I had a good start. In New York, I studied with Lee Strasberg, who is known as the best acting coach in the world. He taught method acting, and it helped me procure a recurring role on the soap Santa Barbara. I also played opposite Nick Nolte in the movie Mulholland Falls. As my success grew, so did my understanding and love of the industry, but things changed suddenly. In 1994 after seventeen years of marriage, I went through a heart-breaking divorce and found myself a single dad with three young children to take care of. The pressures of going to auditions and casting calls and still making sure the kids were to school on time forced me to rethink my strategy. So, I looked into the producing side of films and TV shows and forgot about being a star. I quickly found that I enjoyed working with the true stories, and I found inspiration in them. The public feels the same way, which made them a much easier sell. The producing was a natural; I could work from home and still fulfill my responsibilities as a father.
In the early 1980s, I got the rights to do a story on March of Dimes poster girl Tracy Taylor. This young lady was incredible. Despite her disability, she was an accomplished snow skier, gymnast, and horseback rider. I entitled her story "A Child of Joy." It caught the attention of People magazine and the publication did a story on her. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was invited to partner with the Dick Clark Film Group. I was in awe. Growing up, I had combed my hair like Dick Clark of American Bandstand, and now my office was on the same floor as his. I was so hell-bent on making a good impression that I started moving my things into my office very early in the morning so I could get a fast start. I was a bundle of nerves as I rounded the corner toward my office. It looked like a janitor was on his hands and knees cleaning up a spill, and he was blocking the path to my office. I nervously asked the guy, "Do you mind getting out of the way? I have to move in so I can get to work."
A familiar face looked up at me and said, "Sure, no problem, kid." I wanted to die. It was my boss, Dick Clark. He had also come in the office early that day and had brought his Weimaraner, who had marked his territory at the door to my office. I had a flashback at that moment of being in the East School Elementary play Around The World in 80 Days in Long Beach, New York. I played Monsieur Le Bleu, and I said my two lines as classmates pulled a giant balloon across the stage. The audience stood applauding, and a friend of mine came onto the stage and said something I would never forget: "Larry, someday you will be a star." I think he had it backward, because that classmate was Billy Crystal. As I looked at Dick, I felt the same elation of pride and achievement and wondered if perhaps Billy had some insight for the both of us.