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Stiller's Still Got It!

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Hey, Very Big Fans of Jerry!

Father of Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller too has had great success, playing lots of roles in movies and television shows. He’s probably best known for his roles as Frank Costanza in the classic television series, ‘Seinfeld’ as well as Arthur Spooner on ‘The King of Queens’. He’s also provided a good amount of voice acting for films like ‘The Lion King 1½’, ‘Fish Hooks’, ‘Foodfight!’, and, more!

I posted about Mr. Stiller a handful of years ago. We covered his camp experience at Surprise Lake Camp in New York and reviewed his education before he made his way onto the screen. I thought we could revisit him in order to learn more about this famous funny man!

Broke as a Joke
Jerry grew up the eldest child of three in the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the Great Depression. His family was very poor and would frequently get their meals from neighbors and relatives. After catching Vaudeville shows with his father, Jerry expressed interest in becoming an actor. His father recommended work as a stagehand instead for more steady work, but Jerry pursued acting anyway, making ends meet by selling ice cream, washing windows, and mixing cement.

Seinfeld? What’s a Seinfeld?

Jerry Stiller has recounted the conversation when his agent called him and told him “They want you to play the father of George Costanza on ‘Seinfeld’.” In response, Jerry asked them, “Who’s Seinfeld?” A popular show running in its fifth season, there was some surprise that he had never heard of the show. What’s more—he originally passed because he had other engagements in a Broadway play, but they wanted him enough that they offered him the role again 6 months later.

Stiller Instinct

Jerry was replacing the previous actor of George Costanza’s father on the show. He was instructed to play the role as a submissive husband to the always shrill and outraged wife, Estelle Costanza. He figured things would go the same way and eventually HE would be replaced. Out of impulse one day on the set, the wife character was shouting away at him and instead of bearing it all as the script called for, Jerry snapped back at her and the reaction was wild. Showrunner, Larry David, agreed that this was the right spin for this character.

Press onward with your dreams in the face of adversity and “safe” choices as Jerry Stiller did throughout his life. Check out acting at your next summer camp stay and, as always, thanks for reading Camp Folks!


- John 

More on Maggie

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Hey Camp Fans!

We’ve covered former summer camper Mrs. Maggie Gyllenhaal before here on the Everything Summer Camp Blog. We discussed her camp history with her brother, Jake, at Camp Walt Whitman as well as her path that led her to the big screen. But her previous post only scratched the surface about what makes this chick tick! Let’s learn some more things about Maggie.

What’s in a Name?

We all know her as Maggie. She always knew herself as Maggie. But it took her until the age of 36 before discovering what her actual and full name is: Margalit. She was going about some administrative requirements to legally take her husband’s last name. She was rather shocked when she asked her parents to find her birth certificate and she saw her actual name in print.

Mrs. Margalit Sarsgaard

So this post on Maggie Gyllenhaal has become one on Margalit Sarsgaard after she married Peter Sarsgaard and they started a family together. She knew Peter through her brother as one of his best friends and the eventually fell in love. Together they have two daughters who are everything to them. There’s Gloria Ray, 7, and Ramona, 13. “Once you're a mom,” Maggie has revealed, “There are secret things you know—like in your pocket, you'll find a bag of Cheerios.”

How Many Movies?

Maggie has been in more than 30 movies! Her brother’s been in just over 40. It’s a good amount of movies considering classic Hollywood names like Tom Hanks and Matt Damon sit with their filmography count under 90. There are few folks in Hollywood who are able to pull off numbers that exceed 100. Some folks seemingly don’t sleep based on their busy careers such as Samuel L. Jackson who’s been in 126 movies.

Maggie’s been in such films as ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ in which she worked alongside Julia Roberts, ‘Nanny McPhee Returns’ in which she played the role of Mrs. Green, as well as the sequel to the movie ‘Batman Begins’, ‘The Dark Knight’, in which she plays Rachel Dawes. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about this beautiful actress and, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Like Mike

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Hey, Basketball Lovers!

One name that will never fade from the NBA’s memory is the legendary Michael Jordan. An all-star player who ceaselessly amazed fans and colleagues, Michael Jordan goes down in history as one of the best athletes to play the game. Not a camper himself, but the owner of his own basketball camp, the Michael Jordan Flight School—the leading youth basketball camp in the world—I’ve covered Michael previously on the Blog.

But there’s much more to learn about this magical basketball player. Here’s a little bit more about him.

