DANBURY, Conn. – A chance encounter with a talent scout has led to new careers in acting for Danbury father-and-daughter duo Bill and Mary Margaret Walsh.
Mary Margaret was on a break from a part-time job at LL Bean and walking through the Danbury Fair Mall when she ran into a scout from the John Casablancas Modeling and Talent Agency. The scout told her she should be an over-50 model and actress, and invited her to take part in an acting class up in Hartford.
“At first I didn’t believe him, I wasn't sure it was legitimate” she said. However, after learning it was a reputable course, she decided to give it a go, and bring her father Bill along with her.
The two had a blast taking the course. They would get up early on Saturday mornings and drive up to Hartford, practicing their improv skills in the car. They caught the acting bug, and started auditioning and landing parts.
Bill’s commercial for the senior care agency Keep Me Home premiered last week, and Mary Margaret just finished shooting a national commercial for a major golf brand. Bill has also shot a commercial for ESPN that is expected to air soon. Mary Margaret will also appear in the background of Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie “Joy,” which comes out in December.
Mary Margaret has spent her career in marketing at Chase Manhattan Bank and has branched out to social media, but has always enjoyed performing. She played cello at Fairfield University and has acted as an MC at several alumni events. She has also volunteered at the Palace Danbury for the past few years as a talent wrangler, which sometimes has her up on stage to introduce guests.
Her new acting career has reinvigorated her, and she loves being involved in performances. She hopes to continue acting and landing bigger parts.
“You never know where it’s going to lead. You get to meet and work with amazing new people, everyone has a story,” she said. “When I mention to other people that I’m acting, other women always say, ‘Good, you represent us.’”
Bill spent his career in construction, and was the former fire commissioner for Nassau County, N.Y. The only performing experience he had was a public speaking course he took in college. He noticed a lack of senior citizens in advertising, and wants to help change that.
“When I would look at commercials, I wouldn’t see any elderly people,” he said. “I’d like to maybe represent senior citizens. I’ve always loved people, and here I am, working with people and accomplishing something with them at a senior age.”
Mary Margaret has also launched a new social media and marketing consulting business, and plans to launch a series of seminars.
Bill said that beyond the recognition and the exposure acting has given him, there’s one thing he loves most about it.
“The best part about it is I get to do this with my daughter.”
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