Actor/Producer Glenn Scarpelli
Sing! Dance! Act! Thrive! Podcast Episode 003
My guest today is the actor, producer Glenn Scarpelli who is best known for his role in the original One Day At A Time produced by the legendary Norman Lear. He made his Broadway debut at age 10 in Golda with Anne Bancroft followed by another Broadway show, Richard III with Al Pacino. He also played Audrey Hepburn’s son in the film They All Laughed. Glenn shares the valuable lessons he learned from all of the incredible talents he has worked with including how director Martin Scorsese encouraged him to go to New York film school when he became disillusioned with acting. The truth was that Glenn felt disillusioned with the fact that he had to lie about who he was to be an actor because he was gay. It was the 80s and he was a teen idol.
Glenn now lives in Sedona, Arizona where he established the Sedona Now TV Network and creates shows that spotlight all that Sedona has to offer. Recently he returned to acting with a film he produced, Sacred Journeys, which also stars his best friend Mackenzie Phillips.
Actor/Producer Glenn Scarpelli
Sing! Dance! Act! Thrive! Podcast Episode 003
Welcome to Sing Dance Act Thrive featuring conversations with performing artists and industry influencers on what it takes to succeed in the arts. I am your host, Diane Foy, and I believe that you really can make a living from your creative talents. As a publicist, podcaster, and coach, my mission is to educate, motivate, and empower you to thrive with authenticity, creativity, and purpose.
Diane Foy: Hello and welcome to episode number three of Sing, Dance, Act, Thrive. My guest today is actor, producer Glenn Scarpelli, who is best known for his role in the original One Day at a Time, produced by the legendary Norman Lear. He made his Broadway debut at age 10 in Golda with Ann Bancroft, followed by another Broadway show, Richard III with Al Pacino. He also played Audrey Hepburn’s son in the film “They All Laughed”. Glenn shares the valuable lessons he learned from all of the incredible talent he has worked with. Including how Martin Scorsese encouraged him to go to film school. It was at a time that he felt disillusioned with acting. The truth was that Glenn felt disillusioned with the fact that he had to lie about who he was in order to be an actor because he was gay and it was the 80’s and he was a teen idol. Glenn now lives in Sedona, Arizona where he established the Sedona Now TV network. He creates shows that spotlight all that Sedona has to offer. Recently he returned to acting with a film he produced called “Sacred Journeys”, which also stars his best friend, Mackenzie Phillips. It was such a great conversation and there’s so much to learn from it so I hope you enjoy it.
Diane Foy: Welcome. Thanks for joining me.
Glenn Scarpelli: I’m so happy to be talking to you, Diane.
Diane Foy: We’ve been social media friends forever.
Glenn Scarpelli: I know. It’s so fun to finally put voices with names and a real relationship here.
Diane Foy: Yeah, you’re so open and genuine on social media like I feel like I already know you.
Glenn Scarpelli: I feel the same way about you.
Diane Foy: And we both have a love and appreciation for the fabulous Mackenzie Phillips.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes, we certainly do. Mackenzie is one of my dearest, closest, most wonderful friends and I hold a very special place in my heart for Mac.
Diane Foy: Yeah. Like we got to work together. I don’t know quite a few years ago now but yeah, the second we started talking it was like I’d known her for years and we were like instant connection.
Glenn Scarpelli: That’s so wonderful. You know that’s the thing about Mackenzie and really it’s anybody she meets she’s so down to earth and so authentic. I mean that’s why I think so much of her life has been so public is because she doesn’t hold back. Like she’s like this is who I am this is what’s going on for me right now. For better or for worse.
Diane Foy: Yeah. And I think especially after she released her book. It is like I think that’s I met her after that and she was just telling me all kinds of things on our first conversation and I am like, you have no secrets anymore do you? Then she is like no.
Glenn Scarpelli: Right. She is an open book.
Diane Foy: What’s the point once you put it all out there?
Glenn Scarpelli: That is so true. And it is so interesting because I have actually known her most of my life obviously because we work together. When I was like 14 years old and you know I cannot say we remained close over the years and Mackenzie’s talked about this recently. We did an event together and you know she talks about like I have tried to reach out over the years but you know she was not as let us say accessible because of her drug addiction and the places she had gone to. And it was not until the book came out and she really dealt with her sexual abuse. That she became accessible to everyone. She really started to heal that. That is when I knew that she was really over that. You know, that chapter because for so many years and in the beginning of the book I mean, I am not saying anything she does not already talk about. But in the beginning of the book it starts with her getting arrested at the age of 50. And I remember talking to Bonnie Franklin about this and going gosh you cannot believe that Mack is still doing that pattern, you know? And then when the book came out, now we know why. And it was one of those I really knew that this was it. I really knew she had made the turn and she was on a true road to healing. And I’m just so proud of her. I’m just so so proud of her and everything she does at Breathe Life Healing Center and she is on the front lines of all of that.
Diane Foy: She had dedicated her life to which is amazing to helping others.
Glenn Scarpelli: And she helps so many and I have gone to visit her there and you know it is not like people think she is like some celebrity spokesperson or something. She is not I mean she is on the front lines. You know she has clients and she does group sessions and you know, interventions and with people that are truly truly suffering from that disease. So you know I am just so proud of her. I just like look at her I am just in amazement how she does it. And what is great when she works with her clients, is she like does not take crap from them. Like you know he is told all the lies he’s been down the road. Like she knows when they are when they are justifying their behaviors and you know she’s just so wonderful. So I cannot brag enough about our friend Mackenzie.
Diane Foy: She is a fabulous woman. So we will get back to her because you worked with her recently.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
Diane Foy: I saw that your father was a comic book artist, that is amazing and he did Archie comics. That is so cool.
Glenn Scarpelli: He drew Archie comics for 47 years.
Diane Foy: Wow.
Glenn Scarpelli: And literally, until the day he died I think he did his last comic the night before he passed away. So, you know, he was quite a creative person and I was so grateful and lucky to have him in my life because when I got the bug to act very young, like I kind of came into this world knowing I love show business. So, you know, I had parents that encouraged it. You know, they weren’t the type, my Dad wasn’t that to, because he was a creative man himself. He wasn’t the type of person to say like, get a real job. You know, sure in you know, all that stuff. He was like so excited that I had a creative gene in me and I think a lot of that was because of him.
Diane Foy: What drew you to acting? What was the turning point that you are like, I am what, six years old and you are like, I want to be an actor.
Glenn Scarpelli: I was five and then I went on stage in a kindergarten play. And I just, I, the first time I ever set foot on stage, I was like, I am home. So, I started begging my mom and dad at that stage, at that point. And at first they were not like, okay. You know, they were just like excited that I liked it, but they did not really see, you know, they are like, this is probably just a phase. But I literally begged for about three years straight. Please, please, please, please, please, please, please. And then certain things happened in all our lives. And then mom was finally like, I wore her down let us put it that way. She is like, well maybe this would be good for me too. Because as a child actor, it requires so much of your parents’ love and attention. So, you know, that’s really where they came in. And, I had a friend doing commercials in New York City. I was so grateful and fortunate to grow up in New York because geography plays a big role in those sorts of decisions. And I met him, a manager, her name was Muriel Karl. She was at 8888 Avenue, and we went there for, you know, to be interviewed and, and she signed me right away. One quick story about that though. She wanted to change my name. What it? Yeah. She said, what’s your middle name? Because she thought Scarpelli was too ethnic. And I said, my middle name is Christopher. She goes from now on, you’re Glenn Christopher. I said, no, I’m not. A little precocious eight year old than I was. And I, and she said, well, it is too ethnic. I said, tell that to Frank Sinatra.
