The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 20, 1996 · Page 59
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 59

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 20, 1996
Page 59
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SAM WATERSTON Attention isn't love T WENTY-TWO YEARS ago, when Sam Waterston might have fallen for the dangerous allure of movie stardom, he got some advice from Robert Redford. They'd just filmed The Great Gatsby, one of the most hyped movies of its day, and Redford cautioned Waterston not to be dazzled by his newfound fame. "Never confuse attention with affection," he said. Later, Waterston received a letter from his father, a language teacher at a private school in Massachusetts. "I'm pleased for you that things are going well," his dad wrote. "I think success is like smoking. It probably won't do you much harm as long as you don't inhale." Following this advice, Waterston, 55, built a career of socially conscious projects, while limiting the trappings of stardom. He stars in NBC's Law & Order (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET), which, like his last TV series, I'll Fly Away, won the highest endorsement from Viewers for Quality Television. His r£sum6 includes a 1984 Oscar nomination for The Killing Fields, a gut- wrenching movie about war-torn Cambodia. In a way, Waterston has found ways to exhale his successes. He is using his high profile to volunteer with a group called Refugees International. He recently visited Cambodia to call attention to that Southeast Asian country, still reeling from genocide in the 1970s. As he speaks about his trip and his tQUing Fields co-star, Haing S. Ngor, who was murdered this year, Waterston stresses that he's not an elitist do-gooder. He's like many people, he says — just doing his little bit in his own way. "Volunteerism is under siege by the pace of modern life," Waterston adds. "People are so busy with work, their families. The answer is: Just do something. If you work for a high-powered law firm, your bosses want 99 percent of your tune. But there is still a little time left to do pro-bono work. All of the accumulated bits of time from everybody can make an important difference in a community. There is no problem that's not improved by effort, and there is no effort too paltry to be worth undertaking." MORE ADVICE FROM WATERSTON • Set an example: "My theory about parenthood is that you do the best you can to improve yourself, and let your children watch that. The way you live your life is more important than anything you might say to them." • Embrace the past: Waterston has starred in many historical dramas, and hosted Time-Life's Lost Civilization series. "History is fun. Maybe it's the 'hiss' in history that makes people miss the point. Look at the 'story' in history. If you tell students, 'For one period each day, we'll just tell stories,' that sounds good, doesn't it? History is another form of transportation for the mind." • Learn a second language: As a language teacher's son, Waterston "can limp around Spanish and Italian," and speaks French well. "It's a shame Americans don't know more languages. A language is a door to another culture. The nature of the differences between people is built into the languages." • The lesson of Lincoln: Waterston has portrayed Abe Lincoln three times — once just his voice, in Ken Burns' Civil War series. "One of the reasons he's so moving to us is that we definitely feel he sacrificed himself. The Civil War took everything he had. He showed us the enormous power that comes with clarity and purpose." d Watereton will write or call one reader who seeks advice on a particular topic. Write by Oct. 27 to •Straight Talk," RO. Box 3455, Chicago, III. 60654 (or fax to: 312-661-0375; e-mail: Zastow Is an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun- Times Features Syndicate. Influenced: By assistant district attorney Jack McCoy, his Law & Order character, who, he says, has made him more smart-alecky. Nixon is a great source of discomfort — even for those who approved of him.' 1 Waterston played Richard Helms in Oliver Stone's Wopio, fiwBjcUvesonafarm in Connecticut with his second wife, Lynn; has four children, ages 13-27. EWTOR, WE8JPENT ft CEO: Marti) Buitwd t PUBLISHER: Chwle* Oabrtelson • VICE PRESIDENTS: Dave Barber, BUI Coakley, Carol Keroer-Odgl*, Beth Uwrence, Tobey Lyd«n, Thomas Metoel fimfquii.^ EMCUtivo Editor: Amy Eisman Senior Associate Editor*: Dan Olmsted, Brenda Turner Associate Editors: Carol Glurman, Constance Kurz, Lome Lynch, Kathleen McCleary. Jim Swum Copy Chief: Tom Lent Copy Editor: Terry Davidson Byrne Mete A Plffewnce Pty Editor: Pamela Brow Assistant Editor: Gayte Jo Carter R«porter/K«s«w«lwr»: Myron B. Pitts, RichanJ Vega Hueardur; M. Franco Satvoa KimWHUIIfltiHflHUIH Jean Carpet Roger Cossack, George foreman. Monite Guttman, Florence Griffith Joyner. Stephanie Mansfield, Tom McNwhol, JliU Nelson, Tabitha Soren, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. Greta Van Susteren, Jeffrey Zaslow BOH Art Dtrwtor: Pamela Smith Aulttwt Art Directors: Clay Auch, Abigail McConnell Photo Editor: Sara Elder Technolojy Mewger: Treva Stose ONtee Staff: Kate Bond, Monica Dyer Rowe REDEDJ Director Dieiok CaswUnan Editorial: Cesar Soriano, Amelia Stephenson, Vin Narayanan Advertising: Casey Shaw Madison Ave., New ttrk. N.Y. 10002 SUSA WEEKEND 1000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22229-0012 tumOM 1-8QO-487-29S6 MMkMUU e <*n*V* UN «H turn*« *MM * BC^kt. HmltU,mr USA WEEKEND • Oct. 18-20, 1996 19

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