2014 election guide

Articles filed under Sotonoff/Gire

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  • Leap of faith led Elgin native to 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' Oct 21, 2014 11:32 AM
    Elgin native Bianca Alarcon might not have landed a job on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” if she hadn't taken what she describes as “a leap of faith.” The Larkin High School alumna had a good job on “Windy City Live” but decided to leave for Los Angeles. Now she works on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as an executive assistant to the executive producer. “Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and go after what you want,” she said.

     
  • Elgin’s Emmy Award-winning ‘Shark Tank’ producer Oct 13, 2014 2:24 PM
    Before entrepreneurs pitch their products on ABC's "Shark Tank," they work with producer Heather Dreiling. Dreiling, 33, who grew up in Elgin, is an Emmy Award-winning producer on the show and just started her fourth season doing what she calls the best and most fun job she’s ever had. “I’ve done cop shows, dance shows, home makeover shows,” said Dreiling, who now lives in Los Angeles. “(This) job is cool because it changes all the time. But it’s the most rewarding to see these companies doing well.”

     
  • Larkin grad at 'hub' of 'Gone Girl,' other films Oct 7, 2014 6:09 AM
    Larkin High School graduate Meredith Humbracht has worked as production coordinator on many movies and TV shows during the past 20 years. She has survived earthquakes, set closings and a terrible car accident in Elgin near the Fox River, but neither man nor nature has stopped her from helping create movies such as “Gone Girl,” “Superman Returns,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and TV shows such as “Lost” and “House of Cards.”

     
  • Former Naperville resident amazed to be a ‘Spider-Man’ on Broadway Sep 23, 2014 9:52 AM
    Naperville native Craig Henningsen turned his passion for martial arts into a career performing in TV shows, movies and even the Broadway musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." He admits that musical was the toughest challenge of his showbiz career. “I’m still pinching myself because they could have hired much better performers than me at the time,” Henningsen said.

     
  • New trainer on 'Biggest Loser' grew up in Lisle Sep 9, 2014 8:51 AM
    Usually it's the contestants who cry on “The Biggest Loser,” but trainer Jennifer Widerstrom, who grew up in Lisle and attended Naperville North, was tearing up, too, during the first few days of filming. “There's so much emotion that surrounds them,” Widerstrom said of this season's contestants, who include Addison's Toma Dobrosavljevic. “There are going to be incredible results this season. That I can promise.”

     
  • 'Pretty Little Liars' stylist started her career in Lake County Sep 2, 2014 5:30 AM
    Gurnee native Kim Ferry has styled the hair of some of Hollywood's biggest stars, on some of the most popular TV programs. She's now the head of the hair department on ABC Family's “Pretty Little Liars.” Off the set, the Warren Township High School alumna and mother of two runs her own business, is active in the union, and volunteers for the St. Baldricks cancer charity in memory of her mother.

     
  • Zombie, minister, nerd: Actor from Arlington Hts. does it all Aug 25, 2014 4:03 PM
    Pat Healy, who grew up in Lake Zurich and Arlington Heights, built a career as a Hollywood actor with roles on TV shows like “NYPD Blue” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” plus movies such as “Cheap Thrills,” “Rescue Dawn” and “Magnolia.” “Versatility is important, but the most important thing in my career has been tenacity," he said. "You hang in, and things not only get better, but they’re better than they were before.”

     
  • Horrors! Des Plaines native goes for filmmaking revenge Aug 19, 2014 3:19 PM
    Michael Ojeda found the perfect secluded motel he’d been looking for. He asked the clerk if he could stay in the corner room. “Oh, I should tell you that the room you want,” the clerk said, “someone was murdered in it last year.” “Perfect,” Ojeda said. “I’ll take it!” That’s how this Des Plaines native wrote the horror film “Savaged,” which is premiering at Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival this week in Rosemont.

     
  • Former St. Charles resident shell-shocked by 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' role Aug 13, 2014 5:26 AM
    Pete Ploszek was born in Hinsdale and graduated from St. Charles East High School before he took his first acting class during his sophomore year at Princeton University. “It was a real sort of synergistic Aha! moment when I started acting,” Ploszek said. “This was it!” Ploszek stars as Leonardo in the movie “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” an experience he said was physically challenging.

     
  • Once a movie extra, Wheaton grad now a movie director Jul 28, 2014 5:42 PM
    When she's not working as a production assistant on NBC's "Parks and Recreation," Karen Teune writes, directs and stars her own independent films. “I definitely call myself a filmmaker now,” said Teune, who grew up in Carol Stream and, later, Wheaton. “Being a production assistant is to help pay the bills, and it’s invaluable in terms of learning. A huge part of the business is meeting people . it’s definitely not glamorous stuff (to be a production assistant), but it’s huge to be a part of this ‘Parks and Recreation’ family.

