Health & Spirit

Light Notes: Film and television actor recalls road to his destiny

Lucy Luginbill, Tri-City Herald on

Published in Religious News

Charles again found himself in the right place at the right time -- a coincidence that gave him a big break. While sitting in his agent's office to update some promotional photos, a call came in to the agency that required immediate attention.

"I'm sitting in the ante room and the agent leans around the corner, 'You need to go right now to this location and ask for the casting director.'"

Rushing toward opportunity, Charles arrived and was hurriedly met with instructions to read over the script. He was told, "Michael is coming to see you right now."

"Let me hear you say the line," famous director Michael Apted commanded Charles who looks back on the moment as frightening.

"I was terrified and squeaked it out, but then he said, 'When you say the line, be more obsequious.' My mind went blank on what that meant, but I said it again and he loved it. "

From there it was frenzy as Susan rushed home to retrieve Charles' suits that he would use in the filming that day.

"I played Loretta Lynn's manager," Charles said, reminiscing about his good fortune to be cast with Sissy Spacek. "The movie was 'Coal Miner's Daughter' and that got me into the Screen Actors Guild."

Since then, Charles Kahlenberg is a recognized name by people in the arts. He has worked as a character actor in numerous movies such as "Wedding Crashers" where he played the priest, the TV series "Cold Case" and opposite Jason Alexander in "Seinfeld." His credits besides film and television appearances include voice work nationally and internationally for countless commercials -- many for Fortune 500 companies -- industrial videos and audio books. His latest audio book just released is "March or Die" by Andrew and William Keith.

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And yet Charles, who recently moved from Studio City, Calif., to Richland, Wash., remains as humble as the day he came home from filming with Vanessa Redgrave.

"I remember sitting at the head of the table and I looked at my family and said, 'I'm an actor!' I was incredulous."

But there is no doubt that Charles isn't acting when he tells how God opened doors to his destiny.

(Lucy Luginbill is a career television producer-host and the Spiritual Life editor for the Tri-City Herald. In her column, she reflects on the meaning of her name, "Light Bringer." If you have a story idea for Light Notes, contact her at

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