A Simple Wish: About The Cast

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MARTIN SHORT (Murray) made his feature film debut co-starring with Steve Martin and Chevy Chase in Three Amigos. Among his other film credits are Innerspace, Cross My Heart, The Big Picture, Three Fugitives, Clifford, Pure Luck, Captain Ron, and as the unforgettable Franck in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride 2. Shorts most recent film projects include Jungle2Jungle with Tim Allen and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! Short recently returned to the stage in a critically-acclaimed limited run of Neil Simon and Burt Bacharach's Promises, Promises as part of New York's City Center Encore! series.

A native of Canada, Short joined the SCTV Comedy Network in 1982, where he won both an Emmy Award and its Canadian equivalent, The Gemini. In 1984, he joined the Saturday Night Live troupe, where he immortalized such memorable characters as Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers Jr., legendary song writer Irving Cohen, and misfit lawyer Nathan Thurm.

In the last ten years, Short has written, produced and starred in three highly acclaimed comedy specials: Martin Shorts Concert for the North Americas (Ace Award), I, Martin Short Goes Hollywood (Ace Award), and The Show Formerly Known as the Martin Short Show (Emmy Award).

Short studied social work at McMaster University before appearing in his first professional production, Godspell. His Canadian stage productions include the role of Snoopy in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, What's a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This?, The Apple Tree, Harry's Back in Town and Second City. In recent years, Short appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon's musical version of The Goodbye Girl, receiving a Tony Award nomination as well as the Outer Critics Circle and Theater World Awards and starred in director Lawrence Kasdan's production of John Patrick Shanley's Four Dogs and a Bone at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

In 1994, Short was awarded the "Order of Canada" (Canadian equivalent to British Knighthood) by the Canadian Government.


KATHLEEN TURNER (Claudia), since making her film debut in Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat, has remained a firm presence in a series of highly-divergent roles in film, television and theater. Nominated for an Academy Award® as Best Actress for her performance in Peggy Sue Got Married, Turner starred in such films as Romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile, The War of the Roses, The Accidental Tourist, Prizzi's Honor and Serial Mom. Her additional film credits include The Man with Two Brains, Switching Channels, Crimes of Passion, Julia and Julia, V.I. Warshawski, Undercover Blues, House of Cards, Moonlight and Valentino, and she provided the voice for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Turner won the Golden Globe Award and the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for her performance in Romancing the Stone. She received her second Golden Globe Award for her performance in Prizzi's Honor. For her performance in Body Heat, she received a Golden Globe nomination and a British Academy Award® nomination for Best Actress. In addition to her Academy Award nomination for her performance in Peggy Sue Got Married, she also received a Golden Globe nomination and the National Board of Review Award.

Turner made her directorial debut for Showtime with Leslie's Folly.

On stage, Turner has starred on Broadway in Jean Cocteaus' Indiscretions and as Maggie the Cat in the 1989 Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Additional stage credits include the Broadway production of Gemini, Camille at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut and Travesties, The Seagull, Toyer and A Midsummers Night Dream at the prestigious Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

This summer, Turner returns to the stage for her British debut at the Chichester Festival Theater. Michael Rudman directs Turner in two plays: Sandra Ryan Heyward's Tallulah and Somerset Maugham's Our Betters.

Turner was born in Missouri, but her fathers career as a foreign service diplomat enabled her to live in Canada, Cuba, Venezuela and England. It was in London that Turner first became interested in acting.

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Maryland, Turner moved to New York and began doing local theater which led her to a starring role on the soap opera, The Doctors.


Nine-year-old MARA WILSON (Anabel Greening), the youngest Nato-Show West Star of Tomorrow, most recently starred in the title role of Matilda, opposite Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman.

At age five, Wilson began pestering her parents to send her on auditions after her older brother, Danny, had appeared in several commercials, television shows and films. Within weeks of signing with an agent, she was cast in commercials for Oscar Mayer, Texaco, Bank of America and Marshall's.

