The Working Actor EDITOR'S INTRO
This is the eleventh in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor".
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts.....". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Edie McClurg
Click for full size, use "BACK" button to return.
Click for full image  Click for full image  Click for full image  Click for full image  Click for full image

Edie McClurg began her performing career at age five with the oxymoronic Kansas City Rhythm Kids. She retired when the dance teacher was arrested on a morals charge for "dating" the tall and lithesome, yet underage star dancer in the troup. That girl's big number culminated with a backbend where she drank a coca-cola backwards, of course.

Edie has a Master of Science from Syracuse and taught radio at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for eight years. there she re-entered the entertainment field as a D.J., newswoman, and producer for the National Public Radio affiliate KCUR-FM. Her proudest moment was portraying John Erlichmann in Conversation 26 on the NPR national broadcast of the NIXON TAPE TRANSCRIPTS. Thus did Edie contribute to the peaceful overthrow of the government of an unindicted co-conspirator.

Her career-long devotion to satirical improvisation began with the Pischel Players in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It closed on Saturday. Then she did a stint as one of the stand-up comediennes working for free at the Comedy Store. When she started, the other two women were Shirley "What's Happening" Hemphill and a protege' of Redd Foxx's who had woven bells into her braids.

Edie made a lasting mark on LA Improvisation with "The Groundlings". From there she went on to write and perform her original characters Mrs. Marv Mendenhall, Dot Duncan, Whirly June Pickens, Officer Jeanelle Archer, 105-year-old Edie, etc. on the Daytime David Letterman Show. Television has been a home to many of Edie's characters on "The Richard Pryor Show" on NBC, as Lucille Tarek on "WKRP in Cincinatti" and Mrs. Poole on "Valerie"", Valerie's Family", "The Hogan Family", and many other series with and without Valerie Harper

Her movie career growth paralleled her ten years with "The Groundlings". Her first film was the teen horror favorite "Carrie". She did several John Hughes films including "Ferris Bueller's Day Off","Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", "She's Having A Baby", and "Curly Sue". Offbeat cult favs are "Eating Raoul", "Elvira", HBO "Pee Wee Herman" Special, and Martin Mull's "History of White Man in America". She has also had success in more mainstream films. She received a National Media Award for her portrayal of a mentally disabled woman in "Bill: On His Own" starring Mickey Rooney. Plus she has acted for Director Robert Redford in "A River Runs Through It" and Oliver Stone in "Natural Born Killers". She was named Best Actress of the Chicago Alternative Film Festival for the role of Ted Kasczynski's Mother.

In the late 80's Edie studied with the Mother-Creator of all Improv Comedy, Viola Spolin and continues to improvise satiric comedy with the Second City Alumni at the Arcadia Restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier most Wednesday nights.

Edie studies acting with Milton Katselas and through this work she has written and performed a one woman show "Whirly June: A Midwestern Woman". She starred in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" at Tim Busfield's "B" Street Theater in Sacramento. She made her LA dramatic stage debut in the critically acclaimed "Never in My Lifetime" by Shirley Gee about the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Most recently on-camera Edie has appeared as an inept Irish maid on "Nash Bridges", a noisy parishioner Mrs. Beeker on "Seventh Heaven", and Lea Thompson's mother on "Caroline in the City". Currently she is voicing characters on Nickelodeon in the series "Kids on 402" and "Rocket Beach", on HBO's "Crashbox", and "Clifford, The Big Red Dog" for PBS.

Her most recent animated voices were in "The Little Mermaid", "The Rugrats Movie", and as Dr. Flora in "A Bug's Life". She also recently recorded a voice for Disney's "Atlantis" with Michael J. Fox.

Pakula / King and Associates
(310) 281-4868

Edie McClurg's advice to the aspiring actor:

"Perseverence. Adaptability. Flexibility. Affable; but not a pushover. Self-Doubt kills talent. These are not fortune cookie aphorisms. I had to give myself permission to act, then others agreed. Continue to study and learn new skills. Don't stink up the place with bad acting, if an opportunity comes your way. Now go about your business."

