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  • Schaumburg native Michael Carlson is using his successful TV commercial career as a springboard to acting and writing movies and TV shows.

    Schaumburg High grad glides into commercial successJan 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    “Weird” and “cool” more or less sum up Schaumburg native Michael Carlson's brief acting career so far. He's clocked 12 television commercials and several more on the Internet, and he's already making a sustainable living at something he loves doing. And it all began five days after moving to California where a couple of his friends from Illinois State University had already paved the way.

  • Bill Wohlken grew up in Hoffman Estates and is a vice president of post production at Focus Features in Los Angeles.

    Hoffman Estates native now a Hollywood VP Jan 14, 2014 12:00 AM
    Bill Wohlken didn’t spend much his time at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Hoffman Estates dreaming of becoming a Hollywood post-production supervisor as he actually did. He began as a production assistant on “Hollywood Squares.” Double Stuf Oreos for Rosanne Barr, a bra for Salt-N-Pepa, Jack Daniels for Bill Mahr. "It was outrageous! Super fun!”

  • Actress/model Francine Locke was born in Park Ridge, but also lived in Barrington, Niles, Arlington Heights and Highland Park.

    No more risky business for suburban star of 'Stand Your Ground'Jan 7, 2014 12:00 AM
    Park Ridge native Francine Locke stars in a fact-based movie, “Stand Your Ground,” opening Jan. 17. It's a far cry from her debut as the “Shower Girl” in the 1983 Chicago-set “Risky Business,” a film she omitted from her resume and never told anyone about for years. “I was naive,” she said. “They told me that only my face would be seen. When I finally saw the movie, I couldn't believe it.”

  • Celebrity hairstylist Sallie Ciganovich, who goes by the name Sallie Nicole, grew up in Naperville and attended Pivot Point International beauty school.

    Naperville native now hair stylist to the stars Dec 16, 2013 12:00 AM
    TV and movie hair stylist Sallie Ciganovich, a Naperville native, has had many famous people in her chair over the years, including Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, Dennis Quaid and Garcelle Beauvais. hat makes her privy to lots of celebrity gossip. "I hear everything,” she jokes, refusing to dish dirt on anyone because "I'd like to keep working." Her discretion, along with her artistic hair design, focus and speed, have led her to a successful Hollywood career. She's worked on sets of "X-Factor," "So You Think You Can Dance," "Glee," "22 Jump Street" and many others.

  • Actor Keith Szarabajka, formerly of Arlington Heights, has starred in dozens of well-known movies and TV shows, including “The Dark Knight, “Argo” and “Cold Case.”

    From wild child at Hersey to Hollywood actor Dec 9, 2013 12:00 AM
    After being the recipient of a few too many “paddles” at his private Jesuit high school in Wisconsin, Keith Szarabajka's parents enrolled him at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, where he fell in with a wild, fast crowd. But he never cut drama class. Szarabajka became the school's star actor. Pursuing acting as a career not only led to a straightened out life, but led him to Hollywood.

  • Broadway and TV actor Eric Petersen admitted that he used comedy as a defensive mechanism while growing up in Carol Stream.

    Comical Carol Stream kid hits Broadway, and now TV Land Dec 3, 2013 12:00 AM
    When Carol Stream freshman Eric Petersen won a role in the Glenbard North High School play “The Hobbit,” he thought, “Wow! Maybe this is something I would really like to do for the rest of my life.” Since then, Petersen has acted in the Broadway productions of “Shrek” plus “Peter & the Starcatcher.” This week, he debuts as Kirstie Alley's son Arlo in TV Land's original sitcom, “Kirstie.”

  • Opera singer Kate Mangiameli, of Hawthorn Woods, sings with The Metropolitan Opera chorus in New York City.

    Once an opera soloist, Hawthorn Woods singer happy in chorus at the Met Nov 27, 2013 12:00 AM
    Opera soprano Kate Mangiameli was willing to trade the soloist spotlight for a more stable life. The 35-year-old Hawthorn Woods native and Lake Zurich High School alumna sings with The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, holding one of the coveted full-time chorus positions. “I get to sing every day at the greatest opera house in the country, and arguably, the world. And the greatest joy is that, every night, I get to sleep in my own bed,” she said.

  • Naperville native Bob Odenkirk played Saul Goodman in “Breaking Bad.” Now a spinoff series “Better Call Saul” is on the way.

    ‘Breaking Bad’ star called Naperville ‘Nowheresville’ Nov 12, 2013 12:00 AM
    Bob Odenkirk said that when he was a teen, Naperville "felt like a dead end, like Nowheresville. I couldn’t wait to move into a city and be around people who were doing exciting things.” He went on to find plenty of excitment as a co-star of the hit TV series “Breaking Bad.” We contacted Odenkirk to talk about his childhood, his upcoming "Breaking Bad" spinoff, and his role in "Nebraska," a film out Nov. 22.

  • History skits fed Odenkirk’s acting bug at Naperville school Nov 12, 2013 12:00 AM
    Mentors? Comedian/actor/writer Bob Odenkirk from LaGrange and Naperville has had a few, most notably Second City fixture Del Close. But reaching, way, way back, Odenkirk credited a social studies teacher at Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville with providing the pivotal moment that changed his life.

  • 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.

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