40 years as a European actor

in September 1980, I left regular, paid employment and began a career as a professional actor.

You can browse photos taken over four decades:

https://joegrossi.com/photo-gallery/

Having realised that I did not want to be a solicitor after I graduated in law in 1979, I set myself a target: to work for a year, earn some money and then do a post-graduate course at a drama school. That year, I spent a chunk of my savings on music equipment, as I was in the band, Maxie Hytes. So rather than struggle without a grant at drama school, I set the target of 1st September 1980 as the day I would start looking for work as an actor. I bought The Stage, where I saw an ad for actors local to Deptford, London SE8 to be part of the ensemble for a devised play by Hilary Westlake / David Gale and the troupe of Lumiere & Son theatre company.

Barely a fortnight later in September, there was a classified ad in the Theatreboard section of Time Out magazine. Moving Parts theatre company were looking for actors to tour through the autumn. After my first professional audition, I was selected for ‘The Mummy’s Curse’. This directed by Ruth Mackenzie, who went on to have many interesting jobs like the Festival Director of the Cultural Olympiad at London 2012.

From there, I moved to theatre-in-education, where I was acting, writing, sharing the administration, directing and driving the van. Here I met Denzil Kilvington and we formed the KGB comedy duo. This took me to my first TV acting roles (‘Bluebell’ for BBCtv & ‘To Have and to Hold’ for LWT, casting Corinne Rodriguez). Thence to my first commercial (Castella cigars with David Jason) and more cabaret with Knightmare Kabaret at the Canal Café and at the Latchmere (now 503) theatres. Here, I was ‘spotted’ by BAFTA-award winning director, David Bell, who cast me in the children’s BBCtv series, ‘Simon & the Witch’, working with Joan Sims and Elizabeth Spriggs.

While at school in the 70s, I had studied French, English Lit. and German. I won a Rugby / CDG scholarship to live and work in ‘West’ Germany for six months. This is country where I have always felt welcome and at home. In 1989, I landed my first German commercial (Tchibo Sana coffee – dir. Tom Bussman, casting by Michael Barnes). In December 1990, we moved to Germany, where over two years, I wrote regularly to 800 casting directors and production companies, travelling to five cities. This led to corporate and live TV appearances (‘Flitterabend’ ARD/ WDR/ SWF) which led me to a twin career, working in the UK and also with numerous German TV and corporate production companies. I still work with a number of German clients both in front of and behind the camera.

In 2001, I was accepted onto the books of Roger Carey Associates and in 2005, was cast by Gail Stevens for a role in ‘Kinky Boots’ (dir. Julian Jarrold), followed by a small role in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (dir. Ron Howard, casting Hubbard Casting). Other film roles came in the feature documentary, ‘Botticelli Inferno’ (dir. Ralph Loop), a horror thriller ‘House Red’ (dir. Cos Greenop, British Lion award winner) and, latterly, ‘No Time to Die’, Daniel Craig’s final appearance as 007, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and casting by Debbie & Jemima McWilliams.

That is the past: I am looking forward to exciting opportunities & new roles in 2021 and beyond.

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