Edie McClurg's Credits (partial)
  • Getting A Life  —  Dir. Tracy Reiner
  • A Bugs Life  —  Dir. Andrew Stanton / John Lasseter
  • Hanging Up  —  Dir. Diane Keaton
  • Holy Man  —  Dir. Stephen Herek
  • Meeting Daddy  —  Dir. Peter Gould
  • Flubber  —  Dir. Les Mayfield
  • Ted   —  Dir. Gary Ellenberg
    (Best Actress - Chicago Alternate Film Festival)
  • Under The Hula Moon  —  Dir. Jeff Celentano
  • Natural Born Killers  —  Dir. Oliver Stone
  • Airborne  —  Dir. Rob Bowman
  • A River Runs Through It  —  Dir. Robert Redford
  • The Little Mermaid  —  Dir. Disney Animated
  • Elvira, The Movie  —  Dir. Jim Signorelli
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles  —  Dir. John Hughes
  • She's Having A Baby  —  Dir. John Hughes
  • Back To School  —  Dir. Allen Metter
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off  —  Dir. John Hughes
  • Mr. Mom  —  Dir. Stan Dragotti
  • The Corsican Brothers  —  Dir. Thommy Chong
  • Eating Raoul  —  Dir. Paul Bartel )
  • The Secret of Nimh  —  Dir. Don Bluth / Animated
  • Oh God, Book II  —  Dir. Gilbert Cates
  • Cheech & Chong's Next Movie  —  Dir. Tommy Chong
  • The Long Shot  —  Dir. Paul Bartel
  • Carrie  —  Dir. Brian DePalma
    Comedy Specials
  • History of White Man in America
  • White Politics in America
  • Double Suicide
  • Chevy Chase
  • Brothers Grimm
  • Lost Satellite Network
  • Paragon of Comedy
  • An Evening at the Improv
  • Alan King
  • Top Ten
    Television Movies
  • Murder She Purred  —  ABC
  • Columbo: Ashes to Ashes  —  ABC
  • Bill On His Own  —  CBS
    (Received The Association of Retarded Citizen's National Media Award)
  • Home Run For Love  —  NBC
  • Menu For Murder  —  CBS
  • Dance 'Til Dawn  —  NBC
    Episodic Television
  • Nash Bridges  —  CBS
  • Mad About You  —  Recurring / NBC
  • Maggie Winters  —  CBS
  • Caroline in the City  —  Recurring / NBC
  • Sabrina, The Teenage Witch  —  ABC
  • Nash Bridges  —  CBS
  • Touched By An Angel  —  CBS
  • Melrose Place  —  Recurring / FOX
  • The Hogan Family  —  Series Regular / NBC
  • WKRP in Cincinatti  —  Series Regular / CBS
  • The New WKRP  —  Series Regular / Syn
  • David Letterman  —  Series Regular / NBC
  • Madame's Place  —  Series Regular / NBC
  • Harper Valley PTA  —  Series Regular / ABC
  • No Soap Radio  —  Series Regular / NBC
  • Richard Pryor Show  —  Series Regular / NBC
  • Seventh Heaven  —  Recurring / WBN
  • Perversions of Science  —  HBO
  • Night Stand  —  Big Ticket TV
  • Bone Chillers  —  ABC
  • Picket Fences  —  CBS
  • LA Law  —  NBC
  • Empty Nest  —  NBC
  • Seinfeld  —  NBC
    Theater - Plays and companies
  • Never In My Lifetime  —  Hudson Theater
  • It' Not A Fair World  —  L.A. Theater Works
  • Frankie & Johnnie in the Clair de Lune  —  "B" Street Theater
  • Spolin Games Players  —  Upfront Cafe
  • Sills & Company  —  
  • Groundlings  —  Pischell Players

For more info and credits see IMDb

-- ---End

Miguel Sandoval [April 2000]
Miguel Sandoval
April 2000
Tom Bower [March 2000]
Tom Bower
March 2000
Amy Aquino [February 2000]
Amy Aquino
February 2000
Danny Chambers [January 2000]
Danny Chambers
January 2000
Eve Gordon [December 1999]
Eve Gordon
December 1999
Barbara Niven [November 1999]
Barbara Niven
November 1999
Bill Lucking [October 1999]
Bill Lucking
October 1999
Richard Roundtree [September 1999]
Richard Roundtree
September 1999
Pat Harrington [August 1999]
Pat Harrington
August 1999
Robert Donner [July 1999]
Robert Donner
July 1999

Top of page

Email this Page to your friends(s)

Back  Home