Interview Julie Ann Ream your career is wildly impressive & diversified. Can you tell us how you got your start? Yes, and thank you for the interview. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4715954/
I was raised in the 60s, in Los Angeles’ beautiful San Fernando Valley. It was a great decade, so much happening in the show business field! I was born into a show business family, so I developed a natural interest in the medium. My family were both actors and musicians. My Grandfather was Taylor ‘Cactus Mack’ McPeters, who had the distinction of bringing Western music to the San Fernando Valley. He was also a B western star, and film and TV Pioneer.
His first cousins were character actor, Glenn Strange, and singing cowboy Rex Allen. So I had a great deal of opportunity to enter the field early on, but marriage and children intervened, and I had a late start. I modeled as a young girl, but my first break into TV came when I was hired as an investigative agent for the hit series ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ in 1992, and I worked with them until 2002. Working with NBC, CBS, & the Lifetime channels. I loved that job!
From there, I began working on-live productions, producing award shows, festivals, cast reunions, and such. This work continues, and takes me all over the U.S. I also interview celebrities on the Red Carpet at these events, and am currently acting as a travel correspondent; choosing to interest spots, people and subjects to film both here in L.A., and all around the country.
These pieces have most recently been aired on RFD TV & the Cowboy Channel. I’ve worked in radio, and also write, and am currently working on a new book which will be out this year. Producing and acting have taken center stage during the past couple of years. It’s a busy life, but a fulfilling one. Who or what inspires you? History inspires me! My biggest passion is History, and as a historian, I am currently chronicling my family’s history in show business.... working to preserve their legacy. It’s an awesome responsibility, and I have been very fortunate to have curated exhibits on their careers at various museums across the U.S. Most notably, the Valley Relics Museum in Van Nuys, CA. where I am blessed to be a curator and a docent.
My motto is ‘History is Beautiful’, and it is important not to just leave a footprint, but to leave an accurate footprint in history. Also, the awards I’ve received during my career motivate and inspire me to continue doing my best. I feel that once you’ve been acknowledged for your work, you have then achieved a standard that your work must never slip below. Among others, I have been the proud recipient of the President’s Awards presented me by both the Silver Spur Awards & the Southern California Motion Picture Council, and was also quite delighted to have been nominated for the coveted RONDO award for an interview I did with Dan Johnson for Retro Fan Magazine. Receiving these accolades keeps me both humble and steadfast in putting out quality work.
Do you have a story you wish everyone knew, and can you share with us?
Yes, I’m glad you asked that question. I actually have 2. Both are about my family, as I’m immersed in their history at the moment. I am currently working on chronicling this interesting history on my Grandfather Cactus Mack, and his connection to another famous singing cowboy, Roy Rogers. Roy came to fame riding onto the screen with his band the ‘Sons of the Pioneers’, and how that singing group came to be is a very interesting one. Roy, who was much younger, and then known by his birth name of Leonard Slye, was a virtual unknown from Ohio when he moved to California. Looking to break into the business, he looked up Cactus, who was an established musician & credited with bringing western music to the San Fernando Valley. Roy was a young vocalist with a beautiful voice...so after he received some guitar lessons, which were provided by Cactus, he then brought him into his ‘O Bar O Cowboy’s’ band, and they went out on tour.
The year was 1933, and they were just coming to the end of that Southwest tour. They stopped in Willcox, AZ, Cactus’ hometown. Cactus’ cousin Rex Allen lived there, and spoke in his autobiography about hearing the most beautiful music he had ever heard being performed by that band, and credited that experience with shaping his decision to become an entertainer. With a few more dates to complete the tour, Roy was anxious to press on. Having so much ahead of himself personally, Cactus went back to Hollywood and the movie roles and musical groups that awaited him there, letting Len finish the tour before heading up the group. He finished it using Cactus’ name, as Cactus had the notoriety and it was his band. Len kept those remaining band members, and went on to become Roy Rogers, and the band to become the ‘Sons of the Pioneers’. Cactus went on to continue his career as an actor, and singing cowboy. He even became a sidekick to Gene Autry & to Roy. They stayed friends.
My second story is the little known fact that my uncle Glenn Strange, who was a great character actor & portrayed one of Universal’s Frankenstein monsters... himself dying of lung cancer, stood up and spoke the eulogy for dear friend Lon Chaney Jr. when Lon passed suddenly. Glenn adored Lon, and their stories are many, & legendary. Can you talk with us about the films you were a part of? And tell us about any upcoming movies you might be working on? Yes, I’d love to. Most recently, I began working with Joe Williamson when he invited me to join him in the production of a wonderful project by filmmaker Dustin Ferguson about a flying dinosaur awakened during an earthquake that terrorizes L.A. That sounded great to me! The film is called ‘Quakasaurus’. We hired Butch Patrick, from ‘Munsters’ fame, and produced the film together. That film was followed by ‘Demonoids’ which was filmed partly at Valley Relics Museum, where my husband and I are curators. We had cameo appearances, designed around that fact, poking a bit of fun at our positions there. We played’ Ann & Earl’... customers at the museum.
