Lois Bell has been waiting a long time to take her dream of becoming an actor all the way to Hollywood.
The 65-year old Brunswick resident is hopping a plane to Los Angeles today with plans to stay for a few months during the rigorous process of auditions in the nation’s No. 1 place to get recognized.
After landing an agent earlier this year during a competition in New York, Bell said the next logical step is to go to the West Coast.
“I’ve had dreams all my life, and I’ve seen them develop,” Bell said. “I always wanted to be a mother and I was. I was a teacher. And then I worked with my husband, side by side, and I loved it.”
Bell said she taught physical education at a middle school in Illinois, a high school in Michigan and a Christian center in Parma.
She worked with her husband, Robert, in his business, First Integrated Choice, which provides marketing for nonprofit corporations.
“I always learned from every phase but this was completely way out there even for me.”
Three years ago, Bell’s husband died. Now, with her three grown children settled into families of their own, the grandmother of seven decided it was time to take a chance on her acting dream.
“I had to be a mother, and I supported my husband — I felt like that was my role,” she said. “But now it’s just me. I don’t have children to be responsible for; it’s a good time to do this.”
Bell knew acting wasn’t the sort of profession you just jump into. For the last 1½ years, she’s taken classes at the Barbizon School in Akron. She spent time getting professional training in both fashion modeling and acting.
“I was the oldest in my class,” she said. “The second oldest was about 40 and the youngest was probably 11 or 12.”
Bell said most people encourage her with her acting career, noting there are plenty of job opportunities for older actors, such as Betty White.
“Everybody’s encouraging me to pursue this,” she said. “I know it gives me joy and has gotten me on to the next phase of my life.”
Bell said she will rent a room from an established actress while in Los Angeles and has plans to audition for a number of roles.
She’ll be hitting Hollywood during the start of what’s known as the “Episodic Season” in show business.
“It’s a time that they’re doing a lot of casting for new talent,” Bell said. “This is the time when casting directors are looking for new faces to introduce to the market.”
Television shows already have lined up their stars but now are looking to cast other guest stars and reccurring characters for series.
Bell said she’s excited about the prospects of the auditions, but dreads the city’s infamous traffic.
“From what I hear it takes at least an hour, no matter where you’re going,” she said.
She’s already got some experience to bring with her, following a contest in New York where she earned runner-up for female actor and got second-place in for her screen test.
“I played a drunk woman, and they loved it,” she said. “I guess I can get away with that sort of thing at my age.”
Bell said she plans to stay in Los Angeles at least until December, and plans to visit with her grand-children in Las Vegas while she’s out west.
“It depends on how busy they keep me in L.A.,” she said.
Bell’s friends threw a going-away party for her this weekend. While she’ll miss home, Bell said it’s good for her to get out of her empty house and feel young again.
“I like to be out with people, and I was looking for something else to get me out of the home,” she said. “I needed something to get me excited about life again.”
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.