How did you get started in the movie business?
I began my career as a stage actor. I was living and working in Seattle when I saw a notice in the Little People of America (LPA) newsletter seeking little people for the movie Under the Rainbow. I answered, auditioned and got the role of The Mayor of Munchkinland. For someone who had played Caliban in The Tempest and the Porter in Macbeth, it was a little different, but ok.
Shortly after the film was completed I moved to Los Angeles and began my career in film and television.
How did you get cast for Return of the Jedi?
Quite honestly, I don’t remember.
You played the role of Deej in both Ewok movies. Was it the fact that George Lucas knew you from Return of the Jedi that got you this part? If not, how did you get it?
I am sure it was, because I don’t remember auditioning for the role.
What do you recall of the filming of your scenes for the Ewok movies?
Working in those costumes was very hard work and tiring. With the heads on you were completely sealed and would have only a short period of time when you had clear vision through the eye lenses. After that they would fog up from your sweat and body heat, so before the heads were put on you would try to pick out a large landmark so you could keep your bearings.
However, all of the crew, from the director on down were very understanding of our predicament.
Did any strange, remarkable or funny things happen on the set? Can you share some memories?
One of the most memorable to me was watching a scene and although my fellow Ewoks were completely encased in their costumes being able to tell when they were “in” character and “out” of character. It was very plain.
You played the part of Deej, the father of Wicket, who was played by Warwick Davis. At the time, Davis was a teenager and you were in your twenties. Did you have to look after him on the set, just like in the movie?
Twenties? Hey, thanks! I was actually in my mid thirties. Warwick’s parents were on the set and Warwick looked after himself. I treated him as an equal. He’s quite a guy.
The main cast for The Ewok Adventure movie were you, Warwick Davis, Debbie Lee Carrington, Tony Cox, Kevin Thompson and two kids: Eric Walker and Aubree Miller. How did all of you get along during the filming of the movie?
We fought like cats and dogs the whole time. JUST KDDING. We got along fine. All of us LP’s knew each other and got along. Aubree’s parents were there too and Eric was a pretty good kid. No problems.
The Ewok Adventure was directed by John Korty, while George Lucas produced it. How were both men to work with?
John Korty is what I would call and actor’s director. He understands how actors work and was able to translate that to our scenes. He was also very patient and created a very relaxed set. George Lucas directed me a few times and he too was fine. He was very clear about what he wanted and was willing to work with you to achieve that.
According to Warwick Davis there were plans to make a third Ewok movie, but unfortunately this never happened.
Can you remember this? That there were plans for a third movie?
This is the first I have heard of it. What would it be called? Ewok III? or Revenge of the Ewoks?
Editors note: It was then only known as Ewoks III.
How do you look back at both Star Wars and the Ewok movies?
Fondly. Hard work, but a good time with good people.
If I’m correct you aren’t active in the acting business these days. What are you doing right now and what made you decide to make this change?
You are correct. For the last four years I have been selling real estate and love it! I ended my fifteen year career because in a period of eightteen months I had a number of life altering experiences which made me or allowed me to ask myself the question, “was I happy?” The answer was no, I needed to change. Besides the cataclysmic experiences I had I also lost the love of acting. It had just become a way to make money and when I taught workshops I always told the participants that if they wanted to do it with all their being, then do it, but if they weren’t sure, then earn a living another way and do community theatre. So, I followed my own advice.
Final question: of all the movies and series you have worked on: which particular one are you most proud of, and why?
Probably the work on Night Court. In the first two times I was on the show that character was a real 3 dimensional person. But my first love was, and still is, stage.