Dexter Gordon's character in the acclaimed film "Round Midnight" was asked how he had chosen his style of playing the saxophone. In essence, he replied, "It's not like you walk up to a tree and pick the style you want to play. The tree grows up inside you." For Olivia Brown, this bit of self-realization is particularly applicable. She has always marched to a different drummer.
Olivia was born in Frankfurt, Germany. When she was five, her family moved to Sacramento, California where her father set up a law practice in both Criminal and Entertainment Law. His Entertainment clients included James Brown, Rufus Thomas and Bobby Blue Bland, to name but a few. Olivia's mother left at a very early age, leaving her father, Clarence, the task of being a single father. Her father always acknowledged Olivia's desire to become an entertainer by constructing a stage in the garage, complete with curtain, for Olivia to perform for family, friends and neighbors. "I wrote plays and invited everybody at 25 cents a pop", she says. He was adamant that Olivia would also be encouraged to augment her development in other ways, such as art and interior design. Olivia's other siblings were encouraged just the same. Her brother is a former NFL player who is currently the defensive back's coach with the St. Louis Rams. Her sister is a successful businesswoman in Atlanta.
Olivia got a scholarship to Otis Parsons School of Design in New York. She couldn't bear to leave her family on the opposite side of the country, so she enrolled at Sacramento City College followed by Sacramento State College.
She took a job in the Music Circus Equity Theatre in Sacramento, where she learned everything about the theatre from makeup to set building. Her break came under unusual circumstances. Actor, Clifton Davis, came to town to work on the play, "Pippin". He hired Olivia to be his dresser. He then took the play east, and hired Olivia to be his dresser in the play there. Once there, Olivia not only worked as Davis' dresser, but watched the show diligently from the wings. When one of the dancers' left the show, she pulled off the ultimate acting job. No training as a dancer, she auditioned for the part and got it.
The eastern winters drove her to Hollywood. Once in tinsel town Olivia did the honorable thing, she got a waitress job. Her feature film debut was in the Eddie Murphy hit "48 Hours", directed by Walter Hill. She snagged a series regular role on "Miami Vice" and her acting career was officially launched. Olivia has gone on to guest star on numerous television shows, as well as take on such other series regular roles in such shows as "Designing Women" and "Dear John". Over the last four years Olivia has enjoyed her recurring role on "Seventh Heaven" and most recently "Moesha".
In Olivia's personal life, she is married with two girls ages one and four. Securely established in an acting career, Olivia has time to commit to what makes her most happy. Her early commitment to personal freedom has motivated her to pursue other aspects of her life, including: creative endeavors such as art, music and interior design; business; and both civic and charitable opportunities.
In another display of versatility, Olivia has written and sold pilot scripts for television, as well as currently working on scripts for feature films. Her hobbies include refinishing furniture, gardening, painting, and original crafts, which she sells at charitable functions.
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