It started out, as so many things in his life have, with a childhood fantasy: David Balding, a Harvard dropout who left the presitigous university to pursue, eventually, a career as the ringmaster of his very own circus, needed an elephant.
“I remember an adventure book for schoolboys, and a scene with the hero riding an elephant,” says Balding, 69, who attributes his early fascination with animals to his father, a well-known horse trainer. “That image somehow stuck with me, though I’ve never been able to find the book again as an adult.
When San Francisco native Jennifer Siebel Newsom arrived in Hollywood, pursuing an acting career after her time with the U.S. women’s junior national soccer team was cut short by injury, the fair-haired Stanford alum had little trouble landing recurring roles on the CBS hospital drama Presidio Med, and later NBC’s 24-inspired Life.
For any actress, landing the title role in a movie like Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, a powerful drama about an overweight, illiterate teenager who escapes her abusive mother with the help of a dedicated teacher (Paula Patton) and a social worker (Mariah Carey), would be a coup.