Fittest loser

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  • James Kahn said that being a practicing physician has given him a level of empathy that has helped in his storytelling, no matter what the medium.

    Des Plaines native’s writing just what doctor ordered Oct 29, 2013 12:00 AM
    Des Plaines native James Kahn wanted to be a writer, but figured the financial prospects weren’t good. So he followed in his dad’s footsteps by becoming a doctor. That didn’t stop him from writing novels, short stories, television screenplays and novelizations based on the screenplays to “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Poltergeist II,” “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

  • “Veep” stars Matt Walsh, left, Timothy C. Simons, Anna Chlumsky and Reid Scott perform a scene from season two.

    Emmy-nominated Chlumsky among suburban actors on 'Veep'Oct 22, 2013 12:00 AM
    Emmy-nominated actress Anna Chlumsky, of Broadview, is one of several actors on HBO's comedy series, "Veep" with ties to the Chicago area. "We've definitely got some kind of Second City vibe goin' on," she said.

  • Lemont native Diablo Cody already possesses a screenwriting Oscar for her script to "Juno." Now she's a director about to launch her comic drama "Paradise."

    Suburban outsider Diablo Cody sticks to the theme in her new film, 'Paradise' Oct 14, 2013 12:00 AM
    Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Juno,” was born at Hinsdale's hospital, grew up in Lemont and graduated from the Roman Catholic Benet Academy in Lisle. All that time, she felt like a weirdo in the suburbs. She's fine being one as a movie director now. “The nice thing about being weird is that you have nothing to lose. You can just do your thing, be creative,” Cody said.

  • Winnetka native Jason Chaet consults on the set of his first feature film "Putzel," a $200,000 production that attracted stars Melanie Lynskey and John Pankow.

    Winnetka native making his directorial debutOct 8, 2013 12:00 AM
    After 20 years working in the New York theater scene — along with David Mamet and Arthur Miller — Winnekta native Jason Chaet has branched out into the movies. His directorial debut, the bittersweet story of “Putzel,” will have its local premiere at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Wilmette Theatre in Wilmette. An encore showing will be presented at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13.

  • Colleen Kelly, of Mount Prospect, left, host of the PBS series, “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly,” poses with her co-executive producer, Tricia Fusilero, also of Mount Prospect, while on location in Ireland.

    Mount Prospect moms debut national family travel TV showSep 30, 2013 12:00 AM
    Colleen Kelly and Tricia Fusilero, of Mt. Prospect, catapulted their family travel show from a local series to a national one. Starting this weekend, "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" will air on PBS stations nationwide. It'll air locally on WTTW, at 10 a.m. Saturday.

  • Former Mount Prospect resident Sam Logan Khaleghi plays Staff Sgt. Wesley Kent in the war-themed “Approaching Midnight,” premiering at the Wilmette Theatre Friday night.

    Former suburbanite returns home for film premiereSep 24, 2013 12:00 AM
    Former Mount Prospect resident Sam Logan Khaleghi comes from a family of high achievers, namely doctors and engineers. “I could be a doctor,” he said, “but only for a day. It would be acting.” Khaleghi broke from family tradition to become a filmmaker whose new movie “Approaching Darkness” will premiere Friday at the Wilmette Theatre. He wrote it, directed it, produced it and stars in it.

  • Margaret Judson of Arlington Heights appears in a scene from HBO’s “The Newsroom.” She plays the role of producer Tess Westin.

    Arlington Heights journalist finds place in Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Newsroom’ Sep 16, 2013 12:00 AM
    It was a longshot, but Margaret Judson got the job as an NBC page in New York. And it was a longshot that, while there, she met Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. The chance meeting changed her life. Sorkin eventually gave Judson, of Arlington Heights, a role on the hit HBO series, "The Newsroom." A Q&A with Judson.

  • Model, actress and animal rights advocate Katie Cleary, a native of Glenview, produced the new documentary film, “Give Me Shelter,” that will be released next month.

    Model from suburbs now flaunting animal advocacy Sep 9, 2013 12:00 AM
    Katie Cleary's a successful model and actress -- including four years as the beauty who held case number 11 on “Deal or No Deal” -- but the Glenview native always had other plans. Founder of the nonprofit animal welfare group Peace 4 Animals, Cleary just finished producing a celebrity-filled documentary, “Give Me Shelter.” “(Modeling and acting) was fun when I was young ... . But I always thought, 'What am I going to do with animals, my passion?'” said Cleary.

  • Arlington Heights native and John Hersey High School grad Colin Ebeling is now a movie producer and screenwriter. His first feature, “Bounty Killer,” opens next weekend.

    Arlington Heights native: Movie producing ‘beats working for a living’ Sep 3, 2013 12:00 AM
    Arlington Heights native Colin Ebeling’s interest in showbiz began at John Hersey High School where two drama teachers — Ed Moon and Kyle Marquette — inspired and directed him into theater arts. Now the UCLA graduate is the producer and cowriter of a new futuristic, post-apocalyptic exploitation action movie, “Bounty Killer,” opening next weekend. “It beats working for a living,” he said.

  • Movie producer Patty West, a Winnetka native, is making a movie about John Wayne Gacy based on the book, “Defending a Monster.”

    Suburban native to produce new John Wayne Gacy movieAug 27, 2013 12:00 AM
    They haven’t yet cast the roles of serial killer John Wayne Gacy and his attorney, Sam Amirante, in the feature film being made about the two. Names like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joe Pesci have been tossed around. The only thing definite right now is that a script is being written for the movie, and that the movie will be produced by Winnetka native Patty West. “There are so many people who could be amazing (in those roles),” West said.

  • Lake Zurich native Rebecca Norris celebrates a win at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase for “On Becoming a Man.”

