Celebrity Participants Announced for 2008 BMW Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament
Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Quaid, Luke Wilson, Greg Kinnear, Kurt Russell, Catherine Bell, David James Elliott, Wayne Gretzky, Janet Jones Gretzky, Dave Coulier, Stefanie Schaeffer, Patrick Warburton, Oliver Hudson, Michael Pena, Jason Dohring, Kevin Sorbo, Josh Kelley, Cheech Marin, Javier Colon, Lucas Black, Steve Azar, Gary Valentine, Mark Rypien, Branford Marsalis, Pat Green, George Rogers, Ben Wright and Jennifer Mills are the celebrities that are scheduled to compete in this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament.
Samuel L. Jackson is respectfully labeled as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood and an undisputed star, as demonstrated in the fact that his films have grossed the most money in box office sales than any other actor in the history of filmmaking. Jackson most recently starred alongside Hayden Christenson and Rachel Bilson in Jumper . While still a student at Morehouse in 1972, Jackson made his film debut in Together for Days. Jackson has since starred in numerous films, including hits like 1408 , Episodes I, II and II of Star Wars, Snakes on a Plane , Coach Carter, S.W.A.T., The Negotiator, XXX, XXX: State of the Union, Shaft, Rules of Engagement, Deep Blue Sea, Sphere, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Pulp Fiction (where he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations as Best Supporting Actor) , Jurassic Park and Patriot Games. He currently has five other works slated for release in the next two years. This is Jackson’s first time playing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Dennis Quaid’s acting career began after his brother, Randy Quaid, was nominated for an Academy Award for The Last Detail (1973). After his first appearance in Crazy Mama (1975), Quaid gained positive reviews in The Right Stuff and went on to star in hits including: Great Balls of Fire, Enemy Mine, The Rookie, Far From Heaven (where he received a Golden Globe nomination), In Good Company, Dragonheart, The Parent Trap, Wyatt Earp, Frequency, Any Given Sunday and The Day After Tomorrow . In his most recent film, Vantage Point , Quaid stars alongside Matthew Fox, Forrest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt. Quaid will play “Hawk” in Paramount Pictures G.I. Joe , which is slated for release in 2009. Along with being an avid golfer, he has his pilot’s license and is a musician, playing with his band The Sharks. This is Quaid’s first time playing in the tournament.
Luke Wilson began his acting career starring in a film ( Bottle Rocket , 1994) co-written by his brother, Owen. Wilson has played opposite several of Hollywood’s leading ladies: Calista Flockhart in Telling Lies in America , Drew Barrymore in Best Men and Home Fries, Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Kate Hudson in Alex and Emma , Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone, Uma Thurman in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Kate Beckinsale in Vacancy and Jessica Simpson in Blonde Ambition . Wilson has also appeared in a number of other movies like Old School, The Royal Tenenbaums, Hoot, and Blades of Glory . Wilson stars as Henry Poole in Henry Poole is Here , which will be released later in 2008. This is Wilson’s first time playing in the tournament.
Greg Kinnear is an Academy Award-nominated actor who received his breakthrough when he became the first host of Talk Soup in the early 90s. He left Talk Soup for the NBC late-night talk show, Later with Greg Kinnear in 1994. It was also in 1994 that Kinnear received his first big screen role, as a talk show host yet again in the comedy Blankman . In 1997, Kinnear starred in the blockbuster comedy drama As Good as It Gets , for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Kinnear next portrayed actor Bob Crane in the biopic Auto Focus about the life and murder of Crane. In 2006, he starred in Little Miss Sunshine and co-starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in the film version of Invincible , based on the true story of a man who tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles NFL football team. This is Kinnear’s first time playing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Kurt Russell began his acting career as a child with the Walt Disney Co., but once he outgrew child roles, he quit acting to pursue his love of baseball. He played second base with the minor league baseball teams of the California Angels and San Diego Padres until he hurt his arm. His injury returned him to acting, and in 1979 he made his mark on the big screen portraying the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Elvis . Since then Russell has gone on to star in such hits as: Silkwood (where he received a Golden Globe nomination), Escape from New York , Overboard , Back Draft , Captain Ron , Tombstone , Executive Decision , 3,000 Miles to Graceland , Vanilla Sky , and Miracle . Russell has lived with actress Goldie Hawn since 1983. After a two-year absence, this will be his third appearance in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Catherine Bell is best known as Marine Corps attorney Lt. Colonel Sarah ‘Mac’ Mackenzie on the former hit TV series, J.A.G. Bell, who currently plays Sally Pressman in the Lifetime drama Army Wives , also starred in the Sci-Fi networks’ original miniseries The Triangle , where she was nominated for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Supporting Actress. She has also had supporting roles in the hit moviesBruce Almighty and Evan Almightyas television news anchor Susan Ortega. Bell was voted the 38 th sexiest girl in FHM ‘s “2002 Sexiest Girls” edition. Bell was born in London, but moved to California with her Iranian mother at the age of two. She is fluent in the Persian language of Farsi. This will be her fifth appearance.
