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From Lancaster Ave to Tinseltown: Main Line ties to Hollywood

Here are some Main Line connections to the entertainment industry to keep readers in the award-watching mood for the Golden Globes, which take place this Sunday, Jan. 15.

From Lancaster Ave to Tinseltown: Main Line ties to Hollywood

What do Chevy Chase, director Nancy Meyers and the 1940 classic The Philadelphia Story have in common?

Aside from their places in the Hollywood canon, all three are also connected to the Main Line.

The film industry’s annual award events begin with this weekend’s 2012 Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC, and continue through Feb. 26 when the 84th annual Academy Awards airs.

The previously mentioned pop culture icons are just the tip of the iceberg of films, actors, writers, directors and executives in the entertainment industry with history from the townships and borroughs along Lancaster Avenue.

In addition to gracing the red carpets in their best (and somtimes worst) dressed, some of these Main Line film and television transplants were also fortunate enough to receive an Oscar or Golden Globe nod or win.

Here’s a list to bridge the distance from the Main Line to Tinseltown:

Actors and Actresses

  • The classrooms and halls of Harriton High School in Rosemont were once occupied by class of 1975 alum, Amy Aquino, know for her reccuring roles in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Everybody Loves Raymond. Aquino, who’s also appeared in films such as Boys on the Side (1995), has served as the secretary-treasurer of the Screen Actors Guild since 2009.
  • The name Cornelius Crane Chase might puzzle readers, who are more likely to know the comedic and acting legend by his shortened name, Chevy Chase. The former Saturday Night Live cast member is known as the original anchor of the SNL-favorite “Weekend Update,” and films like Caddyshack (1980) and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), but many don’t know that Chase briefly attended Haverford College before transferring to Bard College in New York. Lure on the liberal arts campus says that Chase was expelled from Haverford for having a cow in his dorm room.
  • Katharine Hepburn’s name is synonymous with screwball comedies, romance films and period dramas of the early-to-mid 20th century. The Broadway and Hollywood acting sensation was born and raised in Connecticut, but also has Main Line roots as a class of 1928 alumna from Bryn Mawr College. Hepburn, a multi-Academy Award nominee and winner for "Best Actress," is known for her roles in films like Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) and The Philadelphia Story (1940) for which she played the same role of Tracy Ford in the Broadway play by the same name.
  • Actor Daniel Dae Kim, a Haverford College Alum, is known for popular roles on Hawaii Five-O and the Golden Globe Award-winning show, Lost, where he played Jin-Soo Kwon.
  • Actress Dava Krause, a class of 1997 alumna from the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr has a reoccurring role as Nurse Jeffery on the Fox network medical drama, House, and performs stand-up regularly at venues, such as the Hollywood Improv and the Laugh Factory. Krause, also a writer, released a debut comedy album in March 2010 called “Child of the 80’s.”
  • Bryn Mawr alumna Maggie Siff graduated with a bachelor’s in English and had many television acting gigs, including Mad Men and the character of Tara Knowles on the popular FX show Son’s of Anarchy, where she’s currently a series regular.
  • Baldwin class of 2004 graduate Lydia Sudall had a cameo as a gaffer in last year’s Academy Award-winning short film, God of Love.

Executives and Producers

  • The late Mike Rosenfeld, a Lower Merion High School class of 1952 graduate, was one of the co-founders and head agents of Creative Artists Agency, the entertainment and sports colossus that represents stars such as Meryl Streep, Lebron James and Steven Spielberg.
  • The Senior Vice President of ABC Entertainment Group’s comedy development, Samie Kim, attended the Baldwin School for Girls and graduated in 1992.
  • Sara Scott, a creative executive at Universal Pictures in Los Angeles, is also a Class of 1996 graduate of the Baldwin School.
  • Toy Story producer Graham Walters, who has worked on other Pixar classics, such as Finding Nemo (2003) and A Bug’s Life (1998), is a Haverford School alum.

Writer and Directors, sometimes both

  • Christina Acevedo, who wrote and directed the short film Wilde Idle, which was accepted in the Short Film Corner of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, was a 2004 Baldwin graduate.
  • Playwright Billy Aronson attended Lower Merion High School and graduated in 1975 before coming up with the original concept of the rock opera Broadway hit, Rent, and writing for the children’s television show Code Name: Kids Next Door.
  • Charles “Chuck” Barris is not simply known as the host of The Gong Show (1976) and the late 1980s The Dating Game. The Confessions of a Dangerous Mind author also graduated Lower Merion High School in 1969.
  • Two 1975 Harriton High School graduates, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, co-created, wrote and produced the hit sitcom, Friends.
  • Before crafting romantic comedy hits such as the 1991-remake of Father of the Bride and Something's Gotta Give (2003), Nancy Meyers spent her early days on the Main Line, where she graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1967. The Golden-Globe nominated screenwriter and director of It’s Complicated (2009) now lives in Brentwood, Calif.

Miscellaneous references and other tidbits

  • Entertainment entrepreneurs Jamie Lokoff and Tommy Joyner, who’ve given us the chic coffee house MilkBoy with locations in Ardmore, Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia, have done sound work for the acclaimed film Lebanon, Pa. (2010). The duo recently got involved with a local movie producer from Malvern, Tammy Tiehel-Stedman, to work on a romantic comedy called Bad Boys, Crazy Girls, penned by New York writer Heather Maidat.
  • The Ford family in the 1940 film The Philadelphia Story is based on the Montgomery-Scott family, who lived in and owned the Ardrossan Estate in Radnor Township.
  • Bala Cynywd was not only the setting of the home invasion in the 2000 thriller Unbreakable, but was also home to Patrick Swayze’s fictional drag queen character, Vida Boheme, in the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.
  • Saturday Nigh Live alum and Bossypants author Tina Fey is from Upper Darby, but her alter ego Liz Lemon on NBC's 30 Rock attended Bryn Mawr College on a “partial competitive jazz dance scholarship.”

Are there entertainment icons Neighbors forgot? Comment below to expand our knowledge of Hollywood's Main Line presence.

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About this blog
Josh Fernandez is a 2011 graduate of Temple University where he studied journalism and gender studies. He was a writer and editor for The Temple News, and has interned at Philadelphia City Paper and the Philadelphia Daily News. Josh lived in Aston, Pa. in Delaware County before moving to University City in Philadelphia.

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