TOM SKERRITT is a newcomer to the "Poltergeist" family as Bruce Gardner, the amiable, understanding uncle of Carol Anne. He is a critically-acclaimed performer whose acting career has encompassed films, television and theatre, most notably in the recent film "Top Gun," as a recurrent guest star on the "Cheers" television series, as well as, perhaps surprisingly, the fashionable model in a series of recent magazine ads for Guess sportswear.
A native of Detroit, Skerritt discovered his interest in drama at Wayne State University while majoring in art. He spent his free time acting in stock theatres in the midwest, then moved to Los Angeles to major in television and film production at UCLA. While doing local productions, he was spotted in "The Rainmaker" and was cast in his first film, "War Hunt," which also starred Robert Redford.
Skerritt went on to portray an off-the-wall surgeon in the classic "M*A*S*H," but is probably best remembered for the thoughtful gentleness he brought to the role of Shirley MacLaine's husband in "The Turning Point." His other films include "Alien," "Fighting Back," "The Dead Zone," "Ice Castles," "Silence of the North," "Space Camp," "Maid to Order" and "The Big Town," among others.
Finding time to include television in his work, Skerritt appeared in "A Touch of Scandal," "The Calendar Girl Murders," "Miles to Go" and as the star of the series "Ryan's Four." He has recently guest-starred in several episodes of "Cheers."
NANCY ALLEN, who plays Carol Anne's Aunt Pat in "Poltergeist III," has starred in such suspense thrillers as "Dressed to Kill," "Blow Out" and, most recently, "Robocop."
Allen never really set out to be an actress, but did study dancing at the School for the Performing Arts. She began modeling at age 15, then worked in more than 100 television commercials. Her first film acting role came when she moved from her native Yonkers, New York, to Los Angeles and landed a role in "The Last Detail." Her first major role followed in Brian DePalma's thriller "Carrie."
Her other film credits include "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "1941," "The Buddy System," "Endangered Species," "Sweet Revenge," "Strange Invaders," "The Philadelphia Experiment" and "Not for Publication."
HEATHER O'ROURKE, who died unexpectedly in February, 1988 from complications of a congenital intestinal disorder, made her film debut at age five in "Poltergeist," and was nine when she reprised her role as Carol Anne in "Poltergeist II: The Other Side." Heather was just 11 when she filmed "Poltergeist III," which was completed several months before her untimely death.
Heather was discovered by Steven Spielberg for "Poltergeist" in the MGM commissary while lunching with her mother and older sister, Tammy, who was filming "Pennies From Heaven." Although Heather had never taken acting lessons, she had appeared in numerous commercials, including a long-running McDonald's spot and Mattel's "My First Barbie" campaign. During her first interview with Spielberg, who was to direct "Poltergeist," she giggled at the pink stuffed pig and fish presented to her, rather than being frightened as Spielberg wanted her to be.
She returned the next day for another try. This time she read from a scary storybook, then, at Spielberg's request, she began to scream. Twenty-four hours later, she was told she had won the role of Carol Anne.
Following her film debut, Heather went on to co-star as Linda Purl's daughter in the "Happy Days" television series and had recurring roles on both "Webster" and "Still the Beaver." She also guest-starred in such series as "Our House," "Rocky Road," "Matt Houston," "Chips" and "Fantasy Island." Her television movies include "Surviving," "Believe You Can and You Can" and "Nasarati and the Brain."
Veteran actress ZELDA RUBINSTEIN reprises her role as Tangina Barrons, the diminutive medium who has been with Carol Anne through each of her previous supernatural encounters.
Before beginning her acting career, Rubinstein earned a B.S. degree in Life Science from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a professional blood banker and medical technician. Her work took her to Venezuela and Trinidad, where she spent a year in graduate school studying cultural anthropology, and to London, where she worked for two years.
Rubinstein broke into acting in 1975, when she got a job as an extra in "Americathon." Since originating the role of Tangina in 1982, Rubinstein has appeared in "Sixteen Candles," "Under the Rainbow," "Die Laughing," and, more recently, "Anguish" and the upcoming "Teen Witch."
Her television credits include movies and series such as "Eye to Eye," "Jennifer Slept Here," "Matt Houston," "I Gave at the Office" and "Whiz Kids."
In addition, she has appeared on stage in productions of "Three Confessions," "1984," "Slab Boys" and "Death Trap."
Eighteen-year-old LARA FLYNN BOYLE, who plays Donna, Carol Anne's cousin, is a graduate of the Chicago Academy for the Arts, where she received extensive theatrical training. She has a starring role in the upcoming "How I Got Into College" and has been seen as Robert Urich's daughter in the mini-series "Amerika," in the pilot episode of the "Sable" television series, and in an episode of "Jack and Mike."
Boyle was one of three national finalists in the drama category on television's popular "Star Search" program and co-starred in "50s/60s Rock 'N' Roll Party," a syndicated 2-hour program hosted by Wolfman Jack.
In addition, Boyle has worked as a model, in commercials, and is a member of the Organic Theater Youth Group, where she co-wrote and starred in their production of "Patch-Work City."
KIP WENTZ, also 18, "lost about 10 pounds worrying" while awaiting the results of his audition for the role of Scott, Donna's boyfriend, in "Poltergeist III." It is his first film role.
Wentz began performing in plays while in junior high school, then continued during his high school years. He plans to attend USC and hopes to continue with his acting career.
RICHARD FIRE plays Dr. Seaton, the doubting head of the school attended by Carol Anne.
Fire earned a B.A. degree from Rutgers University and a master's degree in Theatre at the University of Wisconsin. A prolific writer, as well as an actor, his plays include the long-running "Bleacher Bums." Originally produced at Chicago's Organic Theatre, it played in Los Angeles and New York before being adapted for PBS. Its television production won him an Emmy.
He is also the author of "ER," which toured the theatre circuit for nearly four years. It was later the basis for the television series starring Elliott Gould. Fire's own television credits include "Lady Blue," "Hyde and Seeke," "ER," "Trial of Shoeless Joe Jackson" and "Bleacher Bums." He has acted on the stage in "Marat/Sade," "National Lampoon's Lemmings," "Volpone," "Sirens of Titan," "The Ice Cream Suit," "The King Must Die" and many others.
Actor NATHAN DAVIS replaces the late Julian Beck as the monstrous Reverend Kane. Originally a radio actor, he left show business for 25 years, then returned with roles in films, television and on the stage. He has appeared in "Burglar," "Tough Guys," "Flowers in the Attic," "One More Saturday Night," "Risky Business," "Thief," "Windy City," "On the Right Track," and two films directed by his son Andy Davis, "Code of Silence" and "Stony Island."
His television roles include roles on "Jack and Mike," "Crime Story," "Hill Street Blues," "Chicago Story" and "Too Close for Comfort." On the stage, he has been seen in many plays in the Chicago area, including "Romeo and Juliet," "Comedians," "Fool for Love," "The Miser," as the lead in "On Golden Pond" and many others.
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