Several months later, she found herself reading for the role of Natalie Hillard for Robin Williams, which led to her feature film debut at age six in Mrs. Doubtfire. She then beat out every little boy across the country for the lead role in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.

Wilson has also appeared on television in the NBC movie A Time to Heal and in a recurring role as the daughter of a Russian immigrant on the popular series Melrose Place.


ROBERT PASTORELLI (Oliver Greening) will star next season in the new ABC one-hour drama, Cracker. In the lead role, Pastorelli portrays 'Gerry "Fitz" Fitzgerald', a sarcastic LAPD psychologist with a deep understanding of the criminal mind, in this series based on the British drama of the same name.

A New Jersey native, Pastorelli drifted through a series of jobs before focusing on acting. He trained at the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts and The Actors Studio before participating in a work-study program at the Performing Arts Gallery, where he studied with such noted teachers as Michael Schulman. He appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions including Cosmos In Love, End as A Man, Death of a Salesman, Bus Stop, The Rainmaker, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Gray Spades, Lovers and Other Strangers, Mere Mortals, Down the Tubes opposite Bill Murray and Geography of a Horse Dreamer for which he received the Soho Arts Award for Best Actor.

On the big screen, Pastorelli received widespread notice as a dramatic actor for his role in Kevin Costner's Dances With Wolves. His other feature credits include the action-thriller, Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vanessa Williams and the Nora Ephron comedy, Michael with John Travolta and William Hurt. Other credits include Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Striking Distance, The Paint Job, Folks, Outrageous Fortune and Beverly Hills Cop 2.

Pastorelli's television credits include Murphy Brown and the lead role on the series Double Rush, as well as a number of guest-starring roles on such series as Barney Miller, Cagney and Lacey, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere and Beauty and the Beast. His roles for television movies have included acclaimed performances in West Side Waltz, Harmful Intent and The Yarn Princess.


FRANCIS CAPRA (Charlie Greening) made his first foray onto the big screen when, at nine years old, he won the coveted role of young Calogero at an open call for Robert DeNiro's directorial debut A Bronx Tale. In the critically acclaimed film, Capra plays DeNiro's young son; a boy who becomes charmed by the power of the criminal life and falls under the influence of a small time mob boss (Chazz Palmintari) who takes the boy under his wing and into his world.

Capra's next role came in the sequel hit Free Willy 2 in which he played the role of Elvis. Capra also starred in the CBS series My Guys. Last summer, Capra was seen opposite Shaquille O'Neal in the feature film Kazaam.

AMANDA PLUMMER (Boots) made her feature film debut as an outlaw in the 1980 western Cattle Annie and Little Britches. Since then, Plummer has gone on to play a wide variety of memorable characters including Honey Bunny in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction ; and Lydia, the girl Robin Williams envisions as his perfect maiden in The Fisher King. Her numerous other feature credits include roles in Hotel New Hampshire, Made in Heaven, Daniel, The World According to Garp, Needful Things (for which she received the horror worlds Saturn Award), Seraph, Nostradamus and the international feature Butterfly Kiss. She will next be seen in American Perfekt, directed by Paul Chart and starring David Thewlis and Robert Forster.

Plummer has also garnered numerous accolades for her television work and has twice been the recipient of an Emmy Award: in 1992 for her work in the NBC Hallmark presentation Miss Rose White, and again in 1996 for her guest performance in an episode of the Showtime series, The Outer Limits.

She made her New York stage debut in Artichoke at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1979, and her Broadway debut as Jo in the 1991 revival of A Taste of Honey with Valerie French a performance which garnered her the Theatre World Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations. In 1982, she won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Award and Boston Critics Award for her performance in Agnes of God with Geraldine Page and Elizabeth Ashley. In 1983, she performed opposite Jessica Tandy in the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie. In 1985, she appeared in A Lie of the Mind directed by Sam Shepard, and in 1987, received her third Tony nomination for her performance in Pygmalion opposite Peter O'Toole.


