Bat Affleck

Hey, Summer Camp Fans!

We love featuring celebrities who are former summer campers from back in the day. I first started posting about celebrities who had attended camp in 2013 and, since then, I’ve covered over 100 celebrities on this Blog. Having covered so much ground, it seems appropriate to backtrack and retread some of the famous folks who were already featured to take a deeper look.Ben has become Batsy since we last talked about him.

So, as we posted five years ago on the Blog, as he had yet to don the black cape of the Dark Knight in his role as Batman in ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’, we revisit Bat—I mean, Ben Affleck who we learned attended Crossroads for Kids in Massachusetts.

Lesser known by his full name, Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt, I thought it might be fun to go over some other points about Mr. Affleck that you might not have known that we didn’t quite get around to in our first post:

What’s in a Name?
A simplification of his name for the stage and stardom is common among celebrities and, as we just covered, ‘Ben Affleck’ is not this celebrity’s full name. His full name is Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt. ‘Boldt’ is his mother’s last name and ‘Geza’ is his middle name in honor of a family friend who was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor.

Playin’ with Damon
Life-long friends Ben and Matt Damon first met as neighborhood pals when Ben was only 8 and Matt was 10. They attended school together and it was Ben who would eventually spark Mr. Damon’s interest in an acting career. After Ben’s appearance in an educational drama and a Burger King commercial, Matt finally joined his friend as an extra in ‘Field of Dreams’ before the two decided to write their own script, ‘Good Will Hunting’.

Triple Threat
Ben has now portrayed three different superheroes as he took on the role of Daredevil from the imagination of Stan Lee in 2003. In the 2006 film ‘Hollywoodland’, Ben played George Reeve, an actor from the 1950’s who starred as Superman in the television series ‘Adventures of Superman’. And now that he has put on the bat-suit, he has become the only major actor to have worn both Batman and Superman costumes on screen.

Good Will Cleaning
Ben and his buddy Matt caught their big break when they stopped looking for roles and created their own by writing ‘Good Will Hunting’. The story of a janitor at MIT whose unrecognized, self-taught genius is finally discovered. There’s an element of truth to this character as Ben’s father was a janitor at the Ivy League Institution.

I’m sure we’ll all enjoy watching the rest of Mr. Affleck’s career unfold as there seems to be no stopping this bright actor. “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life,” he has said. “Because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you got to get up.” Try living by these simple yet powerful words and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Rob Revisited

Hey, Summer Camp Fans!

We get a kick out of posting about celebrities who attended summer camp back in the day. And since I first started posting in 2013, I’ve covered over 100 celebrities who have been involved with summer camp somehow in their past. Having covered so many celebrities, it seems appropriate to backtrack and retread some of the famous folks we’ve already featured to take a deeper look.

So, as we posted five years ago on the Blog, Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. was also a fan of summer camp as he attended French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts located in Hancock, New York as well as Stage Door Manor in Massachusetts.

Get to know Robert Downey Jr. just a little bit better on today's Blog post.Despite a difficult upbringing, Robert Downey Jr. was able to get his life on the right track of success and responsibility. Winner of a Golden Globe Award and star of Marvel’s Iron Man movies as Tony Stark, here are some more facts about Robert Downy Jr. that we didn’t quite get into in our first post:

Robert isn’t just an actor. He released his debut album “The Futurist” in 2004. The album sales were not so great but he was at least able to give this other artistic side of himself an outlet for the world to hear.

At the age of only 17, Robert Downey Jr. moved to New York and struggled through part-time jobs, busing tables, performing in off-Broadway shows, and one time he was even hired as a piece of living art in a New York City nightclub.

Growing up, Robert’s family was constantly moving all over the world as a result of his father’s career in filmmaking. He lived in New York, Connecticut, Woodstock, California, London, and Paris. Yeesh!

Trained in the Martial Arts
Robert Downey Jr. has been a devout martial artist for the last 18 years, spending much of his time in the practice of Wing Chun—a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense.

