AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE
CAST & CREW BIOS


CAST

Sharon Gless (Narrator) has brought her own brand of humor, intelligence and dramatic flair to each of her roles.  She is best known for her portrayal of New York Police Detective Christine Cagney on the hit series CAGNEY & LACEY.  The role garnered her two Emmys®, a Golden Globe®, and six Emmy® nominations.  Gless then re-teamed with the show's executive producer, Barney Rosenzweig, on THE TRIALS OF ROSIE O’NEILL, for which she was awarded her second Golden Globe® and two more Emmy® nominations.  Her other television credits include SWITCH, HOUSE CALLS, and TURNABOUT.  Gless has received much acclaim for her dramatic roles in such television movies as SEPARATED BY MURDER, HARD HAT AND LEGS, HONOR THY MOTHER, HOBSON’S CHOICE and LETTING GO.  She also starred in the mini-series THE IMMIGRANTS, THE LAST CONVERTIBLE, CENTENNIAL, and Garson Kanin's MOVIOLA: THE SCARLETT O’HARA WARS, in which she played screen goddess Carole Lombard.  Gless has appeared on stage in MISERY and CHAPTER TWO in London's West End, as well as on film in THE STAR CHAMBER.  Gless joined the cast of the groundbreaking Showtime series QUEER AS FOLK at the outset, starring as Debbie Novotny.

Janne Peters (Kay Gonda) originated the role of Kay Gonda in 1989 for the World Premier of Ayn Rand’s IDEAL, directed by Michael Paxton.  She won a DRAMALOGUE Award and a Drama Critics Circle nomination for her performance.  In New York, she received an ACE Award for her role as Marlene in the Off-Broadway production of Fassbinder's THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT.  She has worked at various regional theatres, including the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, Ford's Theatre, and the touring company of the Washington DC Shakespeare Festival.  Her film and TV credits include Lizzie Borden's WORKING GIRL, Wes Craven's SHOCKER, L. A. LAW and PARENTHOOD.

Additional IDEAL Cast:

  Kay Gonda   Janne Peters
  Inspector Gavin David Gautreaux
  Mick Watts Mark Tymchyshyn
  George S. Perkins Peter Van Norden
  Chuck Fink Jon Chardiet
  Dwight Langley Michel R. Gill
  Claude Ignatius Hix Francis Guinan
  Dietrich von Esterhazy Peter Sands
  Johnnie Dawes Tony Colitti
  Cop #1 William Mark Mayes
  Cop #2 Mike Spiewak
  Man in Movie Stills Michael Keller
  Additional Voice-Over Paul Collins

FILMMAKERS

Michael Paxton (Writer/Producer/Director) brings his experience in live action film, animation and theater to AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE.  After receiving his M. F. A. at New York University's Graduate Institute of Film and TV, he co-produced and directed the award-winning world premiere of Ayn Rand's play, IDEAL, at the Melrose Theater in Hollywood in 1989.  In 1991, he adapted and directed a dramatic presentation of Miss Rand's futuristic novelette, ANTHEM, to sold-out houses at Hollywood's Lex Theatre. He also co-directed A PLACE IN THE CIRCLE, a documentary on the Black Native American experience.  He was the Assistant Director on the live-action/animated feature, THE PAGEMASTER, for Turner Pictures, Visual Effects Coordinator on STUART LITTLE 2 for Sony Pictures, and the Associate Producer on THE LION KING 1 ½ for Disney.  Aside from his companion book to A SENSE OF LIFE, he has been a freelance writer of children’s books for the Walt Disney Company.  Currently, Mr. Paxton is a writer/producer for Creative Capers Entertainment, Inc.

