By Wyre “Herb” Platt • Photos By Kent Weakley
Kelly Le Brock melds her professional modeling and acting careers with the earthiness, practicality, and sensitivity of an accomplished horseperson. Kelly earned most of her Q score for her Marilyn Monroe moments in The Woman in Red (1984) and Weird Science (1985), and later met and married action hero Steven Seagal during the making of Hard to Kill (1990). Divorced and a single parent since 1996, Kelly now revels in the qualities of a natural lifestyle among her family and close friends on her ranch in Santa Ynez, California.
I had the unique opportunity to watch Kelly work her craft during a photo session at nearby Austin Carriage Museum in Weirsdale. Kelly was in the area to discuss a potential deal, to spend time with area friends, and to meet some notable Ocala residents, including Terri Jones-Thayer, a woman who shares a similar high profile modeling background. Terri and her husband, Jeremy Thayer, led a tour of their fly-in community, Jumbolair, and hosted a delightful luncheon in Kelly’s honor.
During her whirlwind trip of Marion County, Kelly proved to be as candidly assertive and practically minded over evening dinner as she was in a telephone interview from her ranch. You be the judge.
How, when, and where did you catch that contagion called “horse fever”?
I fell in love with horses from the minute I saw Black Beauty.
Did you read the book when you were a child?
I read it; I watched it on television; and I wanted to have a horse like Black Beauty. After seeing Black Beauty, I marched myself off to the nearest riding stable (behind St. George’s Hospital in the middle of London) and I got a job there. I worked from seven in the morning until six o’clock at night. I fed thirty-five horses. I rode them. I cleaned their tacks. Anything to be around them.
What do you have in your stables in California?
It’s a motley crew. I have a little bit of everything. I have a Dutch Warm Blood, a Hanoverian, a couple of Quarterhorses, some Paints, some Palominos. My horses live free in the field, so when I want to ride, I have to go find them. They’re really not stabled — they live raw on the land, unfenced.
The for-profit horse farms and horse parks are now complementing their operations with non-profit organizations dedicated to education and therapeutic rehabilitation. Are you going to be involved in such activities in our region?
Therapeutic riding programs are extraordinary. We are doing a movie right now, in which I am going to star, [having] to do with the Special Olympics.
Have you committed to a principal role in feature films or television or in developing some scripts with Springtree Studios?
Yes. Springtree Studios is a vision that Patricia Crawford has put together. I would like people to fly to Florida to make movies because I think that Patty Crawford is a visionary and I also happen to think that she is an extraordinary writer. One of the scripts we are doing with her is The Redeeming Season, but there are many more and this is just the beginning of a relationship with some very powerful women.
I’m excited about these programs and the therapeutic riding program venues in the North Central Florida region. I think that the whole world needs to work together to make a difference.
I know that Bo Derek is a neighbor of yours. Are you going to get her involved in any of these projects in North Central Florida?
I think that I might have her as a celebrity in The Redeeming Season. And we have written a role for my friend, Jonathan Winters. I took him the script a couple of days ago and he can’t wait to do the film.
Do you have any aspirations of producing or directing?
Producing, yes; directing, no. I’m producing The Redeeming Season with Patricia Crawford and will also be producing Unbridled Heart, the polo picture that we plan on filming in The Villages.
One thing that I noticed over dinner and at the photo shoot is that you are not only incredibly photogenic, but also very physically fit.
That’s funny! Happiness, nutrition, and filling your life with things you love to do and people you love to do it with is the most important medicine in my book.
Name the three most influential people in your life, people who have touched you.
First, I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. I think that her tireless efforts with UNICEF were extraordinary. The second Oscar goes to my father for his brilliance and sense of humor and his ability to have a good time no matter what. Third, I would have to say Patty Crawford. To watch her child, who everybody said would never ever have a chance, never have a day in this life, and today is twenty-six… that is inspirational to me.
Getting back to The Redeeming Season, what would be your role in this movie?
I’m playing the female lead, the principal of a school for special-needs children, something very close to my heart. When I was nine years old, my aunt opened her home to special-needs children. I felt very comfortable around these beautiful children.
How about Unbridled Heart?
It’s just a lovely story, and I think it’s fabulous that the Polo Association has gotten involved. Patty had a couple of false starts with this picture, but now we have a great cast. It’s just one of those extraordinary stories of people who have to go against the odds.
I understand that you’ve been named Philanthropist of the Year in Santa Barbara, California. Who gave you this award?
The Santa Barbara Rehabilitation Center, the only rehabilitation center for a 100-mile radius. They do a lot of extraordinary work with people with stroke, brain injury from accidents — all kinds of extreme things.
When we were walking under the canopy between the stables on the day of the photo shoot, Film Commissioner Jude Hagin asked you what your epitaph might read. I know it was a very short response. What did you say to her?
It should say, “She needed the rest!”
By Wyre “Herb” Platt • Photos By Kent Weakley