7/27/2012

OLIVIA BARASH MEETS THE INCREDIBLE HULK

OLIVIA BARASH co-starred in the pilot episode of the now iconic television series THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Her character, a little girl fishing by a lake, is the first human being to have contact with David Banner in Hulk form i.e. Lou Ferrigno donned in the signature menacing green.

The show's writer/producer KENNETH JOHNSON recalls working with the gifted young actress: 

I remember Olivia fondly. She was a very sweet young lady and already a real pro at a very young age.

Shooting my pilot movie for The Incredible Hulk in 1977 we really put her through it -- dumping her in the lake at the old Fox ranch -- but she was a first class trooper and very eager to do her best, which she certainly did.

I'm delighted to know that she went on to such a varied and exciting career. Please send along my best regards to her.

7/13/2012

OLIVIA BARASH (INTERVIEW)

Olivia Barash was an extremely gifted child and teenage actress who appeared in a number of television shows and motion pictures, starring in one of the most popular episodes of "Little House On The Prairie," playing the title character "Sylvia," as well as the pilot of "The Incredible Hulk," a semi-regular on "Fame", and appeared in cult films like "Repo Man," "Tuff Turf," "The Doors," and she continues to not only act, but record music as well.

When did you first break into show business?

I started singing Sinatra songs at two years old. Started playing piano at four, classically trained at Carnegie Hall and won a competition at five years old for best classical pianist of that age-range in the country. I was also going to dance class in New York City. All of my peers in that school were professional actors. I wanted to do what they were doing. So, my mom and I met with one of the top, children’s managers of that day and I was signed on the spot. I was a ham and worked non-stop from the gate! Starting with commercials and theater in N.Y. on to prime-time t.v. and film in Hollywood.

You worked on the pilot of THE INCREDIBLE HULK… How was this experience?

My memory of The Hulk pilot stands out because I was honestly frightened when I first met Lou Ferrigno. He was in full costume and I was told to look at him when I spoke and to speak up because he had a hearing disability. I was pretty young and what I saw in front of me was a big, green monster man. If I acted terrified in the episode; it’s probably because I really was a little. I do remember Lou being very kind to me and trying not to scare me when we were off camera. I was just a kid. That entire shoot was, me falling in a lake and being blown dry, over and over again. Fun at first – until take 92. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world!


The two-part LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE episode “Sylvia”… Was it hard filming an intense subject like rape at such a young age?

Nothing on that set was difficult because Michael Landon was directing. One of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. He would emote me by crying behind the camera in the rehearsals as well as the shooting of the intense scenes.

That particular cast of actors was amazing to work with! From Matthew Laborteaux, to Royal Dano, who played my abusive father, to Richard Jaeckel who played the rapist. All, highly professional, veterans and genuinely good people.

Describe the emotion you had to bring up during Sylvia’s death bed scene…

I put myself IN Sylvia’s heart. I believed in that moment that I wanted to marry Albert more than anything else. I also just recalled the emotion that Matthew Laborteaux put forth for and with me in that scene. It was so hard not to cry after my character died, when Albert layed his head on me, sobbing.


What are some FAME memories?

Fame was never an easy show to do. The cast was used to it’s fullest capacity. When we were not on camera, shooting a scene, we were being choreographed for a dance routine in the rehearsal hall, and when not needed on set or in rehearsal, we were at The Record Plant, recording our vocals for the musical numbers. I rarely saw the inside of my dressing room on that shoot.

My second episode, “The Crimson Blade” was fun because of the costumes and the boys. My character had both Jesse Borrego and Robert Romanus, vying for their attention. Robert became my recurring boyfriend on the series. And I got to play the damsel in distress, which is always a good time!

You are singing and playing an acoustic guitar in Oliver Stone’s THE DOORS, how did this job come up and how long did you have to play this song?

I read for one of the female-lead roles for Oliver Stone. I was too young for the part but he wanted to write me into the script because he saw something special. About a month later, I was sent on a call-back to read ONE line for him, to play a groupie. The waiting room was filled with gorgeous, 6 foot tall models, reading for the same role. I felt that I hadn’t a chance against these beauties, reading one line. So I ran to my car, where I had one of my guitars, got it, and walked into his office, guitar strapped on me. I told Oliver I wanted to play him a song I wrote, since he hadn’t time to come see my band play. He said, “go ahead”. I got through a verse and a chorus, when he stopped me and said… “Do you want to sing in my movie? You’re going to sing in my movie!”

So, Oliver Stone wrote me in, playing an original song of mine. A fantastic credit along side “The Doors” songs for a new, singer/songwriter.


How was it working on TUFF TURF with Robert Downey Jr.?

It was a bit of a party scene with the exception of James Spader. We were put up at the Chateau Marmont in the ‘80’s. Robert Downey Jr. was a gem to get to know and to play opposite. He said to me, one night, “Olivia.. I’m gonna be a big movie star. Just watch.” I replied, “I believe you, Robert.”

How was it working with Johnny Depp in 21 JUMP STREET (episode: Nemesis)?

Johnny and I met on that shoot but didn’t have many scenes together. We did end up working together at The Viper Room. I became the promoter for his club. He is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known.

How long have you been singing as NORMA DEZMOND?

NORMA DEZMOND was just a name I created for my MySpace Music Page. I was being urged by some friends to put my music up there and I wasn’t so into being a recording artist at that time. The name, NORMA DEZMOND was my joke about being too old to have a music career. You know, the whole, “Sunset Boulevard” plot. Little did I know that other people did not feel the same way about my age as I did. The music was what mattered and I was blessed to have worked with musicians and producers who I admired. One of my songs on that site was chosen for another film. Funny how we can’t always see what’s best for us.

What particular standout memories do you have working on the cult classic REPO MAN?

It was a phenomenal experience to be a part of that film! From researching the UFO world by going to Extraterrestrial Conventions and such to working with a cast and crew of some of whom I’ve maintained friendships with to this day, to the authenticity of the Punk Movement that was portrayed in the film, (a scene that I was part of in real life, therefore, close to my heart).

I think that REPO MAN was the one project that enmeshed itself perfectly with my life. Everyone who worked on that film seemed to be of the same ilk.

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