     
  • Arlington Heights author digs up ‘Wizard of Oz’ history Jul 21, 2014 7:02 PM
    Longtime Arlington Heights resident David J. Hogan has written “The Wizard of Oz FAQ,” a highly detailed and exhaustively researched look at the classic, 75-year-old movie that has spawned inferior movie sequels and prequels, zillions of “Oz” conventions and a watershed industry of memorabilia. “There is a reason why, 75 years later, people still respond to it,” Hogan said.

     
  • Schaumburg native swaps Broadway dream for behind-the-scenes career Jul 14, 2014 5:13 PM
    Schaumburg native Natalie Bounassar, 23, starts her job as a production secretary on Lee Daniels’ new 2015 Fox network drama series “Empire.” She has been an associate talent booker at ABC 7’s “Windy City Live,” a post-production assistant at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, and writes a blog called “Entry Level Escapades,” an advice column for young people just entering the work force.

     
  • Elburn native dances to fame with Austin Mahone, Justin Bieber Jul 8, 2014 3:06 PM
    Aubree Storm, who grew up in Elburn, has criss-crossed the globe these past few years working as a choreographer and hip-hop dancer for some of the world's biggest teen pop stars, including Justin Bieber. She's now a contributing choreographer for singer Austin Mahone. “Every TV performance you see (of Mahone), I stage.”

     
  • Libertyville editor helped cut ‘Fault in Our Stars’ Jun 23, 2014 2:17 PM
    They filmed a scene in the movie, “The Fault in Our Stars,” where Hazel (Shailene Woodley) makes herself a cup of tea while talking to her mom. The tea-making part of the scene got cut in the editing process, creating a challenge for Libertyville native Greg Borkman. Borkman, 26, performed all sorts of film editing tricks while helping to edit the blockbuster movie, and the experience is opening doors for him to do other visual and creative work in Hollywood. “I don’t think it’s even set in yet. It’s very surreal,” said Borkman.

     
  • Oscar nominee from Oswego sees ‘beautiful people’ in prisons Jun 16, 2014 5:16 PM
    Filmmaker Edgar Barens is going back to jail. In fact, the Oswego native is going to 50 prisons this fall, showing inmates and wardens his Academy Award-nominated documentary, “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall.” Barens’ goal is to get the jails to start inmate-run, privately funded hospice programs. “If I can get it out there ... I think it’s going to be a game changer,” said Barens.

     
  • Woodstock-born makeup artist creates memorable TV, movie looks Jun 9, 2014 6:54 PM
    “I’m Hollywood’s best kept secret,” Mike Smithson admitted. He could be right. The Woodstock-born makeup artist’s impressive resume reads like a pop culture album of greatest hits: Tim Burton’s movies (including “Alice in Wonderland,” “Big Fish” and “Planet of the Apes”), TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Spider-Man” films and “Men in Black II.” Those are just some of his credits.

     
  • Elgin native sounds off on Hollywood success Jun 2, 2014 2:15 PM
    He’s worked on 90 episodes of the TV series “Star Trek Enterprise,” four seasons of “Star Trek Voyager” and one season of “Star Trek Deep Space Nine.” And yet, you’ve never heard of Dean St. John. But he hears everything. He has to. That’s his job. The Elgin native and Larkin High School graduate works as a sound technician and ADR expert for Hollywood movies and TV shows.

     
  • Downers Grove barber becomes BET comic May 12, 2014 5:12 PM
    Comedian T. Murph, of Downers Grove, landed a highly coveted spot on BET's renowned, stand-up comedy show "Comic View," which he's watched since he was a kid growing up in Kankakee. “I literally broke down crying, I was so excited,” T. Murph said. “It’s pretty surreal.” The 29-year-old, whose real name is Guerterrius Jackson, was chosen from a pool of hundreds of comics, including 57 in Chicago alone. “Comic View” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on BET.

     
  • Glencoe native Fred Savage’s wonder years behind, off camera May 5, 2014 7:21 PM
    You probably remember Fred Savage as Peter Falk’s super cute grandson in the popular 1987 movie “The Princess Bride” or as super cute Kevin Arnold in TV’s popular “The Wonder Years.” Everyone else does. “I’ve been fortunate to be associated with works that have come to mean something to people,” he said. “When people come up to me, they are always positive and encouraging and thoughtful.”

     
  • Glenview native Sam Witwer moving on from vampire role Apr 28, 2014 2:23 PM
    After four seasons of playing a vampire on Syfy's "Being Human, Sam Witwer, a 36-year-old Glenview native, is now eyeing other TV acting roles and possibly movie producing. But he looks back fondly on the popular sci-fi show, especially the last season. “We did go with a happy ending, which I think was deserved after torturing those characters for years,” Witwer said. “It went out the best way it possibly could.”

     
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