You know how we all like to brag about knowing someone famous? Well, today’s the day I’m going to tell you about my friend from college, Earl Brown. Make that W. Earl Brown. I forget the W. because I knew him when he was just plain old Earl from Puryear, Tennessee. (Look it up on a map. You’ll need a magnifying glass.)
You may not know Earl’s name, but you probably know his face. He’s played everything from MeatLoaf in a VH1 movie to Dan Dority in Deadwood.
And remember Warren in Something About Mary?
Yep, that’s Earl.
Way back in the mid 80’s when I was attending fraternity parties and occasionally studying at good old Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, Earl and I shared some theater and television classes together. In fact, we were anchors on the student run television news broadcasts. I did the news, and he did the weather. And neither one of us knew much about either, but we looked good doing it. Earl was funny and clever and filled up the room with his personality. He may have been a boy from a tiny town in Tennessee, but he had success written all over him. We just didn’t know what he was going to be successful at. I mean, we knew he wanted to be an actor and had no doubts that he COULD be, but it’s a tough field to break into. I figured if he didn’t make it as an actor it wouldn’t be due to a lack of talent or hard work, just a lack of breaks in a hard knock business.
I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking we were close. We just spent a lot of time in the same departments on campus and were good acquaintances, mostly through our work on TV-11. I will go to my grave remembering the evening during a live newscast when some wind-up male genitalia went bouncing across my news copy, just out of the camera’s eye, forcing me to fight the giggles for the rest of the show. He was paying me back for asking him a question on camera he couldn’t answer during the previous newscast. Did I mention he had a VERY wicked sense of humor?
I ran into him a couple of times after graduation, and he seemed to be doing well. He headed to Chicago and honed some skills in school and theater there, got a break as a speech coach on Backdraft and eventually headed to Los Angeles. To make a long story short, he’s done well. Really well. He has built a good life in L.A. for himself and his high school sweetheart, Carrie, steadily adding better and better credits to his resume, and this week I found out he has a new movie coming out in May. A big one, Bloodworth, featuring Kris Kristofferson, Val Kilmer, Dwight Yokum, Earl and Hilary Duff. This could be the one that really puts him on the map. Earl wrote this one. Yes, he wrote the movie. He’s been involved in writing for a while, helping to pen Deadwood episodes and now, this.
I couldn’t be more excited for him, and I can’t wait to see it. I have a good feeling about this one. It could be his really big break. And if he gets nominated for an Oscar, I’ll refrain from digging out my old anchoring tapes from TV-11, calling the National Enquirer and telling them the genitalia story. But honestly, if I did call them, I think he’d appreciate the retribution.