Jonathan Banks

Crazies, Bad Guys, and Frank McPike

Biography: After Wiseguy

 (All quotes are from JB. Codes link to bibliography of interviews.)

He has been injured at least twice while filming. In Beverly Hills Cop (1984) he fell through breakaway glass, but "split my head open on the wooden frame. That was real blood, my blood, you saw on the screen." (UP87) Filming Honeymoon Academy in the summer of 1988 he tore a calf muscle and spent weeks in a cast. That project, filmed in Spain, tided him over the writer's strike that year, when other actors had difficulty getting work in the US Paul Reiser, the original lead, withdrew from the picture after injuring an Achilles tendon. All footage shot with Reiser had to be redone, so Banks stayed in Spain longer than planned. (St. Petersburg Times, 7/4/1988)

He has trouble watching films he would have liked to do, such as The Deer Hunter, or Field of Dreams, but "I laugh at my own jealousy because it's such a vain damn thing." (TVG89) He has no preference for stage versus film or television work, saying it depends on the working conditions. Because of the difficult conditions filming at the Arizona State Prison, he names Jack Graham in Stir Crazy as his least favorite role. Playing Eddie Ryter, a child molester, in Don't Touch My Daughter, was the most difficult role he's done, and Cliff from The Woolgatherer is his favorite. (MG94)

In 1988 he met his wife-to-be Genara "Jenny" Gonzalez Cebian, a gym manager about ten years younger than he, (BCB98) while in Spain filming Honeymoon Academy. By 1989 he had a new house in Malibu, with a separate residence in back for starving actors. There he likes to tend his roses, go running on the beach, and make occasional 5 a.m. jaunts for hot doughnuts (TVG89) from Stan's in Westwood. (PS89) During Wiseguy he liked to wear his hair in a little ponytail off the set, (USA89-1) but he now wears it short. The beard he wore in Wiseguy's fourth season has come and gone more than once since then, depending on roles. He favors casual clothes, such as jeans, sweatshirts, and white Reeboks, (WT88) and jeans or shorts, loose tops, and loafers. (MG94) "I love to be near water and I like to be in shorts and a T-shirt..." (MOW90)

In December 1990 he and Jenny married. (IMDB98) Wiseguy ended in December 1991, and he returned to film and television guest roles, usually as villains, including Freejack with Mick Jagger. The Los Angeles Times quoted his comment at the Freejack premiere party. "Does anyone ever actually know anyone at these parties? Do they always just stand around like this?" (1/20/1992 E:3:1) In 1993 and again in 1994, he taught an acting class, "Monologues and Scene Studies" for the UCLA Extension program. Students describe his teaching style as very supportive. (MG94)

In the summer of 1994, the Banks family increased when twins Claudio ("Hank") and Rebecca were born. Jenny's daughter from a previous marriage, Ruth Garcia, is also part of the family. (NBC97) The press reported a brief hospital scare in September 1996, when it was feared that the twins had accidentally swallowed some medication, but all was well. (ENQ96) With his marriage to Jenny, Banks has become fluent in Spanish. (FUP ep. 7) In 1996 or 1997, his oldest daughter, Joanna Rae, married. The Morgans live in Wales. (NBC97) January 31, 1997, Banks' fiftieth birthday, the daily Entertainment Tonight television entertainment news show featured him on their birthday segment.

His voice is described as relaxed with the occasional crackling guffaw (WT88) and as a low-key reedy voice that occasionally cracks. (NJW88)

"I enjoy going into a good hotel or restaurant and being taken care of. I enjoy going to the ballet. I enjoy the gentleness of life. I love to go [to Washington, DC] to see the cherry blossoms in the spring... Nothing grates on me more than unwarranted pretension." (NJW88)

He keeps in touch with old friends. "Somewhere along the line with my friends, we all achieved ranks. There's a colonel, a lieutenant, a corporal. My friend Arty was the general because he was always prepared to go on camping trips and knew how to cook chicken on a car's manifold. After 10 years, I still don't have a rank. They won't even make me a private first class. The general has said that as long as he's living, the promotion will never pass over his desk." (TVG89) Old friends with whom he has acted include David Marciano whom JB suggested for the role of Lorenzo Steelgrave in Wiseguy (GN94), Art LaFleur, and David Myers, with whom he shared a stage at Indiana University, and then, over twenty years later, an episode of Wiseguy. (MG94)

"I'm the kind of guy who struggles along like everybody else trying to figure out how to stay in a good mood and trying to be a halfway decent human being." (NJW88) "I've got an overwhelming confidence in myself. Whatever brass rings I missed, I believe you go around again." (USA89-1)

Discussing his views on Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, he said, "Yeah, I'm dragging and kicking about growing up. But I always thought Peter Pan got kind of a bad rap... all the guy ever wanted to do was be honest. That's why he didn't want to be around adults... he thought the adult world was a pretty crappy world. Is it?" (PS89) In his own world "I try to be pretty moral and get wildly confused doing it." (MOW90) He believes it's most important to "be kind. Just be kind." (TVG89)

GO TO: Early Years University Early Roles Bad Guys Wiseguy Since Wiseguy

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Page last updated:Mon, Feb 25, 2002