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Past Meatballs of the Month
As with all movies which are cult classics, you just can't help but wonder what the history is of your favorite characters -- and what they are doing now. This page will detail those persons who have gone onto greatness, or just simply moved on from acting.
Kristine DeBell - (AKA A.L.)
Kristine was born on December 10, 1954 in Chathem, New York and went on to become a Ford agency model.
Kristine’s first role in 1976 was one of her most famous: An adult version (R and X rated versions) of Alice in Wonderland. In this film she played Alice and goes through the looking glass and meets all the characters from the original story.
She went on to play interesting roles in several other movies including the Robert Zemeckis film I Want to Hold Your Hand, Bloodbrothers (with Richard Gere), Cheerleaders Wild Weekend, Willie and Phil, The Big Brawl, Lifepod, T.A.G. The Assassination Game, and The Main Event (with Barbara Streisand & Ryan O’Neal.)
She also did a substantial amount of TV work in the 1970s and 80s. She starred in episodes of The Young and the Restless, Operation Petticoat, Police Woman, BJ and the Bear, Eight is Enough, Barnaby Jones and Chips. She also played Harry’s girlfriend in the “Harry and the Rock Star” episode of Night Court.
Rumors circulate that she is either back in her hometown of Chathem, NY or in Los Angeles, CA and has two or four children (sons). Kristine, if you are out there and would like to update the fans, please let us know!
Russ Banham - (AKA Crockett)
Russ Banham was born September 20, 1954 in New York. He graduated from Saint John's University in 1976 with a B.A. in Speech and Drama. He also has a M.A. in Drama Theory from the University of Montana.
Early on, Banham hoped to become a playwright or theatre director. Instead, he fell into acting after college, making his Broadway debut in The Merchant. Banham also appeared in several Off- Broadway plays, and co-starred in the ninth biggest movie of 1979, Meatballs. That year he was cast as Brad Hopkins in the television situation comedy, Joe’s World, opposite Christopher Knight from The Brady Bunch.
After receiving his second Masters, an MFA in Directing, he became a professional theatre director, directing more than 30 plays around the country with a focus on Seattle, his home base. He is actually a veteran director in the city’s professional theatre community, directing Othello, Macbeth and Twelfth Night for Seattle Shakespeare Company, Merchant of Venice for Wooden O Theatre, Of Mice and Men for Seattle Public Theatre, and three of his own plays, adaptations of Ethan Frome, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (with Jennifer Sue Johnson) and Romance with Double Bass (based on four short stories by Anton Chekhov), all for Book-It Repertory Theatre.
Banham also produced the world premiere of Oliver Hailey’s Kith and Kin at the Dallas Theatre and later at the White Barn Theatre in Greenwich, CT.
At the same time, he began his career in business journalism, writing stories for The Journal of Commerce where he joined its writing staff in 1983 as a reporter and editor covering insurance and risk management. Banham left the paper in 1987 to pursue work as a freelance journalist. He quickly found a niche writing for numerous trade and business periodicals.
Now a veteran business journalist with more than 3,000 articles and 18 books to his credit, Banham is one of the more successful freelancers in the business. His history of Ford Motor Company, "The Ford Century," is an award-winning, international bestseller translated into 13 languages. He was submitted for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize by The Journal of Commerce and writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal, CFO and other business publications. Banham also has written four televised video documentaries and three plays. Way to go Crockett, I bet Candace is happy she chose you over Lance!
Kate Lynch - (AKA Roxanne)
Playing the often uptight character of “Roxanne”, Kate Lynch is a Genie Award-winning actress whose career spans four decades. In 1980 she won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Meatballs, her first major screen credit. She was nominated for the same award in 1988 for her role in Taking Care though she did not win on that occasion.
Kate has done a significant amount of TV work, appearing in over 40 different episodes and series. Key movie rolls include her playing of “Kate” in the 2005 movie Lie with Me, “Carrie” in the 1988 flick God Bless the Child, “Lyndsay” in 1988’s Eddie and the Cruisers II, and “Jordan” in the 1985 sci-fi thriller Def-Con 4.
