Today’s guest co-host – Jill Whelan, actress
Jill Whelan‘s love of theatre began at age seven when a summer musical theatre program introduced her to acting. After sending her own school picture to a San Francisco Talent Agency, she did a number of national commercials and, at the age of 10, starred in her first drama TV series, Aaron Spelling’s Friends on ABC.
That same year, she filmed the classic comedy film, Airplane, and guested on The Love Boat playing Vickie Stubing, Captain Stubing’s daughter. The guest character proved to be so popular with viewers, that Aaron personally called 11 year old Jill, and told her he she was to become a permanent cast member.
The Love Boat ran for 10 years on ABC and afforded her the opportunity to work with hundreds of legendary performers including Frank Sinatra, Carol Channing, and Ethel Merman. Through that time she hosted many ‘Variety Club’ telethons to benefit children with prosthetic limbs. For the telethons, she toured and sang/performed with Sammy Davis Jr and Liza Minnelli. In 1987, Jill was directed by the legendary Martin Sheen in the Emmy award-winning movie of the week, Babies Having Babies.
Through the 1980s, Jill worked with Nancy Reagan as her national spokesperson for the Just Say No! anti drug campaign. Jill has sung at the White House for two presidential administrations (Reagan and George Bush Sr). After The Love Boat ended, Jill attended college in England at Guildford studying English literature.
After her studies at Guildford, Jill moved to New York to do theater and performed in several off-Broadway productions. Feeling it was important to learn the “other side” of the business, Jill started a career as a producer at Madison Square Garden, where she produced live events including the MTV Birthday tribute to Bob Dylan, the ESPY Awards, Harry Connick Live, and many more.
When her firstborn child, Harrison, was three, Jill landed a role on the daytime soap The Young and the Restless, but realized that with a new child she needed to find a job with more stable work hours. A lifelong fan of news and headlines, she began working at KCOP News in Los Angeles as an assignment desk assistant, and worked her way up to an investigative producer. After four years, Jill decided to leave after their news became ‘infotainment’.
Jill moved back to the Delaware River Valley where she gave birth to her second child, Grant, in 2005. During this time, Jill also formed a successful acting studio for children and adults in Bucks County and Philadelphia where she taught improv comedy, scene study, film, television and commercial acting.
Jill has co-hosted two popular podcasts, The Venus Diaries, and then in 2012, joined forces with Brian Phelps, of KLOS’ popular The Mark & Brian Show, to form The Brian and Jill Show, which debuted at number one on iTunes.
Recently returning to her acting and singing career, she created a one-woman cabaret show, Jill Whelan: An Evening in Dry Dock, which she performed off-Broadway, and internationally. She’ll be touring the show in 2015 including a week on the RSVP Gay Cruise Line on Valentine’s Day week, where she’ll be the celebrity cohost along with Kathy Najimy.
She recently starred in the Christmas television movie, A Christmas Tree Miracle on Up TV, and the indie horror film, 6 Degrees of Hell.
In 2014, she and the cast of The Love Boat christened the Princess Cruise Lines for their 40th Anniversary in an all star celebration. The cast will also reunite for the 2015 Rose Bowl Parade on New Years Day.
9:15AM (PST) – Rick Egusquiza, West Coast Editor of In Touch Weekly, Life and Style Weekly and Closer Weekly
Egusquiza is the veteran gossip hound famed for being the first one to break the story/scandal of political figure John Edwards’ extramarital affair – ten months before mainstream media jumped on the bandwagon.
A bartender turned Hollywood reporter/gossip guru, Rick joined the National Enquirer back in early 2000 by pure serendipity – being at the right place at the right time – but also for the mere fact that the very West Coast hipster-looking thespian has a unique certain je ne sais quoi that somehow makes him a people magnet – he’s everybody’s confidant.
Egusquiza is a walking encyclopedia of all things entertainment celebrity related. Like a sponge, he absorbs information at the speed of light, retains names and faces in a heartbeat, always got the perfect punch and/or comeback line, and of course is always in the know and in the now!
