Joe Michael Terry
Joe Michael Terry is an actor, writer, producer, and film executive who is best known, as an actor, for co-tar performances in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985), Going Undercover(1988) Cannery Row (1982), I'm Going to Be Famous(1983) and First Monday in October (1981) before he quit acting to become the President of the British Film Co... Show more »
Joe Michael Terry is an actor, writer, producer, and film executive who is best known, as an actor, for co-tar performances in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985), Going Undercover(1988) Cannery Row (1982), I'm Going to Be Famous(1983) and First Monday in October (1981) before he quit acting to become the President of the British Film Company Hammer Films at Warner Bros. where he was in charge of developing films for the studio out of the Hammer Film library. At Warner Brothes, Joe worked with major film directors, writers, and producers. As a WGA writer, he has written film scripts for Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier and Directors like Irvin Kershner (who Directed "Star Wars -- The Empire Strikes Back), as well as writing and developing material for many others.Joe-Michael Terry was born in Philadelphia October 23, 1954. And he attended private Catholic schools with his identical twin, Artist Alan F. Terry. Due to a divorce, his mother moved Joe and Alan to their summer home in Southern Florida where the twins finished High School as the first graduating class of the newly built Deerfield Beach High.The twins headed off to separate colleges -- Alan had a full Academic Scholarship to attend the very private Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he mastered in foreign languages before enlisting in the Army as an Army Intelligence officer. And Joe, who had starred in some High School Theater performances, headed off to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He joined the Sigma Nu fraternity and was President of his pledge class, and was the only freshman to make the varsity Debate Team, but after two years at Mercer, Joe met someone he fell in love with and they both transferred schools -- moving to Denver, Colorado where they both enrolled in the private Catholic College, Loretto Heights, which was run by the Sisters of Loretto.At Loretto Heights Joe studied International Relations under teacher, friend, and mentor U.S. Marine Colonel Francis James Kelly (who was the commander of an all Special Forces Unit in Vietnam. An important figure in that war who devised the Army's plans for Unconventional Warfare. John Wayne had played the Colonel in the feature film, The Green Berets). The Colonel had hoped that Joe would graduate Loretto and attend the John F. Kennedy War Memorial College. Unfortunately, Joe's partner, who had become intensely involved in the college's Theater Arts program unwittingly altered Joe's lifeline.Joe's partner, Don Laney, "forced" Joe to act in some one-act plays that Don directed, and Joe displayed an intense, crude raw talent for the craft. It was while starring in a play there, that a New York Broadway Director, who was in Denver with his Broadway Bound stage show "The Belle of Amherst," with the legendary Julie Harris, came to the campus and noticed Joe stand out in a dramatic role. The story goes that the Director was so impressed with Joe that he went back stage after the performance and pushed past the two leads to get to Joe who only had a small, but important part. The Director knew that with the right teachers, Joe could be a star. The Director had founded the musical theater departments at the prestigious Uta Hagen Studios in New York, and was teaching Musical Theater at the Debbie Reynolds School for Acting in Hollywood, California. The Director, on the spot, gave Joe a full scholarship to either school, leaving the decision to Joe to decide which to take.Joe was bit. He could not walk away from this opportunity. And, taking advice from industry professionals, Joe went to Hollywood where he began training at Debbie's school. It wasn't long before he started doing some commercial and print work which lead to small parts in television shows. In time, Joe had some major roles in episodic television, appeared as a regular in a failed pilot that starred triple threat Cloris Leachman, and began to emerge in full length, major motion pictures. Joe's manager was grooming Joe for a film career and, moving slowly into that world, Joe played small, bit parts in huge big budget studio films like "Cannery Row" with Nick Nolte and Debra Winger; "First Monday in October," with superstar Walter Mathau and Jill Clayburgh, etc.But acting parts did not fill the days of the week and Joe started to get behind the camera. He got a job working for a New York talent agent who had just moved to California, Ruth Webb. And soon he became a sub-agent. Ruth represented some very important Hollywood royalty, putting fallen idols into dinner theater. Among others she represented Julie Newmar, Claudette Colbert, Martha Raye, and Mickey Rooney. And when Mickey told Ruth that he had found an investor to produce seven half-hour episodes of a T.V. series but needed to find a line producer, Ruth told Mickey "let Joe do it!" And Joe did. He produced those shows and went on to produce several TV commercials with Mickey. And he would have continued working with Mickey, except that Mickey's son, Tim, fired Joe and took over Joe's job. What can you do? Family, right!So now, having experience with contracts and producing projects, Joe began work on a couple of low- budget films as an associate producer and then, at 23, formed his own production company called LT (Leder Terry) productions. Paul Leder was a director, who is most famous for his success in fathering a successful television writer, Rueben, and a soon to be, today important woman in film - Director Mimi Leder (who worked for Joe as a script supervisor on the