You are, indeed as elegant, gracious and lovely as your fans told me.
Katherin Kovin Pacino: The pleasure is mine, Betty. Thanks for inviting me. It’s been fun and I look forward to meeting you in the near future. I’ll keep in touch, via email and Facebook, of course. Xo
ENDNOTE: I had the pleasure of having dinner with Kat and her husband Bill Lashbrook on April 10th in San Rafael. My son Robert, his girl-friend Patty Carrillo and her mother Roma Vargas joined us. We had a delightful time: chatting, eating laughing. I hope you don’t mind my adding a few photos of our party that evening. (My website: http://bettydravis.com )