David James Elliott, who is best known for his role as Commander Harmon “Harm” Rabb on the hit TV show J.A.G., will participate in his second BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament. He was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in 1996. Elliott played Assistant District Attorney James Conlon on the television series Close to Home in 2007.
Wayne Gretzky, arguably the greatest ice hockey player of all time, and his wife Janet will return for their fourth appearance in the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Few careers were more star-studded or classy than that of Gretzky’s. The Hall of Fame center (inducted in 1999) rewrote the NHL record book by setting 61 records, including being the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer with 894. More importantly, Gretzky transcended the sport and brought hockey to new and dizzying heights, including the southern United States, which, prior to Gretzky, rarely even covered the sport in its daily newspapers. He is currently coach and part-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes NHL hockey team. His wife, Janet Jones-Gretzky, is an actress who has been in many movies including, A League of Their Own , Police Academy 5 , The Flamingo Kid and Staying Alive . The two were married in 1988 and have five children.
Dave Coulier (pronounced Cool-Yay) is perhaps best known for his work as Uncle Joey on the long-running hit ABC television series, Full House , which aired for eight seasons (1987-1995, with 192 episodes produced). Coulier followed this success by hosting his second prime-time hit series America’s Funniest People , which ran on ABC for four seasons. Coulier’s stand-up act earned him regular appearances on The Tonight Show , HBO’s Detroit Comedy Jam and HBO’s Comic Relief . Coulier currently resides in Los Angeles with his son, Luc. He spends much of his free time flying airplanes, playing ice hockey and on the golf course. This is Coulier’s first time playing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Stefanie Schaeffer, whose creativity, business savvy and leadership skills made her a natural to win NBC’s 2007 “The Apprentice,” now applies those same qualities to her role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas. Prior to becoming “The Apprentice,” Schaeffer worked as a lawyer for a prestigious California firm. Though a native Californian, she hails from a family of entrepreneurial New Yorkers. As a major proponent of charity involvement, Schaeffer is a national spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and volunteers with the Boys and Girls Clubs and Habitat for Humanity. She enjoys writing poetry, cooking, skiing, golf and scuba diving.
Patrick Warburton is best known for his role as David Puddy on the hit TV series Seinfeld . He currently plays as Jeff alongside Oliver Hudson in the CBS comedy Rules of Engagement with new episodes beginning on April 14, 2008. Warburton has also used his deep, mellow voice in several animated offerings including Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove and Kronk’s New Groove , Joe Swanson on Family Guy and Ian the Buck in Open Season . Warburton again teamed up with Jerry Seinfeld as Ken in Seinfeld’s first motion picture script, Bee Movie . This is Warburton’s first time playing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Oliver Hudson is most likely best remembered for his role in the TV series My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star. He also starred opposite Katie Holmes as her boyfriend for 16 episodes of Dawson’s Creek. Hudson currently appears as Adam alongside Patrick Warburton on Rules of Engagement. He has also appeared in movies such as Black Christmas, The Mountain, New Best Friend and The Out-of-Towners, Hudson is the son of Goldie Hawn and brother to Kate Hudson. This is Hudson’s first time in the tournament.
