A Journey Home — A Faith Restored
Veteran Hollywood actor, Corbin Bernsen, recently completed a faith-filled film about a minister who walks away from God
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
If you are fan of American TV dramas, you will immediately recognize veteran Hollywood actor, Corbin Bernsen, for his role as divorce attorney Arnold Becker on the NBC drama series days on L.A. Law, and also for his role as the retired cop Henry Spencer on USA Network’s comedy-drama series Psych. You may have also seen him as Roger Dorn in the films Major League (film), and Major League II. He has also appeared regularly on other shows, including General Hospital and Cuts.
In fact, he has appeared on over 50 magazine covers and earned both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, hosted Saturday Night Live, and appeared on Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.
Bernsen was born in North Hollywood, California, the son of Harry Bernsen, Jr., a Hollywood producer, and veteran soap actress Jeanne Cooper, who appears on The Young and the Restless. He graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1972. Bernsen is also a “double Bruin,” having received both a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA in Playwriting from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
But there is another side to the tough exterior of this Hollywood fixture, and that is his faith-filled film, Rust, which is about a minister who walks away from God, a journey which takes him back to this hometown where an incredible tragedy has rocked the small population and landed his childhood friend in a mental hospital.
Rust is a 2010 drama written and directed by Bernsen, in which he played Jimmy Moore and was released direct-to-video on October 5, 2010. The film takes place in a Canadian town. The film is about how a midlife crisis of faith rocks his life’s calling, and former minister Jimmy Moore. But can he get to the bottom of this mysterious fire that has shocked the population and clear his boyhood friend Travis?
It is unique story of friendship and calling, and Rust (http://rustmovie.com) may well be Corbin Bernsen’s most personal project to date. Funded by and set in the real-life Canadian town of Kipling, Saskatchewan (and featuring local citizens in prominent roles), Rust was inspired by the spiritual journey that Corbin has been traveling since his father’s death in 2008.
So knowing this, it was hardly surprising to find Corbin Bernsen on the Red Carpet at the 21st Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards and Report to the Entertainment Industry held on Friday, February 15, 2013, that attracted many celebrities to the occasion the Universal Hilton Hotel, a skip and a hop from the heart of Hollywood, aka “The Movie Capital of the World.”
So, as I talked with him, I first of all asked him why he was at the event, and he replied, “I’m presenting an award for a performance that has as faith influence in it, but I’m here because also because I’ve supported the Movieguide Awards and Dr. Ted Baehr [its founder] and everything he’s done for thirty years to influence Hollywood. This kind of [family-friendly] film making — which is part of storytelling — can be not only good for business. It is not only good for people, but good for business.”
I then asked Bernsen, who has been married to British actress Amanda Pays since 1988 (they have four sons), if he felt that Hollywood had played a role in all the violence we have seen recently in the United States.
“Well,” he began, “I think we’re definitely culpable to some degree. However, it’s like anything in life and that is that you can’t put your finger on just one thing. For instance, was it an AR-15 weapon that’s out there that somebody [was said] to have used. Is that what really killed a child? No, that isn’t; it was an individual who had fallen from humanity. However, in that way, yeah, video games and movies have had an influence.
“I’m not a Pollyanna guy,” he continued. “I’ve been in them and I’ve produced them and I support them. But there’s also a place where you draw a line with who sees what. A lot of that comes down to parenting; to controls; and how old somebody can be to do something. But any kid, in including my fourteen year old, can get his hand on stuff and that’s just crazy.
“When I was a kid, we used to play ‘army’ and take a stick and turn it into a gun. So there’s a part of human nature wanting to be a bit cavemen, battling it out for the cave and for food and that’s not going to escape us.
“But all these things are there and I’m not saying they have to go away, but they have to be controlled by parenting and tempered with allowing some light into a life as well.”
He went on to say, “The truth is that you’ve got to remember the beauty of a flower. I was lying in bed this morning thinking — and I love my wife, don’t get me wrong — that thing, the first love, that passion that that heart, that attraction that and you can’t forget these wonderful things, the beautiful gifts that we all have like the night sky you and you can’t forget that.
“So when you know that, and when you temper it with the other stuff, I think we’re ok. We’ve always lived with war, bloody war, like Vietnam and World War II, which had horrible things that people did see. But there was a community and a faith, dare I say, and a responsibility to human life and condition, that tempered all of that.”
Bernsen, whose mother is of Cherokee heritage, certainly has softer side to his persona, and I discovered that he has one of the largest snow globe collections in the world. He said in an interview on Marie with Marie Osmond on January 21, 2013, that he had 8,000 snow globes in his collection.
So with that, Corbin Bernsen was off into the gala for this evening that is also known as “The Christian Oscars,” and I marveled at the many sides to this talented actor.
I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.