Winnipeg Free Press: February 2, 1979
by Tom Jory

 

NEW YORK (AP) - Ever wonder how far a famous name will carry an aspiring actress? "It might get you your first job," says Anne Lockhart, daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of an acting family. "But if you can't make it happen on the screen or on stage…Well, word gets around pretty fast."

It looks as if Anne Lockhart can make it happen. At 25 she's had eight years in the business and "I'm pretty proud of the fact that for almost all of that time, I've made a living at it."

She recently landed her first continuing role, that of Sheba in ABC's Battlestar Galactica. Sheba is the daughter of Commander Cain, the greatest military leader in the history of the Colonial government.

A good part in a TV series is nothing new to the Lockhart family. Anne's mother, June Lockhart, was the mother in the third and perhaps best-known family in the long-running Lassie series.

June Lockhart appeared in 13 movies, including Son of Lassie in 1945, and her father, Gene Lockhart -Anne's grandfather- was in 82 films, and his wife, Kathleen, in 23.

It goes back even further. "Grandfather's father, John Coates Lockhart, was an entertainer and singer who did shows in the U.S. and Canada," Miss Lockhart says. "I'm fourth generation, and I don't know of anyone else working today who is."

She was in a short film, T is for Tumbleweed, at the age of 4, but, she says, "I worked very little as a child. It was looked on as sort of a treat to be in something. I did a couple of commercials, but not a lot of other work while I was in school.

"Mother always felt acting was an awful difficult life for a child."

Anne Lockhart appeared in her first school play at Verde Valley School in Arizona, where a number of actors' offspring were classmates.

"There were three leads, me, Chris Lemmon and David Matthau. Can you imagine parents' night, with the Odd Couple and my mother in the audience?" Jack Lemmon, Chris' father, and Walter Matthau, David's dad, were in the movie based on Neil Simon's play.

Lemmon and Matthau helped Anne Lockhart get a start in professional acting. "I came home from school and got a call from the William Morris Agency," she says. The two actors had recommended her to the talent organization.

"I was 17, and I asked mother about it. She said, 'Are you kidding? Nobody gets it that good.' "

She had no professional training, but did TV guest spots and scores of commercials. "I think my training came from a great desire to act. I sponged up all I could."

There's a twist to the Battlestar Galactica story. Miss Lockhart turned down a role in the space adventure series the first time it was offered.

"It was the hardest thing I'd ever done, but I felt the part I was offered first might be too confining.

"I was looking for a character that had strength, human values and I knew I wasn't going to be happy playing a Nurse Nancy type."