Diane Foy: Good point.
Glenn Scarpelli: So she said, okay I cannot fight that. She goes we will try it. We will see. And I booked my first commercial I ever went on. I booked it.
Diane Foy: Wow.
Glenn Scarpelli: So, I took that as a sign that maybe I was on the right path.
Diane Foy: And you worked with like crazy legends on Broadway and like eight years old. You are with on broadway with Anne Bancroft? And then you are on broadway again with Al Pacino. What the? What are some of the what lessons did you learn from them?
Glenn Scarpelli: Let us start with Golda because that was my Broadway debut. I was probably nine when I did Golda. And that just brought so many it just woke me up to so many things. First of all, the discipline that actors need. You know I was very young but I was shown with such professional I was playing with such professionals that I was shown, you know a real example of how to be a professional. And how to stay focused. I mean and that is tough for a nine year old. You know I certainly had my you know wants to like go out and run around and play and get wild and I had a lot of energy. But I also just loved the business so much. I really truly truly loved acting. And I learned okay then this is what I’m here to do and stay in the moment. And that is what is so wonderful about acting. And I think it becomes a life lesson in general. When you are in a scene, when you are really really tapped in you are in the moment. And that was really one of the best lessons I ever had. Like nothing else existed when I was in that scene. It didn’t matter what was going on at home or what my dog was saying or what you know what my dog was doing or like nothing else was distracting because I just loved it so much. So that was a huge lesson that came off of just you know being on Broadway and following the creative process to get to Broadway. But in addition to that one of the things that was really special about that show for me was Golda Meir it was the life story of course, of Golda Meir. And Anne Bancroft played Golda. I played her son Menachem and I mean Golda really played a role in the development of the play. So we got to know Golda pretty well. And you know just having her as an influence in my life first of all was beyond belief. I look at it now I do not know if I had the appreciation for it then at nine years old. But I certainly do now at 52 years old looking back and going oh my gosh, like that was quite a woman. And to have her as an influence. And she did say something to me that stuck with me my entire life. And I shared this with you but you know I am not the only person she is ever shared said this too. This is kind of was part of her advice. But for me it was something that I heard loud and clear. And I really applied it to the rest of my life, which was “Be the person you want to spend the rest of your life with”. It was good. I am like, and as I got older I really started to you know understand better and better. I mean I am still trying to understand what that means because I think we are constantly growing.
Diane Foy: Or work in progress.
Glenn Scarpelli: We are all a work in progress. It is all about the journey not the destination necessarily. So you know I feel like when she said that to me I applied that to you know so many different ways in my life including the many relationships that I had been at. You know it is like we do not really I am not a believer of you complete me. You know I think what she was trying to say to me and what I what I do believe as my part of my personal growth is I complete me and then I can be in a relationship with someone who completes themselves too. And then it is that much stronger and that much healthier. So you know I certainly had my dance with codependency over the years. And I think that is what she was referring to be the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. So that was my big lesson from Golda.
Diane Foy: Wow. That is a good thing to always keep in the back of your head.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes, indeed. I think of it often Diane. Honestly, I really do. I think of those words very very often and she was just such a grandma to all the kids on the show. It is so funny because like as much as all the actors were wonderful I feel like Golda herself and Annie too Anne Bancroft connected with the kids on the show so on like they were the mamas. They just loved being surrounded by the kids. I think there were four of us, there were two of us and then two understudies. And, I have so many wonderful like, pictures and there was so many wonderful memories going to dinner and hanging out in the rehearsal hall and then, you know, on the road. And it was really really a wonderful experience.
Diane Foy: Wow. And what about Al Pacino?
Glenn Scarpelli: Al Pacino.
Diane Foy: He is kind of a legend, you know?
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah he does okay. So we had a nice little career. Al Pacino, so I am an Italian New Yorker and Al Pacino is a god in my house. Okay. So when I even thought of I mean when I first heard that I was going to be auditioning for Richard III on Broadway with Al Pacino you know I was kind of blown away. And then three callbacks later I finally met him. And it had been narrowed down probably about me and about four other guys, four other kids. And we went into read with Al Pacino. And when it was my turn, I went in and I remember this so clearly he liked, had this, it was freezing it was in New York, was absolutely freezing and it was downtown and like this little space. And he had this like hat on and he was kind of like frumpy, greasy, like he wasn’t like all you know superstar looking. You know, he was just very, very, very real. He was always so real. So, you know, I walk in and I meet him and that was kind of nervous to be admit. I mean this is Al Pacino after all and he was just so wonderful to me. And I read the scene and of course it’s Shakespeare’s Richard III. Now I’m about I would say I’m about 11 going on 12 not just 12 because I actually turned 13 during the run of that show. And I am you know reading the scene and he kind of looks at me and he says is your mom outside? I said yes she is in the waiting room. So he gets up, he walks out and he walked and he says who is Glenn’s mom? And My mother almost like you know passed out. I could remember the look on her face. She turned white and she said me. And he goes do you mind if I take Glen downstairs? And we could just have a coke downstairs in just a little coffee shops. And my mom was like no take my kid anywhere you want. You’re Al Pacino. So went downstairs and he said so tell me do you kind of do you know what the scene is about? Do you know what the play is about? And I said I have no clue. I will be honest with you until I get what I am saying. I am 12 and it Shakespeare. Okay. And he goes that is what I thought. So at in the midst of he ordered a cup of coffee he got me a coke and we he told me the whole play and he kind of explained it to me in layman terms you know, I am your uncle and you are in line to become king and I am really a bad person. I really want to become king and I would need to kill you to become king. And you kind of know this already about me. And I am like oh. And it all started to click. And then I ask him some specific what does this word mean? What does that word mean? Cause it was you know Shakespeare. And he kind of went over it very clearly. So patient. And then we went back upstairs. We read the scene one more time. And by the time I lived on Staten Island, that’s where I was born and raised Staten Island, New York. So by the time we drove from lower Manhattan back to Staten Island, the phone was ringing and I got the part.
Diane Foy: Wow.
Glenn Scarpelli: So for me, it was really incredible and very very exciting. And you asked me what lessons did I learn? Well in addition to you know all the acting lessons and there’s one I will share with you. I want to say first he said to me and this was what I also carried throughout my career and into my whole life which was he said, “Never believe your own press”. And I found that very interesting as time went on and I actually got pressed because so much of the persona of what people want to throw at you isn’t necessarily who you need to be.
Diane Foy: Especially when you were so young, your a teen Everyone in the press takes over and in a few years from the time we’re talking about you are like this big teen idol.