It’s nearly impossible to resist the captivatingly entertaining spell of this corky, bubbly, at times goofy, unique character who luckily for us is blessed with an infectiously great sense of humor, a contagiously energetic and hysterically comical personality. Needless to say, the camera loves him! The fit 45-year-old Cuban-American/New Jersey native has a very unique fashion style sporting his trademark signature attire- flip-flops and black-rimmed glasses – and an indelible “Joie de vivre” grin on his face. He’s appeared on numerous TV shows including Inside Edition, Geraldo at Large on Fox News and CNN to name a few.
There’s definitely something reassuring and contagiously appealing about Rick’s uber cool personality that impulsively draws you to him. Charming and charismatic in a non-threatening way, his ever-so approachable demeanor naturally makes him the perfect candidate to be the ideal “best friend” – and indeed, that’s just it…everybody loves Rick.
9:30AM (PST) – Hal Sparks, actor / comedian
Hal Sparks performing one night only!
Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 7:00PM – Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, CA
Actor / comedian Hal Sparks began his professional career as a teenager in Chicago. As a member of the famed Second City Troupe, his quick wit and affable personality quickly gained him recognition and acclaim. In 1987 he was named the “Funniest Teenager In Chicago” by the Chicago Sun Times. After a successful run with Second City, Sparks moved to Los Angeles and immediately began performing at numerous comedy clubs, including The Improv, The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory and The Ice House, as well as at Comic Relief’s American Comedy Festival. From 1999 2000, Sparks was the host of the Emmy-award winning “Talk Soup” on E! Entertainment Television, winning rave reviews from fans and critics alike. For five seasons, he co-starred as Michael Novotny on the hit Showtime series “Queer As Folk”, based on the controversial and critically acclaimed British series. Hal returns to his stand-up roots on June 4th when he stars in his own one-hour Showtime stand-up comedy special “Charmageddon”. The special will also be released on DVD in June.
Most recently, Hal provided the voice of Tak in the Nickelodeon animated series “Tak and the Power of Juju” which follows a teenage jungle boy and his fellow villagers as they deal with their fate as the unluckiest tribe in the world. He also lent his voice to the character “Mr. Q” in the GSN game show “20Q” hosted by Cat Deeley, based on the award-winning game of the same name. In 2006, Sparks appeared on the FOX musical competition series “Celebrity Duets” and hosted the WB reality series “Survival Of the Richest”. In 2007, he shared judging duties with Rosanne Barr on the Nick at Nite comedy competition series “America’s Funniest Mom”. Hal is one of the star commentators of the VH1 hit pop culture series “I Love The 90’s”, “I Love The 80’s”, “The 80’s Strike Back, ”“I Love The 70’s” and “I Love the New Millennium.” He also appeared in the VH1 shows “Celebracadabra” and “The Great Debate.” His television credits include guest-starring roles on “CSI”, “Frasier”, and “One on One”. He also co-starred in the Showtime Original feature “Bleacher Bums”, adapted from the critically acclaimed play of the same name. Hal starred opposite Peter Riegert, Wayne Knight and Brad Garrett in this classic baseball comedy.
On the big screen, he recently appeared in the film “Extract” and made a scene-stealing appearance with Tobey Maguire in “Spiderman 2”. He also co-starred in the 20th Century Fox comedy, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, “Dickie Roberts, Former Child Star” and “Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town” with Billy Bob Thorton. Sparks also provided the voices for two animal characters, a bee and a fish, in the 20th Century Fox film “Dr. Dolittle 2”. His numerous television appearances include “The Tonight Show”, “Larry King Live”, “Charlie Rose”, “Good Morning America”, “The View”, CNN’s “Your Money”, “Joy Behar”, “Politically Incorrect”, MTV and “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. He starred in his own sketch comedy pilot entitled “Here Comes The Neighborhood” and produced comedy segments for Disney Channel. On the stage, Sparks has performed in productions of “The Glass Menagerie” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs”.