Kate has also taught acting at the University College Drama Program in Toronto, at the Stratford Festival, the Shaw festival, the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, and George Brown College, among many others.
Her stage credits include roles in productions of Smudge, Road to Hell, The Breakdown, and many others including Tales of the Blonde Assassin, which she also wrote. Her stage directing credits include Cymbeline, Pericles and Waiting for Godot for the University College Drama Program.
Listen to Kate Lynch talk about directing Coward.
She has also had guest appearances on several other TV series including The Twilight Zone, The Ray Bradbury Theater, and Queer as Folk. Interestingly enough, she appeared in episode #2.13, only two episodes after our friend Keith Knight appeared on the show. Coincidence?
Keith Knight (AKA Fink)
Keith Knight was born in 1956 in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario Canada.
He is best known as Spaz's confindant in the movie Meatballs. During the filming of the famous hot-dog-eating contest, he ate more than 100 hot dogs.
Keith appeared at the Shaw Festival (Ontario), and was working in summer stock when he was signed for his first movie role in Meatballs, and was a member of the Actors Repertory Company located in Toronto.
He had a 30-year career on stage, film, and television. Keith appeared in dozens of community theater productions in his hometown before starting his professional career in 1978.
In the 1980's, he appeared in a couple "killer" movies. Keith played "Hollis" in the 1981 horror flick My Bloody Valentine, and portrayed "Barnyard" in the 1982 punk thriller Class of 1984, which co-starred Roddy McDowall and a very young Michael J. Fox.
Besides Meatballs, he made two other film appearances with friend Jack Blum (Spaz): 1980's Hog Wild (which also starred Meatballs alum Matt Craven) and 1983's Self Defense. He also played Ira in 1981's Gas which co-starred Donald Sutherland and Howie Mandel.
Keith lended his voice for many children's stories and TV programs such as The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland, The Busy World of Richard Scarry and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends.
Although Keith made nearly 50 appearances on stage and on screen, he also appeared in more than 160 TV commercials.
Keith died at the age of 51 from brain cancer at his home in Toronto on August 22, 2007, and is survived by his wife Jennifer McCullough.
Harvey Atkin - (AKA Morty)
Harvey Atkin was born December 18, 1942 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a Canadian actor who has worked in feature films and television. He has also done a significant amount of voice-over work and has voiced animations.
Having achieved a reputation as a class clown, it was in high school that his performance gifts first began to emerge. He was persuaded to join his school's drama club and won a best actor award at a local drama festival in his first year of participation. Once bitten by the acting bug, he majored in drama at a summer camp (foreshadowing?) for the performing arts and utilized his stint working for his father in the construction industry to hone his ear for languages and accents.
A few years later he joined forces with a school chum who had started a local talent agency, signed on and began performing in television commercials, which lead to voice-overs, television and radio dramas and feature films. He is now a veteran of 35 years hands-on experience in the industry.
Harvey credits his family background as largely responsible for the language and cultural influences that were thrust upon him as a youngster. He and his family lived with his grandparents, Russian immigrants, until he was five and even after the first of his three younger sisters was born and the family moved into their own home around the corner, his grandparents were still a major presence in his young life.
It was his grandfather who brought the Old World, in the form of the Yiddish language and culture, home each evening and this gentleman, who lived to be over 102, continues to affect his thoughts and behavior. Another major influence was his father, who exposed Harvey to a great many facets of the business world, as well as the realities of "The Street".
For six years Harvey commuted almost weekly to Los Angeles, where he was featured as a "regular" on the popular Cagney and Lacey television series. He also created, wrote, directed and starred in almost 600 segments of "Help Yourself", a handyman show for CFTO and CTV. He currently contributes to a weekly radio entertainment review and is seen and heard in dozens of feature films, cartoon and television shows. He has voiced over four thousand radio and television commercials and is the recipient of 3 Clio awards, the Oscars of the commercial industry, as well as close to forty other industry citations from the Television Bureau, the International Broadcasting Awards and the London International Broadcasting Awards.