Glenn Scarpelli: A commodity and the teen idol thing especially, because teen idol is something that can certainly I don’t know mess your head up a little bit. You know it’s projected unto you a sex appeal or you know something like that. And I often thought of that when I went into that world what Al, said to me about no don’t believe your own press. And this is a man who really knows you know and he didn’t like read reviews. He saw very few of his films, you know he like was not about that. It was about the acting but he wasn’t about everything that came after it.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: You know the acclaim and the ego and you know he wasn’t about all that honestly. So down to earth and such a real person. But I will share with you one more story because this is a real act of story. One night on we would he love to change things up. He would absolutely change his costumes. Like one night he wanted to do it in jeans. Like he just did not feel like putting on the costume. So he wanted to keep the show fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh. And One night we’re doing a scene and he took my face and he kissed it so hearty like licked my cheek and all his saliva was like dripping down my face during the show. And I just looked at him and I took my hand and I did a wipe my face like. And the audience goes crazy, it was the biggest laugh in the entire show. Which that seems not funny.
Diane Foy: That was going to say it is not really a comedy.
Glenn Scarpelli: No and we, but he looked at me and he went like his eyes just lit up that he did something. And I totally in the moment just reacted like a kid would react to that. You know my uncle is kissing me. Are you freaking kidding me? It was just this very cool moment that just spontaneously happened and he was so excited and he came off the stage we are going to leave that in. Oh my God, that was the greatest thing. Like he was like a kid in a candy store and we left it in for maybe three nights and then we stopped doing that because even that got a little stale. But it was that moment, in those were the moments that I remember so clearly about working with Pacino because he was so, available for whatever was fresh and whatever was authentic. And when you mean, you know as a 12 year old actor I mean you can get better you know advice or lessons then something like that.
Diane Foy: Yeah, for sure.
Glenn Scarpelli: You know hands on.
Diane Foy: And then more legends coming your way. You were in the film, “They All Laughed” with Audrey Hepburn and John Ritter.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes. All my scenes were with Audrey. I didn’t have one scene with John.
Diane Foy: Okay.
Glenn Scarpelli: It was this film had like two different story lines that kind of blend at one point, but it was more Audrey and John blending than me. But we worked together quite a bit on the film and we were all there together quite a bit. And I remember, we’ll start with John because the Audrey stuff is so special in my heart when I definitely have to share that because there was no one on this planet like Audrey Hepburn.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: But the first time I met John we would do they did do some, Peter wanted to do some rehearsal in rehearsal hall just to kind of groove and get the actors to get to know each other and so on and so forth before we actually set foot on the set. And I remember the first time I met John like he was huge. I mean Three’s Company was like, the number one show on the planet and I was big fan and I just loved him so much and he just came over to me. I remember walking in he came over to me and said Glenn Scarpelli. Oh my gosh. I’ve heard so many incredible things about you and you like picked me up and he like hugged me and he just made me feel so incredibly welcomed. And it just took all the pressure off of, I think I’m about to meet John Ritter, which was so fun. So that is my little John Ritter story. But Audrey, in addition to being in my opinion one of the greatest stars the planet has ever seen. You know she was also everything you’ve ever read about her humanitarian aspects was that times a hundred like this woman came from a place that was so warm and kind and down to earth and loving. I mean I can’t brag enough about how real and what a wonderful human being Audrey Hepburn was. And it showed because like on the set she knew everyone’s names like everyone the PA’s, like she would call everybody by their name and oh here’s a fun story. So there’s a there’s a sequence in, They All Laughed where Audrey, and I have to walk from Rockefeller Center up to the Plaza Hotel and Peter Bogdanovich who directed the film also wrote the film, wanted to do this more in a hidden camera kind of way then in necessarily you know closing streets and getting the extras and so on and so forth. So we shot the sequence. I mean in the film maybe it is 10 minutes because there’s a lot that happens on the way there. But I mean we might’ve been shooting this for like six, seven days at least maybe two weeks. Where it is just the sequence of the film. And we my mom was up at the plaza and we knew we would not have dressing rooms along the way because they didn’t want to bring in the big star wagons and all that and bring attention to the fact that we were shooting a movie. So they were going to hide Audrey and I, and John was part of this too. This is where I got to hang out with him quite a bit because he was also kind of on the street and our story lines cross in the film. But we did not actually act together, but we knew that they were going to be hiding us in these areas and stores and stuff along Fifth Avenue of which like we were not going to have a dressing room so, and my mom was not going to be able to be with me because she had to stay up at the Plaza Hotel. So Audrey went over to my mother and said do not worry I am going to take care of him. I will keep an eye on him. So for the entire time we shot that entire sequence, Audrey was like my guardian. She held my hand. She said darling come sit with me. And she would be like we’d be in all these different kinds of stores shoe stores and clothing stores. But there was this one time we went into this book slash music store and we would just sitting down she goes darling sit with me sit with me. And we just started chitchatting and she was asking about school and all this stuff. And then she said, are you familiar with classical music? And I said you know, not so much, you know, I kinda like Joan Jett. So she said, well let me share some of, I love classical music and let me tell you why. Let me share some of why I love classical music. And then she started walking me around the store and we went through like old tapes and Bach and Brahms and you know all these different like history of classical music per Audrey Hepburn. And she just played things for me and showed me things and talk told me these stories and different concerts she went to and symphonies. And it was just remarkable. It was just unbelievable how much you wanted to share with me and how warm because that was really a passion of hers. So cut to the wrap party which was incredible but sad. Bittersweet. Because I believe that was last time I ever did see Audrey. I don’t think I ever saw her once the film came out because she had moved she pretty much lived in Switzerland at the time. And she says to me, I have something for you. And I said, really? And she bought me a wrapped party gift and I opened the card and it said to my only movie son because she never played a mom in any other feature film.
Diane Foy: That is true.
Glenn Scarpelli: So I am the only person that ever played her son in a feature film which I did not even know until she wrote that in the card. And she said to my only movie son and it was just lovely about working together and so on and so forth. And then I opened the gift and she bought me all of the classical music on those tapes that day without me knowing it. She bought me the entire series of everything. She taught me about all the different classical music. So I mean, who does that? That is just so sweet.
Diane Foy: And did it work? Did you become interested in classical music?
Glenn Scarpelli: Well I love classical music. Yes indeed. I could not say that. It’s my favorite museum. I did not have the passion she had necessarily, but I certainly can grow to appreciate it and totally appreciate it. Exactly. So I mean, just a wonderful just a wonderful woman.
Diane Foy: So my first question about one day at a time, it was kind of groundbreaking at the time for that show. Like I read that it was the only second sitcom to ever fit feature a divorced mom.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes. Ain’t that amazing?
Diane Foy: And they touched on a lot of topics that were not normally dealt with back then. What do you remember most about that time working with those actors and on that show?
