Radames Pera – Vice President

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Radames came to California in 1963 under his mother’s arm as she pursued a career in Hollywood fresh off the New York stage. Lisa Pera did some great work in film and television until Radames got discovered by Director, Daniel Mann in 1968 to play Anthony Quinn’s dying son in the feature film, A Dream of Kings.

His TV debut at 9 years old was as a young amputee opposite Cicely Tyson and Chad Everett in the premiere episode of the hit series Medical Center (which also featured O.J. Simpson’s first acting role!)

Radames was soon valued as a young character actor, one who could deliver “the goods” and his abundant work reflected that.  Whether blind, mute, autistic, or otherwise challenged, he brought a unique sensitivity and intelligence to every role.

ghopp-midsizeThis led to his being cast as the iconic ‘Grasshopper’ in the seminal TV series, Kung Fu portraying the orphaned half-Chinese monk in the flashback sequences at the heart of each episode. (Film Historians take note: this is the origin of the “Wise Master / Student” archetype in Western cinema, closely followed in Star Wars, The Karate Kid, and other subsequent “legends”…Fact: George Lucas just happened to live 3 houses down from Radames during the filming of Kung Fu as he was writing Star Wars!)

When that series ended, Michael Landon asked Radames to join the cast of Little House on the Prairie to portray “John, Jr.” and developed the writer/poet character as a love interest for “Mary”, his oldest daughter, over the next 3 seasons.

When the Little House role ended, 17-year-old Radames moved to New York to study acting and directing with the renown teacher Stella Adler. While there, he landed the role of Alan Bates’ estranged son in the British feature film, Very Like a Whale and several roles on the New York stage.  Before heading to Broadway, Radames’ agents begged him not to leave L.A., warning that his Hollywood momentum would suffer.  Three years later Radames returned to LA at the top of his game and no longer a child actor.  It took some time for him to realize that his agents were right, Hollywood did forget, and his impressive resume had flipped into a liability!  (Typecasting’s dark side as applied to young performers: one day you suddenly become a “former child actor”and yet you’re not seen as an adult either – it’s a definite stigma.)

In short, Hollywood was essentially done with Radames, but he was the last to know!  Confusion, anger and low-self-esteem are what many young performers feel at this sudden and unexpected rejection as doors start shutting in their hopeful, talented faces.  In his mid-20s he had to face that his long-laid plan to parlay an acting career into directing wasn’t panning out and he had to move on with his life.

Now imagine scores of other similarly trained and talented young performers at this age (and younger) experiencing what is essentially a mid-life crisis just as all their non-entertainment industry peers are beginning college or new and exciting careers!  No charts exist to navigate these very difficult waters -emotionally and otherwise… Bewilderment is just the beginning!   On top of that, imagine when a parent doesn’t lawfully set aside for the young performer any of the hard-earned money a normal childhood was sacrificed to obtain.

This is one of the main reasons A Minor Consideration exists and why, as a peer-populated organization, we are uniquely qualified to tend to our own when they need our help most.  With ongoing advocacy of legislated protections on behalf Young Performers everywhere, we can do much to help shorten the length of that descent, and even prevent it.  The hidden cultural value of AMC‘s ongoing work is this:  When “one of us” falls through the cracks, the news gets insensitively spread through all media…That performer’s fan base simultaneously go through some of the confusion and sadness with them!  By working to prevent and ameliorate these collective tragedies, and ideally promoting the success and well being of our best and brightest, it’s not a far stretch to say that the climate of our society improves in immeasurable ways as well!

Radames met Paul Petersen in 1995 at the first ever Conference for Young Performers co-sponsored by AMC and the Screen Actors Guild.  Hearing similar stories then and interacting for the first time with many other former-child-actors he’d worked with years before brought a missing puzzle piece into his life. Today Radames is proud to be working alongside those he shared the spotlight with years ago  (Alison Argrim, Mary McDonough, Rachel Greenbush, Johnny Whittaker) and others on the AMC Board with whom he shares a special bond, all united in an effort to shield future current and future generations of Young Performers from some of the unnecessary hardships and pitfalls still being endured today.

Since 1988 Radames has also run a successful company designing and installing home theaters and sound systems for A-list celebs and many  others.  This also did wonders for his self-esteem, paid for a lot of good therapy and he’s finally getting back into his first love – Writing and Directing feature films.

See Radames IMDB Bio here