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Five Questions For: Peter Gallagher

July 14, 2011

Peter GallagherOn July 25, Peter Gallagher and Liz Callaway will head out to the Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, NJ, for The Actors Fund’s CelibriTee Golf and Tennis Outing. In advance of the event, Gallagher, the day’s Golf Chair, took some time out to share some tips, an anecdote about golfing with Jack Lemmon, and why everyone should come out and support The Fund.

AF:You’ve been supporting The Actors Fund for years. Why is the organization important to you?
Gallagher: I love The Actors Fund because it’s not just for actors but for all the pros—dancers, musicians, copyists—everybody without whom telling a story would be very difficult and very lonely! The only difference between those of us who are able to contribute to The Actors Fund and those of us who desperately need what The Fund provides is luck:  there is no difference.

I suspect that each and every one of us who has a job, this week, understands that we’re very, very lucky—and that it can change in a heart beat… Fortunately when the shoe is on the other foot chances are it’ll be a pretty nice one thanks to Conrad Cantzen and his Shoe Fund. In a time when so many traditional methods of social assistance are threatened, it’s essential that those of us that can, do something for our own.

You’re generously giving The Actors Fund your time—yet again—this time as the Golf Chair for July 25th’s CelebriTee Golf and Tennis Outing. Why do you think people should come out and support The Fund this way?
Golf outings can raise a lot of money for essential services and can provide opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds and professions who might never have had the chance to meet, find common ground and strengthen relationships in the community. Plus, it really makes you appreciate your day job—it becomes quickly apparent that there is no way any of us could ever make a living playing golf—instant common ground.

You’ve played a lot of golf and participated in numerous golf fundraisers throughout your career. Do you have any particular anecdotes that come to mind?
Jack Lemmon gave me my first set of golf clubs. We were doing Long Day’s Journey Into Night a few years ago and he spoke constantly about his love of golf and his ambition to someday make the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am…and in spite of the fact that I couldn’t hit the ball at all but was interested in the game, he would take me golfing all the time. To this day I’m astounded at his patience. A big crowd would gather on the first tee once they realized it was Lemmon and he’d hit a nice drive down the middle and I’d hit a big banana in the woods and he’d remark cheerily in front of the gallery “That’s a piece of sh**!”, the gallery would roar and we’d be off. There are a million more where that came from.

Can you share any golf tips you’ve learned along the way?
My favorite is: “take two weeks off and then quit.” A little more useful is to think about tempo—sort of a jazz waltz—it’s a good swing thought before you hit and hope. “Slow it down to a blur”—that’s a good one too.

Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on that we should keep an eye out for?
I’m currently shooting the second season of Covert Affairs for USA and just finished Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, a movie with Marcia Gay Harden, Ellen Burstyn, Lucy Liu and Toby Regbo. I continue to work on and perform a one man show of songs and stories about my beginnings in the business and some of the remarkable guys I’ve worked with like Lemmon and Cagney, O’Toole etc. I better tell these stories soon while there are still people around who know who I’m talking about!

The Actors Fund’s CelebriTee Golf and Tennis Outing will be held on Monday, July 25 at the Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, New Jersey. Call 212.221.7300 ext. 133 or email tickets@actorsfund.org for more information.

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