Gina Wilhelm Actress – New York Actress Leo Reflects on her Career
Melissa Leo grew up in New York’s East Village and went to theater school in London. After quitting college, she nannied, waitressed–and went to an audition between shifts.
The audition was for the movie “The Razor’s Edge” and was opposite Bill Murray.
At the audition, he gave her some advice: “‘You’re much too young for this part, but if you really want to do this, you should just do it.”
Leo said, “He seemed, in the moment, to be saying I had something…I felt he was giving me a gift. Whether he was or not, I have no idea. But I quit work that afternoon and said, ‘I will now only take work as an actor.'”
It paid off, eventually. She worked on TV for a while, starring on “Homicide: Life on the Streets” for a while.
Now she is about to star on the HBO series “Treme” as well as a remake of “Mildred Pierce” and will lead in “The Dry Land.”
She also starred in “Frozen River,” for which she received an Oscar nomination nearly 25 years after her fateful audition with Bill Murray.
Of her career, she says, “There was nothing that was going to deter me from it. Now I get this gratitude coming from very fine actors I know who cannot get hired. They thank me for staying in there and proving to them that if they just stick with it, that’s all it might take.”