May 19 2009
November, 2008, we attended another special event put on by Tommy and Kathy Hildreth. Tommy was quick to tell us in advance he had a guest we would want to both meet and interview, Rebecca Holden. We were familiar with her work on Knight Rider as well as appearances on such shows as Magnum P. I., Taxi, Night Court and Remington Steele. It was only at the event that we found what an outstanding Christian she is, with a story that has to be told. We had several conversations with her and her manager, Kelly Fohner. At the show she introduced her latest CD, Dare to Dream. In the past she had already recorded both Gospel and Country albums.
Ed.: The first thing I want to cover is based upon the first song you sang in your concert for the Western North Carolina Film Festival, “Dare to Dream”. That is also the title of your newly-released CD. The lyrics include the idea of everyone being a star and having a dream. Does this have special significance for you? We felt it did.
Rebecca: It absolutely does, especially since that was one of the songs I wrote. That comes from the heart when you write about what is important to you. I think everyone is given gifts and abilities, certain unique qualities from God. He instills those dreams. He places them there in your heart. They are not there by accident. I think He puts them there to motivate you, to use all those gifts and treasures within you to become who he created you to be.
Ed.: We have noted how some singers have become actors and some actors have become singers. What came first with you and what motivated you to go from one to the other?
Rebecca: I never thought I would be an actress. That never entered my mind. I had a love of music from the time I was a little girl. I had piano lessons from the time I was seven. I studied piano all the way through school. I won the Paderewski Medal when I was in high school. While playing piano for all the choirs in high school and college I discovered I loved singing. I loved harmony and I sang in church choirs, school choirs and in the madrigal singers. You know when you find something that you believe God meant for you to do. It’s all I ever wanted to do; it’s where I live and breathe. I still look forward all week to Sunday morning singing; singing for the Lord is the high spot of my week!
To get around to your question, I was in New York furthering my singing studies. I studied privately with a teacher from Julliard. An agent asked me to go on an audition for a Breck Shampoo commercial. I was at first a little resistant to that as I thought, “I’m not a model, I’m a singer”. He insisted that I go to the audition and Breck signed me to a series of television commercials. Work begets work as you know. That led to lots of other commercials, Dentyne, Kellogg and Ivory Soap etc. Then Aaron Spelling, the successful television producer in Los Angeles, contacted my agent. I went to the West Coast and started doing guest starring roles on a lot of the Spelling shows at Universal and Paramount. I had done a lot of acting in school, but always in musicals. Music was always the primary thing. Then acting kind of took over. I always sang at a lot of charity events and continued singing in church, but acting sort of took over to be the primary focus of my career. I made a living at that, but singing always remained the biggest love of my life and always has been.
I have to say that I am grateful for the acting roles. When you are on a national television series like a Knight Rider that is aired all over the world to over 150 countries, it gives you a platform from which to sing on tour and to carry the Gospel message as well. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world, all through Europe and through the Far East. I think God has a divine plan and we don’t always know how things are working at the time. Later on you look back and see certain paths and journeys that your life took, all the pieces come together and sort of make sense. And you think, “Wow, I didn’t understand the direction my life was taking at the moment.” It all makes sense after a while.
Ed.: That’s great. You don’t often hear that sort of thing being said. That brings up another question that comes up with friends in the media. Have you ever found your religious faith causing you a problem in getting roles?
Rebecca: You’re exactly right. I’m definitely in the fringe minority in Hollywood. I listened to an interview with Kirk Cameron about his Christian film Fireproof which I can’t wait to see. He is a Christian himself and talked about being married to the same woman a long time, which is another rarity in Hollywood. He has six children I think. He was telling an anecdote, on a conservative talk radio show which I listen to. He told how he had breakfast with a director in Hollywood. The director said, “Do you realize you have picked the only religion in Hollywood that is not acceptable.” That is true in Hollywood as they will accept Buddhism, Scientology, etc. A lot of people will say they are “spiritual” or they are into a sort of new age religion, but Christians seem to be in the minority. Perhaps there are more Christians in the entertainment community than seems readily apparent; maybe Christians are intimidated regarding discussing their faith. But I have never been shy about expressing what is in my heart. It is possible, I suppose that it might affect the ability to get work, but I have never been one to hide my beliefs. There’s that old song by Aaron Tippin that says in paraphrase that, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I am who I am. Tammy Bruce wrote a book titled The Death of Right and Wrong, about the prevalence of moral relativism—that the lines between right and wrong in today’s culture have become gray. There seems to be a tendency to denigrate anyone who lives their life by a more absolute moral code.
