As the grandson of Samuel Goldwyn — the Hollywood mogul and producer of such screen greats as Wuthering Heights and The Best Years of Our Lives — Tony Goldwyn boasts one of the most well-known names in the industry. Not surprisingly, it was a family connection that helped him land his role in Ghost.
Except it wasn’t Goldwyn’s famous pedigree that helped. Instead, he heard about Ghost through his wife, Jane Musky, who had been hired as the film’s production designer. And even though he begged his agent to get him an audition with director Jerry Zucker, he still had to settle for sending in a videotape, like everyone else.
”I had no idea who he was,” Zucker confesses. ”We saw his tape and were immediately struck by how good he was, but I wasn’t sure he was right for the part. He seemed too nice. I thought I needed more of an edge. He kind of had to wait and sweat it out.”
Waiting was something the 30-year-old actor was used to. ”I wanted to make a name for myself before I came out to Hollywood,” says the third-generation Goldwyn, whose father runs the eponymous Samuel Goldwyn film company, distributor of such serious fare as Henry V, Longtime Companion, and the upcoming Wild at Heart. After Tony decided to take his shot in the family business as a performer, he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and apprenticed at the Williamstown, Mass., Theatre Festival before setting his sights on film.
In his first movie role he plays Carl, a character whose ambitious scheming sets Ghost‘s plot in motion. ”At first he’s not a villain at all,” insists the actor. ”But in covering his tracks, he’s forced into more and more bad things — with great regret and out of desperation.”
More movie roles are sure to follow, but Goldwyn, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., with his wife and their 3-month-old daughter, Anna, is likely to keep his distance from tinseltown. In a way, it’s a family trait. ”My parents were very diligent about keeping us away from the motion picture industry, which I’m grateful for,” he says. ”I didn’t have that sense of growing up in Hollywood.”
The elder Goldwyn, who died in 1974, had retired from filmmaking by the time Tony was born, so he knew him ”just as a nice grandpa. He was a powerful figure, but in no way intimidating.” Fresh from good notices in Ghost, Tony Goldwyn is ready to start making a little movie history of his own.