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Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014

Placing a Face

Posted Sunday, February 12, 2012, at 7:32 PM

After high school in the suburbs of Minneapolis in 1962, I went to the University of Minnesota for a couple of years, then to college in Miami for another year in a specialized field, worked in St. Paul as computer programmer for another year, was drafted into the U.S. Army (Vietnam Era) for two more years, went back to my civilian job for another 9 months, then back to the University of Minnesota for a few more years to get a B.S and an M.S. degree.

During my second stint at the University of Minnesota (1969-72) I also spent most nights in downtown Minneapolis on Hennepin Avenue at a bar called Moby Dicks where I shot pool for hours on end, making some extra money to cover my college expenses. I was a strong player and often had a dozen people watching my antics on the pool table.

One night I noticed this guy who had a strikingly interesting face. It was a "Hollywood" face -- the same way Charles Bronson or Lee Van Cleef has a Hollywood face. He was tall (about 6' 2") rugged, imposing, calm -- the sort of dude who stood out in a crowd and you probably didn't want to mess with.

I had also seen this same guy on the campus of the University of Minnesota a couple of times too.

In March of 1975, I moved to the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Universal Studios. I was soon working as a computer programmer and manager for a small computer software firm across from Warner Bros. Studios.

Sometimes at work I would drive up Barham Blvd., over the Hollywood Freeway, to the Studio City area where I would pick up an egg salad sandwich on pita bread at this small "take-out" eatery with about a half dozen tables.

As I picked up my sandwich one day and was walking out of the place, which had only 3 or 4 customers at the time, I noticed this guy sitting alone at a table, waiting for his order to be completed. He had a familiar look, a Hollywood face that stood out in a crowd -- the same way Charles Bronson or Lee Van Cleef has a Hollywood face.

I looked at him and he looked at me. I knew him from somewhere but couldn't place it. The way he was looking at me seemed to indicate he also knew me from somewhere but couldn't place it. Rather than strike up a conversation, I kept heading out the door.

Years later, I began to notice this guy in movies and TV episodes.

One day, there was an article about this guy in my University of Minnesota Alumni magazine.

His name is Chris Mulkey.

To date, he has appeared in over 50 movies and numerous TV series. One of his most notable roles was as a villain (Hank Jennings) on the Twin Peaks series. In addition to being an actor, he is also a writer, producer and musician.

Mulkey has been terrific in every role he has played. He's one of those great character actors whom you see all the time but don't know his name.

I'm honored to almost know him.

The next time I run into someone I recognize but can't place the face, I'm going to open my mouth and say something clever, such as "howdy."

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Quote for the Day -- "Movie stars have careers -- actors work, and then they don't work, and then they work again." Frances McDormand

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Bret Burquest is the author of 8 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY, ORB OF WOUNDED SOULS and PATH TO FOURTH DENSITY (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and the ghost of Sarah Palmer.

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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.
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