LDS actor attributes successes to his parents

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    By Shelisa Payne

    With his gentle blue eyes, Larry Bagby III looked across the small table outside the Hogi Yogi on Bulldog Boulevard. His infectious laugh filled the air, as he told about his journey to success.

    “I”ve always thought one day I want to stand in front of a big stadium of people and say, ”If you just put your mind to it, you can do anything,”” said Bagby, the 18-year veteran of the entertainment industry.

    Bagby, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was in Provo filming an upcoming mockumentary “Believe,” a comedy following 12 characters” involvement in multi-level marketing companies.

    A rough cut of the film is going to be submitted this week to the Sundance Film Festival.

    The making of a film is not as people expect. Movies aren”t filmed in order from the first scene to the last scene in sequence. His first night filming, the director began with the last scene in the movie.

    Bagby said you have to do your homework and know the scene before and after to put yourself in context of the film. A small two-minute scene could take a whole day, and he said the challenge is keeping up the energy level like it was the first time.

    “I”ve been doing this for a long time and sometimes you think, ”Am I moving forward? Am I progressing, or is this going to be one of those sad stories where I really tried, but it just didn”t happen?”” Bagby said.

    He said success has been a journey of many disappointments, and if instructions on how to succeed in life were one word, it would be perseverance.

    He illustrated his point using an example from the author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

    Bagby said just as pilots constantly redirect a plane as wind and other outside influences force the plane off course, we have to continually adjust back on our course to get to our destination.

    Bagby attributes much of his success to his parents” support. He said he would not be in the entertainment industry if parents had not pushed him.

    “My mom instilled a lot of confidence and made me feel good even when I was rejected at auditions,” he said. “People don”t know about all the jobs I didn”t get.”

    His parents had confidence in his performing talents at age 12 when they signed him up with the Hollywood Film Studio.

    Since then, entertainment has been his life.

    Bagby”s made notable TV guest appearances starting with his first, “Mr. Belvedere” in 1985. In 1997, he played Larry Blaisdell, the gay football player, on several “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episodes. His latest was an appearance on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Malcolm in the Middle” in 2000.

    Bagby found much of his success in the world of film. His first debut was in the Disney film “Hocus Pocus.” He now stars in the award winning new release “Saints and Soldiers,” playing Shirl Kendrick, one of the five American soldiers.

    “Larry is comical,” said director of “Saints and Soldiers” Ryan Little. “He has so much energy and it”s contagious.”

    Little said Bagby comes up with ideas and collaborates with the cast.

    He said his endearing personality is easy to work with and will always keep him in mind when casting for another film.

    Most recently, Bagby finished filming for the film “Believe,” and the upcoming Johnny Cash movie, “Walk the Line,” alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

    For years, he said he dreamed of these opportunities, confident he would do a great job. Now the opportunities are here, he said he fears and hopes he performs to the level people expect.

    “There is such a fine line in many areas of the entertainment business and you have to figure out for yourself what you will and will not do,” he said. “At times, as you take a stand, people become interested and you can share the gospel.”

    He said being LDS, people notice something different about him. He said his LDS background contributes to who he is and the success he has achieved. One of the greatest opportunities he said he had was going on a two-year mission for the LDS Church to Cordoba, Argentina, where he said he developed in character and as a human being.

    He said the gospel kept him grounded by having an eternal perspective. He said he realized the importance of the gospel when he saw how distraught others could be without it.

    With his growing success, Bagby said he hopes he continues to be genuine and to care about people the way he does now.

    “Just because I”m in a profession that is more exposed, it doesn”t mean that it”s any better than any other profession,” he said. “Ultimately, I just want people to walk away from working with me and say, ”I really like that guy. He made me feel good when I was around him.””

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