The world celebrates Robert as he expands his health and self betterment in his current years. Despite his difficult upbringing, he seems to have no real regrets. “I think you end up doing the stuff you were supposed to do at the time you were supposed to do it,” Robert Downy Jr. has said.

Enjoy whatever stuff you are supposed to be doing once you’re done reading this Blog post and, as always, thanks for reading it!

- John

Feel a little Neil?

Hey, Camp Lovers!

In 2013, I first started posting about famous folks who have a history at summer camp and lately I’ve been having fun returning to previously featured celebrities to learn more about these famous folks. In Neil Diamond’s original post, which you can see by clicking here, we talked about how he attended Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Spring, New York and how he went on to become a culturally celebrated singer/songwriter of great recognition!

But we didn’t get around to looking at some interesting details about Mr. Diamond. So, let’s give Neil a closer look right now:

And no one heard at all, not even the chair.NOT…Diamond?
Little known fact: Neil Diamond was considering a stage name before eventually deciding against it and going with his real name. Among other aliases he had considered, he had thrown around ‘Ice Charry’ for some time as well as ‘Noah Kaminsky’. Good call stickin’ with Neil, Neil.

Who’s Caroline?
It was actually the president’s daughter that inspired Neil Diamond’s smash hit “Sweet Caroline”. Sweet Caroline is Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s daughter who planted the seed for this famous song in Neil’s head. Having kept it a mystery who this song referenced for many years, he eventually revealed the song came to him after seeing Ms. Kennedy on the cover of Life Magazine in an equestrian riding outfit.

High School Buds
Many people can tell you that Neil Diamond performed the hit song ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ as a duet, partnered with Barbara Streisand. What’s lesser known, however, is that Neil and his duet partner were friends in the All City Choir at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn! Let’s hear it for the Class of 1958!

The Music Man
The man has become a legend in his own time where the music industry is concerned. Neil Diamond has secured himself 11 Grammy nominations as well as various honorary awards like being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was also honored at the Kennedy Center. Oh yeah—and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Today, at the wise age of 77, Neil continues enjoying his life and he’s still making music as he’s just released a new Christmas album a couple years ago. On behalf of Everything Summer Camp, I’d like to extend a respectful nod to one of America’s greatest singer/songwriters! Thank you for such excellent music, Mr. Diamond! And, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John

Beam Me Up, Veggies

Hey, Camp Fans!

In 2013, this Blog was first launched and ever since the start, I’ve posted about famous folks who have a history at summer camp or those who have at least had significant ties within the camp community. And covering over 100 celebrities who’ve had a past at camp since the beginning of this Blog five years ago, it’s now time to review some of these big names who were previously featured already with a bit of a deeper look this time around.

In William Shatner’s original post, which you can see by clicking here, we talked aboCaptain Kirk in all his glory.ut how he attended Camp Massad in his home country, Canada, featuring 20 acres of private forest, just north of Winnipeg, in Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba.

Contributing his legendary role to the science fiction genre, check out further interesting facts about Mr. Shatner that we didn’t quite get around to in the initial post about the captain of the starship, Enterprise:

Yes, William has learned to speak more than just the English language, but French too as well as the rare Esperanto language that comes from no country but is rather a language invented for two differently speaking people who can communicate while still holding onto their native tongue—something of a global language. It’s no Klingon, but still pretty cool.

Calcium Deposits of Gold
When you’re known as the great Captain Kirk, everything you touch automatically goes up in value. In 2006, Shatner sold something that he not only touched, but something that he created himself. This item went for $75,000. The item: a kidney stone he passed. Shatner donated the money a Louisiana charity housing complex.

Not Horsin’ Around
William Shatner loves horses! He owns 360 acres in Kentucky dedicated to saddlebred horses that he breeds. A believer in the therapeutic effects of horseback riding—something you can read more about in this recent Blog post about equestrian benefits–he provides support for those seeking therapy on the back of a horse.

The Captain is Vegetarian
A longterm vegetarian, William Shatner is dedicated to the frontier of the food he eats, cutting out the consumption of animals. An admirable position to hold on the proper diet, perhaps we can all look to the Captain for a dietary role model.