Glenn Scarpelli: Gosh, you know it was such a big part of my life and because we all remained so close throughout the years to this day. The memories just keep coming you know? So it’s hard to find just a few things about that. But you know number one, I had come on the show when Mackenzie was first fired for her drug problem.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: So you know, it was interesting. They would had all been kind of rocking and rolling. The show was a huge hit and it was one of those things that you know I’m stepping into a world that already is a nucleus of a family. So I was kind of a little nervous honestly when I first came on the show. Let me tell you though I had known Valerie Bertinelli before it and she is one of the reasons I got on that show. Oh yeah, yes. I had done a pilot with one of her with a friend first, and we got to know each other. And then Valerie came to see Richard III with Pacino. And I very rarely ever asked Pacino to meet anyone because he just wasn’t that guy. He did not want accolades like you went to do the play and go home you know, so but I asked him I said listen. I am a really dear friend and she’s kind of a big TV star and would you be willing? Can you meet her? He goes yeah who is she and I said, she’d never heard of the show never watch TV. It’s like whatever. He said but if she is a friend of yours, I’ would be happy to meet. So I brought Val. I just thought it was cool at 12 years old to introduce Valerie Bertinelli now. But you know, I just know that was the cool.
Diane Foy: Yeah, you are the cool guy.
Glenn Scarpelli: I was like, that is fun. Right. So, I was like Al, Val. Val, Al. It was very cool. So we were walking out of the court theater on 48th Street and Valerie says to me oh my God, Glenn, that was so exciting. Thank you so much for introducing me to Pacino. If there is anything I can ever do for you just ask.
Diane Foy: So how about that one day at a time show?
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah, so cut to, I did not say anything. I would just kind of at 12 years old was like, Valerie Bertinelli owes me one that can be a bad thing. So, I was a bit savvy. So now cut to mom is in Staten Island, New York, and she is reading an article in TV guide about Mackenzie being fired from “One Day At a Time” and how they are looking at adding a 14 year old boy. And I think I was 14 so I was like maybe I will ask Valerie. So I reached out to Valerie and Valerie got me the audition and I still had to audition but you know, she made a she went oh my gosh Glenn, you that you’d be so perfect. They’re looking Bonnie who had casting approval at the time throughout the entire series. I think she had casting approval. Bonnie was looking for some child with theater credits because she felt if we’re going to bring another regular person another regular on the show and that is a child, you know doing sitcoms is a lot like doing theater. You know you have to really not have to wait for laughs and having a certain kind of timing that is theater kind of trains you for. So she was like, oh my gosh you’d be great for this because I saw you on Broadway. I know you do. So she made the phone call, I then auditioned originally in New York City. They flew me out to L.A. and I read for Bonnie and Bonnie and I had a connection from the moment we laid eyes on each other. I mean and honestly until the day she died she and I were so close. I just loved her. I can’t even tell you how much I love Bonnie Franklin. She was everything to me on that show. I mean they were all so close. And Pat Harrington, oh my gosh I learned many techniques from the great late Pat Harrington. He was absolutely incredible.
Diane Foy: Yeah. And you probably had a lot of scenes with him.
Glenn Scarpelli: A lot of scenes because they really started to realize we had such a great chemistry that they started to write a lot for Schneider and Alex and Pat even had in his contract that he would write several episodes a year. Very often he wrote shows about he and I. So that was quite the compliment. So yeah, so that was great. But working with Bonn, there was just something about, you know, cause she’s a Broadway actress too. So you know I think we had a lot of our thespian background in common.
Diane Foy: Yeah. And not a lot of actors at 14 would have had that theater experience as well.
Glenn Scarpelli: Right. And her idol was Audrey Hepburn. I always told her that I went from Audrey Hepburn to Bonnie Franklin and she said, oh my God, honey don’t say it like that. You took a few steps down. I said no sweetheart. I took a few steps up and I miss her. I miss her so much.
Diane Foy: Another mom figure.
Glenn Scarpelli: A total mom figure, she was a mom figure to everyone on that show. And the one thing I’d like to say about that in regards to Bonnie in particular and really everyone but Bonnie in particular, was she really took responsibility for the quality of that show. She you know here’s a great example of what I’m talking about. On Monday mornings we do a table read and then we would most shows, you know that’s it. You do the table read you start rehearsing, the writers go off and start rewriting but not on “One Day at a Time”. The actors were so involved in this was thanks to Norman and Norman Lear’s who created process with all of his shows and all of his casts where he really made it a group effort because it is a team effort. You know to make something like that with that much chemistry to make it a hit. So we would sit down, we’d take a little break and then we’d sit down and go page one, page two, page three. And Bonnie would come in with all these notes and Pat would come in with his notes and Val would come in with notes and Mac would come in with no like whoever, like everybody was in it to win it. At first I kind of did not say much because here I am, this 14 year old boy on this huge hit show. I’m kind of the Newbie and I can’t even know if I was welcomed to like give my input on rewrites. I mean, you know whatever you know. I was like okay. So then one time Bonnie pulled me aside and she said hey, I never seen you say anything at these table reads. And I said oh, I could say something? She goes, honey these 65 year old men don’t know how to write for a 14 year old boy. You know what it’s like to be a 14 year old boy. I want you to speak up. I want you to speak up. I want you to come in with ideas. We want them. And I was like, oh, I did not know. What a wonderful like a lesson to also not only be there as an actor but to be part of the development of the character.
Diane Foy: Yeah. And that’s an amazing experience to have that where they are open to it. Like you are welcome to put in your ideas and thoughts. It is amazing.
Glenn Scarpelli: It was amazing. I worked on a few other shows after that that I, I don’t want to mention the names but I thought that was the process just in general.
Diane Foy: Right. Because you did not know any better.
Glenn Scarpelli: I did not know any better. I thought this is what we do. So I came in one time for this other show that I brought all these notes and all these ideas.
Diane Foy: And they challenge you to shut up and get out.
Glenn Scarpelli: All pretty much. I said, they said your call time after we did the table read, they said, your call time tomorrow, it’s 10:00 AM I said, okay. They said well, we’ll see you then. And I said oh, are we going to do rewrites? And then the writer said we are. And I was like, oh!
Diane Foy: So it does not work that way?
Glenn Scarpelli: Some not every show includes the actors to do the right. So that was quite a lesson and shaping for you know the creative process. So real example from for such a young person to realize when you’re working with those at that level you know of those of those professionals to see how it’s done like behind the veil. So I look at that as you know, that’s why I say when I got “One Day at a Time” I really won the lottery.
Diane Foy: And at some point on that show Mackenzie came back.
Glenn Scarpelli: Mackenzie came back.
Diane Foy: Do you remember the day you met her?
Glenn Scarpelli: Oh my gosh. Okay. So Val and Mac had a studio teacher named Gladys. Gladys Hirsch is her name and I inherited her because when Mack got fired and Valerie, graduated, they wanted to keep Gladys on the show too. And Gladys became my studio teacher who I became so close with. I am still close with to this day. I just answered an email from her before I got on the phone with you, Diane. So that’s how close I am. She’s like 90 and we remained close close close throughout this entire 35 years. Gladys Hirsch, so Gladys was always saying, oh you are going to love Mackenzie, you are going to love Mackenzie. But I was a little nervous because like I hope she did not see it as like I was replacing her or I wanted to reply. I just did not know, you know and Valerie and Gladys were like oh my God, that is not you have no idea, she is so down to earth, you’re going to love her and so on and so forth. So the day I knew she was coming back, it was a Julie returns, it was a two parter episode was called Julie returns part one. And that morning I was like really nervous and I had been on the show now for a while. And so I was not nervous about being on the show is about Mackenzie. And I walked in and we had a rehearsal hall. We actually rehearsed the first three days in rehearsal hall and then we went on the stage on Thursdays. So this was Monday morning at the rehearsal hall. And I walked in and Mack just comes running up to me going, Glenn, I love you on the show you did such great job. I’ve heard so many great things about you and was just so incredible. Like I was just like really such a relief. And honestly from that moment on we became lifelong friends. Like you know, I mean, out of everybody on the show, you know I certainly talked to Mackenzie the most and I see her the most. So, yeah it was just a wonderful I mean it’s just so we talk about it even from a spiritual perspective of how when she was going through some tough times that I kind of came in and held the space for her and then I thought honestly that I was not going to be on the show anymore. Once they brought her back.