    Lake Zurich native takes shorts films to Cannes and beyond Aug 19, 2013 12:00 AM
    Lake Zurich native Rebecca Norris admitted that her parents weren't too happy about her moving to Hollywood. “Now they're my biggest fans,” she said. Her comedy “On Becoming a Man” will be shown Thursday, Aug. 22, at the HollyShorts Film Festival in the legendary Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The movie was also shown at this year's Cannes Film Festival in France.

  • Libertyville native Chris Ward — better known as MC Chris — has made a name for himself in the “nerdcore” music genre.

    Libertyville artist, rapper becomes voice of 'nerdcore' Aug 13, 2013 12:00 AM
    He wasn't a nerd when he was a student at Libertyville High School, but “nerdcore” music is what made Chris Ward famous. Nerdcore is an adult-oriented, subgenre of hip hop performed by Ward, known as “MC Chris,” who raps both serious and funny lyrics with his trademark cartoonish voice. "Nerdcore is hip hop that's sprung up post 9/11, with a lot of seeds that were probably planted before that," he said.

  • Westchester native Kathryn Hahn plays Rachel, a woman who "rescues" a stripper in the upcoming movie "Afternoon Delight."

    Westchester native talks about acting before teaming with Jennifer Aniston Aug 6, 2013 12:00 AM
    Westchester-born actress Kathryn Hahn says she's always had a knack for comedy. “At school, I was asked to play those comic roles, grandmothers and whatever. I was sort of the class clown,” she admitted. “But I've been lucky I've been able to swing back and forth between both worlds.” She stars in the new movie “We're the Millers” opening this week.

  • Special effects artist J. Anthony Kosar, winner of this year’s “Face Off” competition on the Syfy network, relaxes in his Westmont studio.

    Lisle man’s monster mash is a real smash Jul 30, 2013 12:00 AM
    The art in J. Anthony Kosar’s studio is the kind of stuff you see in nightmares. Despite his dark artistic vision, Kosar, 27, of Lisle – winner of this year’s "Face Off" competition on the SyFy network – is just a regular guy: nice, good humored and charitable, especially toward art students. “I’m having fun and making monsters,” he said.

  • Hoffman Estates native and Fremd High grad Andy McDermott had been a professional soccer player and Phoenix cop before he moved to L.A. to become an actor.

    Hoffman Estates native goes from cop to action star Jul 23, 2013 12:00 AM
    Hoffman Estates native and Fremd High School gradute Andy McDermott had always dreamed of being an actor, but never really had the nerve to follow his dream. That changed nine months ago when he and his wife, Julie, sold their house, gave up their careers and went off to L.A. with four little kids. “Everybody in my family thinks we're crazy! Nuts!” he said.

  • Bruce Boxleitner was born in Elgin and lived in Crystal Lake before moving to Mount Prospect and graduating from Prospect High School. He stars in a new Hallmark Channel series, “Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove.”

    Bruce Boxleitner's acting career started at Prospect High Jul 16, 2013 12:00 AM
    Bruce Boxleitner, who grew up in Elgin, Crystal Lake and Mount Prospect, has racked up an impressive list of movies and TV shows, including a new Hallmark Channel series “Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove.” Not bad for a kid who used to work at the old Prospect Theater in Mount Prospect. "My dream was to possibly get into television or make movies. I didn't know how to do it. But I did.”

  • Andrew Lowes, of Grayslake, swings through the finals course in Season 4 of “American Ninja Warrior.” Lowes, 30, is now a contestant in Season 5.

    Grayslake man vying for 'American Ninja Warrior' title Jul 9, 2013 12:00 AM
    Andrew Lowes had lost his home and his girlfriend. So the suburban gymnastics coach decided to make an audition video and submit it to “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC's extreme obstacle course competition show. "It's been a life-changer for me," Lowes said. His tryout for Season 5 aired Monday night on NBC -- and he finished 11th out of 112 athletes. That means he's still in the running for a chance to win the “American Ninja Warrior” title.

  • Arlington Heights native Keith Huff went from writing plays for small Chicago theater productions to hit TV shows.

    Arlington Hts. writer segues from small plays to big TV showsJul 2, 2013 12:00 AM
    Sitting alone in the basement of his home, a space he calls “The Bunker,” Keith Huff writes some of his most successful stories. It's where the Arlington Heights native wrote his latest play, “Big Lake Big City,” directed by “Friends” star David Schwimmer and now in its world premiere at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre. And it's where he's worked on Hollywood scripts for “Mad Men” (which earned him a Writers Guild Award), “House of Cards,” and projects for Steven Spielberg, Jason Lee and Brad Pitt.

  • New Trier High School graduate Katie Chang, right, joins co-stars Israel Broussard and Claire Vivien in director Sofia Coppola's “The Bling Ring.”

    New Trier grad breaks into mansion for Sofia Coppola film Jun 18, 2013 12:00 AM
    To prepare for her role as the larcenous leader of “The Bling Ring,” Winnetka's Katie Chang received an unusual assignment from her director, Sofia Coppola. Chang would lead her co-stars on an actual break-in of a Hollywood mansion to steal a specific set of items. “A week before the shooting began, Sofia had us break into the house of someone she knew,” the New Trier grad said.

  • Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, a native of Arlington Heights, returns home for a week's worth of shows at Zanies Comedy Club in Rosemont.

    Arlington Hts. native makes it big with observational comedy Jun 4, 2013 12:00 AM
    Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, a native of Arligton Heights, finds humor in everyday things, like going to the grocery store or talking with his old-school Italian parents. His funny take on things has made him one of the hottest comedians in the country right now. “It didn't happen at a fast rate. I didn't see an immediate change in my life. It's been marathon-like rather than a sprint,” he said.

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