I am an artist that has spent the majority of my life trying to avoid doing what I was born to do. I have finally accepted that I must share my gift or it will kill me.
Victor has been a professional actor, of sorts, since 1972, when Nichelle Nicoles, (the original Lt. Uhuru on Star Trek) assembled seven teenage actors for an industrial play. The play Whats in it for me, was a NASA financed production aimed at getting young people involved in the booming space program. Who knew the title would come to define a whole generation who would spend more time looking at what they could get out of the world then at what they could give back to it.
This experience ignited something in the young actor. Social responsibility and creativity were models for a life he decided to pursue. He considered politics, but like many young people who had their idealism smashed by Watergate and the Viet Nam war, he looked for another outlet to change the world. He dropped out of college after one semester as a p olitical science major and floundered until a friend suggested he audition for the Los Angeles City College Theater Academy, (whose alumni include the great, Paul Winfield – Sounder and King). With nothing to lose he auditioned with a 3 minute monologue from a Anton Chekhov piece and complete with platform shoes and his leisure suit went after his dream. He was accepted on the condition he enter a speech program with a speech therapist. He was told that besides having what they called backward placement, a condition which made his speech hard to understand, he also sounded like a middle class” African American” and that one day he might be called upon to play a Russian peasant, which years later in Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths… and he did!
At some point on his journey, he got a summer job working in the Los Angeles Unified School District. His job was to visit playgrounds, school yards and play theater games with the children. This was a typical summer job and probably would not be worth mentioning except that during that summer Victor was continually struck by what appeared to be two groups of attitudes among his students. There were the ones who were bright, outgoing and more involved in the theater and playground games than their playmates who fell into the other group. This other group was made up of children who were anti-social, introverted and lacked the social graces that came so naturally to the first group. The children who needed the attention and encouragement were often not seen because of the precociousness and cuteness of their classmates. He saw beyond the surface and redirected his games in a way as to make the quiet kids the center of attention without punishing or taking anything from the more outgoing ones. His attempts worked and he saw the spirit of play and curiosity brightens the once apathetic eyes of his kids. He knew that he wanted in some way to have this effect on people through his acting, and he hoped “Life” would present him with some blockbuster roles so he could make it happen. He did not realize that one person helping another would and could change lives.