When Galyn Görg answers the phone, she is in Maui. Owing to the time difference between South Australia and Hawaii, while I’m having my morning coffee, Galyn is tucking into a late lunch in between appointments. As we begin to talk about her younger years on the Big Island and then Oahu, more than once I am reminded of where she is. I can hear birds chirping in the background and it seems like it’s a splendid weather. You know how you can sometimes just tell it’s a sunny day, even over the phone?
More than the location, however, Galyn seems to embody a lot of the spirit of Hawaii, as described to me by friends who lived there for many years. It is fitting that at the end of our first conversation, when we’ve just discussed her role in Point Break, which is only about a decade into her more than 30-year acting and dance career, that she bids me goodbye with the Hawaiian, “Aloha”. Like the many meanings of that word, she is open, welcoming, generous of spirit, creative, compassionate and, indeed, it is a joy to spend time in conversation with her. When we pick up for out next conversation, she is now in Los Angeles, her other base, meeting with producers and directors. Wherever Galyn is in the world as she takes on roles in film and TV, she’ll likely be seeking out a dance class or somewhere to improv, and she tells me that she actually plans to do both in the coming days. It’s no surprise why. There’s a clip on YouTube of Galyn after one of her early performances on the Italian megahit variety TV series, Fantastico. The host, Pippo Baudo, asks the breathless Galyn, who had just finished a dance number, “Senti, Galyn, tu quando canti e quando balli, che cosa sente?” In English, he is asking, “Listen, Galyn, when you sing and when you dance, what do you feel?” Galyn replies, “Mi sento felice, una grande gioia, voglia di vivere”. The translation says it all: “I feel happy, a great joy, a desire to live”.
It was with dance that Galyn first began her foray into performance. Her mother, Gwyn, a dancer and model, introduced her to dance classes when the family was living in Hawaii. She was exposed to a range of styles, which has held her in good stead on TV and in her films. When her mother and father, filmmaker Alan Görg, moved the family – her brother Carter, and sisters Gentry, Sunny, and Tagi – to Los Angles, Galyn won competitive dance scholarships, including to the legendary Dupree Dance Academy. Along with sister, Gentry, Galyn was among 51 students to receive scholarships sponsored by the Professional Dancers Society. According to a Variety article (6 March 1981) detailing the presentation of the scholarships, these dancers “were selected from a field of 700 auditioning and competing”.
From there, Galyn began appearing in acting roles in TV and film, often playing a dancer, as well as music videos and commercials, including ZZ Top’s video for “Sharp Dressed Man”. One of her first big roles in film, as Lynka in Cannon Film’s post-apocalyptic tale, America 3000, saw the barely 20-year-old Galyn travel to work in Israel, an experience that she loved. Further travel was on the cards for Galyn when in 1985 she won a regular spot as a dancer on an Italian TV series, RAI’s (the national broadcaster) ratings juggernaut, Fantastico. Paired with American dancer Steve LaChance, the chemistry on (and offscreen) was apparent quickly, and a star dancing team were born. After the success of Fantastico, which topped the season’s ratings and regularly took around 45-50% of the viewing audience each week (the finale, alone, drew an over 60% share of the audience, with almost 23,000,000 viewers), Galyn and Steve went on to another Italian variety series, SandraRaimondo Show, hosted by the legendary television husband and wife act of Sandra Mondaini and Raimondo Vianello. Capitalising further on their popularity, Galyn and Steve starred in the scripted Dance Academy (aka Body Beat), an Italian-American co-production set at a classical ballet academy with – thanks to a new teacher played by Tony Fields – a modern jazz flair.
Stateside, Galyn was busy on TV and still more film. One of those roles was starring in Living the Blues, written and produced by her parents, directed by her father, and with her siblings also working on various aspects of the film. In Living the Blues, Galyn is Mana Brown, who is running figuratively (and, in dance sequences, sometimes literally) from her life on the wrong side of the tracks and a grim future she envisions for herself. She meets the upper-crust Abel Wilson (Michael Kerr), and the star-crossed lovers navigate the disapproval of his parents and Mana’s mother, played by Gwyn Görg, while being counselled by Uncle Sam Brown, played by legendary Blues musician Sam Taylor. In dance, music, and poetry, their story unfolds. In a review of the film in Variety (30 August, 1989) Galyn was described as “an appealing screen presence”, with her work in Dance Academy also praised.
Galyn moved easily between leading and supporting roles, and the new decade of the ‘90s brought parts in the hits Point Break as Patrick Swayze’s girlfriend in beautifully-realised scenes on the beach at night, and RoboCop 2, as Cain’s (Tom Noonan) increasingly horrified accomplice, Angie. There was also Judgment Night starring Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff, and Jeremy Piven, Storyville starring James Spader, and a role on Twin Peaks as Nancy O’Reilly, Blackie’s (Victoria Catlin) nefarious sister and Jean Renault’s (Michael Parks) lover.