Diane Foy: Right, yeah she comes back you’re like I am out.
Glenn Scarpelli: I am like, I do not know because they actually were they had gotten rid of my Dad on the show. And they had moved me in kind of as like the step-brother and Romano basically adopts Alex on the show, but I did not know like now that Mac was bad, what was that all going to look like and did the total opposite. Like I think I got more embedded the whole idea of now there was another young person on the show because they were all in their twenties now at that point. So that changes the dynamic a little bit and Romano, still needed to have those issues that moms have with teenagers, which is kind of what the show was about from the get go. So, you know, I think when Mack came back there was just so much more to play off because now they had a chance to do all those kinds of story lines with a boy. So, you know, some of the, some of the episodes that came after that, which is so poignant for me and some of my favorite moments ever as an actor, honestly.
Diane Foy: And you weren’t on the show to the end. Did, at what point did you leave the show?
Glenn Scarpelli: Well, I left the show the year before it ended and honestly we all thought it was going to end. Bonnie pretty much said she was not going to come back. And then I was offered another series on NBC and like I was so excited to have another show is a wonderful show. Anne Jillian was the star of that show. And it was called “Jennifer Slept Here on NBC. I had kind of taken that already. And then Bonn was like, okay I’ll do one more year. But they knew they were wrapping everything up and I think my character was going to come on for six episodes. And then, the schedules just did not work out because I had already accepted this other role which I’m so grateful I did you know because, and at that point when I did, I certainly thought, well here’s a chance to start from scratch. Now this show did not make it. I think it only do we only did 13 episodes of “Jennifer Slept Here”. It was about a ghost that was seen by only one boy. And, it was a really cute show. It was very different than “One Day at a Time”. But I was just so grateful to have, you know, an offer for something else right off of that. So I was sad. I did not go back to the show and I was sad. I could not coordinate even a final episode, but I was very committed to NBC. NBC also put me on a daytime show, which I co-hosted with the Great Peter Marshall and Leslie Uggams, who I love, who I just saw it in New York on Mother’s Day. Jerry, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner with Leslie and her family. It was so fun to catch up with her. And so I was on kind of two series at that point. They had me on a daytime show and the sitcom, so it just did not get back to that. But I went to the final taping and I went to the, to the wrap party and my heart was there. But physically I was not.
Diane Foy: You had a, you started singing and you had an album out. How did that come about?
Glenn Scarpelli: Oh my gosh. The album, I had always loved singing. You know, I did some musical theater and you know, I will be honest with you, Diane, I always considered myself an actor who sings. Okay. And that’s different than a singer. You know what I’m saying by the difference there.
Diane Foy: Yeah.
Glenn Scarpelli: You know, I loved singing, but I loved singing. I love performing. So it was interesting when I was offered the deal through CBS records and it all became from the teen magazine stuff. I mean that’s why I think they reached out to me.
Diane Foy: Yeah, I was going to say like I think I remember at that time there was a lot of actor turned singers, you know, because they wanted to capitalize on, you know the young actors that had all this press. It’s like, okay, let’s make them sing now.
Glenn Scarpelli: Exactly. I think my friend Willy Aames had an album and Scott Baio had an album and John Schneider had an album and.
Diane Foy: I may have the Scott Baio albums. I may have them.
Glenn Scarpelli: I just saw Scott this summer. It was so fun to catch up with them. That’s hilarious. Yeah, so that was kind of a thing back then. I was just so thrilled because I really do love singing and that experience in the studio, which I had not had much of that and been performing live primarily. So to have an actual in studio experience was pretty wonderful and incredible. And so many things came off of that. Having that album I got to do, I had my own float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which was incredible. I got to sing my single, I wrote the “Doodle Bug” down the streets of New York City, but that came off of having the album. And then I did, American Bandstand with Dick Clark, which was so incredible. Like all those experiences came off having the album and someone actually recently sent me, the clip from “American Bandstand” and I just watched it very recently. I will share it on my throwback Thursdays, one of these days.
Diane Foy: I saw the interview part, but I did not see the song.
Glenn Scarpelli: I know someone sent me the song and it was so fun and they just taped it off TV. Yeah. So it is not the greatest, it is not the greatest video, but it is very cool. And it was so wonderful to hear Dick Clark’s introduction of me. That was what I loved the most. I was like, oh my gosh. Like Dick Clark said my name.
Diane Foy: Yeah he is like the ultimate host. That show is so important in the history of rock and roll and music in general.
Glenn Scarpelli: Oh my gosh. Totally and all the different shows that, that man brought to the table.
Diane Foy: For sure yeah.
Glenn Scarpelli: That he produced. And you know, it was such a part of our iconic, you know, classic TV. Sounds pretty cool. So yeah, the record was a wonderful, wonderful experience. I loved it. And you also mentioned when we first started this interview, we were talking about my Dad and we were talking about how wonderful it was for him to do Archie. But I have to say, I also got in the Archie comics because of him. And that was incredible. And that had to do with “One Day at a Time” and the “Teen Beat” magazines and all that jazz too because they were looking to kind of bring Archie into that decade because the characters. It is interesting with Archie the characters never age but they reflect the times.
Diane Foy: Yeah.
Glenn Scarpelli: So like you know when cell phones came around they started using cell phones.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: But yet they were kind of stuck in the 50’s and now you look at Riverdale, right? That is a great example of that. So it is pretty cool.
Diane Foy: Cool.
Glenn Scarpelli: So getting a chance to do that. That was thanks to my Dad and I really, I loved that experience too.
Diane Foy: Yeah, so part of what I do in my coaching with artists is I really believe it is important to hit pause and take some time to explore who you really are, what your core values are, what your beliefs are and what you really want. Because I find a lot of artists, like they just jump in and I think you could have used that when you were 17, 18, you made the decision to leave acting?
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah.
Diane Foy: And is that part of it, is that you needed time to kind of figure out who you were because the marketing machine was kind of dictating your persona.
Glenn Scarpelli: You hit it right on the head. Absolutely and you know, throw into the mix too that I knew I was gay and you can not like in those days, this was 1985, 1986 you just were not gay and out in show business,
Diane Foy: You were not going to get any straight acting roles.
Glenn Scarpelli: That is what they said. You know, it was also I think a lot of the studios and producers were afraid that people would turn away from projects if they knew the stars were gay. So, you know, there is a lot of discrimination plus aids has just hit the planet. And the amount of discrimination against the gay community was, you know, a hundred times worse than it is now. So it was a really tough time internally for me. And I fell in love with this guy. His name was Gary Scalzo and he was a theatrical manager in New York and I fell madly in love and I really chose that love over my career for a while. Because I really just want it to be true to myself and I wanted privacy. And one thing I was not getting was privacy. I had quite a microscope on, you know, a magnifying glass on me, so I kind of wanted to run away. What better place to run away to the New York City.
