Famed character actor Paul Dooley has had a long and varied career. In the 1950s he began an extremely successful career as an advertising spokesperson, doing nearly 1,000 radio commercials and countless national TV ads. He had long admired Buster Keaton and actually got to work with him in a silent movie style ad for Ford. He was a member of the famed Second City Improv Group with Alan Arkin, Barbara Harris and Alan Alda among others. He had also been a cartoonist, a stand-up comic and a theatre actor. His first big film break came in 1977 when director Robert Altman cast him in The Wedding and A Perfect Couple. He famously segued into playing fathers in films to Dennis Christopher in Breaking Away, Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride and in countless roles on television. He has written and is currently performing Upright & Personal as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. As the 88-year old actor tells us at the start, he’s titled the show thusly because it is personal and he is still upright. Dooley shares a lot of his personal history, along with a lot of photos and film clips. His relationship with his father was not a loving one but he still managed to raise three children of his own within his two marriages. His first wife disappeared with his son and daughter at one point and he had no contact with them for over 10 years. His paternal feelings he channeled into his film work. The simple setting, besides the film screen, consists of a funny chair, a serious chair and a water cooler for sharing jokes. Dooley’s innate charm and likability easily communicates to his audience. It’s as if we were a guest in his home and he was regaling us, and only us, with tales of his life in show biz. Dooley ends the show living out one of his dreams as The Oldest Stand-Up Comic in the World and comedy clubs should book him ASAP.
Sacred Fools Second Stage, 8320 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. July 15, 16 & 17. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3546