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Acting Work - TV and Film

Secret of My Success

(left) A shot from the movie in which all the executives are forced to exercise on the roof.

(Left to right) Jerry Bamman, Richard Jordan (as the head of the company), Bill Fagerbakke, MacIntyre Dixon, Jeff Brooks, Jack Davidson, Don Amendolia, Ascania Sharpe and Durang with the headband.

Secret of My Success was directed by Herbert Ross, and starred Michael J. Fox, along with Helen Slater, Margaret Whitton, and Richard Jordan.

It was Durang’s first speaking part in a film, and he played the put-upon executive Davis (picked on by Jerry Bamman).  The film was written by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr., and AJ Carothers.  Herbert Ross also hired playwright/ screenwriter Peter Stone to rewrite some of the scenes.  

And then shortly after starting his part as Davis, Durang was hired to rewrite some more scenes, and write a couple of new ones.  At that point in the filming, none of the executives (except for Bamman) had any lines, and so Durang ended up writing lines for all of them, including himself.  

As a quirky side note, Elizabeth Franz played the part of Fox’s mother; and one of Durang’s assignments was to take an already filmed scene with Fox on the telephone with his mother where only his responses were heard.  Durang was asked to write lines for the mother that would trigger Fox’s responses and be short or long enough to fit into the existing pauses.  The fact that Ms. Franz was the original Sister in Durang’s play Sister Mary Ignatius added to the fun of the assignment.

Durang’s other film work:

To see what other films Durang has been in, follow the link below to the Internet Movie Database, and search for “Durang.”  Here's the link:  IMDB.COM

From Durang:


My film roles have all been supporting ones, sometimes with one or two good scenes, sometimes really negligible.  For what it’s worth, I thought I’d tell you in which films I have parts with something fun in them:

  • Secret of My Success (a good minor temper tantrum scene; and I keep popping up throughout)

  • Mr. North (as a YMCA clerk; nice scene in the middle upset when people treat Anthony Edwards as a
    faith healer; nice film)

  • Penn & Teller Get Killed (early on I appear as a nut at the airport)

  • The Butcher’s Wife (I play a quirky patient to psychiatrist Jeff Daniels)

  • Housesitter (fun part of a mild minister trying to counsel Goldie Hawn & Steve Martin; and get to call
    out  “See you at choir practice!”)

  • Life with Mikey (small but odd: I play Santa Claus at a rehab center toward the end)

  • The Cowboy Way (I play a waiter who finds Woody Harrelson difficult)

  • Simply Irresistible (I play a kind of fairy godfather in the first scene; subsequent scenes were cut or
    not filmed, so it’s a lopsided part) 

  • The Out of Towners (Mo Gaffney and I play two lunatics who think Goldie Hawn is trying to steal our
    newspaper; small but fun scene, early on)

  • Kristin (TV show with Kristin Chenoweth; I played her minister in 5 episodes) 

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