Diane Foy: I also read that Martin Scorsese encourage you to quit acting. Go to film school.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes. Oh my God. You really did some good research there. I did research. You are good, Diane. I am impressed. Yes indeed.
Diane Foy: So another legend you worked with?
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah, that was incredible. And one of my dearest friends from my lifelong friends is his daughter Cathy Scorsese. I still am the closest to to this day we are lifelong friends and I just adore Cath and Marty. Marty offered me a role. I got to know him pretty well through Cathy and we would go to dinner at his house and so on and so forth. And offered me a role, a small part, but a wonderful part in NBC Anthology Series called Amazing Stories. And it was actually produced by Steven Spielberg and Steven got all his best top friend directors to direct an episode each. And Marty asked me to be in that one. And while I was on the set of that, we shot that Malibu. While I was on the set, you know I shared with him that I was becoming a little disillusioned with acting. And what I really was, and I did not admit was I was becoming disillusioned with the fact that I had to lie about who I was to be an actor. And really that was the crux of it. Like, I do not know if I was willing to do that anymore. Like I just want it to be real to myself and I did not see anything wrong with being gay. Who I am and it is real and it is, you know, how I was born and nobody did anything to make me gay and you know, I just did not understand it. So I was just like, you know, maybe I just need to step away and find another way to express myself. So Marty and without all that background, unbeknownst to him. He just said, hey did you ever think about just going to film school. You do not have to be an actor, but you know, if you love the business, just think about going to film school. So he had gone to NYU, so he recommended that he actually made a phone call from me which was very sweet which was amazing.
Diane Foy: That is a good stamp of approval.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes, indeed. You know, getting in this school. Exactly. And I took a class called Scorsese Coppola and which was pretty cool. But I will be honest with you, I did not finish. I did not actually graduate from NYU Film School because when I did fall in love with Gary. I moved to New York and he was diagnosed HIV positive in 1987. And that changed the entire course of my life that one day when he was diagnosed, you know, set me on a spiral for a little while honestly of really doing some introspective of who am I? What am I doing? What is this thing called life? What is going on here? I gave up everything to be in this relationship and now he is being taken away. Are you kidding me? You know, and it was so harsh and I had been losing so many friends in that era anyway. I mean, the industry lost so many people. Oh my gosh. You know, it was a really tough time. And I knew that this was hitting as close to home as possible without it being made. And it was not. I saved my life, you know, I thank show business for saving my life because one of the things that being a child actor, one of the upsides to being a child actor is you live a very worldly life. It is not hidden. So even though I had not come out, I had not been with a man until I was 18, 19 with Gar I knew I was gay. So when aids hit in the 80’s, I knew one of the first people that ever died of it when they were still calling it the gay cancer, before it was even known to be aids. And I paid attention. I said, you know, someday I am going to be with a guy, so maybe I need to pay attention to the do’s and don’ts of this whole endeavor to protect myself. So when I did become sexually active, I kind of knew how to, Gary was 11 years older than me and his generation you know, was not as fortunate because it hit that generation unbeknownst to them. So I was at least educated and education saved my life. And it was because I was in show business. I did not live a sheltered life, let us put it that way.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: You got something save for that. You know, sex ed is a very important part of our development. It certainly saved my life literally. So I mean, just to go on with that a little bit I went on quite a spiritual quest and I did some serious introspective time of like you were saying, take a little deep breath and find out who you are. You know, I went that time. Gary did die in 1992 and I went through a time of being a little angry at God. And angry at life and why me and playing victim and all that jazz when, which is part of the grief process. You know, I had not known it like that before and I just kind of left everything and said, I am going on a spiritual walkabout. You want to show me what this life is about God? Then show me. And I really believe I was shown things because I listened, I sent my consciousness open to listen and if this is true, then show me. And what I, you know, in a nutshell, the way I can explain it now in retrospect is I just shown that I was truly loved. You know, so no matter what you beliefs are, love is the key. And I felt loved for everything I was as perfect as I am, you know, in loved in the perfect way. You know, a gay, I have all these, you know, troubles, whatever. I am still loved so greatly. So that is where I, that is where I kind of set my intentions to find out more about. And one thing led to another and led me to Sedona, Arizona, which is where I lived to this day.
Diane Foy: Yeah, I was going to ask like how did that come about? Was it part of this somehow you were drawn to Sedona?
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes indeed. I had a friend who was actually a medium in Queens in the story of Queens who moved here and on my walkabout I lived in Belize Central America for a little while. I kind of just went off the grid and fished for my food. I like lived survivor in Belize for about six, seven months. Yeah. I needed to get as far away from.
Diane Foy: So you did not go straight from New York to Arizona. There was some other countries in there.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah, I did a little spiritual walkabout. But Sedona was I had visited Sedona and honestly from the moment I set foot into, I was in Sedona maybe 30 seconds driving into like pass this beautiful rock called Bell Rock. And I did get these chills and I felt like I came home like I was like, oh my God, I think I just came home like this is incredible. Now. It took me years before I actually moved here, but I did have that feeling and that thought the second I got here. So I feel Sedona was a calling. I truly do. Grateful to be here now. It has been the most incredible, wonderful thing in my life. And it was part of my spiritual journey. You know there is a very incredible energy. Have you been here Diane?
Diane Foy: I have not. I did not even know anything about Sedona until we started becoming Facebook friends. I think you are the spokesperson for Sedona. I am like, I start watching videos you post and photos and I am like, I want to go there.
Glenn Scarpelli: Oh, we got to get you out here, sister.
Diane Foy: And you know what really wanted me to go, what I think it was maybe a few years ago. What was that World Wisdom Days about?
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes. Jerry, my partner. So I have another I have a beautiful man in my life, Jerry Gildan. Life did move on after all of that stuffs in my past. And I have, I own a local TV station here. I have Jerry in my life. We have a beautiful home. We own some vacation rentals, like it really set shop in Sedona. And he and I wanted to do a project together. And World Wisdom was our first project together. And basically what I wanted to do is just bring incredible, wonderful minds talking about the wisdom of the world and not necessarily even in a spiritual way yet. It did have of course, spiritual lessons and not necessarily in, you know, any kind of mainstream way of where are we at in our lives and where are we headed and what does this planet look like and how can we grow? So Norman Lear, God bless him. Said yes as our keynote speaker opening night of year two of World’s Wisdom Days. And I brought Mackenzie out and she and I, moderated “An Evening with Norman Lear at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.
Diane Foy: Wow.
Glenn Scarpelli: And it was one of my most incredible, I will remember that night forever and ever and ever. It was, it’s so special in my heart Diane. I can’t even tell you just having uncle Norman and my sister Mack come to sit down to support us and have such, I mean, it was sold out of course, and it was just the things we talked about and the stories he told and it was so, so special.
Diane Foy: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from him?
Glenn Scarpelli: The biggest lesson I learned from him well, first of all I asked him, I asked him during that moderation, but really offstage many years ago. What is his secret to his endurance? The man is 96 and he is still producing television. I think it was written in the book of world records as the oldest living working producer ever in show business.
