Buddy: About The Cast

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RENE RUSSO stars as eccentric socialite Gertrude (Trudy) Lintz in Buddy.

1996 was a banner year for the beautiful actress who displayed her comic timing as the slightly daffy psychologist in Tin Cup co-starring with Kevin Costner, and starred opposite Mel Gibson in the box-office hit Ransom.

Last year Russo portrayed a B-movie queen in Get Shorty opposite John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito and Delroy Lindo, as well as a medical researcher fighting a catastrophic virus alongside Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman in the film Outbreak.

A native Californian, Russo grew up in Burbank, and at the age of 18, was discovered at a Rolling Stones concert, and encouraged to become a fashion model. Soon afterward, she moved to New York and became a top model for the Ford Agency. She graced the covers of every fashion magazine throughout her successful modeling career in the late '70s and '80s.

Her screen career made a similarly rapid ascent as she turned to acting in 1988, co-starring in the hit comedy Major League. She followed this with starring roles in Mr. Destiny, FreeJack and One Good Cop.

Russo's performance in Lethal Weapon 3, opposite Mel Gibson, first showed audiences her facility with both action and comedy. Wolfgang Petersen then cast her as the efficient Secret Service agent who teams with Clint Eastwood in In the Line of Fire.

ROBBIE COLTRANE portrays Dr. Bill Lintz, Trudy's devoted husband in Buddy.

The Scottish actor has established himself in a wide range of British and American comedy and drama. They include such films as GoldenEye, the James Bond film in which Coltrane played Valentin opposite Pierce Brosnan; Nuns on the Run with Eric Idle; Henry V, from actor-director Kenneth Branagh; Mona Lisa with Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine; The Pope Must Die with Beverly D'Angelo; and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Coltrane has received an impressive collection of distinguished international awards and honors including three British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards (The British Oscar) in 1993, 1994 and 1995 for his starring role in Cracker, the critically acclaimed television series from Granada Television which also won BAFTA's Best Drama Series in 1994 and 1995; the 1993 Royal Television Society Award for Best Male Performer for his work on Cracker; and the 1990 Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Comedian.

Born in Rutherglen, Scotland, Coltrane was educated at the Glasgow School of Art. He went on to hone his acting skills at the Traverse Theater in Edinburgh.

ALAN CUMMING plays Trudy's loyal assistant, Dick Kroener, in Buddy.

Cumming is one of the busiest young actors these days. He most recently portrayed the Reverend Elton opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma. He just finished production on the recently released Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, starring opposite Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow. In 1997 Cumming returns to Britain (where he makes his home), to star in and direct a series of four short films for the BBC called The Cumming Attraction. In addition, Cumming intends to appear on Broadway as the emcee in "Kander and Ebb's Cabaret," reprising the role for which he earned a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

Cumming's other film credits include GoldenEye, as the computer whiz Boris Grishenko; Circle of Friends, as the amorous yet conniving Sean Walsh; Prague; and Second Best with William Hurt. He was also heard as the title role in Caroline Thompson's Black Beauty.

Born in Perthshire, Scotland, Cumming grew up on a country estate near Dundee. At 16, he left school and began writing for a magazine before moving to Glasgow to train at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. While still a student, he made his feature film debut in Passing Glory.

After three years of theatre and television work in Scotland, Cumming made his West End debut in 1988 at the Royal Court in "The Conquest of the South Pole," and was nominated Most Promising Newcomer in that year's Laurence Olivier Awards. He went on to win an Olivier Award for "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" at the Royal national Theatre in 1991.

Mixing his film and theatre success with a diversity of other work, Cumming is also known on the stand-up circuit as the latter half of the comedy duo Victor and Barry. He has adapted plays for the Royal National Theatre, and was the co-writer and star of the cult BBC sitcom The High Life. Cumming's other television credits include the films Bernard and the Genie, for which he received Top Television Newcomer at the 1992 British Comedy Awards, The Last Romantics and Micky Love.

IRMA P. HALL plays Emma, the Lintz housekeeper, in Buddy.

Hall became a film actress late in life, and completely by surprise. In 1971 while teaching secondary school and writing for the Dallas Express Newspaper, Hall wrote an article about actor/director Raymond St. Jacques who was in town to shoot A Book of Numbers. After hearing her read some poetry, St. Jacques offered her a part in the movie. Hall was 36 and a divorced mother of two at the time, but it ignited her career as a professional actress.

Hall was born in Beaumont, Texas. After having completed elementary and high school in Chicago, Illinois, she attended Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa for two years before transferring to Texas College in Tyler, Texas. Here, she received a B.A. degree and credentials as a professional secondary school teacher.

Hall then taught foreign languages and English for 27 years in Dallas public schools. During that time, she also helped start the Dallas Minority Repertory Theater, planning to act only as administrator but she eventually found herself performing in dozens of plays. She also used the shows as a classroom, often taking her students to the set.