It Tongues in the Family
Notorious for sticking his tongue out, when it came to focus on the court, Michael’s father is where he got it from. His dad would have his tongue hanging out as he fix-it projects around the house. Turns out that Michael’s father got it from HIS father. He recalls Michael’s grandfather who would have his tongue out as he worked on automobiles. It’s since been coined as ‘Concentration Tongue’.


Number 12 for One Day

Michael Jordan wore the number 23 for his whole career…except for one day when somebody stole his jersey from the locker room about an hour before gametime. The thief was never found and, forced to go with what they had around, Michael wore a nameless jersey with the number 12 printed on it.

Do You Believe in Magic Johnson?

His own childhood hero, Michael loved watching Magic Johnson when he was growing up. His friends started calling him Magic Jordan and the license plate of the first car he ever got even read ‘MGCJRDN’. Magic and Michael eventually became very good friends.

Have fun with your friends on the hoop and court you have available to you and look into visiting a basketball camp for your next summer stay! And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Your Favreau-ite Celeb!

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Hey Camp Fans!

We’re all fans of Jon Favreau whether we know it or not. He’s the director of such classic films as ‘Elf’, the ‘Iron Man’ trilogy, and ‘Zathura’. We already published a Blog post about him a few years back where we discussed his camp history at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, located on a private lake in the western area of the Catskill Mountains, just outside Hancock, New York.

But that last post only scratched the surface about this guy. Let’s learn more about Mr. Favreau.

Doin’ the Dishes—Livin’ the Dream

Unhappy with a bunch of dead-end jobs, Jon one day quit his day job and hit the road for Chicago to pursue his new dream of becoming an improvisational comedy star. In a short time, he got a job at the well-respected comedy club the Second City (which has been mentioned in other celebrities’ posts). He wasn’t employed as a performer, however, but as a dishwasher. It was a START!

Lose the Pounds, Lose the Parts

Once he got his foot in the acting door and had one or two movies under his belt, Jon thought he’d be better off in the acting business if he lost some weight. He put himself on a strict diet that resulted in losing 80 pounds! Unfortunately, casting folks wanted the bigger guy they’d seen in previous movies, not this suddenly trim, sporty actor. It cost him a number of jobs.

Favreau and Friends

In his previous post, I explained that Jon got his first taste of fame and recognition for the short role he played on the hit sitcom, ‘Friends’. He played a millionaire boyfriend to Courteney Cox’s character for a number of episodes. Ironically, he had a chance to play another romantic interest to Courteney’s character and one of the six main friends—Chandler Bing. The part was originally offered to Jon, actually, but he turned it down which was probably for the best. After all, who can imagine anyone as Chandler beside Matthew Perry? 

With an impressive resume, it’s about to get even more impressive since Jon’s been hired as showrunner for a new, live-action Star Wars show coming out for Disney’s streaming service called ‘The Mandalorian’. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about this star director and his acting career that blossomed into so much more. And, as always, thanks for reading!


- John

Zac 'Southern Ground' Brown

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Hey, Music Lovers!

If you like country music as much as you like your chicken fried, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of the Zac Brown Band. You know we’re fans here at Everything Summer Camp; we already published a Blog post about him five years ago. We covered a good amount of ground in the previous post. For instance, he was a cabin leader at Camp Mikell in his home state of Georgia as well as Camp Glisson

But that only scratches the surface. Learn some more about Mr. Zac Brown—

A Southern Ground Wunderkind

A wunderkind is a German word that refers to somebody who is very successful at a rather young age. Zac’s musical career started at just seven years old when he started learning to play the classical guitar. When he was just 19, he started touring, playing classic covers and original music—his dog and a drummer were his only company. By 25, Zac made his own recording label, Southern Ground.

Home Cooked to Home Grown

Along with his father, Zac opened up a restaurant called ‘Zac’s Place’ in 2004. Located in his home state of Georgia, Zac’s Place featured southern-style food. The father/son team eventually sold their restaurant which enabled Zac to fund his tour—he bought a tour bus and began touring full-time with the entirety of the Zac Brown Band under their new label Southern Ground (which was initially named Home Grown).  

Brown Band to Brown Family

Zac’s got five children! His kids’ names are Georgia, Alexander, Frost, Joni, and Lucy—a nice-sized family (not quite the dozen sons and daughters like the family to which he was born, but still…pretty big)! Zac himself was his parents’ penultimate or second-to-last child.

Are you a fan of Zac Brown Band? Go ahead and enjoy some of their music today and enjoy your chicken fried! And, as always, thanks for reading, Folks!


- John