Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood veteran takes the stage in Richland Players’ ‘Ordinary People’

Richland Players’ Ordinary People opens Nov. 6.
Richland Players’ Ordinary People opens Nov. 6.

Terence Knox got a late start in Hollywood.

The Richland native was 30 years old when he packed up a U-Haul and headed south to Los Angeles.

But he made up for lost time, landing parts on shows from The Dukes of Hazzard to Murder, She Wrote.

He is perhaps best known for his turn as Dr. Peter White on the NBC hit St. Elsewhere.

He also starred as Zeke Anderson on the Vietnam War drama Tour of Duty, which ran for three seasons on CBS.

Now, Knox is bringing his acting chops back to a hometown stage. He plays a psychiatrist in the Richland Players’ production of Ordinary People, which opens Nov. 6.

“(The show) has been rewarding for me,” said Knox, 68. “If you enjoy going to good theater, you’ll enjoy going to this play.”

Ordinary People centers on the Jarrett family, reeling a year after the death of eldest son Buck.

Dan Aimone, a recent Hanford High School graduate, stars as surviving son Conrad. Alan Tindell and Cathy Kelly play parents Cal and Beth.

And Knox takes on the role of Dr. Berger, who helps Conrad cope.

Knox said the play’s cast and crew are top notch.

Aimone is young, but “he carries the show,” Knox said. “I don’t know what his (career) plans are, but that kid is really a very, very good actor.”

Knox also praised director Kristin Lerch, saying she’s “as smart a director as I’ve ever worked with. She is on top of it — every little detail. I’ve learned from her.”

Knox is no slouch himself. He has a long and varied list of credits after three decades in the acting business.

The St. Elsewhere role — that changed his life, he said. He also has a special fondness for Tour of Duty.

“It was the most fun because we were making history,” he said, noting it was the first TV show to focus on troops in combat in Vietnam.

“We showed (soldiers) in a human light,” Knox said.

The 68-year-old grew up in Richland and took the stage in school productions such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

But it didn’t occur to him back then that acting would become his life’s work.

“Growing up in Richland, at that time, you didn’t aspire to be a professional actor. It wasn’t done. I didn’t consider it, not even after I finished college,” he told the Herald.

He studied English at Washington State University and worked as a substitute teacher.

But acting eventually called.

After a couple of years in Portland State University’s graduate theater program, Knox rented the U-Haul and headed to Hollywood.

Like all actors, he had lean times. But on the whole, “I had a lot of work. I had a lot of fun,” he said.

His mother became sick and he moved to Seattle a couple of years ago, then he settled in West Richland.

“Gosh, I’m glad to be home and drive around my old streets and see my old friends,” Knox said. “I’m so glad to be home and see how the Tri-Cities has grown.”

He’s also enjoyed working on Ordinary People. Putting on a volunteer theater production is a work of art in itself, he said.

“The most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a long time has been this play,” Knox said. “It’s been rewarding because I’m doing it with people who are in it just for the love of it. There’s no haggling about pay scales and who’s making more money or anything of that. These people are all there because they love doing it.”

The cast also includes Dylan Page, Joe Kimmel, Tamara Pomponio, Gabrielle Clegg and Kevin Uretsky.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Nov. 6-7, 13-14 and 20 and 21, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students, seniors and military members. They’re available at the theater’s box office and at www.richlandplayers.org.

The Players’ theater is at 608 The Parkway.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @SaraTCHerald

IF YOU GO

What: Richland Players’ production of Ordinary People.

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21, and 2 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22.

Where: The Players’ theater, 608 The Parkway, Richland.

Tickets: Cost $15 for general admission and $12 for students, seniors and military members. They’re available at the theater’s box office and at www.richlandplayers.org.

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