WASHINGTON (May 28, 2003) -— Beloved actor/comedian, and now acclaimed author and chef, Dom DeLuise; actress Catherine Hicks from the WB network's 7th Heaven; and actor Michael Badalucco from ABC-TV's The Practice will all be featured in a one-hour special that will be distributed to NBC-TV affiliates on Wednesday, June 11.
The program is a special hour-long edition of the talk show Personally Speaking, hosted by Msgr. Jim Lisante, and features the three Catholic celebrities talking about their faith and how it has played an important role in their lives.
Produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops" Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC), Personally Speaking will be scheduled at the discretion of NBC-TV affiliate stations. A list of stations that have scheduled broadcasts will be posted on the USCCB web site at www.usccb.org/ccc. Viewers also can call their local NBC-TV affiliates to ask about their plans to air the program, which is part of the "Horizons of the Spirit" series.
Dom DeLuise first broke into the entertainment industry in the early 1960s with numerous roles on and off Broadway and has since become an American icon, best known for his work over the years with director Mel Brooks (The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World – Part I, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and as sidekick to good friend Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit II, Cannonball Run I & II, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and The End). In the last few years, DeLuise has also become known as a best-selling author, writing two "Eat This" cookbooks, as well as his well-received children's books, "Charlie the Caterpillar", "Goldilocks", "King Bob's New Clothes", and "The Nightingale."
DeLuise is particularly devoted to Mary. "I collect Blessed Mothers statues," says DeLuise. "They give me comfort. The Blessed Mother is someone I pray to all the time. In fact, I use her as a mantra. When I'm in my car and there's traffic, I pray the Hail Mary."
Catherine Hicks started her career playing "blonde bombshell" parts before landing her current role as Annie Camden, the wife of a minister, on the WB Network's 7th Heaven. A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, she studied English and theology in college before moving to New York to pursue her dream to become an actress. Her first big break came with a role on the popular daytime drama Ryan's Hope, and she later garnered an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the TV movie Marilyn: The Untold Story. But she considers her most important roles are as a real-life wife and mother.
Ms. Hicks, a strong proponent of Catholic education, talked about why she sends her ten-year-old daughter to a Catholic elementary school.
"I just want my daughter to learn to pray and I want her to have a deep faith," said Ms. Hicks, "So that when she's out in the world, at lonely times – I want her to know that she has friends upstairs, that she need not fear, and that God is with her, and that she has a close relationship with God and Mary and the saints."
Michael Badalucco knew he wanted to be an actor as a teenager attending Brooklyn's Xaverian High School, but nonetheless worked behind the scenes for almost two decades after graduating from the State University of New York at New Paltz. He had numerous bit parts in films on which he was already working in the crew before he caught the attention of Michelle Pfeiffer when he played a police officer in One Fine Day. She recommended him to her husband, writer-producer David E. Kelley, who wrote the role of Jimmy Berluti on The Practice specifically with him in mind. He has since won an Emmy for his portrayal of the scrappy lawyer and has gone on to film roles in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam and the Coen brothers' critically acclaimed film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
Despite his long overdue success, the ever-humble former altar boy from Brooklyn's Flatbush section still manages to stay grounded and credits his faith and prayer life for seeing him through the difficult times.
"My ability to act and the opportunity to work in this business is a gift – a God-given gift for which I am most grateful," says Badalucco. "Without God, without faith in God, I don't think I would be where I am today for sure."
Personally Speaking is part of the "Horizons of the Spirit" series created by the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, of which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a member. The host of Personally Speaking, Msgr. Jim Lisante, is pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hempstead, New York. Msgr. Lisante hosted a half-hour version of the celebrity interview show on the Odyssey cable channel for two years. He is also a columnist for the Long Island Catholic newspaper.
The USCCB is the national organization of the Catholic Bishops in the United States, and supports them in exercising their leadership within the Church and in society. Through its Catholic Communication Campaign, the USCCB produces and distributes a variety of media projects including a weekly radio program, television documentaries that examine spiritual themes, Christmas and Easter specials, and public service campaigns about issues of national importance.