Described by the New York Times as one of the hardest working and most prolific actors in Hollywood, Christopher McDonald brings “legendary” characters to life with consistent acclaim. From “Thelma and Louise” to “Quiz Show” to “Happy Gilmore,” McDonald has worked opposite actors like Adam Sandler, George Clooney, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton, and for directors like Ridley Scott, the Coen Brothers, Robert Redford, and Carl Reiner.
On Friday, Nov. 7, McDonald, well known to students as Shooter McGavin from “Happy Gilmore,” delivered the Kappa Alpha Lecture, with award-winning author and fellow Kappa Alpha member Ronald Moore.
On Monday, Nov. 10, after a screening of the Robert Redford directed and Academy Award-nominated “Quiz Show,” McDonald will hold a Q&A for students, faculty and other community members. The film will be shown beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Albright Auditorium. The event, also sponsored by the Media and Society Program at HWS, was organized by Jim Spates, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, who has remained in contact with McDonald since graduation.
“In my view, Redford is one of the best directors working in Hollywood and this is one of his best films, detailing the exposure of the rigged quiz shows on television of the late 1950s. It was a moment when millions of America’s viewers learned, to their sadness, that they had been duped into thinking the quiz shows were on the up-and-up when, in truth, they had been fixed to maintain audience and profits,” said Spates. “The fact that Chris, one of our most famous graduates, plays Jack Barry, the host of “21,” one of the most watched of these shows, is simply wonderful. It is one of his greatest film moments. For years I’ve been after Chris to come back and talk with our students about the film, his role in it, and what it was like to work with Redford. This is year it happened! I am delighted and I know all our students will be as well!”
Earlier in the afternoon on Monday, Nov. 10, McDonald will hold an informal Q&A discussion with interested students, faculty and staff about acting, his career and other related topics.
Born on Long Island and raised there and in Romulus, N.Y., McDonald attended Hobart from 1973 to 1977, where he played football, was goalie on Hobart’s Varsity Soccer team, was Song Master of the Kappa Alpha Society, and received his degree in English, cum laude. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the London Academy of Music and the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in New York City.
On television McDonald has had starring roles on “Family Law,” “Veronica’s Closet” and “Cracking Up,” as well as many single appearance roles. He has 85 films to his credit and has recently reprised his role as Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of “Chicago.” He was winner of the 1982 Drama-Logue Best Actor Award.
McDonald is a pilot and remains an avid athlete as a golfer, skier and motorcycle buff. He is also an enthusiastic supporter of Kappa Alpha and jointly addressed The Society’s 2002 New York Dinner along with legendary Kap actor Hume Cronyn.
On Friday, McDonald appeared with Ron Moore. Winner of two Hugo Awards for science fiction writing (the final episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and for “Battlestar Galactica”), Emmy nominee and Peabody Award winner Moore is one of the big names in Hollywood production. Moore is a native of Chowchilla, Calif., and graduated with a degree in political science from Cornell University, where he was Secretary of Kappa Alpha. A life-long science fiction buff, Moore started out as a writer on “Star Trek: Next Generation” and rose to co-producer and finally to producer for the last year of the series. He then moved to “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” where he became co-executive producer until the end of the series.
Moore’s next gig was as consulting producer on “Good vs. Evil” and then as co-executive producer of “Roswell.” After running the show “Carnivale” for most of its first season, Moore developed, wrote and produced the revived “Battlestar Galactica” mini-series and later regular series. As that show comes to a close, Moore is developing several movie and television projects.
The events are open to the campus community.