TERI GARR (Rena) had already made her debut as a professional dancer, by the age of thirteen, with a San Francisco-based ballet company which led to her first television appearance on the music/dance show Shindig. She attended North Hollywood High School and later attended Cal State University/Northridge where she majored in speech and dance. Continuing her drama studies, she trained with Charles Conrad and Lee Strasberg. While Garr's dancing can be seen in nine Elvis Presley movies, her first speaking role in motion pictures was in the 1969 feature Head, starring The Monkees.

In the 1970's she became well established in television with appearances on Star Trek, It Takes a Thief, McCloud and as a semi-regular on The Sonny and Cher Show as Cher's friend, Olivia.

Garr has since risen to become one of Hollywood's most versatile, energetic and well-recognized actresses starring in many memorable films including Young Frankenstein, Oh God!, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Mom and her Academy Award®-nominated performance for Best Supporting Actress in Tootsie. She is also well-known for her roles in The Black Stallion, One From the Heart, After Hours, The Escape Artists, Firstborn, Let It Ride, Full Moon in Blue Water, Out Cold, Short Time, Waiting for the Light, Mom and Dad Save the World.

She was last seen on screen in Michael with John Travolta and Andie MacDowell. Other recent films include A Perfect Alibi and Robert Altman's Ready-To-Wear, Pret-A-Porter.

Most recently, Garr did a hilarious turn as the birth-mother of televisions most popular ditz - Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) on NBC's hit sitcom Friends. Previously, fans were treated to Garr's return to television in two NBC telefilms that aired this spring: Murder Live! and Night Screams.

Her other varied television performances include: the CBS sitcom Women of the House, starring opposite Delta Burke; a starring role in the ABC sitcom Good and Evil ; the CBS sitcom Good Advice ; the NBC television movie Fugitive Nights opposite Sam Elliott; Deliver Them From Evil: The Taking of Alta View ; Stranger in the Family and the HBO series Dream On.


RUBY DEE (Hortense) has appeared in such diverse films as A Raisin in the Sun, The Jackie Robinson Story, Buck and the Preacher, Just Cause, and Spike Lee's Jungle Fever and Do The Right Thing. For television, she has appeared in such movies-of-the-week and series' as The James Mink Story, The Stand, Evening Shade, Middle Ages, China Beach, Martin Luther King: The Dream and the Drum, The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson and Roots: The Next Generation. She garnered an Emmy Award for her work in Hallmarks Decoration Day, an Ace Award for her performance as Mary Tyrone in Long Days Journey Into Night, and was acclaimed as an author and player in Zora Is My Name for American Playhouse. With husband Ossie Davis, through their production company, Emmalyn II Productions, Dee and Davis produced three seasons of the critically-acclaimed PBS series With Ossie and Ruby, as well as co-produced the film Countdown to Kusini in Nigeria with the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 1995, Dee and Davis were honored for their achievements with the prestigious National Medal of Arts Award.

Dee has appeared extensively on stage, most recently as both adapter and narrator for Crossroads Theater Company's production of The Disappearance, based on the novel by Rosa Guy - the first in a series Dee calls "Books With Legs." In addition to being awarded an Obie for her work in Boseman and Lena and a Drama Desk Award for Wedding Band, she has appeared on Broadway in Checkmates and as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Dee and Davis, with their son, Guy Davis, most recently completed work on the storytelling, folklore and musical revue Two Hah Hahs And A Homeboy, also at Crossroads.

As a writer, Dee's works include My One Good Nerve, a compilation of short stories, humor and poetry; adaptations of two African folktales for children, Two Ways to Count to Ten which won a Literary Guild Award in 1989, and Tower to Heaven released in 1991.

Ruby Dee has a B.A. from Hunter College and is also a product of Harlem and The American Negro Theater.

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