film "I'm Going to Be Famous" which Joe co-produced and co-starred in."I'm Going to be Famous" shot on weekends, Friday night to late, late Sunday nights for 21 days. The film was about young Hollywood hopefuls who wanted to make it in Hollywood. And Joe played the key role of "Kevin McGraw" a "sick" would-be actor who claims the he KNOWS he is going to be famous, no matter what no matter how. And when he doesn't get cast in a Broadway bound play, Kevin grabs a gun, appears at the play on opening night and shoots the show's movie star/stage actress -- brilliantly played by TV personality Meredith Macrae. Joe had approached actors he had worked with in Television to work in the film. Directed by Paul Leder, the film starred, among others, the one and only Vivian Blane, Dick Sergeant (from Bewitched), Meredith Macrae, John Gaynes (Tootsie and Police Academy) Roslyn Kind (Barbara Streisand's talented singer sister), Stanley Kamel, and others. When if was finished the film attracted a lot of interest from some of the major studios. And it began Joe getting heavily involved in film production.Ultimately Joe became a WGA film writer who wrote and developed scripts for some major A-list talent. He wrote two scripts for Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier, he developed several scripts, and wrote two for Irvin Kershner (Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back; Never Say Never Again; the Eyes of Laura Mars, etc.), and others. Joe was represented by one of the founding fathers of CAA, Marty Baum (who also represented Sidney Poitier), and Marty began introducing Joe to some important CAA clients. But Joe was given an offer he couldn't refuse. Roy Skeggs, then the Chairman of the Board of the fifty year old major British Film Company, Hammer Films, offered Joe a job as President of the company, here in America.Joe took the job and walked away from his burgeoning writing career in order to shepherd Hammer Films, and its 214 film's in its library, into a major Hollywood Studio Development and Production Deal. The first thing Joe did when he took command of the studio was to fire Hammer Films' agent at CAA because the agent had been ignoring London's call to Hollywood. Then, Joe took the film library to a number of major film producers, looking for an American based Film Production Partner. With the help of their attorney, Barry Hirsch, of Armstrong Hirsch, Joe caused to come into existence a major film production and development deal with Warner Bros. by partnering his company with the company Donner/Shuler Donner (Director Richard Donner of "Lethal Weapon, The Goonies, Superman, Tales from the Crypt, The Omen, etc. and Dick's wife Lauren Shuler Donner, producer of X-Men, Constantine, You've got Mail, and so many others). Over the next couple of years, officed on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Joe worded to develop scripts with Dick and Lauren for Hammer/Donner/Shuller Donner to produce. Joe worked with A level writers and Directors. He had arrived. But tragedy struck.While working at Warner Bros., Joe, who has now been diagnosed and successfully treated for a schizo-affective condition, began to hear voices. He became more and more paranoid. He fell victim to drug abuse, and he got out of control. A lot of people tried to help him, and he tried to help himself, but the actual problem, his mental condition, was not immediately identified. Joe was let go from Hammer with a large severance package paid to him by Chairman of the Board, Roy Skeggs, who told Joe and others, sadly, "Joe was the best President we ever had.... But he had to be let go."Joe became homeless for a while, and filled with shame and disgrace, wandered the streets of Los Angeles. But his family never gave up on him. His brother, Alan, did everything imaginable to rescue Joe. And people like Randolph Davis, who had been one of Joe's best friends and writing partners, for twenty years, misdiagnosed his problem as being drug related. Then, after being hospitalized in the Cedars Sinai Thalien Psychiatric ward for trying to kill himself, a psychiatrist realized that Joe was schizo-affective.And the long process of finding the right combination of drugs to "fix" him began.It took almost ten years to find the right combination to restore Joe to "sanity." And for the last ten years, Joe has been dealing with the shame and the guilt of "having had it all" and "having lost everything" to a condition that, although outside his control, was his, and his alone, "failure." Today, Joe is living a quiet existence in a West Hollywood condo, where he is the only non-owner to ever be elected to the Board of Directors (serving for five years now as the Board's Secretary), and he is once again writing (after a ten year retreat from the pen). He believes he is still alive because he has something still to say.Joe has been active as an advocate for patients dying of Aids, with the Actors Fund and the City of West Hollywood, and he has volunteered time at The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center... He is very reclusive, but open to the idea of expanding his horizons. He believes that depression is Natures' way of helping you, of forcing you, to reevaluate who you are, why you are here, who is important to you, and what you can and cannot do... He believes if you bite off more than you can handle, and you fail, depression, and shame, as crippling as they can be -- are tools to help you focus on what's important.Joe says he will never act again, will probably never produce again, but will continue to write and to develop film and television products "that are about something."Joe is hoping that he will find a way to help people with mental illness. He hopes we all will. Show less «
Joe Michael Terry's FILMOGRAPHY
Country: United States
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Mystery
Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into ...