Jeff Britting (Associate Producer/Composer) studied music and philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley.  He co-produced and composed incidental scores for the 1989 world premiere of IDEAL and the stage adaptation of ANTHEM.  Mr. Britting contributed writing and music to Patrick Burton's theatre work, UNTIL, starring Quentin Crisp and is co-producer of the forthcoming feature film TAKE TWO, directed by Sharyn Blumenthal. As a film composer, his scores include COFFEE DATE and STAG PARTY, directed by Stewart Wade, and THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, directed by Caroline Carrigan.  Mr. Britting is currently composing an opera set in the Middle Ages based on an original libretto and is also the author of the forthcoming short biography, AYN RAND (The Overlook Press, 2004).

Ellen Raphael (Line Producer).Ellen's roots were as a Stage Manager in Regional Theatre and on and off Broadway on such Tony Award winning shows as MORNINGS AT SEVEN and AMADEUS.  While in New York, Ellen also worked on several THEATRE IN AMERICA projects.  Upon arriving in California, she began working in film and television, starting at KCET with the series, TRYING TIMES, proceeding to POWER IN THE PACIFIC and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. Ellen moved on to RESCUE 911 where she was Production Supervisor of reenactments for four years.   In feature films, aside from Line Producing A SENSE OF LIFE, she was the Production Supervisor on BLESSED ART THOU and the location Production Manager on Disney's Dinosaur (shooting live back-plates for the animated characters).  Ellen returned to television as a Line Producer and worked with Studios USA on the series, ARREST AND TRIAL, and then with 44 Blue on THE CHRISTOPHER LOWELL SHOW and CELL DOGS.  Ellen Line Produced the Discovery series, MOMENTS IN TIME, and is currently Line Producing 240 episodes of the series, A PLACE OF OUR OWN & LOS NINOS EN SU CASA—a ground-breaking series designed to assist childcare givers of pre-school age children—for KCET.

Alik Sakharov, ASC (Director of Photography), is a native of the former Soviet Union and studied philology and philosophy at Moscow State University.  Mr. Sakharov brings a wealth of documentary and feature film experience to AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE.  His feature film work includes LULU ON THE BRIDGE, ANIMALS, LOVE! VALOR! COMPASSION!, COMFORTABLY NUMB, MIDNIGHT EDITION and BIG AND MEAN, in addition to his own directorial debut, PAUSA.  Sakharov's television work includes SEX AND THE CITY, as well as, HBO’s megahit THE SOPRANOS, for which he established “the look.

Lauren Schaffer (Editor) hails from New York and studied film, photography and anthropology at the American University in Washington, D. C.  She has edited a variety of feature films, documentaries and episodic television.  Her most recent credits include THE WEST WING and HBO’s original series DEADWOOD.  She currently resides with her family in Los Angeles, California.

INTERVIEWEES

Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D., taught philosophy and philosophy of education at California State University, Northridge.  Beginning in the 1960s, he attended workshops and talks by Ayn Rand (who expressed shock when he told her he actually liked living in Los Angeles).  He was the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute from its founding in 1985 until 2000.  Now Senior Advisor to the Ayn Rand Archives, he has written the official catalog of Ayn Rand’s papers and has lectured on Ayn Rand’s life throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Australia and Israel. He is the editor of LETTERS OF AYN RAND and Ayn Rand’s RUSSIAN WRITINGS ON HOLLYWOOD.

Harry Binswanger was a longtime student of Ayn Rand and became her close friend during her final years.  Dr. Binswanger has taught philosophy at Hunter College (City University of New York) and the University of Texas, Austin.  He is the author of THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF TELEOLOGICAL CONCEPTS, the editor of THE AYN RAND LEXICON and co-editor of the second edition of AYN RAND’S INTRODUCTION TO OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY.  He has spoken and debated at dozens of universities in the U.S., Canada and Europe on topics in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, esthetics, and politics.  He is currently professor of philosophy at the Ayn Rand Institute's Objectivist Academic Center and is a member of ARI's board of directors.

Sylvia Bokor worked in New York City as a free-lance cover illustrator (for various publishers such as Warner and Avon), and then as a story and text illustrator for READER’S DIGEST and Time-Life.  In the early 1960s, she began attending lectures by Ayn Rand, for whom she ultimately did a few small research jobs.  An accomplished painter, she has also written on the history of painting.

