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Articles filed under Sotonoff/Gire

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  • Bruce Boxleitner's acting career started at Prospect High Jul 16, 2013 3:34 PM
    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.”

  • Grayslake man vying for 'American Ninja Warrior' title Jul 9, 2013 2:11 PM
    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 Hts. writer segues from small plays to big TV shows Jul 2, 2013 6:18 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 grad breaks into mansion for Sofia Coppola film Jun 18, 2013 2:52 PM
    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.

  • Arlington Hts. native makes it big with observational comedy Jun 4, 2013 5:21 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.

  • Suburban ‘inspired madman’ marches to beat of his own drum May 28, 2013 4:51 AM
    Nobody suspected that Cary native Paul Wertico would grow up to become an international musician who would tour with the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 to 2001, win a kazillion music awards and become an assistant professor of jazz at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Not bad for a guy who had to teach himself to play the drums and never earned a college degree.

  • Eve from 'Days' still a tough girl from suburbs May 21, 2013 5:01 AM
    On television, Winnetka native Charlotte Ross is often cast as an aggressive, and, shall we say, not-so-nice woman. She's no pushover in her latest role, either, as Olivia Vincent, the shrewd dance squad director on "Hit the Floor." The sexy new series debuts May 27 on VH1. "I gravitate to strong women roles," said Ross, 45. "I've played many variations of Eve Donovan.

  • Suburban man the standby star of 'Book of Mormon' May 14, 2013 5:26 AM
    Eight times a week, Rob Colletti goes down to the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago, warms up his vocals, sits in the dressing room while the hit musical "The Book of Mormon" is performed, and then goes home. Colletti, a Wheaton native, is the standby for the lead role of the nerdy but lovable Elder Cunningham. And, "it's been incredible," he said.

  • New 'Star Trek' movie beams up Fremd grad May 7, 2013 6:24 AM
    In college, Palatine native Jon Lee Brody thought his life was laid out with his girlfriend. "My plan was to marry this girl, go to law school, become a corporate lawyer and raise a family. That was the plan," he said. But when she abruptly ended the relationship, Brody moved to LA to become an actor. He plays a security guard in the upcoming "Star Trek Into Darkness."

  • Gilberts filmmaker finds the Force of ‘Star Wars’ in families Apr 23, 2013 5:20 AM
    Gilberts resident Cris Macht and his sister went with their dad to see the original "Star Wars." When "Return of the Jedi" hit the screens six years later, their father was dead. Macht has now created a film "The Force Within Us" all about how the "Stars Wars" films have bonded parents and their children. "I wanted to show the father/son thing in "Star Wars' because it's something that I was longing for myself."

  • HGTV designer’s style rooted in the suburbs Apr 9, 2013 5:30 AM
    HGTV Design Star winner Meg Caswell found all sorts of inspiration while shopping at Scentimental Gardens in Geneva last week. The 35-year-old Kenilworth native and Chicago design firm owner is always on the lookout for items she can feature on her HGTV show, “Meg’s Great Rooms.” “My business before was my heart and soul, but it was a lot of hard work. I sometimes had 20 clients at once. Now, I have the privilege to select just a few clients,” she said.

  • Wheaton native looks back on playing 'Pippi' Apr 2, 2013 4:59 AM
    Wheaton native Tami Erin won the title role in the 1988 musical "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking," beating out more than 8,000 girls to play the heroine from Astrid Lindgren's popular books about an orphan's fantastic adventures. "It was really phenomenal!" Tami said. "It was like getting on a rocket ship and shooting into the sky! And I haven't gotten off the rocket ship, yet!"

  • Lombard filmmaker turned to skateboarding world Mar 29, 2013 9:41 AM
    During jury duty, filmmaker Brett Novak had an epiphany. The Lombard native was enjoying a thriving career as a visual special effects director and producer. He worked on huge projects like "Acts of Valor" and "Water for Elephants," plus music videos for Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and other A-listers. But he gave it all up for the skateboarding world. "I got to see the sunlight in California for the first time," Novak said.

  • Mitzi Gaynor: Superstar, one-time Elgin girl Mar 19, 2013 4:04 PM
    "Oh, honey," Mitzi Gaynor told us, "it's hard to be Mitzi Gaynor. I drive myself crazy worrying and hoping all the time, and I never want to disappoint anyone." Count us definitely not disappointed. Especially when we found out that the legendary dancer/singer/actress, star of screen and stage, lived in Elgin as a little girl.

  • Hoffman Estates native hits right notes in Hollywood Mar 14, 2013 12:20 PM
    Emerson Swinford, who once played guitar and trombone in the band and musical pit at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, has made a happy transition to successful musican and TV theme composer in Los Angeles. He teamed up with fellow Conant graduate Todd Milliner on TV Land's "Hot in Cleveland," composing the catchy theme that earned him honors from the ASCAP Movie and TV Music Awards.

  • Argonne scientist moonlights as 'Breaking Bad' actor Feb 26, 2013 11:00 AM
    He's spent years contributing to important, high-level science projects — helping make nuclear power safer and improving the durability of energy products. Yet, what's made Argonne National Laboratory scientist Marius Stan famous is his side job — a small, recurring role as Romanian car wash owner Bogdan Wolynetz on "AMC's “Breaking Bad” — and his eyebrows.

  • WWE announcer started as admiring Buffalo Grove fan Feb 19, 2013 5:43 AM
    During the last WrestleMania, WWE announcer Justin Roberts looked out at the arena of 80,000 cheering fans, and then over at world champion wrestler CM Punk. Roberts, who grew up in Buffalo Grove, and Punk were both starting out at small wrestling events around the suburbs when Roberts was 17. Now, here they were. "We didn't say anything, but we looked at each other and thought, wow, we've come a long way from Chicago," Roberts said.

  • Downers Grove songwriter nominated for two Grammy Awards Feb 5, 2013 12:50 PM
    More than 25,000 people have sent emails and letters to Matthew West, sharing their life stories with him. The singer/songwriter from Downers Grove has sifted through nearly all of them. The stories that moved him he turned into songs. West's latest album, "Into the Light," is a nominee for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album at the Grammy Awards. "It's about more than just music at this point. And it should be that way, anyway," he said.

  • Prospect grad creates 'Zero Dark Thirty' sound effects Jan 29, 2013 5:28 AM
    Prospect High graduate Alex Ullrich works as a Foley artist in Hollywood. He's the guy who supplies the sounds you hear in movies, cartoons and TV shows. Every sound he adds is in postproduction. "You start with a scene that's completely blank, sound-wise. By the time we're done with it, it's completely alive!" he said.

  • Sean Hayes, suburban pal team up for TV success Jan 22, 2013 11:56 AM
    Glenbard West High School (Glen Ellyn) graduate Sean Hayes joined Conant High School (Hoffman Estates) graduate Todd Milliner in 2004 to create the L.A. company Hazy Mills Productions that now boasts three TV shows. “I take working in Hollywood on television as a blessing,” Milliner said.

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