Tony Geary: Utah Actor Makes Good in Theater
By Howard Pearson
December 30, 1972
Most persons are happy to look younger than their age.
Not Utah actor Tony Geary, who has appeared in several series on television shows, a couple of movies and stage plays.
The 25-year-old youth from Coalville, Utah, wants to look his age. And here is the reason, as Tony explains it: "When you are 21 or 22, you can play teen roles if you look young enough. When you are 25, you move into a new category. I don't want to look too young.
"When an actor is 28 or 29, he is unlucky to look too young. The actor who is that age and looks it can get any number of roles, young executives, lawyers, young doctors, but if a performer reaches that age and still looks like a teenager, the doors close. The transition is too difficult. Actors of this type get older looking all of a sudden and if they have been playing roles of people a lot younger than they are, they can't get older parts."
Tony's most famous role before he went into the big time was in "The Subject Was Roses" at the Pioneer Memorial Theater five years ago. Here he portrayed a returned war veteran. He was 19 at the time. Since there are veterans of all ages, Tony had no trouble convincing audiences he was the right age.
A role in an early ALL IN THE FAMILY sequence was the turning point in Tony's career. He left Utah five years ago to tour with "Subject Was Roses" with Jack Albertson who had acted with him at the University of Utah.
Several roles in stock shows and television series followed this and then came ALL IN THE FAMILY, in which he was cast as a homosexual. "In Hollywood, you take roles that will further your career unless they are too objectionable or tasteless," he explained. "The role in this case was played for laughs and it meant a lot."
As a result of his performance, he was chosen for the lead in NBC's BRIGHT PROMISE, a daytime series. This was being telecast locally at the time, but about then Ch. 2 decided to cancel it, so Tony went on for a year and a half without being seen in his native state. The series was canceled a year ago.
Analyzing the part BRIGHT PROMISE played in his career, Tony said: "Soap opera is like repertory stage work. You have a new script every day. The experience is vital and interesting, but I wouldn't take another series of this type. In fact, I would rather sit it out than take one."
Tony said he was offered a major role in RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE, another NBC daytime series. "I don't think it would have furthered my career," he said. "I'm glad I turned it down. There would have been one nice thing about it, though. I would have been seen daily by Utahns because it was being telecast here."
The Utahn has been busy during the past year. Most recently, he did a MOD SQUAD in which he was a jewel thief, and a PATRIDGE FAMILY in which he portrayed a minister. He also did a TEMPERATURES RISING segment. He also was in a stage show in Palm Springs for DuPont this fall.
He has been visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Russell D. Geary of Coalville and the rest of his family for the holidays. When he returns to Hollywood, he will perform in a new version of the Tennessee Williams play, "Camino Real," which will open a new theater-actors workshop near ABC Studio Center.
Tony has some definite ideas about his entertainment work. He says: "Creativity is a curse as well as blessing. It is a love-hate relationship that can destroy itself."
He feels he's been lucky at finding much work in entertainment. "I know some great actors who aren't working. They are talented, brilliant, but they can't find jobs in Hollywood."
He feels that some persons who watch television, especially soap operas, take the shows too realistically. "I had a strong role in BRIGHT PROMISE," he observed. "I portrayed a normal person who had been in an asylum for 22 years. I was straightened up in the last episodes and some people I met later said they were happy to see everything worked out al right. They thought it was my real life."