Milwaukee Talks: Actor / restaurateur Mark Metcalf
Mark Metcalf has made a lot of friends since moving to Milwaukee about eight years ago. But even the people he's never met feel like they've known him for years.
Metcalf, 61, is co-owner of Libby Montana, a family restaurant and indoor volleyball facility he operates with his ex-wife, Libby, at 5616 W. Donges Bay Rd. in Thiensville.
In addition to his culinary career, Metcalf is a working actor recognizable to millions for his work as the sadistic ROTC officer Douglas C. Neidermeyer in "Animal House," the self-absorbed, small-time conductor known as "The Maestro" on "Seinfeld" and "The Master" from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Metcalf, who lives in Bayside with his son, Julius, still acts in small films and local theater productions, talks about movies as a regular guest on "The Bob and Brian Morning Show" on WHQG (102.9 FM) and now writes about films as a correspondent for OnMilwaukee.com.
We sat down with Metcalf on a recent afternoon at Libby Montana for this Milwaukee Talks interview:
OnMilwaukee.com: How did you come to own Libby Montana?
Mark Metcalf: I wanted to get out of L.A. The woman I was married to at the time, she was from here. I wanted to go to Montana. We compromised -- we did what she wanted to do. That's how marriages work. Yes, dear.
OMC: So, you started running the restaurant as soon as you got here?
MM: Yes. We wanted to do a place Downtown and we wanted to call it Montana, but we couldn't find a landlord that could get a place ready for us. This place was available for sale. We needed cash flow right away. We needed to go. This place was ready and it didn't need much changing, just a lot of cleaning.
OMC: When did you take over?
MM: It was Nov. 29, 2000. We wanted to be Downtown. We wanted to go upscale. This place, where it is, you can't do upscale. There are a lot of families. It's a family restaurant. We've got the three heated sand volleyball courts. It was a good fit.
OMC: Do you still operate the restaurant with your ex-wife?
MM: We're still in business together. She runs it. I'm just the kissable lips, as (actor / writer / director) Jonathan West said.
OMC: Are you still involved in acting?
MM: I act a lot at First Stage Children's Theater. This fall, I'm doing a play called "Gossamer," which was written by Lois Lowry. I've worked for Milwaukee Shakespeare. I've worked for Bialystock & Bloom. I'll work for anybody. I love to do plays.
OMC: Have you done any movie or TV work since "Seinfeld" or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer?"
MM: Not too much. They called me and asked me to come back for about two years after we came out here. I didn't figure they'd stop quite as quickly as they did. They don't call anymore. I did "Angel" in 2001 and 2002.
I've done almost a movie a year here -- local, low-budget, independent movies that tend to be slasher movies that nobody will ever see except in Korea and Argentina, where they do snuff films.
I'm also heavily involved with the Milwaukee International Film Festival and promoting that. I produce a short film every year for them based on a screenplay written by a high school kid in a program that I developed called The Student Screenwriting Competition. We teach kids how to write screenplays, pick the best one out of 40 and make the film of it. I do a lot of work to promote that.
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This guy is amazing. He talks real no matter what. A fine actor. Superb! Thank you for hiring Mark Metcalf!
This guy is amazing. He talks real no matter what. A fine actor. Superb!
What about when he was in the Twisted Sister video? Great place to eat. I never knew that he was "okay" with people coming up to him and reciting his lines. Maybe I thought his on screen personality was his true personality. I would have done it sooner.
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