Sometimes I think choosing what to put in your bio for a new show can be more stressful than the opening itself! Do you include that Off Off Broadway show? Do you thank your parents? Do you add a ILYKD???
A little known fact – the reason that actor bios in Playbills are so short is that every show gets a set amount of pages from Playbill for free, and once those pages are used up, the Producer gets charged. Take a big show with a big cast, and a lot of Producers, and you’ve added an unbudgeted expense to your weekly nut. No good. And that’s why you see so many 30 word bios. And that’s why so many people stress out about ’em.
A fun little website called Trivia Happy wondered if some future famous actors stressed out about their first bios, so they dug ’em up and posted ’em here. Included were the likes of Al Pacino, Charlton Heston, John Travolta and . . . Marlon Brando’s, which went something like this:
Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski) made his first appearance on Broadway three seasons ago as Nels in “I Remember Mama.” He went from that to a leading role in Maxwell Anderson’s “Truckline Cafe” when he was first singled out by the critics for his performance in the role of Sage. Also impressed was Guthrie McClintic, who chose him to play Marchbanks in Katharine Cornell’s revival of “Candida.” He next appeared in Ben Hecht’s “A Flag is Born.” Born in Omaha, Neb., Brando spent his school years in Evanston, Ill., California and Minnesota. The choice of the stage as a career had never entered his mind until after he had come to New York and spent several months engaged in such odd jobs as running an elevator and operating a switchboard. When he did decide to go on stage he spent a year studying with Stella Adler and followed that with a summer season of stock at Sayville, L.I. It was there that a New York actors’ agent saw him and helped him get his first acting job with “I remember Mama.
Read the other actors’ bios here.
And then start working on your bio. And yes, include the Off Broadway show, your parents, your website, and ILY2.
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