About Al

Actor / Teacher / Comedian / Writer / Poet / Photographer

Some people wait so long for their ship to come in that their pier rots. That’s not me. On my death bed I want my life to flash before my eyes in six months of Technicolor reruns.

Humble Beginnings

No one that I know can say that they were born on train, but I can and I was. My father worked for the Canadian National Railroad traveling from place to place. At a small prairie town early on Christmas morning I decided that was the appropriate time to make my appearance and I came into this world in the caboose of the CNR. For several years we lived in a construction car and moved constantly around the province of Saskatchewan until WW II broke out when my father enlisted. The railway brat became a military brat but this meant that over the war years I attended nine different grade schools and five high schools. I guess moving has always been part of my life.

I was a bored student, good in history, English literature, geography and sports especially basketball, but poor in math. When they put letters in arithmetic they lost me. My aim was to be an entertainer, but being a class clown did not endear me to the teachers and I was always in some kind of trouble. Fast-forward through school plays and musicals, broadcasting, community theater and stand-up comedy I finally found my niche – performing.

Acting

I first caught the acting bug in grade school after performing in my first play. Years later, I received classical training from instructors that taught at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) of London and performed in several stage productions. Gigs as a radio DJ and announcer, and then a world-traveling standup comic led to parts in motion pictures, TV sitcoms, industrial and corporate videos, live convention presentations and TV commercials in a career that spans forty years.

After joining the Screen Actors Guild in 1973, I had the distinct pleasure of serving for nine years as Detroit branch president, a national board member in Hollywood for three terms and thirty years as a financial trustee traveling to the SAG Pension and Health Plans office in Burbank, California.

Writing

Writing short stories, poetry and fiction have always been my passion, and I have been fortunate to have written production scripts and TV commercials for the broadcast industry. I lectured about and taught script-writing throughout Florida for many years. Presently, I have self-published three books of poetry, a book of short stories, a full-length novel, and most recently, a children’s book. I am working on and plan to produce two more.

Comedy

The decision to chase a career as a stand-up comedian was a big one. It meant giving up my steady, paying job as a financial officer in a manufacturing company to follow my dream. Fortunately, it only took three years. During that time I was learning my craft that prepared me to open shows for Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, and The Supremes, among others. Singer Al Martino (Johnny Fontane of the Godfather movies) picked me up and I spent ten years on the road with him. It was the most incredible experience.

The monster chews Clark-Teabury Gum, gets off his lab table, and dances.

J L Hudson: The pants would not stay up, so they shot the picture like you see it. I got three proposals of marriage after it ran.

Toronto TV Commercial | Made up as a Scottish character for a window cleaner.

Photography

Being of a creative and somewhat curious mind, years ago I developed an interest in photography. Having started out helping several of my students in need of professional headshots, shooting pictures turned into an inspired love for all kinds of photography. Several years ago, I took a short course of study in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with National Geographic and American Photo magazine and was honored that one of my photos was chosen to appear in an issue of both magazines. In 2009 my first book of photographs “IMAGES” was printed and includes many of the places I’ve traveled – over half of the world.

NBC’s Miami Vice with Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas.

Beauty and the Beast. The monster brings a plant to his tiny girl friend. A TV commercial for Mother’s Day.

My comedy hero Jonathon Winters in his special “Salute to Baseball” on NBC. Three days of nothing but laughter.

Teaching

My first class at Truthful Acting. What a fantastically talented group of actors.

My teaching career began in Detroit in 1975 when I substituted for a friend. When I moved to Florida I enjoyed a nine-year career at Orlando’s Florida Metropolitan University where I taught Film Acting, Directing for Motion Pictures, Scriptwriting, Film and Broadcast History, and Business Management. In 1993, I followed that with a fifteen year career at The Lisa Maile School in Winter Park, Florida teaching TV and Commercial Acting, and Improvisation. For three years I taught Improvisation at Truthful Acting, also in Orlando. My many phenomenal students blessed me with loads of laughs and tons of cherished memories and the joy of my life is to find many of them working in our film industry today.

Finally

The entertainment industry is a tough one. That being said, it is also one of the most interesting, exciting, exhilarating, frustrating, up-and-down industries I have ever been a part of, no matter the genre. The tough times are when you discover whether you are cut out for your dreams, but isn’t life that way, too? No matter what the dream is or what industry you dream of pursuing, GO FOR IT! Life is short, time flies, and before you know it…