Diane Foy: That is amazing 96. Come on.
Glenn Scarpelli: He just signed a two year development deal with Sony at 96.
Diane Foy: Well he should be all of our idols.
Glenn Scarpelli: He should be all of our idols. So he had said, I asked him like, what was the key, what is the deal with your endurance? And he said, “Laughter”. He said what he feels sustained him and what kept him healthy was truly laughter. And how in life he surrounded himself with the funniest people the planet has ever seen. And even though he had hardships and you know, stress, of course having 10 shows on the air at the same time, that is not easy.
Diane Foy: Yeah..
Glenn Scarpelli: He called it joyful stress because through it all he laughed. So you know, that is my, that is my one huge takeaway from Norman Lear. And I think about it every day. So on days when things are not seem to be too funny, I still try to find something funny about them. I mean, because I think it is true. I really think there is a healing tonic to laughter.
Diane Foy: Yeah. When things are going, everything goes wrong. You have got to think about, okay, this is so ridiculous that I have to laugh about it.
Glenn Scarpelli: You got to laugh if you can’t laugh. And to be able to laugh at yourself too, you know, I do a lot of that. You know I do not take myself too seriously. You know, when I was going through the transition, to Sedona and my spiritual walk about ,one thing think the way best to explain it is I let go of who I thought I was. And I think that is such a healthy place to be because we were given so many boxes. I am an actor, I am a this, I am a that and I just kinda like just, you know, screw the boxes. I am done. And I was like, now it is time to reinvent. And I just reinvented a life that is you know, so fulfilling for me that I highly recommend reinvention.
Diane Foy: That’s very cool. And what type of shows do you develop for your TV station?
Glenn Scarpelli: Sedona Now TV is really a showcase to all our visitors. We reach about roughly 2 million people a year that come visit us overnight and we reached them and we educated them on everything that is awesome to see and do in Sedona.
Diane Foy: See you are the spokesperson.
Glenn Scarpelli: I am for real. Yes, exactly. You know, I just assigned to deal with ABC 15 down in Phoenix recently and I started co-hosting segments about Sedona every Friday on their hit morning show Sonoran Living and they call me Mister Sedona on the show when they introduce me. I work with all the ladies down there. I love them. And Terry Ouelette is one of the hostesses calls me now. She goes, Glenn Scarpelli’s here. Mr Sedona. So you hit it right on the nail there, Diane. I kind of am the spokesperson encouraging folks to come on up. We have so, we are such a vibrant community and we have so much to see and do here that that is my world.
Diane Foy: It is very beautiful.
Glenn Scarpelli: Thank you. I love it. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Diane Foy: After all those years, not acting, what drew you back to acting with Sacred Journeys?
Glenn Scarpelli: Well, you know, I left the acting because I was gay and I could not be that. And now here we are cut to these many years later.
Diane Foy: 30 years later.
Glenn Scarpelli: 30, yeah. And now like gay actors work, isn’t that amazing? Henny Penny, the sky did not fall. You are gay and you could say it out loud. So that alone has been something that has been on my mind because the reason I left was for privacy and now I am so calm. Like I am so like, you know okay in my own skin. That I still miss the art of acting. And I want to go back to Audrey Hepburn at one point. I want to share something with you that actually applies to this. When I worked with Audrey, one of the things of specific advice that she gave me as an actor was never seek fame. She said, never seek fame. If you are an actor, you are an artist and be the artist first and only be the artist. That is all you ever have to do. Like none of the business part of show business is never your problem. Just be the artist. So I took that, you know, very near and dear to my heart, that advice and it applied for, you know, creating Sacred Journeys to film I did with Mackenzie. That is now on Amazon prime. I am so excited. But it really came from, I missed that part of me that was an artist that expressed myself that way.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: I have kind of led my whole life creatively, like opening the TV station and doing world wisdom days. Like I have a creative.
Diane Foy: Behind the camera.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah. I mean even Sedona Now I host the segments and it is still a host, but I am not playing anything. I am Glenn Scarpelli talking on camera which is awesome. But you know the joy and the art artistry of acting is to develop to become someone else to find those parts within you that could express a different person. And like that is so exciting to me. And that is not a tool that I have had the fortune to use. You know over the last few decades. And it is one that I missed a lot. And I will tell you when I was on stage with Mackenzie interviewing Norman for the Evening and Norman of Norman Lear, that is when I realized I was going to make that movie. Literally in that moment, we started talking and Norman was talking about creativity and being true to yourself and authentic selves and purposes of life. And we were having a very deep conversation in that context. And I was like, oh my gosh, I am not doing World Wisdom Days next year. I am going to develop a film. I need to act again. Like it was like this light bulb right in that moment, talking to him with Mack sitting right there. So that is kind of how that happened. And I had a buddy a writer friend of mine in Los Angeles who had said to me. Listen, I want to write something for you. You should act again. Let’s write a part for you. And I was like, that is so sweet. But I never really did anything about it. Well, he got a phone call and I was like were you serious about writing a part for me? And he is like heck yeah. And I am like okay let us do it. So he wrote it but we developed it together and we would meet and he would like kind of have these different ideas and you know and then one kind of started was a real seed. And from there it grew and as soon as I realized the female lead Mack was my first phone call. She said yes, like in 30 seconds she read the script. She is like, honey, I love it. Let us do it. And it was in Sedona and you know, comes to Sedona quite a bit. She also finds a lot of solace. Sedona is really one of those places where you can center. And if that is of interest to anyone, I highly recommend Sedona, it is really one of those places and that is so important in the crazy world we live.
Diane Foy: Yeah and take time out.
Glenn Scarpelli: Take time out and just get centered and quiet.
Diane Foy: Okay. I am coming.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yeah, good. That’s it. and that is what she comes forward to. She is like, I just need to be quiet sometimes and you know, just sit on a rock and look at some beauty. Like it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Diane Foy: I do not do that often.
Glenn Scarpelli: Well it is not everybody does.
Diane Foy: Yeah, you got to make a point to do that again, I think.
Glenn Scarpelli: It is a definite point to be made. Exactly. You have to set the intention, let us put it that way.
Diane Foy: And the film really showcases Sedona really beautifully.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes. So part of what we decided to do was make a film about that takes place. It is not about Sedona. Well those Sedona is certainly a character in the film, let us put it that way. But this film kind of these characters could be in other places if we wanted them to be.
Diane Foy: Right.
Glenn Scarpelli: You just wanted to, we wanted it to be about Sedona or take place in Sedona. So Mack was very into all that too. And then one of my dearest friends in the world directed it, his name is Tracy Boyd and he works on all the Alexander Payne movies with Alexander. He does a lot of research and also as a producer and then also second unit director with Alexander on like everything from the descendants to downsizing and with Matt Damon last year. Anyway, so Tracy came in and really took that film to another level because I think we had gotten to a place where it was good, but what Tracy did was bring each of our characters to so much more of a fulfilled three, four dimensional kind of character, brought in richness and a tone. So Tracy really brought a lot to the film. So we did make the film finally got made here in Sedona. We have wonderful investors. We had a beautiful distribution deal and it found its way to Amazon prime. I share that with anyone that is listening. If you want to really sweet film. We really wanted to make a film that was sweet and charming and a film that really, you know, shares a little bit about growth, about how we can grow as people. Because one of the things that happens to my character is love comes into his life. And what happens when love comes into our lives is, you know, the possibilities are infinite and that’s kind of what the film is about. So it’s about these real people who have these real problems showing how in the beginning life could be messy, but when we tapped into the love we have in our lives you know, real possibilities can occur. So that’s kind of what the film is about.
