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Jon Voight ready for comedy role By Eve Sharbutt NEW YORK AP - One minute Jon Voight is clowning, joking and poking fun at himself. The next he's deep into serious discussion of what he says really matters -- his family, the theater, growing as an actor and a person. Tall, blond and slightly rumpled, Voight stopped here en route to Los Angeles and home after filming the suspense thriller, "The Odessa File," in Munich. Ahead, he says, are months to relax and prepare a play for regional theater. "I need to return to work on the stage. It's the only place other than the classroom where I do a thoroughly creditable job. I can feel myself stretching a bit and it refreshes me so that I can do the quick work required in films," Voight said. Last year the 35-year-old appeared as Stanley Kowalski in a revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" in Los Angeles, opposite Faye Dun away; then took his own production company and the same play to Buffalo. Â·'I think it got better as we went along, although critics weren't necessarily in agreement. By closing night I was pretty good." Appearing on stage, he added, takes away that distance between actor and audience that comes in movies and "makes you feel more like a person. "I'd like to do more -comedy, classics, not necessarily big stuff but something pertinent to today's situation. There's no reason why we shouldn't, no reason why critics shouldn't have a chance to take a swipe at me," Voight said. He would like to encourage more film and television stars to become involved in theater, not just as actors, but as producers, directors and investors. MAY 22 CHARLESTON WCHS-TV CBS HUNTINGTON WSAZ-TV NBC HUNTINGTON WHTN-TV ABC OAK HILL WOAY-TV ABC ROANOKE WDJB.TV CBS ROANOKE WSLS-TV NSC CLARKSBURG WBOY-TV NBC I PAPKERSBURG I VVTAP-TV I NBC HUNTINGTON WAAUL-TV 1 PBS-EEN GRANDVIEW WSWP-TV PBS-EEN Morning 6:30(Â® Arthur Smith 55) Today on the Farm O Bible Answers CD Town Crier 09 The Story 6:45 O Morning Report 7:00 O Â® 89 (S) B) Today O CD Network News O Dick Van Dyke CD Insight 7:30 3D America Sings 09 Rocky and Bullwinkle 8:00 0 CD CD Capt. Kangaroo (0 New Zoo Revue 8:3009 Jack La Lanne 9:00 O AM with Debbie Thomas OB Coffee Break Â® 55) Phil Donahue O Â© Cartoons CD Tattletales 03 "When My Baby Smiles At Me" CD New Zoo Revue 9:30 O To Tell the Truth CB Romper Room O Tattletales CD Artie Levin CD Bible Answers 10 : 00 O CB SB (S) (H) Dinah's Place O CD Joker Is Wild CD Barbara Walters 10:30 O CB (H) Â© (3) Jeopardy O CD Gambit CD Rev. 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Evening 6:00 O CD 09 Â©Â© O CD CD Local news; weather, sports 09 Network News (9 Black Journal CD Hodgepodge Lodge 6:30OÂ®OÂ©Â©O(DÂ® Network News fflRoom 222 CD Turned On Crisis 7:00 O Â®) Â© Consequences CB Tell the Truth Â© I Spy O What's My Line CD Ozzie's Girls 09 CD Jimmy Dean (9 Know Your Schools 7:30 O Police Surgeon . CD Nashville Music G9 To Tell the Truth Â© Dragnet O Sale of the Century CD Hollywood Squares flD Beat the Clock CD Wilburn Brothers 9 Episode Action CD Laura Tedesco 8:00 O CD O) 33 (SD Chase O CD Sonny Cher OD CD Jane Goodall CD Washington Connection 8:30Â® CD Theater In America 9:00 O (B Â© Â© "The Healers" Â© "Strangers When We Meet" 03 CD Julie Andrews Jackie Gleason O CD Cannon 10:00 f) CD Kojak OD CD Doc Elliot (9 Interface CD Open Mind 10:30 Â© CD Day At Night 11:OOOÂ®Â®Â©Â©OCDCD CD Local news, weather, sports O Janaki 11:30 O Â® Â® Â© Â© Tonight O CD Movie CD Wide World'Spe- cial 09 Untouchables 12:30 CD Local news row , 1 ? / ^Trail's West * 03 Wide ^orld Special "People who are big enough to draw an audience because of reputation can afford to guarantee a sold-out show. Every year they could do some theater, maybe even a tour. Big productions in a lot of theaters would give people jobs, spread a little money around. And actors have a chance to do things they really would like to do, to take a chance. Especially with regional theaters, there isn't the fear of failure that there would be in New York, for example," Voight said. What he has in mind, specifically, for himself is a production of Tennessee Williams' "Camino Real." "I can work with people I admire, get work for them -- some of them people who need work. People in films can afford to do it, even if it means losing a little money." -. Eventually, Voight added, perhaps there might be a theater of his own, a place to do a classic like Moliere's "Don Juan." Voight likes to do things well. Son of a Yonkers, N.Y., rgolf professional, his early plans included following in his father's footsteps. His golf scores were in the low 70's, but his interest changed to painting, sculpture and drawing and he majored in fine arts at Catholic University. But he found a new interest in dramatics and says he realized he would never express himself as well in drawing as he could in performing. A f t e r a few months in summer stock, he headed for New York to continue acting studies, appeared off-off- Broadway, stepped up to off- Broadway and then to the GreafWhite Way itself. That led to television acting and eventually to the role of Joe Buck in the film "Midnight Cowboy." He admitted he may be compared with other young, angular, blond, blue-eyed actors of a certain stature, and that he'll look young for a long time. "But a person who has real talent becomes defined, clearer. As he develops he becomes inimitable, does more than what's required. Remember how the young Bogart did a lot of things before he found what he did best. Each person has his own t h i n g , his own approach," he added. Voight, ever selective about scripts, has appeared in "Catch-22," "Deliverance," "The All-American Boy," "Conrack," in which he's teaching school on an isolated all-black island. In "The Odessa File," Voight will appear as a young German journalist who, for personal reasons, tracks down a former Nazi commander of a World War II concentration camp. It's a change, he admits, from the happy-go-lucky but committed schoolteacher of "Con- rack." When he'd really like next in the'way of a film role, he said, is a tiny part in a Mel Brooks monster movie -V i'JbSt a little, part, Now] J'd, Jon Voiaht. love it." He said he admired the Brooks flair for comedy and would like to try his hand at it. In "Conrack," Voight said, the part is the type of character he likes best -with a sense of purpose, a person who relates to people. And he played against 23-scene-stealing black youngsters who had never acted before -- recruited, indeed, from a church group. "They were genuine ana wonderful kids. Anything they did was perfectly believable -- that jargon of theirs had a wonderful poetry. It teaches you a lot about yourself to work with kids. "They could all sing and I c a n ' t , really. There's a scene in the film where one student says, 'Conrack sing like a frog." That's about right. As long as it's silly, I'm fine, but if I have to be serious, I'm in trouble. "One of the boys -- Ronny Harris, I think -- came up to me and said, 'You're shy, aren't you, Jon. I had a cousin that was shy." Every day with these kids was like that.-They'll tell you straight just what they feel." Voight, who appeared in almost every scene, of the film, retired to a camper to rest and get out of the humidity on location in Georgia. The kids, he recalled, always were trying to come in, to sit and talk, playing one adult against another. "I kept thinking of my own child, wondering how he'd grow up to be when I saw how they approach life, their attitudes and the problems they have," he said. 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