By Elizabeth Gracen:
As many of you know, Kathleen Kinmont has a been a good friend of mine for a long time now. We met on the set of her show Renegade back in the mid-90s. I was in damsel-in-distress mode for two episodes of the series, fending off a passel of creepy, macho actors playing bounty hunters. Unfortunately, Kathleen and I only had a couple of scenes together, but we quickly fixed our sights on each other and were off to the races—our connection ebbing and flowing over time, our lives taking divergent twists and turns through acting gigs, marriages, divorces, and the birth of our daughters. Lucky for me, we always seem to find our way back to each other again, and I like that very much.
Earlier this year, I spoke to Kathleen about her first delightful children's book, Magic & Beauty, and I was thrilled when I found out that she'd published her second book, I Should've Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino. I just had to talk to her again about the book's release and what else she has up her sleeve.
EG: I’m so happy to be talking to you about your second book release in 2020! First of all, congratulations! You’ve been incredibly creative during your quarantine—two books! I know a little bit about the origins of your newest book, I Should've Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino, but share with us the “why” of this book? What is it about?
KK: Thank you, Lizzie! It’s a great feeling to share with someone who truly celebrates your achievements. You and I both know the struggle and success in this town, and we know that some people only relish in watching the struggle. So thank you fellow author, actor, and self starter for recognizing my efforts. It means a lot.
I wrote this book for my greatest inspiration, my daughter, Ayden Grace, so that she could have a blueprint of who I was and what I’ve experienced, in an effort to witness who I’ve become from the lessons I’ve learned. Some of our most memorable stories are the most painful ones because of the massive imprint they leave in the forms of regret, embarrassment, or just simply bad judgment. I realized about halfway through this epic journey that this book is really for me and my own personal cathartic expedition of perfecting the art of letting shit go. I discovered that when I attached a lesson learned to every one of my foibles and mishaps, this new awareness organically shifted the control that the painful memory had on my life, and the old moment simply lifted, and I was released. These are all true and honest stories of my life; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s been a beautiful trip.
EG: You are a Hollywood gal, through and through. Your mom, Abby Dalton, was a television icon whose career spanned over fifty years. What was it like growing up in LaLa Land?
KK: My mom is and always will be my best friend and mentor. She was not only a loving and caring mother but also a total career babe who knew how to handle herself in any given situation. She was movie star glamorous but also very active and ranked on the pro/am circuit in celebrity tennis for years. My mom and dad were tremendous athletes, so our life was mostly surrounded with outdoor activities. My childhood, with my two brothers and our parents, was filled with countless ski trips to Mammoth and camping trips to numerous sacred nature locations. We spent a lot of time riding bikes with neighborhood friends, who just happened to have famous parents or grandparents. We didn’t pay attention to that stuff, as it really had nothing to do with our own self identity. Besides, everyone was related to someone or lived next door to someone, so the novelty was never really there. I didn’t realize the magnitude of all that star power until I got older. I know it sounds kind of blasé, but when you’re a kid, you don’t know who "The Duke" is yet, you just know there’s someone really tall in the doorway who happened to bring all the kids a few dozen donuts.
EG: The acting world is completely different than when you and I were working in our earlier years. If you could do it all over again—get the chance to choose a career again—would you choose acting? Would you recommend it as a career to a young woman?
KK: OMG! What a great question! Knowing what I know now and looking back at all the jobs, opportunities, friendships, and acquaintances I’ve had the great fortune to experience, I would say, “Absofreakinglutely.” I love acting. I didn’t realize how much I love it until I hung up my hat for a few seasons. Yes, it’s tremendously challenging, painful, and soul crushing at times, but hell, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as rewarding. This business is not for those who can’t handle rejection or criticism. However, if you are doing it for the love of storytelling, character creating, and the opportunity to be surrounded by artists and creators in every field, this is the career path for you. I love actors, writers, directors, sound designers, makeup artists, costume designers, editors, directors of photography, catering and craft service. Every human on a set has a specific purpose to add to the canvas that we know as a finished product of film, television, a musical, or a play. I love the teamwork and the collaboration more than anything. I love hearing, “Quiet on the set!” It’s the beginning of a symphony for me. I believe every actor, male and female, should experience life on a set, at some point, as a crew member. It’s an invaluable lesson in gratitude to all who participate in this highly driven field. Thankfully, the new regime of #metoo has created more awareness and intense, strict guidelines in protecting everyone who steps foot in the workplace. This movement has given our future generations not only the permission but the encouragement to immediately speak their truth. I believe this art medium of picture meeting sound, actors creating emotional experiences driven by story, is one of the greatest tools we have today in relating to one another. How many times have we seen something so powerful in film or television that has moved us or inspired us to do something different in our life? For me, it’s countless. Certainly these days, in our quarantine binges, we are finding how thankful we are for our entertainment. I encourage anyone who wants to strike out on this path to go for it! An expedition into the arts is a personal trek into the unknown, and I celebrate all who take that voyage.
EG: Can you give me the Cliff’s Notes on one of the stories in your book?
KK: The first story that pops into my mind is about the time I got electrocuted.
Cliff’s Notes: Bare feet, wet grass, and a very worn out string of tiki lights plugged into an unlimited supply of juice from the house will leave you feeling like toast and talking like a sailor.
EG: I asked this not too long ago, but what’s up next for Kathleen Kinmont? Another book? A film? Are you running for office?
KK: I am currently recording the audible version of I Should’ve Been Nicer to Quentin Tarantino with my producing partner, Patrick Lydon. The book is 52 chapters, and we are about halfway there. It will be ready for release October 1st, just in time for trick or treating! I am also working on a web series, PHOENIX, with Laurine Price, Grace Byers, Michael Broderick, and Garrett Wang. It’s a modern-day, female-driven ass-kicking thriller. It will be available for streaming in the coming months. The film I shot last year, The Silent Natural, is the true story about one of the first deaf major league baseball players, William "Dummy" Hoy. It will be streaming on wildaboutmovies.com August 25, 2020. I am a huge baseball fan (Let’s Go Dodgers!) and my mother was mostly deaf throughout most of my life. I have a long-running responsiveness to the hard of hearing, so the opportunity to play a school teacher/chaperone to the deaf children in this movie, set in the 1800s, was a monumental treat. Plus, I got a chance to work with my dear friend and co-star from Renegade, Branscombe Richmond. Branscombe produced the film and brought in a tremendous amount of talent, who also happen to be long-standing friends who I’ve had the great pleasure of working with throughout my career: Courtney Gains, Anne Lockhart, Sam Jones, Sheree J. Wilson, Marshall Teague, Vernon Wells, Barry Livingston, Barry Pearl, and the late, great Richard Herd. The star of the film, Miles Barbee, is exceptional. The writer/director, David Risotto, made a very wise choice in casting deaf actors to play the parts of the deaf characters. It showed an immense amount of sensitivity to the deaf community and a colossal awareness to the fact that we have great artists from every walk of life who need to be celebrated and given chance. I’m so proud of this little indy film, and hopefully it will encourage the powers-that-be to grant William Hoy his well-earned recognition in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And yes, if and when I run for office, that will be my sole intention. Swiftly followed by Human Rights For All, End Power Abuse, Stop Global Warming, and Peace On Earth.
Visit Kathleen's website to order her books and keep up to date with her projects!