Science fiction has formed a fair chunk of Galyn’s career. She starred as detective Lt. Leora Maxwell on Fox Television’s underrated – and like RoboCop 2, I would argue, still topical – science fiction-crime drama M.A.N.T.I.S., alongside Carl Lumbly, Roger Rees, and Christopher Gartin. Filmed in Vancouver, Galyn relished the natural environment there, which is not surprising given her Hawaiian upbringing.
In quick succession, she also had plum guest roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Stargate SG-1. When I say plum, her episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is regularly ranked among the best of the series by fans and critics, alike. In that episode, “The Visitor” she plays Korena, the wife of a now adult Jake (played by Tony Todd). In one particularly poignant scene, Korena is all hope and nerves for her husband as his long-lost father Sisko (Avery Brooks) appears briefly at the couple’s house. Stargate SG-1 gave Galyn the chance to play the lead guest role as Kendra, an ostracised healer who must confront her past and face her fears in the episode “Thor’s Hammer”. Galyn delved into the lighter side of Greek mythology when she took on roles in fantasy shows Xena: Warrior Princess as the oppressed, but ultimately resilient Helen of Troy, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Egyptian Princess Anuket. Often while watching her appearances in preparation of speaking with her, I would write in my notes, “Great outfit”. Wardrobe wasn’t lost on Galyn, either, and while discussing her roles, we also talk about some of those wonderful costumes.
Many of Galyn’s movies and TV shows are in regular rotation, and with an extensive body of work (we cover so much of her career, and still can’t fit everything in), many may have not realised that she took time away from the screen in the 2000s. During that time, Galyn engaged with Native American teachings (her mother has Native American ancestry) and immersed herself in arts programs for young people. Her role as teacher and mentor is one that she relishes, along with dancing and improv. And … Galyn is again appearing in a string of films and TV series, which is a very good thing for us.
When talking with Galyn, it comes across that she loves what she does, is at home on a set, and she is able to form good relationships with her co-workers. I don’t think this comes down to Galyn focusing her recollections only on positive on-set experiences, but instead from that openness and compassion she displays when talking with me during our extensive and enjoyable chat.
In Part 1 of our interview, Galyn and I speak about her early life in Hawaii and LA, being a dancer at the height of the Fame and Flashdance dance craze, starring on Fantastico, her roles in TV and film during this time, and starting out the ‘90s with RoboCop 2 and Point Break.
Adam: It’s been a long time coming.
Galyn: Yes, it has. We’ve been trying to do this for quite a while.
Adam: I’m so pleased to speak to you. How are you today?
Galyn: I am very well. I am very well, just busy, but doing pretty well.
Adam: Thank you for taking the time to speak to me. I guess we can pretty much get started. Well, I guess to begin with, when did you start learning to dance?
Galyn: My first dance class was on the Big Island, they call it here the Big Island of Hawaii. In the town of Hilo, my mother went to take in a West African dance class, and that was my first dance class and I went in and oh, I was in love – that was it.
Adam: How old were you then?
Galyn: I must’ve been about ten, eleven, ten.
Adam: So you started with that dance class and then from there you went on to learn other styles?
Galyn: Yes, then we moved to Oahu and then I began taking ballet with my first ballet teacher. Her name was Helen, Miss Chun I think her name was. I loved ballet, I loved West African. So, I was doing that for a little while, and then as I got older, I tried many other styles of dance.
Adam: Maybe you were too young at the time to think about this, but do you think there were clear divides between those students who learned ballet or learned jazz or learned other styles, or could there be that mixture?
Galyn: For me there was the mixture because after we left Oahu we moved back to Los Angeles, my parents moved us back to Los Angeles, and I was awarded a scholarship. I auditioned and got a scholarship at a studio in Hollywood. It was called Dupree Dance Academy. It was the top studio and we had to take different, we took different styles. We had to take jazz and ballet and I guess you’d call it kind of a funk hip hop was just coming around. Then I eventually went into a lot Brazilian, I did samba, then I did a lot of West African. I love them all for different reasons and they’re all challenging for different reasons, but I have loved every one of them dearly.
Adam: When you did move back with your family to LA was that because of your father’s work as a documentary filmmaker?
Galyn: Yeah, that was partially, because my parents, you know, my mother is Black, and my father is White, and they had met in the Civil Rights Movement in Los Angeles, they had met in an organisation called CORE, it was Congress of Racial Equality. My parents had met in that group, and so they were very active in the Civil Rights Movement, with Martin Luther King and everything that was happening, and they wanted to go back to Los Angeles because they wanted to make sure that we were exposed to the arts more and they were exposed to, just more exposed. And then my father wanted to do more films.
Adam: Last night I was watching one of his documentaries that’s made its way onto YouTube, Felicia.
Adam: Fantastic, and of course that’s been put into the National Film Registry, so amazing work. Where did you go to school in LA?
