America’s passion for our animals has not gone unnoticed by the TV and film industry. Today, more and more casting calls are seeking background actors who can bring along a pet, says one New York based actress, who also is a passionate cat rescuer.
Lynn Spencer, whose TV credits include “Boardwalk Empire” and “Blue Bloods,” as well as the recently acclaimed movie at the Cannes Film Festival “Una Calle Sin Salida,” is delighted to see the trend. She views it as recognition on the part of Hollywood and the entertainment industry that moviegoers like to watch the interaction between people and their animals.
Spencer sees another positive trend in the growing use of rescued animals in entertainment. “My animal wrangler friends at Radio City Music Hall tell me that all the animals used in the shows are rescues,” she says.
Childhood passion for animals
Animals have always been an important part of Spencer’s life. Her father was in the harness racing business and in summer she would help groom the horses. It was at her father’s stables that her fascination with cats began.
“Racehorse owners usually have a ton of cats in the barns,” she explains. “They are all over the tracks. They keep the mice away from the oats and grains that they feed to the horses. The cats are very calming to the horses with their gentle, quiet ways.”
She also says, tongue in cheek, that her passion for cats might also have something to do with the Gunsmoke series and her fascination with Miss Kitty, the kind hearted madam and love interest of Sherriff Matt Dillon. Ironically, her sexy, striking blond looks have resulted in her landing a number of parts where she’s been cast as a ‘lady of the night. “That’s me,” she says laughing, “the hooker with the big heart.”
Rescue ‘round the clock
When she’s not acting, Spencer is rescuing cats. She’s on the Board of Bella Bast Rescue, Inc. (see: A rescue group’s promise to a cat name Hero) out of Long Island and is active in Friends of Animal Rescue (FOAR), another New York group whose mission is to provide financial assistance to other animal rescue groups. She’s also involved with Angels of Animals in New Jersey. That group focuses on rescuing animals with special needs.
Her involvement with three groups enables her to leverage the resources of one to help another when necessary, she explains. As an example, Angel of Animals was called in to help trap, neuter and relocate a feral cat colony at a new marina being built near New Jersey’s Meadowland Racetrack. The organization found a sanctuary that could take the cats but needed to provide a new shed for their housing. Here’s where Spencer’s work with FOAR paid off. FOAR learned of the need and donated money for the new cat enclosure.
When she’s not acting or rescuing cats, which clearly is not often, Spencer finds time to design and sell jewelry to raise money for her rescue.
You can check out “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO this coming season to catch Spencer playing what else, a hooker in a Chicago brothel, and hopefully in a new TV series called “Plan B.” They just finished the pilot. Or if you live in New York or New Jersey, you may catch her in one of her live performances rescuing cats.