Fame not the goal for Fox

Submitted photo Kelli Fox will be appearing at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia's Fox on the Fairway starting Aug. 7

Submitted photo
Kelli Fox will be appearing at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia’s Fox on the Fairway starting Aug. 7

Kelli Fox has spent 30 years on stage and screen and has an impressive list of credits, but you probably wouldn’t recognize her on the street. And that’s just the way she likes it.

Fox, who has worked at both the Stratford and the Shaw Festivals, is headlining the cast of the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia’s offering The Fox on the Fairway.

Over the years she’s appeared in such TV hits as The X-Files, 21 Jump Street and the Murdoch Mysteries among countless others. But Fox admits not many people would recognize her immediately.

“That’s true for most Canadian actors,” she said during a break from rehearsing from The Fox on the Fairway. “Ninety-nine percent of us – most of the people I know – aren’t well known and personally I love it!”

“Anonymity is my greatest friend as an actor,” says Fox saying some actors are known as one character and have a hard time shaking it. “People don’t attach anything to me when they come into the theater so they see my performance as true.”

“There is a saying in acting, if you don’t want fame, you’ll never be rich.”

Fox has seen the effects of fame up close. Her brother, Michael J. Fox, has been in the spotlight since playing Michael P. Keaton on Family Ties and Kelli has watched him deal with the things that come with his fame.

“There is a lot of pressure,” she says. “It takes a particular form of personality to deal with it and it’s not mine,” she laughed. Fox recounts a story of being with her famous sibling during the taping of The Actor’s Studio. Michael, who has Parkinson ’s disease, was having a particularly hard day and took a two-hour break to allow some medication to work. He finished the session and then took 45 minutes of questions from members of the audience. Then, when the family was lead out a back door, he was confronted with more people looking for some of his time. “He stuck around and was unbelievably gracious,” says Kelli. “I’m there getting angry. ‘Did you not see that – that he was having a hard time – just let him go home.’ I wouldn’t have the patience for that. I’d be like Sean Penn,” says Fox, laughing at the idea of punching photographers as Penn famously did.

For now, Fox has little time to worry about fame. She and her fellow cast members had only two weeks to pull the production together before opening Aug. 7. Fox says it has been tough, but the cast is throwing themselves into the work. “You don’t have a lot of time to waste or to be shy with each other,” she says.

But Fox says she’s feeling good about the production noting she will be a bit nervous when the curtain rises. “You get so focused on what you need to accomplish…like timing of this, not the nerves; they’re still there, they’re just taking a back seat.”

– Heather Wright