Michael Pena made his Hollywood breakthrough in 2004 when he performed in the critically acclaimed movies Million Dollar Baby and Crash . He has also appeared on the Golden Globe winning series, The Shield . Pena starred alongside Nicolas Cage in Oliver Stone’s film WorldTrade Center and had a small role inBabel. In 2007, Pena played FBI agent Nick Memphis inShooterwith Mark Wahlberg. Most recently, he played Ernest Rodriquez in the drama/thrillerLions for Lambsopposite Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.
Jason Dohring got his start in commercials and then moved into roles in movies and television. He has appeared onJAG,Roswell,BostonPublic,The Division, andCold Caseamong others. Dohring also co-starred opposite Randy Quaid in the made-for-television film,Black Cadillac, which was just released on video and DVD. His breakout role was portraying the scene-stealing Logan Echolls on the critically-acclaimedVeronica Marsand can be seen as the 400-year-old vampire Josef onMoonlight. On top of being a talented actor, Dohring is an expert skier and enjoys snowboarding, water skiing, golf and boxing.This is Dohring’s first time in the tournament.
Kevin Sorbo quickly rose to international stardom in the title role of the hit series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In 1997, Sorbo made his feature film debut, starring in Universal Studio’s Kull the Conqueror , a prequel to Conan the Barbarian. Sorbo has also appeared on several hit television shows such as Hope and Faith , According to Jim , Dharma & Greg , Just Shoot Me , Cybill , The Commish , and Murder, She Wrote . Most recently, he has appeared in the spoof film Meet the Spartans which opened at Number One at the U.S. box office charts. A native of Mound, Minnesota, Sorbo enjoys golfing and snow skiing in his spare time. This is Sorbo’s third appearance in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Singer/songwriter Josh Kelley, from Augusta, Ga., began his musical career at the age of 11. He later formed a band with his younger brother, Charles and, at 14, the band released a five-song CD that caught the attention of a major record label. Kelley released his first album Changing Faces in 2001 which was followed by For The Ride Home in 2003 and then Just Say The Word in June 2006. Kelley’s currently album, Special Company, was released in January 2008. In December 2007, Kelley married to Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl. This is Kelley’s second appearance.
Best known as one half of the no-holds-barred duo of Cheech and Chong, Cheech Marin has starred in films such as Up in Smoke , From Dusk till Dawn, Desperado, The Great White Hype , and as a caddie in the golf movie Tin Cup . Most recently, Marin appeared on the television drama Nash Bridges. He was also the voice of Banzai in The Lion King . This is Marin’s sixth appearance.
R&B singer and heartthrob, Javier Colon, burst onto the scene in 2003 with the release of his self-titled album. His latest release, Left of Center , contains 13 tracks and is a mix of R&B, hip-hop, rock, pop balladry and straight-up soul. It also contains Latin, jazz, acoustic and gospel aspects. This will be Colon’s third appearance.
Making his film debut in The War , Lucas Black has gone on to star in movies such as FridayNightLights , Jarhead , The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, as well as roles in Cold Mountain , All The Pretty Horses and Deepwater . This is Black’s first time playing in the tournament.
Steve Azar launched a radio phenomenon with I Don’t Have to Be Me (‘Til Monday) and a video sensation with Waitin’ on Joe . His album, Indianola , is a fusion of his life in Nashville, Tenn., and his Mississippi Delta roots, showcasing his multi-faceted talent as a songwriter, performer and producer. In addition to writing or co-writing every song on Indianola and engineering and producing the collection, Steve Azar plays slide guitar, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar at various places on the project. This is Azar’s first time in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Actor and Comedian Gary Valentine most recently appeared in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. He has held roles in Stuck on You with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear, and on The King of Queens as Doug Heffernan’s (Kevin James) cousin Danny. Valentine appeared on Comedy Central Presents and tours across the country with several comedy tours. This is Valentine’s second time playing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien led the Washington Redskins to a victory in Super Bowl XXVI over the Buffalo Bills after a 14-2 season. Rypien was named MVP of the 1992 game. He is one of five players to have thrown for 300 yards in their first NFL game. In his 11 NFL seasons, Rypien completed 1,466 of2,613 passes for 18,473 yards and 115 touchdowns, with 88 interceptions. He also scored eight rushing touchdowns. Rypien retired in 2006 after stints with the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. In 1998, Rypien lost his three-year-old son, Andrew, to cancer. In April 2004, with the support of his daughters, Ambre and Angela, Rypien started the Rypien Foundation to provide hope for families fighting cancer. This is Rypien’s third time playing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
World-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis has always been a man of numerous musical interests. The three-time Grammy winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists. Known for an innovative spirit and broad musical scope, his nearly two dozen recordings in various styles have received numerous accolades, with his most recent CD, the Grammy-nominated Braggtown , acknowledged as his quartet’s greatest recorded achievement to date. This will be his first time in the tournament.
