Antoinette Bower’s first job on leaving school in London was as a Field Language Supervisor for the International Refugee Organization in Germany, an experience which very much influenced her view of the world. Shortly after IRO was discontinued, she joined her family in Canada and found work as a copy writer and disc jockey at a small-town radio station, which led in time to Toronto and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, more radio and much live television, most frequently for the CBC Public Affairs Dept. Then somehow – bit by bit – she found herself drawn into acting – first CBC live TV shows, then theatre, although, in spite of her love for it and the rehearsal periods before a run, she feels that she has never been on stage enough over the years because she is basically a morning person and not that happy spending all day waiting to work at night!
In 1960, while visiting friends in LA and making a few rounds, she landed a TV guest shot. A second one followed a few weeks later and, like Toronto and New York actor-friends before her, she came to realize that commuting between the coasts with very little warning was fairly impossible so, like others, she took a deep breath and made the decision to move to the west coast. LA became home base.
As for Hollywood careers at that time, people tended to be either a television actor or a feature film actor, there was little crossover (things have certainly changed since then). Antoinette was mainly a TV actor in those years, with occasional forays into theatre. And having always thought of herself as a character actor rather than a leading lady, she loved it when TV Guide referred to her as being ‘too versatile for her own good’.
Antoinette has managed to live a fairly balanced existence – there was the joy of working with many excellent actors, the occasional working on location, which she has always loved, not to mention exposure to a variety of worlds. And in the predictable stretches of unemployment, she took regular courses in construction technology, carpentry and cabinet-making at Santa Monica College.
Thanks to her seasons on Neon Rider, and thanks in particular to a great stunt double and ex-rodeo champion who took her under her wing and put her in touch with her legendary Lauder/Glass/Cosgrave family in Alberta, Antoinette was let into a world she would never have known ‘from the stands’. Eventually, she shot, wrote and learned to edit (in that order!) a rather long student film – her ode to the two- and four-legged friends she made in the last many years. A recurring interest in documentaries now has her well into a new project.
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