Actor Spotlight: Interview With Walking Dead’s Xander Berkeley Part 1

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At HorrorHound Indy 2016, Xander Berkeley was nice enough to sit down with us for an hour. Talking the actor’s beginnings, his attention to the craft, and his most important roles, the time was simply amazing. Welcome to the actor spotlight interview part 1.

Xander Berkeley as Gregory – The Walking Dead  Season 6, Episode 11 -courtesy of Gene Page/AMC


In the performing arts, actors and actresses vary in many ways. Some have more talent than others, some have more work ethic, and others have decency that some seemingly don’t. Trust me fright fans, I’ve experienced both situation in their fullest capacity.

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So, before sitting down with veteran actor Xander Berkeley, a lot of things began racing through my mind. While walking to get the man a Subway sandwich (being a con guest can make you very hungry), I began thinking of every possible scenario.

Is he nice? Will he provide short or long answers? Does he even want to do the interview? Will a $7.00 turkey sandwich be enough convincing to a man with over 220 onscreen credits? Luckily, Berkeley was not only one of the best actors I’ve ever met, he was one of the best people I’ve even had the pleasure of speaking with. Period.

Before starring on The Walking Dead, Xander Berkeley was working in the industry for years. So let’s all go off book, remember our lines, and show up for rehearsal as I interview the great Xander Berkeley. Welcome to part 1.


Frank Perry’s ‘Mommy Dearest’- Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Slasher Savior: Having over 226 credits in your filmography, it reads like a best of album from “The Beatles”. With your first role as Christopher Crawford in 1981’s Mommie Dearest, how did you get into the business and can you talk about your earliest memory of acting?

Xander Berkeley: First memories of acting, because that will lead into how I got into the business. And we’ll eventually get to Mommie Dearest.

 SS: Sorry, I suppose I jumped the gun a bit hahah.

XB: No problem. Pretty early on, I seemed to have established a preference of wearing costumes and playing make believe instead of playing with toys. Guns and trucks didn’t really pull me in. Guns, of course, came later when I started acting professionally. For the most part, it was all these English characters who grabbed my attention and imagination. Like ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Doctor Do-Little’. So my mom could sew and she’d make a lot of costumes for me. We didn’t have a lot of dough.

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And that was enough. You know, living in the country, the costumes were enough to make you believe you were the characters . So I would go out and make believe I was a character and play out the role in my mind. That’s where I started out pretty young.

So, my mother was a school teacher and there were school plays where she worked. So she would help me by making those costumes as well. And my father is an artist who became the head of the art department for a publishing company, eventually. But he worked his way up from being an illustrator and cover designer. So, being a fine artist originally, he saw this inclination for the acting and he often gave me art supplies, so I was drawing and painting very young as well.

SS: So it sounds like your parents were very supportive of your passions and creativity?

XB: Absolutely. He would go the local novelty store, on my birthdays in particularly. And he would get me stuff, like I wanted to play being a magician. On my 10th or 11th birthday, he got me derma wax and nose putty. Like a small makeup kit. Then he got me a book on stage make up, and by high school I was doing plays and local theater. It was a really good theater company. So, I had been learning how to do make up early on and I was able to play older and different characters on stage.

So, I did regional theater and I went to college for a year where I acted as well. My parents came to see me and my father said “Whatever you want to do with this, I back you 100 percent. If you want to stay here and graduate. You can do that or…”