By Jim Bucher
June 14, 2014
I started a list.
Now it’s not a complete list, just what I can come up from the top of my head.
Famous people born in the Miami Valley or close to at least, sorta like horseshoes.
Let’s see, well of course Martin Sheen, the late Jonathan Winters and Erma Bombeck. Can’t forget the Lowe brothers, Rob and Chad.
How about Allison Janney, Dorian Harewood or Gary Sandy and Gordon Jump from the old WKRP in Cincinnati sit-com.
Mystro Clark, Cathy Guisewite and we can’t forget the voice of Bart Simpson himself, Nancy Cartwright.
And Xenia’s own Charlie Grapewin an actor best known for his roll as Dorothy’s father in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
And we can’t forget comedian Dave Chappelle who calls Yellow Springs home, but I understand has a couple of properties in Xenia.
The ‘list’ goes on and on and I’m positive I’ll hear from my loyal readers who I missed, so don’t let me down.
But what about a young man by the name of William Christopher Stephens. William Christopher Stephens you ask, who is he?
Well, chances are you’ve seen the Meadowdale High School grad in a thing or two from a Wendy’s commercial to the Hollywood blockbuster.
“I’m an only child, so I have a pretty active imagination. I used to entertain myself making Kung-Fu comedy tapes on my parents JVC boom-box back in the day, so I was already acting before I even knew about the profession. I really got into it after my first play at Meadowdale, Woody Allen’s “Don’t Drink The Water.” I decided late in my Junior year that I wanted to go pro.” Says William.
But before he decided on a thespian career there was a stop along the way in the military.
“I have a tremendous respect for those who serve full time. It’s takes a lot of faith & courage. Those two aspects contributed to my career. It’s funny, one of my Drill Sgt. confided in me after my graduation that he was a “Closeted Actor.” One day he called me into his office and made this huge, grand gesture, knocking everything off his desk, including his favorite coffee cup, and made me do push ups on top of it. He later told me he did that for effect.” Stephens says with a laugh.
Then William was paid for a play reading and was hooked, but like any profession there are others out there looking to do the same thing. His philosophy is simple.
“The journey will always have its ups & downs, even at the highest level of the game. The only thing you can control is your perspective and your preparation. If you thought it was competitive before, look at the market now. You got to compete with actors globally now. An instructor & mentor told me early on that the desire trumps talent any day of the week. People can get lazy and comfortable off being “talented”. The person with desire can easily surpass them.”
Think it’s safe to say, it’s a tough business but it really helps when you’re pulling up stakes and moving to Los Angeles to have supporting parents and William does.
“My folks (Bill and Jewel Stephens) have been great supporters. Even when they had doubts they never spoke of them. Of course they always encouraged me to find something stable and means to support myself, but they’ve always been in my corner. It can be rough at times until you can get a foothold. I think God blessed me with the best patron of arts ever!”
William has apperaed in many things, but the one he’s most proud of is a recent box office smash that you may have heard of.
“Ah yes, The Avengers was a dream come true. I prayed & played hard for that one! It came out of me doing a 3wk workshop with the office who cast it. You can see me in the interview montage after the main battle in NYC. The real joy was doing a premiere in Dayton and sharing it with my hometown.” Stephens says.
Now if I may add an editorial comment here, that’s AWESOME!
Next up for William is a commercial shoot and a video game, but what are his future plans?
“It’s been said that if you ever want to make God laugh, tell him what you’ve got planned. I have some personal goals, but as long as I’m blessed with doing what I love & loving what do, I couldn’t ask for more.”
So as far as William Christopher Stephens career goes, stay tuned. — Cheers! Buch