MICHELE ROGERS BERK - Hollywood Producer With A Twist by Kaya Morgan
This former Broadway and soap opera actress turns her passion into her greatest advantage.
With a population of just over 40,000, Holyoke, Massachusetts was anything but the big-time city for a young child growing up. Yet, Michele Berk knew from an early age three to be exact that the bright lights of the entertainment world were to be her oyster. Although not professional entertainers, her family was avid patrons of the arts and enrolled her in tap, jazz, ballet, voice and acting. While on a trip to the Big Apple, seeing the famed Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, she matter-of-factly informed her mother that she too would be a star someday.
During her sophomore year of college, she landed her first Broadway tour with Bob Fosse leaving school to finally pursue her dreams. That led to a successful Broadway career to include working opposite Mickey Rooney. "I will never forget working with such a master. Mick taught me so much about comedy, timing and improvisation. You never knew what to expect. I'd try to ask him what the dialog might be, but he would just quip back with, 'Kid, you'll find out on stage let's go," smiles Michele as she reminisces.
Berk has had a successful soap opera career appearing regularly on Ryan's Hope, As The World Turns and All My Children. But eventually, she knew a move to Hollywood was on the horizon if she wanted to steer her career towards the big screen. Packing up her two cats and everything she could fit into her Mercedes, they headed for tinsel town. Disillusioned by her initial exposure to the industry, she returned to film school to learn the physical and financial side of the movie business soon becoming a producer in movie development with Fox, CBS and NBC.
In 1995, Berk formed her own production company, Lotus Pictures which produced the feature film, Legacy, starring Rod Steiger, as well as the HBO thriller, Blacktop, starring Meatloaf and Kristin Davis. Lotus also produced the recent release, Bandits with Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett and has about five more films slated including The Binion Murder Story with co-producer Joey Cusumano (The Cotton Club) and executive producer, Nick Pellegi (Casino and Goodfellows).
In 1998 Berk took some time out to win the title, Mrs. Nevada, then in 1999, becoming Mrs. United States. She was featured in over 25 web sites, 100 publication and television broadcasts nationwide including E!, W Magazine, CNN, Talk Back Live, The Travel Show and The Home & Garden Network. This high-profile position gave Michele access to organizations and individuals to help her fund raising activities for her charities such as the Diabetes Foundation and the Childrens' Miracle Network.
Just what does a woman of this caliber do in her spare time? Well, she is now promoting a Haitian born hip-hop artist, Won-G with a newly released CD, No Better Than This featuring collaborations with JD Quik, Da Brat, Layzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, the Outlawz and Yukmouth.
Berk has also brought the noted Armenian artist, Yuroz, to the attention of the Hollywood set, helping to propel him into the ranks as one of the world's greatest living artists of the 21st century with originals now selling in the $1 Million Dollar range.
When things are quiet, she loves to head to Napa, looking to discover new vineyards to add to her rapidly growing wine collection. A practicing Buddhist with SGI for the last 15 years along with Herbie Hancock and Tina Turner she attributes her inner calm and ability to stay focused as a direct result of her spiritual beliefs. Although Michele keeps a fabulous home in Las Vegas, she prefers living closer to the movie industry hub, choosing to spend her time in the small artistic area of Los Angeles, once the home of Marilyn Monroe, with neighbors like Johnny Depp, where she can relax in the comfort of her 1930s, cozy French country home with her two cats.
Contact Michele Berk at www.lotuspictures.com or for information on artist Yuroz.
All Rights Reserved © 2002
Press Coverage | VentureCapital | Business Development | Venture Opportunities | Resources | Contact Us | Investor Extras | Home