|This is the sixteenth in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor". (See Archives below)
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts.....". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
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For the past several years everyone has wondered who that handsome sexy man is in the Listerine campaign – "Death to Germs". It's Madison Mason.
Madison co-starred with Melanie Griffith and a superb cast in the current hit film "Crazy In Alabama" directed by Antonio Banderas. He's also just completed filming Thirteen Days with Kevin Costner and was fortunate to join a superb cast to guest star in the hundredth episode of 3rd Rock From The Sun. And he's just finished filming Love Her Madly, which was written and directed by Ray Manzarek formerly of The Doors.
Madison is a familiar face on television, having guest starred in many great shows and multiple episodes of such shows as Jag, Matlock, McGyver, Silk Stalkings and Renegade. He starred in THE VEGAS STRIP WARS with Sharon Stone and James Earl Jones. He co-starred in FEAR CITY with Melanie Griffith and Tom Berringer and was in FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY with Paul Newman, John Cusak and Laura Dern, Directed by Roland Joffe. Other credits include FLIGHT OF THE INTRUDER with Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe and DREAMSCAPE with Dennis Quade. During this he found time to be the SHELL ANSWER MAN for five years.
Madison was born in Virginia and grew up in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. He can remember wanting to be an actor when he was six and dreamed of becoming a singing cowboy like his idol Roy Rogers. Madison plays guitar and sings and is a recording artist. He has played the HOUSE OF BLUES with his gospel band Men From The Mountain. He has also recorded on Roulette Records with Morgan Mason Downs and was in the original Broadway Production of HAIR.
Having made his acting debut in a third grade school play singing O Mein Papa over the thunderous knocking of his knees, Madison went on to do summer stock and got his Equity Card at the age of 16. He was very involved with the Charlotte Little Theatre and from college went on to perform in the Equity production of THE LOST COLONY on Roanoke Island.
Madison went from there to McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey where he appeared in several Shakespearean productions. His many other stage credits include The Alchemist with Roy Scheider and A Midsummer Nights Dream with Blythe Danner and The Firebugs with Swoosie Kurtz.
Madison then went to England for training at the BRISTOL OLD VIC THEATRE SCHOOL, one of the world's most prestigious Drama Schools.
Upon his return, he spent two seasons on the daytime drama THE EDGE OF NIGHT, at that time the last live show left on television.
Madison went to California to further pursue his career and immediately landed a role in THE YOUNG AND RESTLESS. He was constantly guest starring in numerous popular network television shows, and enjoyed two seasons on the hit nighttime soap KNOTS LANDING. He spent the next season on DYNASTY.
Subsequently he has guest starred in over a hundred Television Productions and Major Motion Pictures as well as over two hundred National Commercials.
Madison sings and plays guitar, piano and blues harp. "Music is for the soul" he says. He writes pop and blues, both music and lyrics for his band and has also written a musical entitled "Howling at the Moon" for which he composed the music and lyrics and wrote the book.
Madison is a fine athlete who excels in golf and finds time to do charity related golf tournaments. In addition Madison is a childrens' advocate and devotes his free time to helping kids. He also coaches his son's baseball and soccer teams. If the cause is children, Madison finds time to support it.
Madison lives in Southern California with his wife Linda, a Television and Commercial Producer and their son Jordan, a "great kid and a heck of a pitcher". Madison has two grown daughters and has just become a grandfather, which he finds hard to believe.
Madison recently starred in the season opener episode of ARLISS. He can be seen in the upcoming 13 DAYS with Kevin Costner. He has just appeared in PEARL HARBOR with Alec Baldwin and Ben Afleck, and is currently starring with Angela Landsbury in a special two hour movie of MURDER SHE WROTE entitled 'The Last Free Man'.
Madison feels the need to pass on what he has learned over the years, so he teaches a workshop in Hollywood appropriately named the 'Los Angeles Professional Actors Workshop'. Unlike most acting workshops, the LAPAW deals with much more than just the simple techniques of acting. Career development, mental focus and success conditioning are also strong points of the curriculum as well.
Madison Mason's advice to the aspiring actor:
Madison Mason's Credits (partial)
The Old Vic, Bristol, Eng.
Circle In The Square, N.Y.
Martial Arts, Boxing, Horses, Motorcycles, Cars, Guitar, Flute, Blues Harp, French, Italian, Spanish, and Accents
|WORKING ACTOR ARCHIVE|
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