Those 2 movies have been my favourite to date. I think that’s because my family made horror and sci-fi films, and it seems a natural next step, and a way to pay homage to the genre. I have really enjoyed it. I also worked in the production of ‘Space Sharks’ with Eric Roberts and Scott Schwartz. And produced and appeared in ‘Doll Killer 2’ this year, where alongside Scott Schwartz & Mel Novak, I played a nurse. These movies were done with filmmaker Dustin Ferguson, and I hope there are more upcoming projects in the works that I will be a part of in the future. I love working with Joe Williamson & the Williamson Management Company.
Who are some of the people in the industry you would love to work with someday?
Great question. I’ve already had the distinct privilege of working with so many HUGE stars in the production of live events that it would be hard to top that experience! I produced the 60th Anniversary of GUNSMOKE and worked with Martin Landau, Gerald McRaney, Angie Dickinson, and more. And when moderating the panel in Tombstone, Arizona for the 25th Anniversary of the movie ‘TOMBSTONE’, I was privileged to work with Michael Biehn, Frank Stallone, Billy Zane, Dana Wheeler Nicholson and many more from the cast & crew. During the production of awards shows, I have worked with Kris Kristofferson, John Schneider, Katharine Ross, Mickey Rooney, Ernest Borgnine and others... I already feel so privileged & blessed!
One of my favorite collaborations was with award winning cinematographer Jack Green (Bridges of Madison County) I have a little ranch in 29 Palms that was used in the filming of the movie ‘Reign”. Jack was the cinematographer, and I was just in awe of his work. I just stood mesmerized, watching him work his magic. I can’t imagine topping any of my experiences, but feel that some of these upcoming actors, actresses, and filmmakers that I am working with now will be icons in the future, as well.
What charities have you worked with?
I work primarily with 501c -3 organizations that sponsor charities with their proceeds, and my favorite charities are those that honor our Veterans. Most recently the National Veterans Memorial, Veterans Memorial of America & the Gary Sinise foundation.
What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
To never give up! I started later in my life, and never would have thought I’d have had the opportunities or achievements that I’ve had. You can always be productive. Be honest, keep your word, and build a good, solid reputation for yourself. Then, people will want to work with you. Also, be open to learning from others. Always be open minded, but ultimately decide what is best for you for yourself. And take responsibility for your own mistakes. That’s how you grow.
Lastly, what question do you wish we had asked, and what would your answer be?
Maybe to ask what I am working on now. I’ve completed my part in opening the Roy Rogers Museum in Portsmouth Ohio, which debuted August 2021, and am now busy on curating a HUGE costuming exhibit for display at Valley Relics Museum.
My March focus is on the Grand Opening of the Tribute Exhibit for ‘The Rifleman’s Johnny Crawford, who passed away last year. It will debut in time for his birthday in March of this year. And, hopefully I’ll have time this year to work on more films; if the right project comes along. Watch for a new website & blog which will be coming soon, as well. There you will be able to learn more about what’s going on in my career, and there will be more on my family’s history, as well. Thank you for the interview, stay healthy and happy out there, and God Bless!
www.JulieAnnReam.com www.ValleyRelicsMuseum.org #HistoryIsBeautifil #ILoveLA
JULIE ANN REAM
Julie is a writer, historian, actor and producer.
She spent 10 years as an investigative agent on the TV series ‘Unsolved Mysteries’; working for NBC, CBS and Lifetime. She has worked in radio, film, and TV both in front of and behind the camera. She was a regular contributor with the Mark Isler Show on KABC Talk Radio.
She currently works with many museums around the United States, specializing in their Western & entertainment preservation endeavors, most notably the Valley Relics Museum, where she is a docent and curator. This and other museums’ house displays on her famous family, and she spearheaded the opening of a new Roy Rogers Museum which opened in 2021 in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Her Grandfather, Taylor “Cactus Mack” McPeters, was a cowboy, stuntman, musician, and actor who sang with and worked as a sidekick to both Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. His band, ‘Cactus Mack & his O Bar O Cowboys’ became the ‘Sons of the Pioneers’ when he left it to his youngest member Leonard Slye, who later became Roy Rogers. Cactus appeared in over 300 films and television shows, including most of John Wayne’s B westerns, and was a narrator for Disney cartoons in the 40s & 50s.
Relatives, Glenn Strange and Rex Allen also had far reaching careers. Rex voiced many of the cartoons and shorts for Walt Disney. Their first cousin Glenn Strange was also a stuntman, musician, and cowboy before becoming an actor. Best known for his role as the Lone Ranger’s nemesis, “Butch Cavendish” and, ‘Sam’ the bartender in GUNSMOKE, he was also Universal’s Frankenstein Monster.
Julie has been actively producing films in Los Angeles, and brings her ‘History Meets Hollywood’ interview show to festivals and events around the United States. She also works as a traveling correspondent doing interviews that preserve history & Western Entertainment. Her work has been shown most recently on RFD TV & the Cowboy Channel.
She also produces live events. She has produced the Silver Spur Awards, and solely produced the GUNSMOKE 6oth Anniversary Reunion, and is the founder & producer of the prestigious Western Legends Awards.
She is the recipient of the Cowboy Keeper Award presented by the National Day of the Cowboy, the coveted President’s Award presented by both the Silver Spur Awards & the So. California Motion Picture Council.
An Interview Julie did with Retro Fan magazine, was up for the 2020 RONDO AWARD