Daniel Greene, N.A., is an accomplished portrait, figure, and still life painter. He is renowned for his oils and is one of the world’s leading pastelists. His works have been featured in numerous exhibitions, and hang in more than 500 public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, and National Collection of Fine Arts. In addition to his portrait of Ayn Rand, which he painted in 1959, he is the author of PASTEL and THE ART OF PASTEL. He was awarded a gold medal by the Portrait Society of America and holds a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Portrait Artists.

Cynthia Peikoff, while attending Columbia University, worked as Ayn Rand's personal secretary, and a friendship grew between them.  After Ayn Rand died, Ms. Peikoff saved and catalogued all of Ayn Rand's papers and memorabilia, hoping that one day a museum would be built in the author’s honor, such as the one in Paris at Victor Hugo's home. Those materials now constitute the major collection of the Ayn Rand Archives, a department of the Ayn Rand Institute.  Ms. Peikoff lives in Irvine, California, where she is in private practice as a psychotherapist.

 

Leonard Peikoff, Ph.D., Philosophy, 1964; New York University.  Dr. Peikoff, Ayn Rand's associate for more than 30 years and her legal and intellectual heir, is the leading Objectivist philosopher. He is the author of THE OMINOUS PARALLELS, and of OBJECTIVISM: THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND, the first systematic presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy.  Dr. Peikoff has taught philosophy at New York University, Hunter College, the University of Denver and the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.  He is currently at work on a new book, THE DIM HYPOTHESIS.

 

Like several other bright young men who were part of the Rand inner circle (among them Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board), Peikoff was attracted to Objectivism because of its view of man “as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

 

Born in Brooklyn, Al Ramrus began his writing career in 1954 as a police reporter in Canada.  Returning to Brooklyn, in New York, he eventually landed a job as a writer-producer with Mike Wallace.  During these years, he handled TV interviews with Pulitzer Prize and Oscar winners, Nobel laureates, athletes, gangsters, politicians, statesmen, and—most memorably—Ayn Rand, whose intellect, he says, towered above anyone's he had ever encountered.  Thereafter, Ramrus then headed west to Los Angeles to write prize-winning TV documentaries on historical and cultural subjects, as well as television movies and feature films, including GOIN' SOUTH and WORLD WITHOUT SUN, winner of an Academy Award® for best feature documentary.

 

John Ridpath holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia, and taught economics and intellectual history at York University in Toronto.  He writes and speaks in defense of capitalism, on the Founding Fathers, and on the impact throughout Western history of the ideas of major philosophers.  A recipient of numerous teaching awards, and nominee for Canadian Professor of the Year, he continues to lecture throughout Europe and North America.  He first met Ayn Rand in the early 1960s and knew her until her death in 1982.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ayn Rand Institute.

 

Mike Wallace is one of America’s most celebrated television journalists and interviewers.  Wallace studied broadcasting at the University of Michigan and began his announcing career in 1939. Throughout the 1940s he worked in radio, performing on many quiz shows, talk shows, serials, commercials, and news readings.  In the 1950s, he became the hard-edged interviewer in such shows as NIGHT-BEAT and THE MIKE WALLACE INTERVIEWS.  He interviewed Ayn Rand several times from 1957 to 1961, and became legendary in the world of TV journalism on the CBS MORNING NEWS WITH MIKE WALLACE and 60 MINUTES.

 

 
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© Copyright 1997, AG Media Corporation. All Right reserved.
AYN RAND: A SENSE OF LIFE
Narrated by SHARON GLESS Director of Photography ALIK SAKHAROV
Edited by LAUREN SCHAFFER, CHRISTOPHER EARL Music by JEFF BRITTING
Associate Producer JEFF BRITTING Line Producer ELLEN RAPHAEL
Produced, Written & Directed by MICHAEL PAXTON