Forever seen as Captain Kirk, we thank William Shatner for the job he did to portray this icon of science fiction storytelling. About his time in the series, he’s said, “’Star Trek’ never really caught on with audiences, ran for three seasons, and was canceled. I wish I had taken notes at the time, because you people sure do have a lot of questions about it.”

We appreciate Mr. Shatner’s acceptance of this eventually embraced role that he played six decades ago. Click here to check out Camp Massad to see if it the Captain’s old camp might be a good fit for you and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Julia—Round 2…lia

Hey, Summer Camp Fans!

Back in 2013, this Blog saw its beginning and ever since the start, I’ve posted about celebrities who attended summer camp in their past (or have at least had significant ties within the summer camp community). Since this Blog first began five years ago, I’ve covered over 100 celebrities who have a past at camp!

Let’s retread some of the famous folks whom we’ve already featured with a little more depth this time around! In the previous post, which you can read by clicking here, we Read some interesting facts about this supposedly lovely lady.mentioned how she attended her uncle’s summer camp, Camp Birchwood in Minnesota—a camp with whom we’re proud to say we have the pleasure of working with here at Everything Summer Camp! She eventually would come to volunteer at Camp Birchwood as well before finding her stardom at just 23 years old.

With her incomparable beauty and undeniable charm, Julia has entertained millions through her volumes of cinematic work! Check out some more interesting things about Julia that we didn’t quite get into in our first post about this star of the silver screen:

Musical Julia
Okay, so she more-than-definitely doesn’t know how anymore and I don’t believe that she ever had any dreams of making something of her life musically speaking (she actually aspired to be a veterinarian in her younger days), but she totally rocked a tune or two on the clarinet in her school band!

Acting Runs in the Roberts
Julia isn’t the only one in her family who seems meant for the stage. Daughter to two actors, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts themselves ran a workshop for aspiring writers and performers until the 1970’s. And taking after her aunt, Emma Roberts has arrived on the acting scene. You can read more about her by clicking here, back to a Blog post that featured her a couple years ago.

Clever Clipping Alternatives
As a child Julia used to bite her toenails off instead of clipping them. “I was very limber,”she told Movieline in 2002. That’s pretty sick, Julia. But, I confess…I too once tried biting my own toenails in place of clipping. I am not so limber. But limber or not, I suggest you keep your pride and just cut your toenails with a clipper like a normal person.

Julia Loves Knitting
That’s basically it. She just loves knitting. And why not?! It alleviates symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, helps improve motor functions, helps prevent arthritis, and it has a number of other great benefits! Other celebrities who enjoy knitting are Wynona Rider, Ryan Gosling, Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Kate Moss, and many more!

Whether it’s the knitting or the acting…or…the toenail-biting thing…perhaps…Julia has seemed to find her peace among the Hollywood parties and paparazzi. “The older you get, the more fragile you understand life to be,” she’s once noted. “I think that’s good motivation for getting out of bed joyfully each day.”

I think we can all appreciate this attitude toward life and render us all absolutely star-struck by this amazing woman we’ve all grown to know and love. Here’s to you, Julia! Check out Julia’s camp Birchwood for your own camping adventure and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Farley Forever!

Hey, Summer Camp Fans!

Back in 2013, this Blog saw its beginning and ever since our heyday, I’ve been posting about celebrities who attended summer camp or at least have had a significant involvement in the community of summer camp. And since we first started posting, I’ve covered over 100 celebrities who have a past at camp! Now it’s time to backtrack a bit and retread some of the famous folks we’ve already featured.

So, as we posted five years ago on the Blog, funnyman Chris Farley was also a fan of summer camp Chris attended camp at Red Arrow nearby Minocqua, Wisconsin. It’s Chris the legend Farley.obvious that Chris had a close connection with his time away at camp since he spent many of his summers at camp and, eventually, then later as a camp counselor at the same camp!

