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Bonnie Timmerman is one of Hollywood's most successful, and reportedly highest-paid, casting directors. She began her career with Manhattan's Phoenix Repertory Company in the 1970s, casting then up-and-comers, Glenn Close,[…]

The child of an opera singer and a boxer finds the right balance for show business.

Bonnie Timmermann. I’m a producer and a casting director. I think my family influenced me a great deal. My mother was an opera singer. She still sings opera. My father was . . . When he first came to this country he was a boxer. And so the combination of my father being a boxer and very tough on all of us, and my ma being an opera singer gave me a sort of imbalance that worked very well, I think, for show business. My sister is an actress, and my brother is a musician. And they do other things too. I mean my sister is now a painter, and my brother is a sound engineer and works in film. And my father really loved the film business and wanted very much to be a part of it. And I think he lived vicariously through what we did. So there was always that . . . that thing in the family. And also growing up was . . . was tough for me. So I think I could hide away in books, and music, and the world of film. So I think, you know, had it been an easy childhood, I think I could have just absolutely done something else. But it . . . It was a dramatic childhood, I think, basically.I played violin when I was younger, and I thought that I was going to be a musician. I thought I was going to play music my whole life. And true story. I was playing music in an orchestra, and I noticed that my bow was up and everybody else’s was down. And there was a kind of a silence, and I thought, “I think it’s time for me to change.” And I tried to do a few different things. I got involved in the art world. And then I met this wonderful man who said, “Why don’t you come and work in my theater?” I say, “Okay,” you know, “What would you like me to do?” And he said, “I think you’d be wonderful as our casting director.” I said, “Okay.” So I didn’t really have any training. I just was lucky enough to meet somebody who saw something in me, and I really didn’t even know what a casting director was. I was fascinated by it, but I did not know how hard it was to be a casting director; to be able to sit there and judge other people. That’s difficult, and you have to really know a lot in order to be a good judge. And you have to have a very open heart in order to do that.

Recorded On: 12/21/07