Galyn: The first place I went to was called SMASH, and that was Santa Monica Alternative School House. It was an alternative school meaning that the classes were very small, arts were very emphasised, it was like, you know, you have a classroom and there’s couches you can sit in, you can get personalised attention, and your creativity is encouraged. And that’s why I actually excelled in math, which is the only place I ever excelled in math. It’s so funny – because I got so much attention, otherwise I had a really hard time with math, but it was the only place that I did well in math. And then I also went to Santa Monica High School.
Adam: That’s kind of funny being in such a performance-based school, alternative school, and doing so well in math. Is that where you took more interest in dance and performance?
Galyn: Yes, I think it was there and also because my mother had been dancing and modelling and very creative, and so she just kept encouraging me. I just loved it myself and I have three sisters – I have a brother also, but he wasn’t really interested in that – but my sisters were, and she just kept encouraging us. We would go see Alvin Ailey, we would go see productions and theatre, and we watched musicals all the time, of course Singing in the Rain and West Side Story.
We would see those and then they played, my mother and father, liked Blues and my dad loves Blues. That’s why he made the film Living the Blues, and my parents encouraged us in the arts, we were just always encouraged, and I wanted to be in television and film. When we lived on the Big Island of Hawaii in Hilo, my parents had a theatre group for youth, for young people, so I did quite a few plays when we were on the Big Island with the theatre group. Then on Oahu, that’s right – I’m just remembering this [laughs] – I did plays with youth theatre programs, and I loved it. I did a lot of plays on Oahu and on the Big Island. So then from the theatre there then going to Los Angeles and being involved, I started really getting involved in dance when I won my scholarship to Dupree Dance Academy.
Adam: So, you got a scholarship from Dupree, as well as other scholarships. I think I found your first mention in Variety, where they were talking about the ceremony for the Professional Dancers Society scholarships. There were some big names mentioned: Roland Dupree Juliet Prowse were judges; Debbie Reynolds, Eleanor Powell, and June Haver were at the ceremony. Do you remember going to that?
Galyn: I remember that. I remember there being celebrities and different people like that, but my focus was so on being a dancer, and so wanting to perfect the technique. I was so serious about it and the thing that I knew is because of that level of artistry and those artists involved, it was going to be a high-level experience. That’s what my mom wanted to make sure that if I was going to train, I had the best quality. I do remember that – that I knew I was in good company.
Adam: That’s interesting, that sort of mentality, that performance mentality. From early on, where even though you are surrounded by all that, it’s really on that focus of, “This is what I need to do, and this is what I’m focusing on”.
Galyn: That’s right. There’s a man, Bill Prudich, he was on scholarship at Dupree Dance Academy. He now is the Executive Director of EDGE in Hollywood. EDGE is the top dance studio. He and I were interacting on social media the other day, and I told him that the only celebrity that ever made me nervous was when I met Cyd Charisse. When I was there [at Dupree], she was the one that I was like, Oh my God [laughs].
Galyn: But otherwise my parents always said, “Well, you’re an artist and anybody else, famous or not, is an artist, and when you’re creating art together then you’re all artists. You’re on the same playing field, the same level, it’s just art, you know”.
Adam: That’s a great attitude, I love that.
Adam: You started to appear early on in your career on TV and films that were set in dance schools or dance academies. You did Fame; I know you did at least one episode, I don’t know if you did other ones. You did Mirrors, the TV movie, and then later, Dance Academy. In your experience of dance school or dance training, were those sorts of programs accurate reflections of your own experience?
Galyn: Um, not exactly because the intensity of where you are. When I was on scholarship at Dupree, we had to take three classes a day, so we had to take about 15 classes a week. You pretty much are eating, sleeping, drinking dance. It’s just your entire – I remember my sister and I, when we would go to sleep at night, we would try and sleep with our legs, our feet in a position to help our technique in the day time. We’d want to sleep through the night to try to have our bodies adjust to a certain technique. Film somewhat captures it. The intensity is sometimes in films or the level of rehearsal and the competition; and some instructors are not nice, and some instructors are nice, and not being able to make the move you want to make and then making the move and having a great show. Aspects are definitely accurate.
Adam: In Mirrors, one of the characters says, “After a week or so, the rest of the world disappears. Nothing’s real, but the show and the people you’re working with”.
Galyn: Mmm, yeah.
Adam: Which is interesting. How did you get Fame?
Galyn: I’m trying to remember. I must’ve auditioned, yeah, I auditioned for that.
Adam: With Fame, did you only do the one episode, or do you think you might’ve done other ones as well?
Galyn: Good question [laughs]. I think I just did, I’m trying to remember. The thing is so funny, Adam, I can picture the set right now, I can picture the hallway, like the classroom hallways. I can picture the set and I was dancing and doing something, and I remember there were other dancers on it. When I was dancing like that, I knew most of the other dancers because they came out of Dupree or Joe Tremaine. I think I did one episode, maybe I did two. I can’t even remember.
Adam: [Laughs] When I do these sorts of interviews, I’m always asking people, “Remember when you did that”, and it’s like “Wait a second, that was 20, 25 years ago”.