He was also a Genie nominee for his film work in the movie Meatballs and has appeared in over 75 feature films and Movies of the Week, not to mention hundreds of episodic Television shows.
Currently Harvey is a regular on the Law & Order series of shows and is the Voice of Leon's Furniture in Canada and Bally's Resorts, Dunkin Donuts and Mercedes Benz of Florida in the U.S., to name but a few. Click here for a montage of these voice-over examples.
He is also playing a role in the movie Barney’s Version starring Dustin Hoffman and Minnie Driver, the story of an alcoholic named Barney Panofsky (played by Paul Giamatti) who decides to write about his "wasted" life.
Working on the philosophy that "you can't keep going to the well without putting something back", Harvey serves as spokesman for several local charities and social service organizations as well as a celebrity auctioneer (yes, he really is an auctioneer).
Harvey makes his home in both Toronto and Miami
with Celia, his wife of forty-four years. They have a son and daughter, both married, and have five grandchildren.
Matt Craven - (AKA Hardware)
Craven played the character of Hardware, the loveable scamp who attempts to hook up Mickey's air conditioner in the CIT cabin.
Matt was born on November 10, 1956 in Port Colborne, Ontario Canada. His first job as an actor was his supporting role in the movie Meatballs, but went on to appear in over 60 more. Notable titles included Jacob''s Ladder, K2, A Few Good Men, ER and Disturbia.
He is currently in post production with "The Pacific" a TV mini-series, and a movie due out July 1, 2009 called "Public Enemies" about 1930s gangsters where he playes Gerry Campbell.
Would you like to make a suggestion for who should be profiled next for Meatball of the Month? If so, contact us here.
Chris Makepeace - (AKA Rudy Gerner)
He will forever be known as “Rudy the Rabbit.”
Chris Makepeace was born on April 22, 1964 in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Doreen and Harry Makepeace. His older brother is notable Canadian photographer Tony Makepeace.
Chris started acting in TV commercials at the age of ten. His first real gig was in a 1974 Canadian television special, The Ottawa Valley. His next role was in our favorite movie Meatballs.
Makepeace was then cast in the leading role in the Fox film, My Bodyguard, which was released in July 1980, which grossed a decent $22.5 million. In his review of the film, critic Roger Ebert said that Makepeace's performance resulted in "one of the most engaging teenage characters I've seen in the movies in a long time."
In 1981, he played a major part in the rock group KISS' concept film, the Elder, which was never released to the public. Makepeace's subsequent roles included appearances in made-for-television films and a few feature films, including The Falcon and the Snowman in 1984 and 1986's Vamp. He has not appeared in any films released since 1998.
In the early 2000’s, he began acting as assistant director and producer in several Canadian productions such as “Tangled” and “Full Disclosure.” There is a 2006 credit as “Construction Producer” of a Canadian show called the “Handyman Superstar Challenge.”
Brian Backer (AKA Camp Mohawk Basketball Player)
Brian was born December 5, 1956 in Brooklyn, New York.
He is an actor who has starred in film and on television. He is best known for his role in the 1982 hit comedy film Fast Times at Ridgemont High as the shy teenager Mark "Rat" Ratner. His other films include the 1985 comedy film Moving Violations (playing the role of Scott Greeber) and the 1987 comedy film Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol.
Brian was un-credited in the movie Meatballs, but played one of the Camp Mohawk basketball players. After watching the scene several times, I believe that he is #13 and he can be seen in three of the scenes:
If you are out there Ratner, help us out by contacting us and provide some memories from the movie!
His main television role was on the soap opera Santa Barbara in 1990 as A. Bartlett Congdon. Backer also made guest appearances on such TV shows as Charles in Charge and Growing Pains.
He won Broadway's 1981 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play in Woody Allen's The Floating Light Bulb.
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