With his over-the-top, enthusiastic and energetic charm, Chris enjoyed making people laugh from a very early age—competing with his siblings for the attention of their father. Here are a few more things about Chris that we didn’t quite get into in our first post about him:

Like Belushi, Like Farley
John Belushi was a huge role model for Chris Farley. Ironically, the two had very similar biographies with work on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL), starring in films, battling obesity, and an early death at 33 because of unhealthy habits.

Almost a Cable Guy
Chris Farley was actually the original choice for the 1996 film ‘The Cable Guy’. The film’s star role ended up going to an up-and-coming Jim Carrey instead due to scheduling conflicts that left Chris Farley unable to take the role.

100 Saturdays
Discovered by a producer of the ever-so-popular sketch comedy show, SNL, Chris boomed with popularity in the years to come as he resurrected characters of his own for sketches on the show. Belonging to the SNL cast for five years, Chris appeared in 100 episodes.

The Quieter Side of Chris
Despite inner turmoil, he would attend mass services and would continue to sit after the services ended to spend quiet times alone, reflecting on his life. We’ve all heard that money won’t bring you happiness. In Chris’ own words:

“I used to think that you could get to a level of success where the laws of the universe didn’t apply. But they do. It’s still life on life’s terms, not on movie-star terms. I still have to work at relationships. I still have to work on my weight and some of my other demons.”

His passing still brings us sorrow, but he left a large body of comedy to keep us laughing as well. Keep on laughing and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Fonzie and The Shark!

Hello, Summer Campers!

Or…as The Fonz would say, “Ayyyyyyyyy!” Well, I suppose there are likely many of you out there who are unfamiliar with ‘The Fonz’ from ‘Happy Days’. But you really ouStill building his acting career today, he began a long while back!ght to know about him—he’s the king of cool, Fonzie, Arthur Fonzarelli! Pretty equally well-known a name is Henry Winkler, the actor who brought everyone’s favorite 70’s sitcom character to the screen.

Henry Winkler never attended summer camp as a camper himself, but he did have a summer camp experience as a camp counselor. Being born and raised in New York with a love for waterfront activities he was the ski instructor at Blue Mountain Camps in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

While you may not be familiar with Fonzie, what you may very well be aware of is the television term ‘Jump the Shark’. For those who don’t know, a television show jumps the shark when it includes far-fetched events and gimmicky sort of material for the sake of bringing something new to the show.

Television shows have come to use this term widely, though it saw its beginning on an episode of ‘Happy Days’ in which Fonzie literally jumps a shark while water-skiing. Yet, the true origin of this phrase actually began at summer camp when Mr. Winkler was acting ski instructor for summer camps.Arthur Fonzarelli was the epitome of cool in the 50s.

“I was once a counselor in summer camp and I did a lot of water skiing,” he is quoted to have said. “My father would always tell [show runner] Gary Marshall about it. So they wrote it in. I just went with the flow.” Though there weren’t any sharks back then, it’s funny to trace this commonly-used showbiz term to Henry Winkler’s time at summer camp.

These days are yours and mine—happy and free! Enjoy the ridiculous moment in the video below and, as always thanks for reading!

- John


You’re So Fam…ous. That’s Why You Know this Post is About You.

Hey, Summer Campers!

She teased the musical world with her song ‘You’re So Vain’ that had everyone begging to know just who it was she thought was so vain. Like so many other famous names we’vThe one and only Carly Simon.e discussed on the Everything Summer Camp Blog, Carly Simon is yet another celebrity singer who spent some time at summer camp in her youth!

Her story starts before camp, though—back to when she was eight years old and she developed a severe stutter. She found it hard to get any thought out and, despite psychiatric attempts to cure her stutter, Carly found that her only graceful outlet of her thoughts and feelings was through song. Naturally, she began to write songs from a very early age.

While she didn’t attend summer camp in her childhood, she did end up working at one as a cabin leader. Back in the 60’s, Carly’s career was slow to take off and she found a job at Indian Hill Summer Arts Camp in Littleton, Massachusetts—the home of Indian Hill Music, a nonprofit music education center that, among lots of other events, hosts summer activities for youth.