Galyn: [Laughs] I know!
Adam: Dancing and acting, of course, are not exclusive, but how did you go from having more of a predominant focus on dance to moving into acting?
Galyn: That’s funny because I was in theatre when I was really young and then I got into dance. I think being on scholarship and the dancers that came out of Dupree, the “Thriller” video, Michael Jackson, all of that stuff was dancers out of Dupree and out of Joe Tremaine; and you know Flashdance and Marine Jahan, she was out of Dupree. I mean I can go on and on and name the dancers. It just happened to be a hot moment, a really hot time for dancers in videos and MTV coming alive, and so I think that’s why I [got into dance]. Music videos, people don’t know I did quite a few music videos, and I did tons of television commercials, and it was mostly dance orientated. Then after I went to Italy and came back, I slowly transitioned into acting more.
Adam: That’s interesting because you did a couple of things before you went over, but predominantly you moved into that phase once you came back from Italy.
Adam: What music videos that you did stand out in your mind?
Galyn: Somebody recently messaged me on Facebook a clip of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”. I think that was one of my first videos, with Peter Tramm, the dancer, who’s passed away. I remember that was like my first video, and then “All Night Long” with Lionel Richie. I had a small part on that. You don’t see me that well. That was my first one or ZZ Top. I can’t remember – maybe “All Night Long”. And I knew the song [“All Night Long] was this great song, but I didn’t know the song was going to be that! I had no idea. I come down dancing on the side of Lionel, Mr Richie, with Lela Rochon. Lela Rochon is on one side and I’m on the other side. When Al Jarreau passed away, I posted [on social media] because I danced in the “After All” video. I danced in a Ray Parker Jr. video right after [he did] Ghostbusters. I did a bunch of music videos. I’ve tried to remember them and post them because people ask me. That was being a dancer and being able to come out and do those, especially with Flashdance happening and all of that. Flashdance was great because of her [Jennifer Beals] kind of ambiguous look; I think that helped me.
I did commercials at the time, too, in between all the other stuff, so I was doing lots. I did McDonalds and Pepsi and Coca-Cola, and all those. Hertz rent a car. I have to look, they’re written down somewhere, but, yeah, a lot of television commercials, too.
Adam: One of your first films was America 3000. There’s a lot of interest in those films again from Cannon, and all of that coming around again. What was your experience on that? What was it like to film in Israel?
Galyn: I loved it! Oh my God, that was in Tel Aviv, the Sheraton in Tel Aviv, and the thing is they booked me for three months, so I was out in Israel for three months, but I only worked probably about a month, so I had a lot of time off. Oh my gosh, I travelled around a lot by myself, and people were [saying], “You better be careful”, [but] I had a great time. I would go to what they call the Arab markets, and then I went with people to the Dead Sea. I had so much fun, the food was delicious, and everybody was so nice. You know there was conflict because there were machine guns and soldiers walking around with machine guns; and there was conflict in South Africa with the Apartheid. I could hear booms sometimes, but at the same time when you meet human beings on an eye-to-eye to level, and you just do that, and you don’t talk about crazy world stuff. I just had a great time with people and the food, and on set. I really enjoyed Israel.
Adam: That’s a great lesson, isn’t it? That whole idea that when you’re meeting someone person to person. And of course, at that age as well – you would’ve been in your early twenties – and sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. I remember when I first travelled, I went to Greece and so on, and, you know, I’d leave my wallet and everything else on the counter, and it didn’t matter.
Adam: Whereas I probably wouldn’t do that now if I went back. But sometimes, it’s fine at that time.
Adam: It’s so true Adam, it’s so true. You’re wide-eyed and just open, and I was protected and blessed and had a wonderful time. I went to parties on roof tops, ate tons of food, and worked on the film, I mean I’m still friends with Sue Giosa who played in that film; and Laurene Landon, I just reconnected with her.
Adam: I saw you just did something with her, A Husband for Christmas.
Galyn: Yes, yes.
Adam: That’s really good to hear that you’re still in contact. And do you remember the producers, Golan and Globus?
Galyn: I remember them, yes. I remember them walking around, stressing out.
Galyn: [Laughs] It always seems that the producers are stressing out during the film. There was drama, different dramas. I think one of them was dating one of the actresses, you know these behind the scenes dramas. But I just was into my craft and then my days off.
Adam: I think that’s a good way to be.
Adam: It’s interesting with America 3000 because the dialogue was trying to be very clever, I guess,
Adam: with stuff like “hot plastic”. And you had a bit of an intense scene. I know predominantly it wasn’t a serious film, but you had an intense scene where your character is preparing to be what I think they called “seeded”.
Adam: I think it’s going to come back, this film, I would not be surprised.
Galyn: That’s so – usually I don’t tell people about it [laughs].
Adam: From that film then – I think I’ve got my timeline right – soon after you got Fantastico and ended up in Italy. How did you get that show?