Ed.: This probably accounts for the success of so many Christian movies being made today outside of Hollywood. You have a major one coming out this year (2009) don’t you?
Rebecca: I just completed filming the movie Book of Ruth, but I don’t know the release date. The movie is an adaptation of The Book of Ruth from the Bible where powerful themes of tolerance and acceptance are gained through love and understanding. I play the role of Beth. Others in this movie include Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams), Gospel singer Carman and Lana Wood (kid sister of Natalie Wood). This was filmed in Eureka Park in Arkansas, and we were able to use many of the sets from the Passion Play they do there.
Ed.: I know we have to get back a little bit to show business in this interview as this is something readers will be curious about. It is in regard to the original Knight Rider series. How do you like the new Knight Rider series on TV today?
Rebecca: I saw a little bit of the pilot, but haven’t had an opportunity to see the rest of the shows. All I can say is what I have heard from a lot of the fans that they are a little disappointed in it, but I hope the ratings improve and that its audience grows. I certainly hope this new version does well. I read the other day that they are retooling it to go back to being more like the original. I know Glen Larson, who was the original creator, was not involved in this one, but he has the rights and will be writing a feature film, and we’ve stayed in touch.
Ed.: We’d love to see you in the film reprising your role as “April”. We have read in TV Guide that the main criticism is that the original show was more family oriented and this one has not met that standard. The second season of the original Knight Rider, in which you costarred, has just been released on DVD. People will be buying that and making comparisons. Now an awful question. In the series you are a computer guru, a computer genius. We’re sure that show helped draw a lot of young people into the computer world. Were you into computers then?
Rebecca: That’s funny. I wasn’t at the time. It was all acting. Ha! Being a music major in school I was not computer literate. I would write everything in long hand and I did a lot of writing and still do. Then, what really pushed me to have to learn about computers was when I was working on a musical. All of our calls and rehearsal times were sent by the director by eMail. I had to say to myself, “O.K. Rebecca, you have procrastinated long enough”. Now I can’t imagine living without my laptop. Writing on a computer is so much easier! Technology is advancing so fast, and we become so accustomed to the “latest and greatest”, that we wonder how we ever survived without it.
Ed.: Now would be a good time to mention your outstanding web page that we will want to point our readers to. That’s http://www.rebeccaholden.com/ Your web page mentions certain groups that you have worked with that we’d like you to tell us about.
Rebecca: I was president of the Music City Christian Fellowship which is a Christian organization in Nashville, Tennessee (as you may know, Nashville is nicknamed Music City). I served on the board several years and was elected president two terms. We do a Christian show every year during the CMA Music Festival in June. A lot of country music stars, who are Christians, are in the shows and I have hosted many of them. I’ve also served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the Christian Country Music Awards and have done benefits for Toys for Tots, Feed the Children, Special Olympics and the Music in the Schools program.
Ed.: We were also pleased to hear that you know one of our Advisory Board members, Rhonda Fleming.
Rebecca: Oh, Rhonda is such a beautiful person, inwardly and outwardly. I always admired her. Rhonda attends some of the events that I do charity work for in Los Angeles and has been a strong supporter. One is Thalians which just had their 53rd annual ball in which they honored Clint Eastwood. Debbie Reynolds was a founder and is still the president. The Thalians supports The Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedars Sinai and does cutting edge research for everything from Autism to Alzheimer’s—pediatrics to geriatrics.
Ed.: We have really appreciated you taking time here at this event and we hope we can work together in the future.
Rebecca: It has been such a pleasure to meet you and your lovely wife Carolyn. I hope this is just the beginning of a long friendship.