Laurel Leader

That's entertainment: Laurel in the spotlight

Part 1 presented movies and TV shows that mention Laurel, movies and shows that were filmed here, and the 1969 world premiere of a movie at the Laurel Cinema.

In Part 2, the George Wallace shooting at the Laurel Shopping Center in 1972 is the focus as is Laurelites who made their mark in film and television.


The shooting of presidential candidate George Wallace in the Laurel Shopping Center in 1972 was an instrumental plot point in many movies and shows.

“All the President’s Men:” Laurel played a significant role in developing the Bob Woodward-Deep Throat relationship. In the film, when the reporters seemed to come to a dead end, Woodward, portrayed by Robert Redford, makes a call in a phone booth. It’s the first instance of Deep Throat’s appearance in the film, even though viewers only hear his voice through the phone in the scene.


Woodward: I want to talk about Watergate.

Deep Throat: We’re not going to talk about that subject.

Woodward: Well, we talked about Wallace.

Deep Throat: But this is different.

Woodward: That was about the shooting of a man running for president.

Deep Throat: This is different.

Woodward: How?

Deep Throat: Not about this story—don’t call me again. [CLICK]


“Forrest Gump:”Forrest, portrayed by Tom Hanks, is telling his life story to different people sitting on a bus stop bench with him. The film interweaves most of the big news stories of the second half of the 20th century, including the Wallace shooting, with his life story. Actual news footage from Laurel Shopping Center is used.

“Settin’ the Woods on Fire:” This documentary, shown in 2000 on PBS’ “American Experience,” chronicles Wallace’s rise in politics. There are extensive interviews with his wife, Cornelia, and other campaign officials about the events in Laurel. It closely follows Arthur Bremer’s stalking of Wallace, culminating in the shooting. An extended version of the same footage as used in Forrest Gump is seen here, including when Wallace was laying on the pavement next to the Equitable Trust bank with his wife covering him.

“George Wallace:” In this 1997 TNT movie, starring Gary Sinise, the assassination attempt is shown through a combination of recreated filming and actual footage from Laurel.

“Taxi Driver:” Before this film was released in 1976, director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Shrader acknowledged that Robert DeNiro’s character, Travis Bickle, was based partly on Arthur Bremer’s stalking Wallace to Laurel.

Quite a few locals have appeared in films and television.


Tico Wells. The 1979 graduate of Laurel High is best known for his starring role in the 1991 film “The Five Heartbeats.” Since 1984, however, he has appeared in dozens of films and shows, including “Sesame Street,” “Law & Order,” “JAG,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Boy Meets World,” “ER” and, as a voice actor in “Family Guy.”

Marty Friedman. The LHS graduate first gained international fame as the lead guitarist for heavy metal supergroup Megadeth in the 1990s. He appeared in numerous videos and TV shows with the band, including “Late Night with David Letterman” in 1994. Since moving to Japan in 2003, he has become an enormous star on Japanese TV. In addition to some dramatic roles, his credits there include concerts, game shows, talk shows, music shows and commercials.

Kim Williams. The 1971 LHS graduate was cast by Twyla Tharp as a dancer in the 1979 film Hair, starring John Savage and Treat Williams. Williams appeared in numerous dance sequences in the film. She recalled that “it was supposed to be in the summer, but it was shot in New York’s Central Park in November. They had to blow the snow off trees and attach fake leaves.”

Barbara McCullough. Another 1971 LHS graduate, she appeared on “A Day with Conrad Green,” “Peter Pan,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Frank and Ernieand “Awkwardly.” She is also a veteran of numerous Broadway productions.

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Chuck Jeffreys. His varied resume includes stuntman, stunt coordinator, fight choreographer and actor for hundreds of films and shows. The former North Laurel resident’s filmography includes “Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning,” “21 Jump Street,” “War of the Worlds,” “Blade: Trinity,” “The Wire,” “Gladiator,” “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Natural Born Killers.”

Chris Leonard. Another LHS graduate, Leonard appeared in a few productions at Petrucci’s Dinner Theater on Main Street before landing some speaking parts. He appeared on “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “The Wire” and “America’s Most Wanted.” (He is also my brother.)


Floyd Roger Myers. In 1992, the 9-year-old Myers played Marlon Jackson as a child in the ABC mini-series “The Jacksons: An American Dream.” The child actor also had a part on “The Fresh Prince of Belair” and, in 2000, “Young Americans.”

Bonnie Webster. The Pallotti graduate appeared in 1992’s “Patriot Games” with star Harrison Ford. A veteran of the local dinner theater scene, she was also on “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1998 and has appeared in numerous commercials.

Brandi Chapple. In 1999, the then-senior at Laurel High School was chosen to be an anchor on the Black Entertainment Network show, “Teen Summit.” The show dealt with common teenager issues, with teens interviewing peers.

Steve Perna. The former Laurel resident, a veteran of over 20 years at local dinner theaters, including Petrucci’s, appeared as an extra in numerous productions. His credits include “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “The Distinguished Gentleman,” “Serial Mom,” “Dave” and “Major League II.”