Hi, my name is Dean Scofield, well at least that’s what my stage name is. My real name is Dino Schofield and I sort of began my professional acting career on a dare.
So I was attending Cal State Northridge, and taking an Acting 101 class that I thought would be an easy course. I ended up making a lot of new friends. One of my new friends asked me to audition for a student production “Godspell” at USC. I ended up being cast as their replacement for Jesus, performing both at USC and then taking the show to Hollywood. One of the drama professors at USC attended the show and asked if I would like to attend to USC – so I transferred making business a second major.
Within a few months of Godspell, the stage show “Grease” came to the Pantages Theatre. A slough of new actor friends convinced me to come with them to the “open call” auditions for the “Grease” production. I went along, arriving at 7am, and waited with my friends for their turn to be called to audition.
After approximately 6 hours of waiting and sitting on a sidewalk, many actors in line began complaining about how they were being treated without any respect for their time. That complaining turned into a dare to me. With every grumble it dared me to audition, my friends also dared me audition telling me to lie about why I didn’t have a picture or resume. Here’s the thing, I knew one song from the show, “Greased Lighting”, that I had sung along with my friends. For fun, I took them up on their dare and stuck it out to audition.
At the audition, I sang and acted a little. Afterwards, the casting director asked if I had ever seen the show. I told him no and the casting director handed me two tickets to see the show the following night. When callbacks came in, I was called back. Before I knew it, I was up against one other actor from New York for the lead part of Danny Zuko to start in Los Angeles and then end in New York.
I was laughing that this “dare” had gone so far. I began researching the union contract I would have to sign if I got the role. I realized, I would have to drop out of school and it would be a minimum of a full one-year commitment. Also the production company would have three months to change their minds, fire me and recast me if they wanted. I was legitimately afraid I would be moved to New York and then be fired. Honestly, I had never sang for eight shows a week for a year, and I wasn’t sure if I even could. I went to the Director, Tom Moore, and talked to him about how I felt and said, “Hire the other actor.”
The director and others thought I was crazy! For the next four months I kept getting calls from the New York casting office for the show to see if I changed my mind, then they asked me if I would consider doing a smaller road tour. I still believed my destiny was in the world of business, so I continued to turn down these opportunities, but it sparked a little fire.
After three months of these calls, I went to my parents to discuss changing my business major to the dramatic arts. They supported my decision. A month later I was cast as Rocky in the first revival of “The Rocky Horror Show” in Hollywood, then I was cast in Ron Howard’s first directorial TV movie and back door pilot, “Cotton Candy.” I had to temporarily drop out of USC and take drama classes in Hollywood. Taking up to six classes a week waiting to find out if Cotton Candy would be picked up. After six months of waiting, and holding, I found out Cotton Candy would not be picked up. I started looking for acting work.
In September of 1978 I went back to USC only to have leave again in February of
1979, when I was cast in Archie Bunker’s Place. I was cast as one of the first gay characters on television in a regular role. I enjoyed working with the greats, Carroll O’Conner, Anne Meara, Martin Balsam, Sammy Davis Jr., Sheree North and many others during my short run on the show. My career suffered a 5 year dry spell because of my choice to play a gay character. At auditions I was told I couldn’t be hired because people would remember me as the gay character who had been on Archie’s Place and the production couldn’t risk that.
During that “waiting time” casting director, Robin Lippin told me that I didn’t look traditionally Italian enough for my name and should consider changing it. I took the advice and changed it to Dean and it worked! Shortly after I was cast in a recurring role on General Hospital.
The next several years were very good for me, I was one of the stars in Eden, a late night soap opera filmed in Mexico. I had to leave family and friends for five months to film. When I got back to LA my career was great until 1999.
In 1999, I was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. I was told I only had about 3-4 years left to live and my career came to an immediate halt as I had to have brain surgery and three years of chemo until 2003. I had survived far beyond the quoted statistics, but when I tried to return to my career, it was a struggle. No one was interested in putting me back on TV. So I returned to the stage to satisfy my artistic passion of acting.
Since 2003 I have starred in several plays, voice acting, movies, and video games, but I am looking forward to the day when I can resume my career in front of the camera. Stay tuned and see how it turns out, Check out my blog for updates and more stories