She retired from teaching in 1984 when her arthritis worsened. But her transition from teacher to Hollywood actress seemed natural. She was always around entertainers - her father was a saxophonist at Joe Louis's Rhumboogie club in Chicago and, as a child, she got to see legends such as Ella Fitzgerald.

One of her most recent roles was as the lovable Aunt T in the critically acclaimed film A Family Thing, starring James Earl Jones and Robert Duvall. She has also appeared in Mo' Money, and the upcoming feature Steel.

Her television credits include a recurring role on Missing Persons as well as parts on Brewster Place and Dallas.

PAUL REUBENS plays supercilious Professor Spatz, the world's pre-eminent gorilla expert, in Buddy.

Born in Peekskill, New York, Reubens was raised in Sarasota, Florida. He appeared for six seasons in repertory at the Asolo Theatre (The State Theatre of Florida) and then spent a year at Boston University before coming to Los Angeles to attend the California Institute of the Arts.

In 1977 Reubens became a member of the Groundlings Improvisational Group where he developed his repertoire of zany characters. By the early '80s he had acquired a cult following. As the character Pee Wee Herman, he did an HBO special, and made dozens of appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and The Gong Show. In 1984 Reubens embarked on a sold-out 22-city tour of his "An Evening with Pee Wee Herman." He also appeared in two Steve Martin TV specials, Twilight Theatre and Comedy Is Not Pretty.

Reubens went on to co-write and star in the box-office smash Pee Wee's Big Adventure. He then co-wrote, directed and executive produced his ground-breaking children's series on CBS, Pee-wee's Playhouse. The show, which ran five years, won 16 Emmy Awards, and was watched weekly by nearly three million adults. The popular character also spawned a second film, Big Top Pee-wee.

Reubens's non-Pee-wee films include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman Returns, Dunston Checks In, The Blues Brothers and, most recently, Matilda. He also lent his voice to Tim Burton's animated The Nightmare Before Christmas.

He was recently nominated for an Emmy for his appearances on the hit television comedy Murphy Brown.

PETER ELLIOTT plays the adult title character in Buddy, and is also the film's primate choreographer. However, he didn't intend for a career as the film world's preeminent specialist in gorilla performances. He created his unique niche after being chosen to begin initial research for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Following his work on that film, he has brought his distinctive knowledge and skill to such films as Return to Oz, King Kong Lives, Harry and the Hendersons and Gorillas in the Mist.

Elliott always wanted to be an actor. Upon graduation from the East 15 School of Acting in his native England, he performed in a variety of stage roles in and around London.

Prior to auditioning for Greystoke, Elliott did extensive research at London Zoo observing the movements and behavior of the apes. His research paid off and he began work on pre-production of the film. Warner Brothers recognized the potential of the work he was producing and were impressed enough to appoint him head of research and development, putting the film on hold for a further two years so that Elliott could study at the University of Oklahoma with Dr. Roger Foutts, one of the world's leading primatologists. Dr. Foutts had begun working on Project Washoe, a pioneering study on the feasibility of teaching American Sign Language to a chimp named Washoe. Instead of trying to teach the chimps to understand him, Elliott decided to learn how to communicate with the chimps on their own terms. He became the first person ever to successfully integrate himself with the chimpanzee colony even being given a position in their hierarchy structure.

After studying at the University of Oklahoma, Elliott was summoned to Los Angeles to adapt what he had learned for Greystoke. With his comprehensive knowledge of apes' behavior and morphology, Elliott became involved in the construction of the animal garb for the film. He then cast and trained a troupe of actors to form Tarzan's adopted family, also choreographing the stunts and fight sequences involving the apes.

With Darwinian logic, Elliott's next project was to create early civilization in Jean Jacques Annaud's film Quest for Fire. Since then, Elliott has brought his unique style of choreography to bear on film after film; whether it's a totally realistic animal study as seen in Gorillas in the Mist, the last surviving neanderthal man in Missing Link or, most recently, a diverse group of genetic mutants in The Island of Dr. Moreau.

MAK WILSON is the principal puppeteer for juvenile and adult Buddy.

Wilson's resume reads like a list of all major puppetry projects in the eighties. His first project was Jim Henson's fantasy film The Dark Crystal. In the Tarzan film, Greystoke, Wilson played Tarzan's ape friend Figs, as well as providing the voice of Mother Ape.

Wilson's work can also be seen (even though he can't be) in the films Babe, Pinocchio (in both films he operated the title character), Return to Oz, Santa Claus - The Movie, Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Bear.

His television credits include Jim Henson's The Storyteller, Splitting Image, Jim Henson's Ghost of Faffner Hall, Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories and Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake.

Prior to his film and television work, Wilson toured Europe for eight years as a performer with various theatre and puppet troupes.

In the hit film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wilson performed the role of Michelangelo. He also played Earl in 65 episodes of the Emmy Award winning television series Dinosaurs. More recently, Wilson has worked on Babe, Loch Ness and Pinocchio.

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