Sondra Currie always knew she would be an actress. At one time, however, she shared part of that dream with another ambition; to become a race car driver. Her first ambition has won out with quite a diversified and rewarding career.
Blue-eyed, red-haired, Sondra was born, raised and educated in Los Angeles. Her mother, actress Marie Harmon (who made more than two dozen films while under contract to Republic Pictures) wanted Sondra to follow her own career direction unaware of her beautiful daughter's secret desire. It happened, oddly, as a result of her teenage hobby of off-road dirt car and motorcycle racing. Sondra found that a neighbor in her apartment building was also a weekend dirt road racing enthusiast and, from this, developed a friendship with well-known producer/director Howard Hawks. It wasn't long before Hawks put Sondra under contract and into her first film, "Rio Lobo." Her role, as she delicately puts it, "...mostly ended up on the cutting room floor." But it was a beginning.
She went on to star in numerous features (among them, cult favorites "Jessi's Girls," "Policewomen" and "Concrete Jungle"). She refers to them as "slice and dice" films where she received her "college education!" Learning on her feet was not always easy and she discovered what it meant to be a survivor in Hollywood. "Passion and commitment along with talent, tenacity and luck are essential. I feel we create our own luck," she stresses. "And the talent is something that constantly needs to be nurtured in theatre or classes." She was a member of Milton Katselas' Saturday Master class for 17 years, and continues to study at The Actors Studio with Martin Landau, Mark Rydell and Lou Antonio. (She's a Lifetime Member.)
Sondra has guest starred in well over 110 television shows (including "NCIS," "ER," "JAG," "Cheers," "Murder She Wrote," "The Golden Girls" and multiple episodes of "Three's Company" and "Simon & Simon") plus several Movies of the Week (including starring roles in two "Columbo" films, "Kid Cop," "The Secretary," "The Perfect Wife," Hallmark's "Thicker Than Water" and "Alien Nation: Dark Horizon").
She is perhaps best known for her role as Linda Garner, Alan's (Zach Galifianakis) mom, in one of the biggest comedy franchises of all-time, "The Hangover" trilogy. She can currently be seen in the recurring role of Miss Vivian on Tyler Perry's "Love Thy Neighbor" on OWN.
Sondra and her husband, renowned producer/director Alan J. Levi, have a production company (Lumina Pictures and Entertainment LTD.) They have several projects in development and pre-production including "Ganymede Pan," a sci-fi pilot. Another passion is theatre and she does it every chance she gets. Theatre credits in LA includes "After The Fall," "Hatful of Rain" and, most recently, "Death Of A Salesman" at The Actors Studio. She is a founding member of the Camelot Artists (now the Katselas Theatre Co.) and is a member of the prestigious Theatre West. She considers her mentor, her husband, her luckiest gift of all. "He's the most patient, giving, talented person I've ever known. And I'm the smartest, "she says with a glint in her eye. "I married him!"
The Currie family boasts other talents as well. Sondra's twin sisters Cherie (who was the lead singer of The Runaways and is now a solo artist on tour with Lita Ford) and Marie made major waves in the music business. Sondra's brother is Don Currie, a successful mortgage banker who owns HighTechLending, and her brothers-in law are actor Robert Hays ("Airplane") and Steve Lukather (lead guitarist and singer for the Grammy Award winning group Toto).
Sondra and her husband are on the Board of the California Independent Film Festival and have been Jury members for the past five years, "a truly inspirational environment where we see passionate, creative independent filmmakers, who won't take 'no' for an answer." They were honored to be invited to be Jurors of the First International Indie Film Festival in Sapporo, Japan, where Sondra was the only woman on the panel.
One of her most rewarding endeavors is being a member of SHARE, a charity devoted to helping abused, develop mentally disabled and mentally challenged children, and children with HIV and AIDS. "This is a place where I might really be able to make a difference," she says. "I see it first hand. The children are so receptive, and it's such a positive experience. It helps me keep everything else in perspective." In her spare time, she's an avid photographer. "I love to explore through my lens. My life is very rich."