Texas native Pat Green got his start in country music while attending Texas Tech in the mid-’90s. He started writing songs at age 18 and convinced his parents to loan him some money to record an album. The independently released Dancehall Dreamer appeared in 1998 just as Green was becoming a hot performer on the local bar scene. A year later, Green wowed an audience of 2,000 people at Willie Nelson’s July 4th picnic, and he has never looked back. With his first album since signing with BNA Records, the three-time Grammy nominee looks to take his music to the masses. Cannonball, his explosive new album, captures Green’s joyous, provocative songwriting style with new sharpness and swagger. His unique lyrics present a distinct vision of the world that reaches outsiders and fans of off-the-beaten-path music. This is Green’s second time appearing in the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
As the 1980 Heisman trophy-winning running back from the University of South Carolina, George Rogers rolled up 21 consecutive 100-yard games, including every game his senior year, when he led the nation in rushing with 1,781 yards and tied for third in TDs with 14. New Orleans Saints coach Bum Phillips, who made Rogers the top NFL ’81 draft choice, noted the running back’s double edge – Rogers could dodge a defender or run over him. Rogers was a member of the 1987 Washington Redskins Super Bowl Championship team. He retired in 1988. Rogers and professional partner Kyle Thompson, also an alumnus of South Carolina, won the 2002 Pro-Celebrity portion of the BMW Charity Pro-Am. This will be Rogers’ eighth appearance, one of only three celebrities (Jennifer Mills and Ben Wright) that have competed in every tournament.
Golf commentator and course designer Ben Wright has been covering the golfing world for 50 years, most notably with CBS Sports. Wright has attended the world’s major golf events since 1954. He announced The Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club for more than 20 years in succession, and also broadcast the Ryder Cup matches in 1989, ‘91, ‘93, and ‘95. His articulate prose and ability to tell a tale are unrivaled, as are his wit and intellect. He is competing in his eighth tournament, one of only three celebrities to do so.
Born and raised in Greenville, Jennifer Mills helped launch the Golf Channel as an 11-year anchor of Golf Central , the CableACE award-winning nightly broadcast. She recently hosted the very successful show PGA TOUR Sunday on the USA Network. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Mills has more than 20 years in broadcast journalism, beginning as a sports photographer at an NBC affiliate in Winston-Salem, N.C., and stints with ESPN and The Travel Channel. A mother of two, Mills now lives in Orlando, Fla. This will be Mills’ eighth appearance, one of only three celebrities to compete in every tournament.
The 2008 BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament will be played May 15-18, 2008, at Bright’s Creek Golf Club, The Carolina Country Club and Thornblade Club golf courses. All four rounds will be televised live by the Golf Channel.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am is the only tournament on the Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a three-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros will rotate between each of the three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 14 lowest scoring pro-amateur/pro-celebrity teams advancing to play Sunday’s final round at Thornblade Club. Celebrities will play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $121,500 from the total purse of $675,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour, as well as a brand new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Amateurs and celebrities will compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc.
The first seven tournaments have raised more than $5.7 million for 80+ area charities.
For more information on the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament, sponsorship opportunities, charitable funding or volunteer opportunities, call (864) 297-1660 or visit the tournament’s website at www.bmwcharitygolf.com.