Tell us about your background in the film business.
Actually, I started out in theatre and commercial acting in Chicago and the age of 16. I was fortunate enough to find my acting teacher/mentor at that time and he helped me get started with the talent agency, the Shirley Hamilton Agency. At 18, I became Equity and toured with a California-based theatre company in the production of “ Girl In My Soup”. From that point, my career moved between theatre and commercial work with a few film auditions. I did land a featured role in the “now” cult film called The Psychic. Actually. most of my film work was in Florida , during the “Golden Years” of Tampa /Orlando/ Hollywood Connection in the early 90's.
How did you land the role of Gloria in Psycho IV?
I first heard about Psycho IV at Universal Studios in Orlando. Mr. Mel Johnson had called me in for the new TV series remake of Leave It To Beaver. They had begun building the Bates House and I asked him about it. He told me they were planning to shoot the Showtime movie in Orlando. I was so excited and could only hope there was a part for me to audition for. About six months later I was in New York visiting one of my students who had landed a role on All My Children when I got the call and I had to book a flight home instantly. The audition procedure was grueling; three call backs in one week. Hollywood wasn't very trusting of talent in Florida at that time and if it hadn't been for casting director, Mel Johnson's belief in Florda talent, I don't believe any Florida actors would received feature roles. In Psycho IV, my character was Gloria, one of Norman 's very first victims. I had two major scenes with Henry Thomas and one smaller scene with Anthony Perkins. I was one of the three local actors who won a front billing role in the movie.
What was your impression of Anthony Perkins?
In some versions it has been cut, but all Norman 's victims came back as ghosts at the end of the movie. They brought in the staircase from the original Psycho set. I had to walk down the stairs in high heels with the fog machine going full blast and plant a kiss on Norman Bates! Anthony Perkins was strikingly good looking; more so then his films would have you believe. He was extremely gracious and informed me I should be getting hazard pay for the fog scene. When the scene was over he shook my hand, gave me a big smile and told me it was nice working with me.
Where did you work on the film and how long did your scenes take?
My scenes took place in a car, outside by a swamp-like lake and on an inside set, all in Orlando. I worked on the film for five days. I had my own Star trailer and of course they put me up in a near by motel.
Describe your overall film experience on Psycho IV
The early 90”s were the beginning of some film and TV series opportunities in Orlando . The working actors in the area had been waiting a long time for this and all of us were so excited! I enjoyed every minute of my experience with the Showtime movie. Henry Thomas was all of 18 at the time, and just as nice as he could be! Mick was an easy director to please and work with. Olivia Hussey was down to earth and I enjoyed talking with her.
Anything funny or memorable occur while workin on the film?
My death scene with Henry Thomas playing the young Bates, he takes me unconscious to a swamp and as he begins to puts me in the trunk; I wake up and fight him. Well, it was death by strangulation with a rope and I fought so hard, he couldn't keep hold of the rope! Needles to say I had to bring the action down a bit so he could eventually kill me!
What was your opinion when you saw the completed film?
I was nervous because I had not seen it and I had a lot of friends over for the Showtime special. However, I was very pleased with my performance! Death scenes can be so hokey if you aren't careful, but I felt it was believable and I had done my job.
What are you up to now?
I am the acting director at Mary Jo's Performing Arts Academy in Tampa . I have always enjoyed teaching (especially children) and directing. I am also developing a Children's Theatre with children performing for children. I actively voice and produce voice-overs in my home studio and work with clients across the country and am still available for private coaching. I also try to spend special time with my two granddaughters Emily and Reese.
Ms. Spencer was kind to send these rare photos from her personal collection!
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