Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Jamie (Gertz)!


"Lost Boys" Jack Bauer and Vamp Girl

"Still Standing"

Happy birthday wishes go out this morning for one of my favorite actresses, Ms. Jami Gertz!
Ms. Gertz was born in Chicago, Illinois at an early age, but she lived in the nearby suburb of Park Ridge, where they used to make bricks, and is the hometown of Secretary of State Hillery Clinton.
In a refreshing change of pace Jami first wanted to become a figure skater (rather than a ballerina). Perhaps the windy/chilly Chicago climate influenced her. But apparently she got turned on to acting after appearing as Dorothy in a grammar school production of the "Wizard of Oz."
She attended Maine East High School, which is not in Maine, but in good old Park Ridge. Jami graduated from there in 1983 and later went on to attend N.Y.U., where she studied drama, but while she was still in high school, at the age of sweet 16, she was discovered by television producer Norman Lear's company ("All in the Family," "The Jeffersons," "Sanford and Son," etc.) in a nation wide talent search. That year (1981) she was cast in her first film, "Endless Love," which starred Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt (no relation to Jennifer Love), and directed by the Italian Franco Zeffirelli, who directed the 1968 film version of "Romeo and Juliet," which was a movie of particular importance to me as it was the first movie where I saw naked boobies (thanks to the lovely 16 year old Olivia Hussey... I had up until that point always wondered what those things where). Anyway, the movie "Endless Love," was unremarkable except for three things, the film's theme song, sung by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the biggest selling single in Ross' career. Two and three, the film debut of Jami and a young Tom Cruise.
The next year she followed with a gig on the television sitcom, "Square Pegs," starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who was about the same age as Jami, and which was Jessica's first lead role (co-lead actually. She starred with Amy Linker) in a television show or movie. The show lasted just one season, after which Jami was cast in the John Hughes film "Sixteen Candles," in 1984, and which our friends Joan and John Cusack also appeared in (John and Jami's second film). In 1987 she gained attention opposite Robert Downy Jr., in "Less Than Zero." She also appeared that year as the vampire love interest in "Lost Boys," with Kiefer Sutherland, a film I saw but did not really notice her in at the time (I was drunk that year).
Jami made a few more films before taking off to Europe to become a scent designer for Lanvin, a "High Fashion" house.
When she returned to the states she got a supporting part in the tornado movie, "Twister," and except for two other films has stuck with television ever since.
I first became aware of her remarkable abilities as the sexy mom in the 2002 to 2006 sitcom, "Still Standing," where she played opposite the bulbous British actor Mark Addy, who played an American father.
I watched that show in reruns here in my box before I had cable and enjoyed it, and her, very much. Here's a sample:
Jami lives here in L.A. now. Many do. She is married to Anthony Ressler, and has 3 sons, Oliver Jordan, Nicholas Simon, and Theo. She and her husband are part owners of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team through and investment company, and have a freaking charter high school named after them (Gertz-Ressler High Academy) which is about 4 miles from where I'm sitting right now.
Anyway, all of us here at Joyce's Take wish her and her family continued success and good health, and a very happy birthday!
Happy Birthday Jami!

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