Insights and Observations
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Thursday, June 24, 2004
By Henry Hinton
Pirates making waves in
I admit I cannot watch the College World Series on
ESPN. It’s just too painful. But wait.... Pirates were still dominating
prime time national television this week.
There I was with my TV remote in hand on Monday night
doing what every red-blooded American male should be doing…. flipping from
channel to channel. Drives my wife crazy. I love it.
CBS was featuring former East Carolina Playhouse
starlet Emily Proctor (class of ’91) in CSI Miami. Emily has been featured
in that prime time hit for two seasons now after a short stint on the NBC
mega-hit West Wing.
Flipping… flipping… oh, it’s HBO. Can it be? Oh, my, it
is. My friend Beth Grant starring in a bizarre episode of Six Feet Under
(actually all of their episodes are bizarre).
Beth Grant (class of ’71) has had a long and very
successful career in Hollywood. Unlike some other high profile ECU folks,
she has not forgotten where it all started. Far from it. Beth still loves
the Pirates and keeps up with what is happening in Greenville on a regular
After leaving Greenville, Grant moved to the West Coast
and quickly became one of the top character actors in the business. She has
a face that everyone recognizes but a name that few know.
She has had roles in over 50 feature films and way too
many television programs to count.
Her resume lists some of the top movies of the last ten
years, including Speed, Rain Man, A Time to Kill, The Rookie, Pearl Harbor,
Rock Star, City Slickers II and Dr. Dolittle, just to name a few.
She currently also has recurring television program
roles on Malcom in the Middle, Yes Dear and King of the Hill.
The strange role in this week’s episode of Six Feet
Under prompted me to give her a call live on the air on Monday on our Talk
of the Town program. I had to give her some good natured ribbing about the
character she plays, who dies, comes back to life and does some rather
risqué things with one of the lead characters in the show.
I caught her on her cell phone on one of those awful LA
freeways on her way to tape some voiceovers for King of the Hill.
“I cleared this with my husband before I did it,” Grant
joked about the role on Six Feet Under. “I was hoping that one might slip
under the radar.”
Grant was responding in a somewhat embarrassed tone.
She sounded like she owed the home folks an explanation… a little like a kid
caught doing something wrong.
Grant has nothing to apologize for. She is in the midst
of an amazing career in Hollywood. It’s just getting better. She has just
won an award equivalent on the West Coast to a Tony for Best Actress.
Recently Grant received Best Actress in the L.A.
Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of an abused Southern Baptist woman
in “The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife.” The play also
received Best Production accolades.
She was also honored for that same role with a Best
Actress award from the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards. In short, Beth
Grant is at the top of her game right now.
But, forget the Pirates? No way.
Two years ago when she was about to open in The Rookie,
a movie in which she starred with Dennis Quaid, Grant came to Greenville for
a special preview screening of the film to raise money for the ECU Alumni
Association and the new Pirate baseball stadium.
While in town she took in an ECU baseball game and
spent some time touring the campus she loves.
A week later when the film had its official premier in
New York City, Grant’s daughter Mary was donning a special baseball cap
purchased at UBE on her trip to Greenville.
“Mary wore that ECU baseball cap when she did the press
line at the premier of The Rookie in New York,” said Grant.
If her Greenville friends don’t keep her up to date
enough on happenings at ECU Beth Grant can rely on another rabid Pirate fan
who lives in Cary. Her brother, Bubba Grant, is a fixture at ECU football
and basketball games and delivers Pirate updates to his sister on a regular
Grant has several feature films being released in the
near future but is excited about a kids movie she did a few years ago that
is being re-released this summer. Donnie Darco, which has become somewhat of
a kids cult favorite, hits New York and Los Angeles in mid-July and is
expected to find its way around the country later this summer.
Asked if she might be able to see her beloved Pirates
on the football field this fall, Grant regrettably replied, “I’ll be opening
in a new play in September so it’s going to be a tough football season for
me. But I’ll be with you in spirit.”
And, Beth, your Pirate friends are behind you and with
you in spirit. You are making ECU proud. You go girl!
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02/23/2007 10:13:42 AM