In 1975 my brother William and I were both in Mrs. Lambert’s Drama department at Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, California. One day a young Matthew Modine enrolled. His handsome features cried out “leading man!” and he landed his first starring role in “Our Town”. I played the town drunk. After that we did an abbreviated version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream“, he played Theseus, I played a messenger that interrupted his trysting with Hypolita. The roles I had were small, but I always left the audience applauding and cheering. The next play was a french farce, the lead man didn’t have to look like Brad Pitt (he wore a mask) so I challenged Matt in open auditions and beat him for the role. He promptly dropped out of school and did very well for himself!
Here is a short Bio from imbd.com
Matthew is the youngest of 7 children. After graduating high school in Imperial Beach, Ca., Modine moved to NYC (1979). While still a student at Stella Adler’s Conservatory of Acting, Matthew began landing roles in film, and later theatre and television. A partial list of his films include Birdy, Married to the Mob, Vision Quest, Full Metal Jacket, Gross Anatomy, The Browning Version, Pacific Heights, Any Given Suday, Memphis Belle, and Shortcuts. Matthew is the recipient of a Golden Globe Award, Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup and Golden Lion. Mary, directed by Abel Ferrara, won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Birdy won the Cannes Film Festival Gran Prix. Equinox, directed by Alan Rudolph, received four Independent Spirit Award nominations including Best Actor and Best Film.
I am very proud of Matthew, and follow his work admiringly. Although I was inducted into the International Thespian Society I never considered pursuing acting as a career.
My finest moment came later that year when we entered the regional competition. We were competing at “the rich school” who were the favorites to win. We chose a scene from “Equus“. The entire entry was basically my solo performance (I played the psychiatrist). The “rich school” (Bonita) did an excerpt from “Taming of the Shrew“. My monologue tied the entire casts performance point for point! It was an unexpected draw. Needing a solution, the judges gave them 1 extra point for doing Shakespeare.
A couple of Seasons ago the “Glee” finale tackled a similar topic. I’m glad they played their hearts out and didn’t win the competition. Glee presented life as it really is.
In conclusion, Matt, wherever you are, well done man! I’m forever your fan.