Galyn: I was in LA auditioning and there was a notice in the Variety paper. I saw that, and I went to this audition. There was a long line of girls, and I stood in line. I was not in a good mood, I remember that day, and I was going to leave, and I remember being really, Oh gosh, and I walked in. I just remember going in to audition, they interviewed me, and I remember being in a really sort of sour mood, and then I left. Then about a couple of months later I got a call from the two men, Guido De Angelis, who is actually now a very big producer, he just produced the [Maria] Callas movie, and Giuseppe Giacchi. They called me in and asked me if I’d like to come to Italy to do a variety show, and they were going to manage me. So, I flew out with my mother. I went to Italy, came back, then I went to Israel to shoot the film, and then I went back to Italy. The man that had to make the final decision in Italy was Pippo Baudo. He’s like the David Letterman, the Johnny Carson, the big time. He had to approve of me, so I met Pippo Baudo and the choreographer Franco Miseria. They liked me, and I liked them, and it was the biggest variety show in Italy.
Adam: Did you have any concept of how big it was?
Galyn: No, I didn’t know. Even when I was doing it, I didn’t know, really. I had no idea that it was this huge, huge show. I learned as we went because we did a couple of episodes and I couldn’t walk the streets after it. After we left the theatre, we had to try and drive and escape from people. We had to hide, and then that’s when we started to realise, Oh my gosh, this show is huge.
Adam: You were always on the magazine covers. It’s kind of funny, I was moving house a few weeks ago, and for research, I had all these magazines with you on the covers. And my partner’s like, “How are you going to pack these, you can’t just throw them into a box”.
Galyn: [Laughs]. Yeah, a whole lot of magazine covers. I had a great time. I’ve re-connected with many of those people again. I was supposed to go there in December . I was supposed to go do a show with Lorella Cuccarini and Heather Parisi, who are very well-known dancers now, but there was a contractual disagreement, and that’s why it didn’t happen.
Adam: Hopefully down the track, perhaps.
Galyn: I have Italian fans always messaging me, contacting me, “Darling, darling, when do you return to Italy, Galyn, Galyn?”
Adam: That’s fantastic. And it was a high intensity show, I mean it was a two-hour show. What was your schedule in any given week?
Galyn: It was intense. We rehearsed all day, must’ve been six to eight hours, and then I had to go into the studio that night and record because we were singing so many songs. It was packed. It was a packed non-stop rehearsal all day, go record in the studio, maybe go and do an interview, shoot a photo session. It was an intense schedule and the show was live, millions of viewers. It wasn’t like delayed, there wasn’t a three second delay. It was live! And we were doing lifts and all of these – I hadn’t done anything to that level. My partner that I danced with was Steve LaChance, who is actually still in Italy. He had been an incredible dancer. He’d worked with Bob Fosse, and Debbie Allen used to call him regularly to dance on the Academy Awards. Phenomenal partner. I was very lucky. That happened because my mum suggested him to the Italian producers.
Adam: Right, I was going to ask how that came about.
Galyn: Yeah, they needed a partner for me and my mom suggested, “What about Steve LaChance?”
Adam: Did you and he click pretty quickly in terms of dance?
Galyn: Oh, yeah, we kind of clicked, you could say. Yeah, we started dating for probably about four and a half years.
Adam: Was that getting a lot of attention in Italy?
Galyn: Yeah, at a certain point. We tried to deny it for a while, but then people could kind of tell, and then they kind of marketed us as a couple.
Adam: Have you seen him recently or are you in touch with him?
Galyn: He and I contacted each other about a year ago. I’m in contact with his sister and she’s a sweetheart. About a year and a half ago I was in direct contact with him, we messaged, but if I get to Italy – it may happen because of some things that are occurring – I definitely will say hi. I was so lucky to have him as my partner. He’s a phenomenal dancer. He just made me look great, he looked great, and it just worked. It was great.
Adam: Do you have any favourite performances that stand out to you from the show?
Galyn: There’s a couple of pieces that are my favourites that stood out. Franco Miseria was a very well-known choreographer in Italy. He was choreographing pieces for us and then about the third or fourth episode in he choreographed a lyrical piece for us where I’m wearing red and black. It’s a lyrical piece and that’s the night we started to hit. From then on, we just hit and went to super stardom because our forte was lyrical. He [Steve] and I doing lyrical was just magic, it was just magic. [Adam’s note: You can watch many of Galyn’s Fantastico performances on her YouTube Channel].
Adam: What was life like living in Rome? You were living with your mother and sister?
Galyn: I was actually just living with my sister because my sister was one of the dancers in the show; she was in the chorus dancing. My grandmother came and stayed with us for a while, and then my mum visited for a while. But life was, it was pretty much just rehearsal. The thing, Adam, about the Italian culture that’s so incredibly wonderful is that we would rehearse and then it would be lunch time and it wasn’t so much like in the United States; it was more like, “We stay together, we drink a little wine, relax, we stay together, mangia, mangia, let’s enjoy the life, enjoy the life”. We worked, but then the rest of the time we enjoyed life as we were doing it.
