Larry Laverty: An Actor’s Story
If you take a look at the first lives of the Hollywood actors we hear about all the time, you will notice a pattern. Most of them began to live their lives differently from the rest of us at a young age. Larry Laverty is a perfect example.
Born in Berkeley, California and raised in nearby Oakland, Laverty was a gifted student at school, always among the best in his class. He became friends with everyone and was particularly attracted to the children in his classes who were different, those who came from poverty, those with European parents, and those who spoke quietly.
By the time he was attending Oakland’s renowned Skyline High School, including many notable alumni like actor Tom Hanks, Laverty had become disenchanted with school, focusing more on sports and the outdoors. Despite his involvement with the Boy Scouts, becoming an Eagle Scout at a young age, writing for the school newspaper, playing music in a school jazz band, and running on the school track team along with others In sports, Laverty had spent nearly as much time cutting school to be with other longhaired as he had attended class. He barely graduated with the rest of his high school class.
Without the qualifications necessary to get into UC Berkeley or Stanford, where his parents had attended school, he reinvented himself by moving to the family farm in Idaho, Kuna, Idaho. There, he immersed himself in rural life, commuting to the nearby big city to work and attend university every day. He earned two degrees from Boise State University, but more importantly, he worked every day to pay for his own path. It was by doing these jobs that the seed was planted for a career in acting.
Laverty had no fewer than ten different jobs as a young man, from working in a dark factory to milking cows on a dairy. What interested him was the challenge of mastering each new job, and despite being offered management careers at several of the companies he worked for, he would keep going. Unable to feel good about dedicating his life to a career in the fields of his college degrees, one day he thought he would try his hand at acting.
Now back in Oakland, California, Laverty began doing Shakespearean plays and Broadway musicals at the Woodminster Theater. He had found his calling. He returned to school to study acting. In the following years, he studied at the prestigious American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, the Jean Shelton Actors Lab, and with the notable improv groups Second City and The Groundlings.
At the same time, Laverty hadn’t given up on his love of sports, juggling his pursuit of an acting career with an eleven-year attempt to make the U.S. Olympic team in speed skating. . He lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Calgary, Canada, and Butte, Montana during these years, and although he couldn’t make it to the Olympics, he made lifelong friends in these cities and supported himself by performing.
Following his athletic years, Laverty began working as an actor in Hollywood and soon after began working regularly on television. He appeared on iconic TV shows like The Tonight Show and The Dating Game. He worked in several soap operas, among them “All my children”, “Days of our lives” and “Passions”. He worked in documentaries such as “Breaking Vegas”, “Unsolved Mysteries”, “Mysteries and Scandals” and “America’s Most Wanted”. And she was a guest star on the prime-time dramas “Judging Amy” and “The Practice.”
But Laverty had also appeared in a few independent films at the time, and he knew the satisfaction that came from working more collaboratively with directors and producers. So despite having settled in Hollywood, he left Los Angeles to work on independent films across the country. One of his first films was a one-week deal on Gus Van Sant’s biggest Cannes film of 2003, “Elephant.” Shortly thereafter, roles appeared in the well-received horror film “The Hamiltons.” He worked alongside one of his childhood acting heroes, Rutger Hauer, on “Dead Tone.” And to date, he has appeared in leading or supporting roles in more than 100 films.
In keeping with his lifelong penchant for mastering jobs, Laverty approaches every role he plays in the same way that he approached every job he held when he was younger. Through research and his imagination, he literally becomes the characters he plays. In the process, he alters his appearance, his way of thinking, and his way of speaking. It takes a lot of effort to recognize him in many of the characters he plays.
There is a lesson to be learned for all of us by observing the life of Larry Laverty. In other words, there is a lot to learn from getting over our daily worries and delving into the lives of the people around us. For caring for and relating to other people, we receive great rewards, including the many doors that can be opened along life’s journey.