Episode 1: A Working Actor’s Working Faith

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | May 01, 2018

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Tony Mockus, Sr. has been Catholic his entire life, and an actor for almost as long. He has worked with countless great performers including Henry Fonda, Elizabeth Montgomery, Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner. In this interview he discusses his seven decades on the stage and screen, the life-changing experience of being wounded in Korea, the role of the Holy Spirit in artistic performance, and his love of St. Anthony.

Links

Tony Mockus, Sr. on IMDB (note that some of Tony’s roles have been mistakenly logged on his son’s page)

Timestamps:

Tony Mockus, Sr. interview

4:54 How Tony prepared to play St. Paul in the Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible

7:24 Spiritual wake-up call: wounded by a mine in Korea

13:30 The Holy Spirit at work in an actor’s performance

23:14 Life with St. Anthony

26:39 Tony’s early years in Cicero, Illinois; digression into the decline of the variety show and the nature of Northern Virginia culture

31:25 A Jesuit priest at Tony’s high school forces him to try acting, with great success

36:44 Tony and Thomas both played the lead role in The Man Who Came to Dinner as high school seniors, several decades apart, but Tony’s production also included a teenaged Bob Newhart

39:00 Tony’s first professional acting jobs as a teen

43:22 The spiritual influence of Tony’s mother and grandmother

48:12 Traveling in the show Mr. Roberts, with castmates like Henry Fonda; Tony’s formation from his Jesuit education and mother and grandmother allowed him to discern what to embrace and what to avoid in the traveling show business lifestyle

48:50 A brief move to New York, then back to Chicago where he starts to work as a leading man and gets married

53:19 Evangelical work for radio with the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago

56:52 Keeping one’s moral integrity in choosing roles

59:17 Tony starts working in film and television

62:17 The fun of playing the bad guy

63:07 The Untouchables (1987): Working for director Brian De Palma; funny story about Robert De Niro

1:11:29 Two great actresses Tony worked with; generosity and professionalism on set

1:15:15 A funny David Mamet story; politics in theatre

1:20:12 Retirement

1:21:32 Acting with his son, Tony Mockus, Jr.; advice to young Catholics who want to be actors

1:25:08 This week’s excerpts: J. R. R. Tolkien, Jacques Maritain

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All podcast music by Thomas V. Mirus unless otherwise stated.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist, composer, and occasional amateur comedian living in New York City. He produces and hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

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