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“Appalachian Perspective” Features Actor/Director Robby Benson

121702benson_dl.jpgBOONE–Robby Benson, popular movie star of the 1970s, says there is no geographical boundary to talent. That’s one of the reasons he enjoys teaching at the college level.“(Teaching) is about cultivating new talent, new people. There’s great talent everywhere, and you want students to learn their skills, be compassionate and professional, and be respectful of the business,” Benson says on “Appalachian Perspective,” the cable television program of Appalachian State University.

“I want students to leave the classroom with the knowledge and confidence that they can do it, and that they can do it anywhere they want to be–whether it’s in theaters or films based in North Carolina, or in Chicago, New York or L.A.”

Benson was a visiting artist in Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance in November, leading acting and directing workshops. Made popular by the movies “Ice Castles,” “One on One” and “Ode to Billy Joe,” Benson’s more recent career includes behind-the-scenes work. He provided the voice for The Beast in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” has directed several sitcoms including “Ellen” and “Friends.” His latest project is writing a musical called “Open Heart.”

In the interview titled “Robby Benson: from Teen Star to Teacher,” he shares how he transitioned from teen star to adult actor and director, the importance of family in his life, the medical emergency that inspired his musical, and why he gives back through teaching.

Benson describes the film industry as “more brutal” than it was 25 years ago. Cinemas have become monopolized by profitable blockbusters, leaving little room for more creative films, he says. “That’s sad because smaller films are what I grew up with. There’s more creativity, so much more freedom and more love for what you do (as a filmmaker).”

Local viewers can watch “Appalachian Perspective” on Charter Communication’s Channel 2 Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and on Channel 18 Sundays at 10:30 a.m. The program also airs on Channel 21 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 17-20 and again Jan. 2-31, 2003.

“Appalachian Perspective” is a production of Appalachian’s Department of Communication and University Advancement Division’s Office of Public Affairs. For more information, contact Producer Linda Coutant at (828) 262-2342 or


Picture Caption:Robby Benson with Chancellor Borkowski.