Beth Brickell began her film career as an actress, training in New York with Sanford Meisner Lee Strasberg, and was accepted into the legendary Actors Studio. She performed in leading roles in over 25 stage productions in and out of the city, including “Thurber Carnival” with Jean Stapleton, “Room Service” with Bill Macy, and “Take Her, She’s Mine” with Walter Pidgeon.
Moving to Hollywood, she starred for two seasons in the popular CBS series, Gentle Ben (1967), with Dennis Weaver. Subsequently, she appeared in some 100 TV shows and movies, receiving Emmy consideration for guest roles on Bonanza (1959) and Hawaii Five-O (1968). Film roles include Posse (1975) with Kirk Douglas and Bruce Dern, Death Game (1977) with Sondra Locke and Seymour Cassel and The Only Way Home (1972) with Bo Hopkins.
While teaching film acting for three years at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York and Los Angeles, she developed an interest in directing. She put her acting career aside to accept a Director Fellowship at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, from which she graduated with an MFA in film directing and screen writing. She has written, produced and/or directed a dozen films. She wrote, produced and directed A Rainy Day (1979) starring Mariette Hartley and Tracey Gold. It The film received seven top festival awards, including First Place at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, and was broadcast on PBS. Summer’s End (1985), also written, produced and directed by Beth, won 16 film festival awards, including a Blue Ribbon at the American Film & Video Festival in New York, a Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival, and Second Place at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The film was broadcast on Showtime, A&E, Nickelodeon and PBS. She wrote, produced ad directed Mr. Christmas (2005), which was awarded “Best Family Film” at the Hollywood Moondance International Film Festival and received the “Award of Excellence” by the Film Advisory Board of Los Angeles. The movie was broadcast on PBS.
Beth has directed episodes of the CBS series Knots Landing (1979) and two dramas, Little Boy Blue (1975) starring Chynna Phillips and Robert Walden, and To Tell the Truth (1987). She developed the story for a CBS movie, “A Family Matter” and a miniseries for PBS, “Susan B.”, about Susan B. Anthony and the women’s suffrage movement.
Beth graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BA in political science and has been active in state and national politics. As a Field Organizer in 1988 for the Michael Dukakis for President campaign, she organized and supervised some 500 volunteers to get out the vote in 50 Beverly Hills precincts. In 1992 she organized and supervised a project that raised $250,000 for the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. In that year she also managed the campaign for Blanche Lincoln, who was running in a congressional primary against a 26-year incumbent in Arkansas. She won the primary and the election as a US Senator from Arkansas.
Another interest, newspaper writing, resulted in a 18-article front-page investigative series for the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Arkansas Gazette” in Little Rock. The series, entitled “Mystery at Camden”, uncovered a motive for the murder of attorney Maud Crawford–a one-time associate of US Sen. John L. McClennan–who disappeared in 1957 in Camden, Arkansas.d That crime remains unsolved to this day.
Beth’s civic activities have included Chair of the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Women’s Steering Committee, member of the DGA Special Projects Committee, Board of Directors for Women in Film, Emmy Awards Panel for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Actors Studio-West Executive Steering Committee, and Screening Committee for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. She has been honored with membership in the Southwest theater Association Hall of Fame.
Sshe divides her time between a home in Beverly Hills and a 103-acre rural retreat west of Little Rock.