After summer jobs didn’t suffice, she found a position as a secretary for a TV variety show. Having attended Riverdale Country School, Carly went on to briefly attend Sarah Lawrence College, but ended up launching her music career before seeing her education through.

As a fantastic songwriter and lyricist, Carly discovered another talent and creative outlet in the form of children’s books. She’s published five kids books along with a more recent autobiographical work which you can check out by clicking here. We can all learn a lesson from Carly by turning in a new direction when life seems to be closing a door on you. As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John

Schlemiel! Schlimazel!

Hey, Summer Campers!

Get ready to learn about another celebrity who attended summer camp when she was your age! Learning the meaning of ‘doin’ it her way’, Penny Marshall (TV’s Laverne from the 1976 ‘Happy Days’ spinoff, ‘Laverne and Shirley’) enjoyed her summer stays at a number of different summer camps.
Hassenpfeffer incorporated.
Working the northeast coast, she attended Camp Odetah in Connecticut, Camp Geneva in Lake Como, Pennsylvania, and Camp Edgement in Deposit, New York. She also worked as a cabin leader at Camp Diana-Dalmaqua, located in New York’s infamous Catskill Mountains.

Growing up with her father and sisters in show business, Penny was naturally interested in entering the show business. She started out in a commercial for a beautifying shampoo alongside the renowned Farrah Fawcett. Hired on to play the ‘homely’ girl with stringy, unattractive hair, Penny was saved from the ‘homely’ label by the actress who was hired to play the ‘pretty’ girl (Farrah).

It may not have been the most flattering introduction but, even so, Penny persevered and continued auditioning for acting roles wherever she could find. She got the attention she was after when she landed the recurring guest role of Myrna Turner on ‘The Odd Couple’.

After her talent in comedic timing had been revealed, she was eagerly cast one of the dates (alongside Cindy Williams—Shirley) for Fonzie and Richie in ‘Happy Days’. Thrilled with Penny and Cindy’s performance, the pair reprised their roles in the hit spinoff that was created just for them, ‘Laverne and Shirley’. Audiences fell in love with Penny and she was nominated three times for a Golden Globe award.

Over time she developed a skill for directing as well as acting and she went on to direct such features as ‘Big’ starring Tom Hanks and ‘Bewitched’ with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1992 for ‘A League of Their Own’.

So, like Penny Marshall, go ahead and make all your dreams come true. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Celebs Galore from Stagedoor Manor

Hey, Summer Campers!

It’s exciting to find so many famous folks who were once summer campers like yourselves! Over the years, I’ve posted about more than 100 celebrities. I’m keeping them coming today with another celebrity who, like so many other famous folks, attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Summer Camp—Jesse Swanson himself, Skylar Astin. Learn about Skylar Astin from Stagedoor Manor!

Along with the likes of Mandy Moore, Natalie Portman, Robert Downy Jr., Zach Braff, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Skylar spent his summer days in the Catskills Borscht Belt in Loch Sheldrake, New York at Stagedoor Manor getting the experience of being on the stage, in the spotlight within a most inviting and supportive environment.

Having grown up in Rockland County in New York, Skylar graduated from Clarkstown High School North and, following that, he went on to study at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He wound up taking a leave of absence from school, however, in order to perform in ‘Spring Awakening’ on Broadway.

But it wasn’t until 2012, when Astin turned 25 and found his breakthrough role, starring as Jesse Swanson in the musical comedy film ‘Pictch Perfect’. He returned to the role again just three years later for the sequel. Musically inclined, Astin also appeared on the musical television show ‘Glee’.

Using the talent of his gifted voice in his work, he’s also taken a couple roles as a voice actor for the movies ‘Wreck it Ralph’ in which he played the character Roy, as well as the movie ‘Monkey Up’ as the voice of Monty. He’s still passionate about stage acting as well. In 2010, he played the character Mark Cohen in a production of ‘Rent’ at the Hollywood Bowl which was directed by Neil Patrick Harris.

If you’re passionate about the art of acting as well, be like Skylar, Mandy, Natalie, Robert, Zach, and Bryce—check out Stagedoor Manor for yourself and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John