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Henry's Highlights
Thursday, June 24, 2004

By Henry Hinton

Pirates making waves in conspicuous places


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 basis.

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.

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Audio Archive: Replay Beth Grant's interview on Talk of the Town: Select the 06.21.04 clip...

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 basis.

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

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