In addition to a busy acting and stand-up career, Hal is an accomplished singer/songwriter/musician. He and his band, Zero 1, recently released their debut album.
A native of Peak’s Mill, Kentucky, Sparks spent several years in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles. He is also an expert in the martial arts with 20 years experience in Shaolin, Kung Fu, Wushu and Karate.
10:15AM (PST) – Dr. Kenneth Kosik, one of the nation’s most prominent neurologists in the field of Alzheimer’s research, and author of the book “Outsmarting Alzheimer’s: What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk”
Dr. Kenneth Kosik is the Harriman Professor of Neuroscience Research and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also the founder and Medical Director of the non-profit center, Cottage Center for Brain Fitness (CCBF). He previously served as a resident in neurology at Tufts New England Medical Center and has held a series of academic appointments at the Harvard Medical, McLean Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kosik has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on CNN as an expert on brain health and has won numerous awards for his work with Alzheimer’s and neuroscience. For the past 16 years Dr. Kosik has been doing extensive work with a large family in Antioquia, Colombia, who all carry a genetic mutation for Alzheimer’s, in the hopes that they can pave the way for a cure.
10:30AM (PST) – Jim Jacobs, Composer, Co-creator of “GREASE”
Watch “GREASE: LIVE” on FOX! SUN JAN 31st @ 7/6c
Jim Jacobs is an American composer, lyricist, and writer for the theatre. He is known for writing the book, lyrics and music, with Warren Casey, for the stage and film musical “Grease”.
Jacobs was born in Chicago, Illinois to Harold, a factory foreman, and Norma (Mathison) Jacobs. Jacobs attended Taft High School, during which time he played guitar and sang with a band called DDT & the Dynamiters. When he was 11, his idol was Bill Haley, but when he was fourteen it was Elvis Presley. He also cites Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis as influences. When he was a teenager, he would imitate playing a guitar with a broomstick. He eventually convinced his parents to pay for guitar lessons. After four lessons, he quit and decided to buy a guitar book and teach himself. From this, his found a simple chord structure: C, A minor, F, G7—this would later be Those Magic Changes featured in “Grease”. In 1963, he became involved with a local theatre group that included Warren Casey, The Chicago Playwrights Center (at that time it was called Hull House Playwrights Center)run by artistic director Robert Sickinger. For the next five years he appeared in more than fifty theatrical productions in the Chicago area, working with such people as The Second City founder Paul Sills, while earning a living as an advertising copywriter. He also landed a small role in the 1969 film “Medium Cool”. Jacobs’ Broadway acting debut was in a 1970 revival of the play “No Place to be Somebody”, followed by the national tour.
At the same time, he and Casey were collaborating on a play about high school life during the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s. Entitled “Grease”, it premiered in 1971 at the Kingston Mines Theater in the Old Town section of Chicago. Producers Ken Waissman and Maxine Fox saw the show and suggested to the playwrights that it might work better as a musical, and told them if the creative partners were willing to rework it and they liked the end result, they would produce it off-Broadway. The team headed to New York City to collaborate on what would become Grease, which opened at the Eden Theatre in downtown Manhattan. The show was deemed eligible for the 1972 Tony Awards, receiving seven Tony Award nominations. In June 1972 the production moved to the Broadhurst Theatre in the heart of Manhattan’s Broadway Theater District. Six months later it moved to the Royale Theatre where it played until January 1980. For fine final weeks of the run the show moved to the much larger Majestic Theatre (Broadway). Casey earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. The show went on to become a West End hit and a hugely successful film.
He would also write a two-act musical “Island of Lost Coeds” with Warren Casey, a spoof on 1940s and 1950s B movies: a captain and crew crash on a deserted island inhabited by beautiful women with ratted hair, tiger-skin swimsuits and rubber spears. In 1980, he appeared in the film “Love in a Taxi”, directed by Robert Sickinger. Jacobs served as a judge on the NBC reality series “Grease: You’re the One that I Want!” in 2006, designed to cast the lead roles in an August 2007 Broadway revival of Grease via viewer votes.