Diane Foy: Cool. So the only problem with that is it is not available in Canada.
Glenn Scarpelli: I know what is up with that. Hopefully soon I have had this conversation with them because I have so many friends and on social media that are like, what? Why can’t we get it?
Diane Foy: Yeah.
Glenn Scarpelli: I do not know. It has something to do with the rights issue with Amazon in Canada, I guess. I do not know.
Diane Foy: Usually everyone has a different contract for same Netflix. They all have this thing where they are licensed for that country.
Glenn Scarpelli: Right. Well, I am going to put in my 2 cents again then. Diane.
Diane Foy: Well that’s amazing that you got to act again. And also with Mackenzie, it was a good film in the sense of for characters because there really was only like four characters in the film, right? Four or five.
Glenn Scarpelli: Yes and Stephen Wallem, who was on nurse Jackie, who I absolutely adore, he plays my boyfriend in it. And he is so wonderful. So I mean it really became the experience of shooting Sacred Journeys was so fulfilling for me. Oh my gosh. Like it really just felt incredible to have that kind of because you know, I call it set love you know, like there is the thing that happens on the set family. Yeah. You become family even though you work together in a relatively short period of time. There is just so much connection and that just feels so good, I just love it. And you know, recently, I do not know if you knew this, but I just did a cameo guest star role on the Netflix one day at a time.
Diane Foy: That’s amazing. It is a good show. The new one day at a time. I love it.
Glenn Scarpelli: Me Too. I love it. And you know, I had kind of known that this was going to happen before it happened. Norman and his right arm, wonderful man who runs his company, Brent Miller, who is one of my dearest friends, I love him so much. He kind of shared with me that they were looking at creating it with a Latino family. And then Netflix came into play and then you know Rita Moreno came into play and Justina Machado. They are all so good in the show. And then when I got a call saying that they wanted me to do this little cameo, I was so thrilled. And the shooting that show was just incredible. Working with Norman again. And Mackenzie’s done a few, I think she did four this year. She has a current recurring role on the show and she was not in the episode I was in, but came to the, the filming, the taping tape, I still call it tape. I do not know what they call it now. I’m old school, digital formatting or whatever they call it. Tape night is what I call it. And she came to tape night to support me and it was so wonderful. It is just so, so wonderful to be part of that whole family because it really is the extension of what we all started 40 years ago.
Diane Foy: Yeah. And now one of the daughters is gay.
Glenn Scarpelli: I know, I love that. Isabella Gomez who plays, Elena on the show. The Mackenzie character is so wonderful. In fact, my little cameo is in a scene with her. I was so thrilled about that. And everyone on that show is just so incredible to show runners. Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce have really done incredible with keeping up with the initial intent of the original show. You know, they are so talented and in such incredible writers, and they honored what Norman started 40 years ago, which was to really create relatable, wonderful real characters that reflect the social situations of the day.
Glenn Scarpelli: You know, that is why I really think out of all the reboots, this might be the best, because I really don not even call it a reboot. I call it a reinvention of the show. It is its own thing, but it stays with the same intent that the original had. And I am just I do not know maybe I am partial but I think this one is the best of the best.
Diane Foy: What is your big picture? Why what is your why? Why do you do what you do? What drives you? What motivates you?
Glenn Scarpelli: Well, you know, that is a really good question and I have often thought of that. I think of that often when I am processing my time where I look inside and I think why is we are here for a short time and a good time. That is my motto. And we’re here for a short time and a good time. So, you know what I do and what I have created in my life is stuff that really brings me joy. Like I am pretty joyous, you know? And I am so grateful. I live in such gratitude. I think that the perfect relationship with ourselves is that of gratitude to be grateful for the little things. So, you know, that is part of my philosophy is to be I am easy to please and that is not something I always was, I was not always easy to please. I learned how to be because it is the simple things in life that are the most fulfilling. So my big why is finding things that expressing myself through ways that give me joy. And then being grateful for those things. You know that is a big part of who I am and I just, I know that there is no destination to that, so I just want to keep growing and growing in that and being a little better at it every day.
Diane Foy: That is amazing. So where can people find you online?
Glenn Scarpelli: I am on all social media at Glenn Scarpelli and that’s G. L. E double N. Scarpelli. S. C. A. R. P. E. L. L. I.
Diane Foy: Great. And you also mentioned that you own vacation rentals in Sedona. Tell me about that.
Glenn Scarpelli: So you know, I have been talking a lot about Sedona as being part of my joy. I think Sedona is a lot of, part of my why. And I just want to invite everybody to come visit. And, you know, like I said, my partner, my life partner, Jerry Gildan and I. We have these beautiful Sedona vacation villas, their homes that you can be rented here in Sedona. They are incredible locations. They are beautiful homes, and just make for a great place to stay in Sedona. And that can be also found on sedonavacationvillas.com and they just want to make sure I invited everybody to come visit us.
Diane Foy: Wow. You even have a place to stay.
Glenn Scarpelli: You know, place to stay. Exactly.
Diane Foy: Mr. Sedona.
Glenn Scarpelli: What a pleasure talking to you, Diane. I have enjoyed this conversation.
Diane Foy: It was wonderful. Thank you so much.
Glenn Scarpelli: I thank you for being so well versed in my life. I think you know more about me than I do.
Diane Foy: Love it. I really enjoyed talking to Glenn. It was so cool to hear all the stories about Al Pacino and Audrey Hepburn and the amazing talent that was on One Day at a Time. Some of the things he learned was Golda Meir saying, be the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and then Al Pacino’s was never believe your own press. Audrey Hepburn said never seek fame. If you were an actor you are an artist and be the artist first only be the artist. The business side of show business is never your problem. Well the things have changed. I want to add I mean love Audrey Hepburn. I would add that today an artist has to be very aware of the business side of show business. The days of only being in the artist are gone. If you actually want to make a living doing this. It was so amazing to hear how Audrey took them around the record store and educated him on why she loves classical music so much. And then also there was Norman Lear who is 96 years old and he is in the book of world records as the oldest living working producer ever in show business which that is pretty cool. Glenn asked what his secret was and he said “laughter” he surrounds himself with funny people and he works a lot at times having up to 10 shows on the air at the same time but he called the stress “joyful stress”. You always have to laugh.
For more detailed show notes and some cool photos of Glenn. You can take a look at dianefoy.com/003 and I will have links to all that we talked about there. And if you enjoyed the show, please subscribe, rate and review and share it with your fellow creative artists. Thanks for listening to Sing Dance Act Thrive. Be sure to join the mailing list at dianefoy.com to gain access to exclusive bonus content, a weekly newsletter, and an invitation to our private Facebook group of purpose driven performing artists and industry influencers.