Mine was a happy childhood with a typical English upbringing: an estate in the country and a house in town, private school, my own manservant, etc., etc. However I was born with a restless spirit and at age 19 I gave it all up for the life of the traveling folksinger in Canada, which surprisingly had none at the time.
A year later, this same nervous energy caused me to drop folk singing and join Michel Choquette in a comedy duo we called The Times Square Two. For the next five years we appeared in coffee houses, night clubs, and concert halls, as well as such TV shows as The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Dean Martin Show, The Gold Diggers, The Johnny Carson Show, and The Kraft Music Hall -- and many more.
After the demise of The Times Square Two I studied acting with the improvisational comedy troupes "The Committee" and "The Second City." For the next 20 years I appeared on stage in Shakespeare and on screen in Taxi, WKRP in Cincinnati, Laverne and Shirley, Rhoda, Phyllis, Shaft, and numerous cops and robbers shows. I also appeared in films, perhaps none more interesting than Phantom of the Paradise, in which I also sang and danced -- and choreographed.
Soon after, inspired by Story Theater and my sons, Dimitri and Simon, I wrote and directed an evening of children's stories, called "The Tales of Uncle Jo." I have no idea who Uncle Jo was.
In 1979, I created, co-authored, and co-edited the satirical best-selling book, The 1980's - A Look Back. (Ten years later, in 1989, we wrote the sequel, The 1990's - A Look Back. I also swam the English Channel -- backwards -- and wrote numerous television specials, The Best of Ed Sullivan amongst them.
In 1980 and 1981, I produced and directed a series of late night stage shows called The Hollywood Primary, a satirical cabaret with alumni of "The Committee", "The Second City," and "The National Lampoon."
Soon after, Garry Goodrow and I wrote a film called "Big Baby," which was bought by Disney and turned into Honey, I Blew up the Kid. I was now devoting so much time to writing that I gave up acting altogether. But, since I didn't know what I was doing I joined Jim Krusoe's writing workshop at Santa Monica City College. After a couple of years I had my first success with the children's book, Aria.
Six long, long years later I finished my first novel, The Food Taster. It was published in 2003, in the United States and has since been published in 20 countries. It's slowly, but surely on its way to becoming a film -- as well as an opera and theme park.
In 2004, I filmed a children's story I had written called "Archie the Anteater." It combines live action, stills, puppets, and animation. Miraculously the pieces work together. I have just completed its companion piece -- an audio version of "Freddy, Or How the Rhinoceros Got His Horn."
I had always wanted to do something along the lines of my early inspirations, the silent movie comedians, and so I created the character of Mr. Vinégar -- or Mr. Vin-EH-gar as he prefers to be called -- for the short film, "Mr. Vinégar and the Crossword." I made another short, "Mr. Vinégar and the Curse," and have just finished six vinegrettes (short Mr. Vinégars). I will continue to make more up until I make the feature, "Keep Moving" sometime in 2011.
My life has almost come full circle. I returned to acting some time ago, first in commercials but more recently in webisodes and short films. I look forward to doing more of both on stage and screen.