Adam: My background is Italian, so I understand where you’re coming from with that. How well did you learn Italian?
Galyn: I was getting pretty good when I was there because I had a private tutor. I had a knack for the language they told me, the Italians, that my accent seemed really natural to them. My accent was pretty good, and I had a private tutor, so I was getting it well. Now I don’t have it so much because I don’t practice, but I enjoyed that language and having a tutor really just helped.
Adam: My parents are Italian, but we didn’t speak it at home and they’ve been in Australia for a long time. But when I was studying it in school, I was great at it. I would ring family in Italy, and talk to them fluently, but now it’s kind of a bit hit and miss because you don’t use it that often, you’re not practising it.
Galyn: That’s the thing because if you don’t practice it, then it just doesn’t stay with you.
Adam: When you look at Fantastico, and even other earlier performances – I don’t know if you do that often because I know a lot of performers don’t – but when you have seen those clips, what do you think and what do you feel looking back now?
Galyn: When I look back and see the clips from Italy of the dancing, I was better than I thought I was at the time. At the time, I was a perfectionist, but now when I look at them, I go, Oh, you were better than you actually thought you were.
Adam: It’s interesting to have that point of view separated from it. When you watch clips, do you have a bit of a disconnect where you sort of – like when you’re looking at yourself, is that you, or is that someone that’s not quite you. or does it feel one and the same?
Galyn: Yeah, I think it is kind of like that where it seems like a different self, in a way. It’s like a different self. I’ll even, if I talk about it, sometimes I can refer to it in the third person, “Oh look at her and how she is”. It can be like that sometimes.
Adam: Absolutely, because I was speaking to an actor [Gavin Harrison] whom I’d sent a video to so that he could see when he was on Mission: Impossible when he was a teenager. He hadn’t seen it in all those years, and when he looked at it, it seemed to him like it wasn’t necessarily him, but he was very proud looking at this young kid, thinking, look at how he was just going for it.
Adam: He doesn’t have a lot of experience or whatever else, but he’s just really throwing himself into it.
Galyn: Exactly. Same kind of thing where you’re looking at this – it’s this other person in a way. another aspect, another aspect of yourself, another person in a way. Definitely, I’ll refer to myself in the third person.
Adam: Yeah, that makes sense. Then straight from Fantastico, I think you did the film Dance Academy. Was it because of your popularity in Italy with Steve that they came up with that movie?
Galyn: Yeah that came out of that; the same people were involved. That was part of that production, with an American director, Ted Mather, and then Italian produced. It was a co-production.
Adam: Do you have good memories of that one?
Galyn: I just saw some scenes recently because they’re being added to my website. We had a good time on that. We had finished Fantastico and then we went into that. Steve and I had danced as partners for quite a while, so we had really learned how to work together. Then I had scenes and I got to do some acting, so that was great.
Adam: And it was you and Tony…
Galyn: Tony Fields.
Adam: Amazing Tony Fields.
Galyn: Tony Fields. Yeah, I was watching Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video the other day and I saw him, and it was like, “Oh, there’s Tony”.
Adam: Isn’t that fantastic?
Galyn: Yeah, with Michael DeLorenzo in that video and – gosh, so many people in that video.
Adam: You went back to Italy and you did SandraRaimondo Show. What was it like working with new hosts, at a different network, and in a different place as well?
Galyn: Yes, because that was in Milano so that was different, and they had us living in this place called Milano Due, which was more isolated. That show wasn’t live, and those shows were taped, so it was a different experience. But it was nice because we could be in the editing room. I remember we were in the editing room and we could say, “OK, take that, cut this, put that”, so being in the editing room is sometimes nice because then you can perfect a piece in the editing.
Adam: That must have been quite a different approach, and especially to be able to shape a performance in the editing room as well.
Galyn: Yes. Both experiences are great. Live is one thing, that’s incredible, but then being able to cut and edit; they’re both, I enjoy both processes.
Adam: And just as the host of Fantastico was very big in Italy so were Sandra Mondaini and Raimondo Vianello. Big stars.
Galyn: I had no idea how big until people were telling me, and then I realised they’re legends.
Adam: I’ve had the same with people I’ve met in my work, and you don’t always realise at the time how big they are until afterwards you look back, and it’s kind of a bit staggering for you to go, “Wow”.
Galyn: Yes, isn’t’ that true? That’s so true.
Adam: This probably leads us in quite well to Living the Blues with Sam Taylor.
Galyn: Sam Taylor. Yeah, he’s like a legend. I had no idea. I mean, I know he was an incredibly talented musician because of the music he was making, and he was a lot of fun on set. He was a real character. I’m pretty good friends with his grandson, Lawrence Worrell, who’s a great musician. He calls himself L*A*W Planet 12. He’s all over social media. But yeah, Sam Taylor, I see a lot of stuff through his grandson; all these photos of him with all these legends. He was a legend in his own right.
Adam: Did Living the Blues come about through your father and mother?
