We have known Melody Anderson through a series of action adventure
films and dramatic roles. During the last Christian media convention
we got to know her better and were so impressed that we wanted to
follow up with an interview.
We had a great time talking with Melody on the phone recently and below is what we consider an outstanding testimony.
Ed.:You are a native of Alberta, Canada; and we discovered that your first interest was in journalism and broadcasting. What influenced you to go in those fields?
Melody: If it hadnt been for my sister I might not have gone into journalism. I liked communicating with people and affecting them so when it came time for me to decide what to do in college I spoke to my sister about it. She felt since I was a good writer in school, I should go into journalism. If it hadnt been for my sister ! I might not have. I went to journalism school at Carleton University in Ottawa and I became interested in radio. It was the 70s and a young girl on television didnt have much of a chance. Id have to be an old man to get the respect I needed. So I went into radio, had success, and put my way through school. I received an honors degree in journalism.
Ed.: What caused you to make the career leap to Australia and then films in Hollywood?
Melody: There were a lot of leaps, across the Pacific Ocean and back. Canadians travel all the time and it is almost a tradition for Canadians to take a trip after college. A lot of the kids went to Europe, but it was easier for a working Canadian to go to Australia. I took a year off to travel and worked as a travel writer in Australia. I did some television and radio writing in New Zealand. In Australia I was the first woman to ever read the news on the radio. I wasnt very popular as I was! nt Australian and I was a woman. I then went to the Far East which I had always wanted to see. I did some reporting back to Canada at the end of the Vietnam war. (Melody then listed a number of areas through Asia that she visited.) In Bali I lived on a banana a day, slept on a mat for a bed, and had only a few pennies. I arrived in Hong Kong and had a hotel room with a bath, overhead fan, a proper bed and a radio. The radio was playing Whos Afraid of Virginia Wolfe. I was so moved by the performance that I said "Thats what I want to do, Ill communicate with people by becoming an actress." I collected all my stuff from Canada and moved to Los Angeles. I had $400.00 in my pocket and lived with my mother. I took some acting classes and I started working pretty quickly. I had a very successful career for about fifteen years. I still loved writing and wrote a short movie with a friend of mine. After fifteen years I decided to develop my life more fully and went to college! to receive a graduate degree in family therapy. Now I am using my writing as a tool for a book I am working on for parents whose children use drugs and alcohol.
Ed.: With adventure films like Flash Gordon, Fire Walker, and TV shows like Logans Run and Battlestar Galactica and then what some would call more mainstream like All My Children and Jake and the Fat Man, which of the two types did you prefer?
Melody: You know, when youre an actor youre just happy to be working. As long as I had a chance to act and it seemed like an interesting role I really didnt care. I loved acting and I loved taking the classes when I wasnt working. The creativity, the focus, working with other actors was very fulfilling. The medium didnt matter.
Ed.: Your bio on the net says if there was a good movie role you would be interested.
Melody: If there was a role that was characteristic to the work that I am doing, like a lawyer or a therapist, a role with some weight I would want to do it. I have clients in my life for whom I would want the role to reflect who I am when they see me in the office. Id have to think about that if I take a role I want my clients to feel that there is a place where they can be safe and can tell me their problems.
Ed.: I know that you are credited with a Friends and Family program and the Intensive Out-Patient Program at Hazleden, N.Y. Would you tell us something about that?
Melody: What I put together is a family program for the clients at Hazleden who are receiving recovery treatment for their addiction. Their families and friends could also come to be with the recovering client. It is an ongoing work. I also offered a free series of lectures. I created another group program for those people who wanted to w! ork with the twelve steps of Alanon which was created by Lois Wilson wife of Bill who created AA. In the outpatient program I devised a program for people who suffered from chronic relapse problems. People who were working and couldnt be away for a long term-treatment. We worked on creating group support and connecting them up with the Alcoholics Anonymous groups at the same time.
Ed.: Many of those who had the opportunity to meet you here were interested in how your religious faith has influenced you in your life.
Melody: People who didnt make it to the convention should know they missed out. We had some great panels and great conversations My parents came from Oklahoma and they were in the Church of Christ which I was raised in. I was baptized in that church and learned about the Bible. This is such important knowledge for our spiritual and intellectual life. Just the stories opened my mind to another time, place, and idea! s. When I was little I felt "I really like this God, I want to know him more." Time went on and I went through a period of not going to church as much, but continued reading religious books. I wanted to know how to live a life like Jesus Christ, to be tolerant, loving and forgiving. How could I ever imagine that I could love my enemy?` What an idea! I really do believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The whole thing of loving people and caring for people is such a monumental task and is difficult, but I think it is part of my spiritual journey. Twenty years ago I began going to church regularly again and I attend a Presbyterian church in New York City. My favorite line is that "faith without works is dead." People who talk it but dont walk it are not living in Christs way. My life is dedicated to living my life as close as I can to how Jesus lived.
Ed.: Thats beautiful. Now to a favorite question of mine. Were you to address students in high sc! hool or college, what thoughts would you like to share with them as they prepare for their future?
Melody: Id be honored if anyone wanted me to advise them on what to do with their lives. In my job I get honored every day. I would say the greatest way to decide how you want to live your life is not based on the career you go into. Your career reflects the responsibilities that are a part of a soulful life, it will be a place where you can be compassionate, caring, forgiving, and bring love to help others around you. Whether you are the president of General Motors or working at McDonalds, it really doesnt matter. The job is irrelevant. Its what we are, and how we perform on the job and how we treat others that matters.
Ed. Note: Since this interview Melody told us she will be going back to her radio days in Canada. She plans to go on the air on her own radio call-in show in New York, Jan. 2006. It will be on at 1:00 P.M. Sunday! s on a trial basis and then after four months should go into syndication. Well stay tuned.