If you see the May 16 release of the new "Godzilla" movie, keep your eyes peeled for an attractive casino tourist screaming into the camera.
She's Barrington native Dona Wood, an actress now living in Los Angeles.
"I fell into this job," Wood told us. "So I get cast as a member of this casino group. The camera comes on me and I'm supposed to scream, which I did. I screamed right into the camera. I just hope it doesn't get cut!"
Barringtonites might better remember Wood before she changed her name from Dona Suggs, daughter of the late Robert Suggs and Rose Suggs.
Wood moved to Arizona at the age of 13. But she lived in the suburbs long enough for a teacher in Barrington's School District 220 to introduce her to the performing arts and a future career.
"I was really shy when I was younger, and very athletic," Wood said. "I became a speed skater. I loved the sound of the crowd when they'd roar."
Then, in sixth grade, the acting bug bit her.
"I was shy, and I didn't want to audition for anything, but my teacher made me play a Chinese butterfly. I said I didn't know how to do that. She said, 'Just create the best butterfly in the world.'
"So, I just imagined a beautiful butterfly and I floated back and forth across the stage and the kids were just amazed, because most of them were just walking around and saying lines. That experience stayed with me."
Wood credited her upbringing in rural Barrington for her work ethic and sense of dedication.
"When you grow up in the country, you're riding bikes and playing outdoor games such as hopscotch, red rover, or you're catching fireflies," she said. "It wasn't like today where you're sitting down in front of a bunch of technology. I was gathering berries, raising gerbils, collecting tadpoles at the swamp. I grew up with brothers. I became fearless."
Wood's father died in a scuba diving accident at 42. She was only 5. Today, she recognizes how being raised by "a strong mother" gave her the discipline and skills to survive as an L.A. actress.
"Every year I've worked," she said. "I've been very, very fortunate. I've been blessed to have the right people around me. I avoided the parties and the clubs and did things the right way."
Wood graduated from Arizona State University with a psych degree and a theater minor. She also studied at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford in London before heading out to seek her fortune in L.A.
She has appeared in commercials, TV series (such as "Criminal Minds"), film shorts and a few features, the 2007 thriller "Sportkill" being the most physically grueling.
"For that action movie, I had to crawl through a small wooden enclosure, so I got lots of bruises and splinters," she said. "Not a lot of lines, but a lot of action."
Besides "Godzilla," Wood will also be seen as a wedding guest in the upcoming comedy "Think Like a Man, Too."
"I didn't find this career, it found me," she said. "Whatever energy I have has enabled me to keep going with it."
-- Dann Gire
• Dann Gire and Jamie Sotonoff are looking for suburbanites now working in showbiz. If you know of someone, email your suggestions to them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.