Galyn: Yes, my dad and my mother wrote and produced it, and they shot it around the streets of Los Angeles.
Adam: Your character was really someone who wants to get somewhere else. She really has this intensity of getting out of the situation that she’s in, but at the same time – and same with her mother, as well – it’s very focused on money and, “If I could just get that money”. Was she an interesting character to play?
Galyn: I think it was the struggle that so many people go through, especially in the African-American community, people who are in states of poverty – just that struggle and trying to keep the dream alive that something can happen. Then there was the mother being really tough on the daughter and wanting her to not make the wrong decisions, but then my character, the daughter, feeling that she’s being controlled too much and wants to make her own choices. It’s that coming of age story of wanting to have respect for her mother and family and everything, but wanting to do her own thing, go out in the world. It’s a real human story.
Adam: And it probably also came from your father’s experiences with his documentary films. The film I watched last night, Felicia, where she’s talking about how she was in the neighbourhood seeing these men who had just given up; they tried and just hadn’t been able to get anywhere, and so they’d kind of given it up. I think your character or the mother in Living the Blues says something about not wanting to be loaded up with babies and always poor.
Galyn: Yes, and then the young man being Caucasian, having his passion for the blues and the music and the culture, and then having to struggle with what he wants and then care for his parents who disagree; and trying to find some balance in following his dreams and what he wants to do, but then having to struggle with his family and identity. I think it’s a universal story.
Adam: What was it like to work with your family, to work with your dad and your mom?
Galyn: It was great. The only thing that’s different for something like that is if you’re doing your acting, but then you might carry a bag of props to the car, or you might help set up craft service a little bit, you might help with that sometimes. You’re going take on a few more roles.
Adam: Yes, you look at the credits, and you see your father did this, this, and this; your mother did this, this, and this; your sisters and brother did some work on it as well.
Galyn: Yes [laughs].
Adam: I enjoyed the interaction between you and the guy that played your boyfriend, Michael Kerr. Has he ever done anything since? I couldn’t really find much about him.
Galyn: I couldn’t either and I actually tried to find him on social media recently. I thought, Oh, let me reach out, but I haven’t seen or heard from him. I don’t know if he did anything else, but he was easy to work with. He was a really easy person to work with, but I haven’t had any contact with him since then.
Adam: When the film was released on video, you got a good review in Variety. They called you an appealing screen presence and they really enjoyed your performance. I don’t know if you ever saw that?
Galyn: No, I didn’t, I never saw it, never heard about that.
Adam: I’ll have to send it to you.
Adam: One of your movies that has stuck around is The Malibu Bikini Shop. I don’t know how much you come across people talking about that, but particularly over here [Australia] that was one of those ones that was always in the video store, it was always on TV. What are your memories of that film?
Galyn: That’s so funny – I forget about that until somebody brings it up. I remember that we shot on the Venice Boardwalk. I remember being glad that I was going to have – because I don’t think the dancing was in there at the beginning, and I think they added it. Bruce Greenwood was in there and he’s gone on to really big things. I remember the cast – everybody was really cool. I remember it was an enjoyable time, and it was great because it was so local.
Adam: And Barbra Horan, who goes by the name Amanda now, runs her own bra and shapewear company, Sassybax.
Galyn: Oh, I didn’t even know that!
Adam: You did a whole lot of other work throughout the ‘80s and you ended up on an Aaron Spelling pilot, Nightingales.
Adam: What was your impression meeting him?
Galyn: I remember having a little interaction with him. I didn’t have much interaction – he was kind of this, it was like the Wizard of Oz. I was nervous because he had had so much success. I remember Tori and his son. We had a cast party or something, and this was before Tori was on the show [Beverly Hills 90210,] and I remember Aaron was there and he was really supportive and nice because he gave compliments and encouragement and said positive words to everybody. He was huge, but he was very personable now that I remember it and gave words of encouragement. I had a great time with the other actresses. Susan Walters was in it; she’s doing really well right now. I was actually looking for Britta Phillips recently. I remember she was a sweetheart and I thought, I should try to connect with her, but I didn’t find her.
Adam: Other people in there were Kristy Swanson and Chelsea Field, and the director was Mimi Leder.
Galyn: That’s right, Mimi Leder is great; and that’s right, Chelsea Field, I bumped into her not that long ago.
Adam: You didn’t end up in the TV series. Was that because you had other work at the time, or did the character didn’t continue? Do you remember why that would’ve been?
Galyn: I’m trying to remember what happened. We shot it and then everything changed, and I remember there being a big drama about it and I don’t know why they re-cast. I forgot what the reason was, but of course I didn’t like the reason at the time.
Adam: [Laughs] Of course.
Galyn: For some reason everything changed. It was probably the network wanted to see a different look or a different something. But I remember, “OK, that’s done, I should move on”.
Adam: I know that the show didn’t last long, and it had a lot of criticism from the American Nurses Association because it was seen to depict nurses in a non-serious way in this soap opera.
Galyn: That’s right.
Adam: Suzanne Pleshette went to meet with nurses and try to figure that out. I think there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. Do you remember working with Suzanne Pleshette? Did you have much to do with her?
Galyn: Yes, I do, I remember her, and I remember – you’re right, there was a thing with the Nurses Association. I remember Suzanne – she was really sweet. We had a good time on that.
Adam: That’s good to hear because sometimes these things don’t always work out, but it’s a nice process to be in them and to do them.
Galyn: Most of the times that I have been on set working with people, I have had a good time because I think actors are glad to be working. I was working recently on A Husband for Christmas – I had just a small part – and Eric Roberts came on set and he was in such a good mood. I had never met him before and he was just joking with me and everybody.
Adam: In the early ‘90s, you had a couple of big pictures. The first was RoboCop 2. How did it feel to get that plumb role in that film?
Galyn: It’s so funny, I didn’t even realise who Irvin Kershner really was at the time. I had no idea until afterwards. He was just really sweet. We shot down in Huston, Texas. I’m still friends with Tom Noonan; and Frank Miller, he was great, I had a really good time with Frank Miller, he signed my The Dark Knight Returns book. I’ve said this in a couple of interviews lately because I keep thinking it’s going to get back to him, but he and I used to meet for dinner and he told me about this part, he said, “You know there’s this part, this script I want you to play. I think you should play Elektra; you’d be really good as Elektra. At the time I thought, OK, that’s great, but, you know, they went on and Jennifer Garner did that.
Adam: What a shame.
Galyn: Yeah. I enjoyed it [RoboCop 2]. It was long hours and then they were having conflicts with the script. I mean, I wasn’t really a part of it, but I just could see it in the distance. I wasn’t really included in any of those discussions, but otherwise, personally, I had a great time.
Adam: It’s interesting because RoboCop 2 is one of those films that at the time when it came out, it was part of the discussion in the media about film and TV violence. It was seen as somewhat emblematic of that sort of screen violence. Did you come across any of that at the time?
Galyn: I vaguely remember a little bit of that. I did an interview recently for RoboDoc, the documentary coming out, and I was asked a lot of questions about that. I agreed, because that’s what I’ve heard about in terms of the violence within it and that it was too much sometimes and, you know, who it was being marketed to, young people. To me, it’s just not necessary.
Adam: I know that there was criticism that the young adolescent in it, [played by] Gabriel Damon, was swearing his head off and everything else, and people took issue with that as well. But it’s interesting watching RoboCop 2 now because some of the themes in it are actually pretty timely now. Private enterprise is running a city. At one point, your character picks up one of the vials of the drugs and looks at it and it says, “Made in America”.
Adam: And then Tom Noonan’s character says, “Yeah, we’re gonna make that mean something again”. That happens again where the head of the company says that they are going to make RoboCop 2 in Detroit, and that’s going to create jobs “and make ‘Made in America’ mean something again”. So, interestingly, 25 years later that’s sort of come back a bit.
Galyn: Yeah, it’s so true because there definitely was a social commentary being made in terms of the police, the corporations and money, and the drugs on the street. That was a component of that story. I definitely agree with what you’re saying; there were definitely parallels.
Adam: I think it might’ve been very soon after RoboCop that then you got Point Break.
Galyn: Yes, that’s right.
Adam: As well as Los Angeles, was it filmed in Hawaii as well?
Galyn: No, we filmed it in Los Angeles. The beach scenes, we probably did – where did we do those? Malibu? Somewhere around the coast of LA right by Los Angeles; one of the beaches, as far as I remember.
Adam: What’s your memory of working with Kathryn Bigelow?
Galyn: I was only on the set maybe two or three days. She was very welcoming, and that’s always nice. Very focused on what she wanted to happen in each scene. I remember her being very patient in the scene around the fire with Patrick Swayze. He had dialogue and that day he was – you know sometimes, it happens to everybody, sometimes you just snap and you’re getting a little tongue twisted, and you have to do quite a few takes to get it out. They did quite a few takes of that scene trying to get it the way so the director and the actor, so Patrick and Kathryn, were both happy with it. That happens sometimes. I remember her being patient and I remember him being patient with himself and being patient with the process. And he had enough clout at that time; when you have clout like that and you have to take some time to, it helps. But then they got it and it worked great, and she edited it, so it really worked well. I was very curious when we were shooting that to see how she was going to cut the scene. I liked when she did it. She did a good job.
Adam: It’s a really good scene. How do you remember Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves?
Galyn: I remember them being really sweet, and one of my dear friends, JP, John Preiskel, was working behind the scenes. He and I are still friends. With Keanu, we used to go out to clubs in Hollywood. Keanu, he was so great and cool, and you know, he’s a musician, he has his band, he’s really into his music. I’m trying to remember the places we went, but we had some fun.
In Part 2 of our interview, Galyn and I will discuss her work on Twin Peaks, two Star Trek series, Stargate SG1, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and more. We also speak about her recent acting work and her work with arts education programs.